The veepstakes is coming to a close in the 2012 Presidential Election. In fact, you can expect a decision and announcement to be come out of team Romney relatively soon after the Olympics wrap up next week. The media has run through the list of likely suspects with haste.
Each week a new name rises to the top and is tossed around until we all lose interest, and then it is on to the next one. In some ways, it feels a lot like the GOP primary race last summer as the polling bounced around and names came and went leaving Romney as the only real constant, who obviously made it through.
The Romeny-esque VP candidate in this race has been Ohio Senator Rob Portman, a relative unknown to many across the country, but an important player in Washington and a popular politician from an all important swing state.
But speculating on Portman is boring, because he is likely the safe-choice candidate we will see on the ticket.
This week, the media had a much more interesting person in mind.
The story that followed was even more interesting, and, following Drudge as per usual, the Presidential election press pool did not take long to latch on.
Reportedly, President Obama mentioned to a top fundraiser that he believes Romney is pushing for Petraeus to join his ticket. He suggested that Romney has already met with General Petraeus in New Hampshire recently to discuss the possibility. Both the White House and the Romney campaign have now been questioned on the assertion and both camps have essentially ignored and avoided the question all together.
The choice of General Petraeus would be, by any standard, the exact opposite of a safe choice. Petraeus has been hailed by both parties as a brilliant military mind and even tapped by Obama to run the CIA during his administration, a position he received unanimous support for in the Senate. It has the potential for huge rewards if it goes well, but also the risk of massive failure if the media can spin it the way that they would surely try. He would change the race and leave liberals with no choice but to destroy him. That narrative should sound familiar, Save Jerseyans. It is essentially the exact same way that the 2008 election played out. General Petraeus could very well become 2012’s Sarah Palin.
Now I am not suggesting that David Petraeus is in any way similar to Sarah Palin. That would be an awful thing to say. But think about it for a second. The media shock would be huge on announcement day. A choice out of left field that would render months of opposition research (done by the media, not the Obama campaign) completely worthless. Within hours all of the lefty outlets would be diving hard into Petraeus’s past looking for something, anything, that they could use to bring up a negative point about him. However, the obvious strike against Petraeus is the one that would be used, and his effectiveness as a candidate would ride on how well that millstone hangs around his neck. The millstone? President Bush and the War in Iraq.
The mainstream media would immediately bill the General as a leap backwards into the last decade, a return to the Bush Doctrine of preemptive intervention overseas, a policy that has become increasingly unpopular as concerns for the debt and deficit back home continue to soar. But would people buy it? Well, did they buy that Sarah Palin actually thought she could see Russia from her house?
Of course the truth is that Petraeus should only be tied to the turnaround of the Iraq War from the troop surge on, when things finally began to trend back in the United State’s favor and some semblance of order began to take form. But that, for sure, would be ignored or suppressed. The headlines would read “Romney Selects Bush War General for VP Slot.”
Ties to the Bush Administration are one of the last things that the Romney campaign needs this fall. This is exactly why the Condi selection seems a near impossibility and why Petraeus seems only slightly more believable.
While Petraeus would likely make a great Vice President once elected, and surely meets Romney’s criteria of being able to assume the office of President if needed, the fact of the matter is that nominees must be elected first before the merits of their service can be realized. While Sarah Palin and David Petraeus could not be more different, a Petraeus pick would be a Palin replay from 2008. A replay that the GOP cannot afford this year.