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Favorable or Unfavorable #157: Ramsey Clark


Favorable or Unfavorable #157: Ramsey Clark  

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  1. 1. Did you read my first comment?

  2. 2. Favorable or Unfavorable #157: Ramsey Clark

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Att Gen Ramsey Clark is one of the few Att Gen's in history that isn't invisible. I wonder how much of this is the fact that's he's the son of a SC justice and feels he needs to contribute individually in US history in a way that's recognized.

Clark is one of the few, but impactful, TX Progressive Democrats, in the Yarborough tradition. However, he had switched his residence to NY at some point in the 1960s or before, and ran for the US Sen for NY, losing to liberal Republican Jacob Javits. If Javits wasn't equally liberal, then Clark might have won. He likely would have carried on as Senator in the same mode as RFK had as US Sen. They were both justice-oriented liberals, although Clark may have been even more progressive. 

Let me clarify some actions. In 1980, Clark unilaterally returns to Iran because he thinks he can figure out a way to meet the Ayatollah, which he does. He gives some token criticism of US involvement in Iran, possibly to get in so he can request a hostage release, but he's unsuccessful. What's crazy is if he had been successful, Carter would have been forced to approve of it or somehow frame it as a covert order given by him. Carter might have stood a better reelection chance. If he did not, Clark would have been in position to run for president or US Senate in the next election. For 2005, Clark's primary goal in defending Saddam was to ensure his trial wasn't a kangaroo trial, he opposed US intervention in both Iraq Wars, but he believed Saddam was guilty of crimes. International organizations consider the trial not to have been fair because the Iraqi provisional government (and possibly the US too) wanted him sentenced and executed as quickly as possible. 

Clark, in many ways, is such a lone wolf in his high-moral progressivism that I think he would have been even less effective at president than Carter, and possibly isolated as a Senator. He wasn't subtle and seemed to be probe to impulsiveness, even if his heart was in the right place, from a moral progressive standpoint. 

His actions:

Clark, Ramsey 1965 Supervises drafting of Votings Rights Act while serving as deputy att gen
Clark, Ramsey 1967 Confirmed Att Gen for LBJ w/ alleged agreement that father Tom C Clark resigns from the SC to avoid conflct of interest
Clark, Ramsey 1968 Supervises drafting of 1968 CR Act
Clark, Ramsey 1972 Protests US bombing of Hanoi, while visiting Vietnam
Clark, Ramsey 1972 Receives delegates for both Pres and VP at Dem Conv
Clark, Ramsey 1979 Sent by Carter to get Ayatollah to release US hostages in Iran but entry is blocked
Clark, Ramsey 1980 Infuriates Carter by defying Iran travel ban to meet w/ Ayatollah in hostage release attempt; allowed entry this time, but unsuccesful in release
Clark, Ramsey 1991 Becomes a leading critic of US intervention in Gulf War, accusing Bush admin of war crimes
Clark, Ramsey 2002 Founds organization specifically for advocating the impeach of Bush
Clark, Ramsey 2005 Defense lawyer at the trial of Saddam Hussein, unsuccessful in getting a fair trial by int'l standards
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I don't really like that he's a loose-cannon. That's terrible for politics, even if you agree with loose-cannon's politics. However, I do get energized by his existence. We were both born in Dallas, TX, and we're both progressive Dems in a conservative state. We both moved to the Northeast. We both are quasi-pacifistic, and he may be even more pacifistic than I am. We both believe in equality and equity. 

I do disagree with him founding an organization for impeachment. That just increases the politicized nature of it, or ideological nature of it. 

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