Seamans: General Petraeus and the GOP

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                                         (HOST)  There’s already considerable speculation about who will be the next GOP presidential candidate. Commentator Bill Seamans has some of the latest buzz.   

(SEAMANS) There is little doubt that the Republican National Committee dreams of being led into the 2012 presidential campaign by a knight in shining armor, a warrior, an intellectual unburdened by the baggage of adultery, unsavory divorce and other scandal.  He would be a super leader so admired by conservatives of all stripes that he could free up the GOP from the extremism of Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh.  Who else but General David Petraeus?

In the muted salons of the super powerful conservatives who can make or break political careers, they envision General Petraeus changing his beribboned uniform for civvies.  That speculation has been offered by some worthy political seers but has gone virtually unnoticed by we the people, overwhelmed by our more immediate problems.

Is it too soon to warm up Petraeus-for-President talk?  Certainly not for the Reverend Moon’s conservative Washington Times, which said, "In 2012, the man President Obama’s staunchest allies called ‘General Betray Us’ should come in with guns blazing and defeat the man whose only weapon to lead us to victory is a teleprompter."

Petraeus now heads the Central Command, which overseas our military forces in the Middle East as well as Central and South Asia and is headquartered at McDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.  He also has an office in the Pentagon.  He carries an extremely sensitive responsibility covering a vast and volatile area of the Muslim world.  Petraeus faces a major challenge for American military involvement that is unavoidably immersed in complex diplomatic efforts to increase our influence in a region that is of extreme importance for our national security.  Up to now Petraeus has maneuvered safely through the political minefield of what has been called "the creeping militarization of foreign policy."

Military matters aside, we can see that Petraeus now is a step closer to civilianizing his domestic political image.  From his bases in Tampa and the Pentagon he now is close to and can interact personally with Republican king makers, and he’s a prime "get" for the hostesses of the Beltway’s A-level weekend cocktail grip and grins.

When Petraeus speaks to audiences who harbor little doubt that he is a stealth conservative, he gets long standing "O’s" and even cheers.  He has deftly deflected the inevitable question whether he has thought about running for president.  Those Republican dreamers who see General Petraeus as another Eisenhower hopefully declare, "Well, he hasn’t said NO!"

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