Former NY-20 Congressman and Miami Mob Leader John Sweeney has become a local (Albany, NY) political pundit of sorts, appearing regularly on the M-F TV show of local conservative talk radio host/owner Paul Vandenburgh.
Today, Sweeney said that a national GOP operative friend had told him that the Romney campaign is trying to contact CIA Director David Petraeus to discuss him being VP on the GOP ticket this year.
First I'd heard of that.
Petraeus is well-known as former commanding general in Iraq and Afghanistan, beloved by the corporate media which have presented him as a hero of the Bush wars, and generally well-liked by people who have been polled about him.
After a little Googling, it became obvious that the RW blogosphere has been debating the pluses and minuses of this longshot VP pick for months.
Over at RedState Wednesday, Myra Adams was clearly excited by
the possibility that Petraeus, as a bipartisan political newcomer, could be perceived as a welcome addition to Romney’s ticket with the potential of moving the excitement meter and gathering enough momentum to help carry some crucial swing state voters across the finish line for a Team Romney victory.Commenters were less excited (each graf a different commenter):
If Romney wishes to win, the two bridges he needs to repair are to pro-life southerners and tea partiers. ... Petraeus is enough of an enigma that I don’t think he’s the guy for veep.Last month, Daniel Larison of The American Conservative was a Petraeus skeptic:
For VP, I can’t get the Newt Gingrich idea out of my head. He would solidify the South ... and DESTROY Biden during the only time when VPs matter on the national stage, the VP debate. Plus, having a former House Speaker with unparalleled abilities to articulate economic conservatism has to be a huge advantage given that this election will hinge on the voting public’s perception of the state of the economy.
Bi-partisan political newcomer? That’s the last thing the Republican Party needs. It’s the surest path to electoral defeat.
“Surge”-related Republican hero-worship aside, I’m not sure there is much reason for Romney to make the offer. A Petraeus selection would draw attention to how unprepared Romney is by comparison. It would suggest that Romney intends to contest the election on national security and foreign policy issues rather than on the economy. That would be a strange plan for the challenger at almost any time, and it makes absolutely no sense at present.Petraeus, for his part, had a CIA spokeswoman respond to all this:
Petraeus’ favorability rating is so high precisely because he is perceived as a military professional who has served under administrations of both parties. If he became the nominee of a major party in an effort to defeat the sitting President, that reputation for non-political professionalism will fall apart quickly. Why would Petraeus risk wrecking his public image for the chance to be Romney’s Vice President?
Director Petraeus feels very privileged to be able to continue to serve our country in his current position and, as he has stated clearly numerous times before, he will not seek elected office.The most interesting thing about the mini-draft-Petraeus movement is that many on the right are not happy, for various reasons, with the usual VP suspects -- Rubio, Daniels, Christie, Portman, McDonnell, Thune, Pawlenty, etc.
And the Romney campaign is, according to Sweeney, aware of that.
But in the end, one of the usual suspects will get the nod, because Romney will not go outside the box like McCain did in 2008.
And will pick a safe VP who his polling shows will generally help the most and hurt the least, obey orders, and maybe bring along a swing state.
The VP pick will be a test of the executive decision-making skills that Romney touts as his major qualification for President.
A test he will FAIL.