Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Clark's Coincidence

OK, I usually steer clear of posting this kind of post, but it's time for some speculation, theorizing, hypothesizing, and rank rumourmonging.

It should come as no surprise to long-time readers of this blog (if any) that I'm a fan of the idea of retired General Wesley Clark as Secretary of Defense, but knowing that retired military can't serve as SoD too soon after their military time, I certainly wouldn't mind seeing him in any of various other Cabinet positions. (He does have a degree in economics from Oxford, after all; potentially useful in these times.)

Then, there was that overblown dust-up about his remarks that McCain's Vietnam service & POW-hood were not alone enough to qualify him for the Presidency.

Well, I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.

After which, the Obama campaign Largely disavowed him and his words. After that, I had pretty much abandoned any such hopes for him.

However, a couple of recent news items have me rethinking that. The first one that caught my attention in this regard was the appointment of Samantha Power to Obama's transition team. As you may recall, back in March, she was reported to have said:

[Hillary Clinton] is a monster, too — that is off the record — she is stooping to anything.

(A brief aside: I find it interesting that reporters will grant off-recordness by default to Bush administration officials, but report things from Obama advisors that are stated as off-the-record in midsentence.)

After this came out, Power resigned from the Obama campaign. However, it was recently announced that she would be part of his transition team for the Department of State, after Hillary Clinton was leaked as the likely (since official) choice for Obama's Secretary of State. This seemed like an unsubtle enough way of provoking those who were jumping on his campaign for misstatements and inartful phrasing that it got me thinking that there might be room for forgiveness for Gen. Clark, as well.

However, there was the talk of current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates staying on for at least a time with the Obama administration, also since confirmed. Apparently, Obama wants to keep him around while we withdraw our forces from Iraq, preferably within that 16 month time period that Obama had described during his campaign.

At this point, I thought to myself, "hmm, 16 months after inauguration, that would be in May 2010. I wonder when Clark would be eligible for an appointment to Secretary of Defense?" So I double-checked my recollection that it was a ten-year waiting period (10 U.S.C, Subtitle A, Part I, Chapter 2, § 113, "A person may not be appointed as Secretary of Defense within 10 years after relief from active duty as a commissioned officer of a regular component of an armed force."), and went to look up when Clark had resigned his commission. And what did I find?

Clark retired May 2, 2000; ergo, eligible May 2, 2010. The very same month that that 16 month period comes to an end. It could certainly be purest coincidence. But, as a famous presidential speechwriter once said, "Would it be irresponsible to speculate? It would be irresponsible not to!"

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