Why is General Petraeus Going to Iowa Next Year?


From the UK's 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.

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 very well could be that this isn't what it looks like. After all, General Petraeus will also be speaking at Harvard, Princeton and MIT.

Nevertheless, 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 [2009-3-16 11:28:31 by Jonathan Singer]: Apparently the story is false, stemming from a report from Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb that Goldfarb is now trying to walk back as a joke (though it was decidedly NOT written as one). Righteous indignation withdrawn.

Tags: david petraeus, Iowa, White House 2012 (all tags)



There should be no surprise what so ever

at this...

I have said numerous times on these boards, Petraeus wants to be President, and the Republican party may want to return to some kind of Eisenhower nostalgia.

And, I'm no amazing pundit here. plenty in the upper command has said Petraeus sees himself as a presidential candidate, this is no secret.

He also may be willing to sit second chair to Palin in a loosing cause, then be first in line for 2016?  

The man has ego enough to see this through....

by WashStateBlue 2009-03-15 11:13AM | 0 recs

Today's GOP doesn't want an Eisenhower. They want a Pinochet.

Just sayin'

by riboflavin 2009-03-15 05:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is General Petraeus Going to Iowa

Petraeus may be in the mix in 2012, but it won't be as second fiddle to Sarah Palin... it would be as second fiddle to Mitt Romney, who will be the 2012 GOP nominee barring some major scandal or personal crisis.

1976 Reagan finishes 2nd in GOP nomination
1980 Reagan wins GOP nomination

1980 Bush 41 finishes 2nd in GOP nomination
1988 Bush wins GOP nomination

1988 Dole finishes 2nd in GOP nomination
1996 Dole wins GOP nomination

2000 McCain finishes 2nd in GOP nomination
2008 McCain wins GOP nomination

2008 Romney finishes 2nd in GOP nomination
2012 ????

The GOP loves retread presidential candidates.  The last time that any candidate won the GOP nomination on their very first attempt prior to Bush 43 was Barry Goldwater in 1964.

Mitt Romney will be the 2012 GOP Nominee.  Book it.

by Obamaphile 2009-03-15 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Why is General Petraeus Going to Iowa

By the way, while Bush 43 did succeed in doing what no Republican had done in 36 years at that point by winning the GOP nomination on his first try, he did so as the son of a man who spent 12 years in the executive branch as the former President and former Vice President, which greatly increased his odds.

Actually, not just increased them, but determined the outcome of that race - had daddy not been who he was, somebody else would have won the GOP nomination in 2000.  Perhaps McCain, or perhaps someone else who didn't even run.

by Obamaphile 2009-03-15 11:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Why is General Petraeus Going to Iowa

You missed more than half the years there.  Romney will NOT be the nominee.

by lojasmo 2009-03-16 05:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Why is General Petraeus

Incidentally, with regards to the comment about other generals flirting with politics, as David Halberstam's outstanding book The Coldest Winter makes clear, General MacArthur blatantly sought the Republican nomination while in charge of the Korean war, with the help of the extreme right of the Republican party. The political incompetence of him and his followers ensured that he failed dramatically, and he quickly disavowed ever having tried. Had he been more savvy he could have easily gone on to have been the worst president America ever had, and given his love for nuclear war, quite possibly the last.

by thesleepthief 2009-03-15 12:26PM | 0 recs
General Petraeus

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.

Absolutely, dead on.

I am curious about one thing, why is a June 2010 commencement address being set now. I mean it's customary that the senior class has some input in the process and they aren't even seniors yet.

by Charles Lemos 2009-03-15 12:31PM | 0 recs

From all I've read about Petraeus, he's self serving to a fault.  Hell, wasn't he the likely suspect of a leak a month or so back concerning the redeployment plans of the Obama administration?  I just hope Obama gets to pull a Truman and fire his ass.

by ARDem 2009-03-15 12:54PM | 0 recs
He is also speaking at Rutgers (New Jersey)

I guess the move to Super Tuesday is finally paying off!

by John DE 2009-03-15 06:08PM | 0 recs
sorry, he isn't

I got confused and was thinking of Princeton.

by John DE 2009-03-15 06:11PM | 0 recs
This was proven false and has no basis in fact

Not that anyone cares on this site these days. Sigh...

by meekermariner 2009-03-15 11:20PM | 0 recs


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