Petraeus Takes First Step Towards 2012 Campaign

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    Bob Fertik
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It's perfectly obvious to everyone with a brain that the Republican Party has no credible candidates for 2012. Sarah Palin excites the shrinking GOP base, but terrifies everyone else. Bobby Jindahl got his 15 minute Presidential tryout and produced an epic FAIL. Mitt Romney wants it sooooooo bad, but no one wants Mitt. Mike Huckabee can't win, but at least he can be funny.

So who will Republicans run in 2012? Someone who isn't a Republican now, as far as we know. His name is David Petraeus. How do we know? From the U.K. Spectator:

"THE WEEKLY STANDARD has learned that General Petraeus is planning on delivering the commencement address at the University of Iowa in 2010."

So reports Michael Goldfarb, late of the McCain campaign, on the magazine's blog.

Petraeus going to Iowa, a state he doesn't have previous ties to, is going to create a huge amount of buzz about his presidential ambitions because the Iowa Caucuses kick off the whole presidential nomination process. If he does, deliver the address--and Petraeus must know this--it will be seen as a sign that he is thinking about running in 2012.

How would Petraeus justify running against his Commander-in-Chief? Simple: by accusing President Obama of Betraying America.

Previously, it has been thought that Petraeus would not run against a president who had been his Commander in Chief. But there are reports of tension between Petraeus and Obama over both Iraq and Afghan strategy.

It's the old "stab in the back" slander which has always been the heart and soul of conservativism around the world. 

And America has seen this movie before: Gen. Douglas MacArthur nearly ran for President after he was dismissed by President Harry Truman.

On his return from Korea, after his relief by Truman, MacArthur encountered massive public adulation, which aroused expectations that he would run for the presidency as a Republican in the 1952 election. However, a U.S. Senate Committee investigation of his removal (which largely vindicated the actions taken by President Truman), chaired by Democrat Richard Russell, contributed to a marked cooling of the public mood, and hopes for a MacArthur presidential run died away.

Rightwingers were enthralled with the idea of a MacArthur campaign against liberal Democrats then, and they will be equally enthralled with the idea of a Petraeus campaign against liberal Democrats in 2012.

I could see this coming from miles away - that's why I bought the domain

Update 1: Jonathan Singer writes,

David Petraeus is smart and savvy. He knows what a prominent speech in Iowa a little more than a year before the caucuses means. This news is already stoking quite a bit of attention and speculation from the conservative blogosphere (see here and here and here and here, for instance). It's hard for me to imagine that he doesn't understand how this move will be interpreted.

And, at least from my vantage, there's something a bit unseemly about all of this. Certainly military men have flirted with or made runs at public office in modern American politics. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Al Haig. Wes Clark. But there's a difference between former Generals running on campaigns focused in no small part on their resumes of service and those still in uniform doing so.

Again, this story may be garnering more attention and thought than it deserves. This could just be a speech. But if Petraeus does in fact harbor ambitions for 2012, he should really think about whether it's proper for him to forward them while still serving.

Update 1: Gen. Petraeus' flaks denied the rumor that Petraeus will speak in Iowa, and issued a half-Sherman rejection of ever running for office:

Furthermore, General Petraeus is not planning to run for President in 2012. He has repeatedly stated that he feels very privileged to have been able to serve our country in uniform and that he would like to continue to do so as long as those above him want him to serve.

When he retires, he has no intention of seeking political office.

In response to questions about presidential aspirations, General Petraeus has often asked questioners to recall General Sherman’s response to similar queries in the late 1800s. Sherman said, “If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve.” That remains General Petraeus' response as well.

There's lots of wriggle-room in that statement, so I'm not giving away

Oh and the author of the rumor, Michael Goldfarb, now says it was a joke. Ha ha ha.