The Long View 2008-01-24: Ice Age; Democratic Fissure; Nominating Petraeus

There is an article quoted here by John J. Reilly the most effective way to to prevent the Republicans from nominating an attractive candidate for President like David Petraeus in 2012 was for the expected Democrat President to give him a job offer he couldn’t refuse. This is what happened, with Petraeus appointed as CIA Director by President Barack Obama. Petraeus was very shortly after discredited by the revelation of an affair, and charged with providing classified information to the woman he was having an affair with.

It would be going to far to see all of that as part of a plan, but that is a pretty effective combination for neutralizing a potential political opponent.

Ice Age; Democratic Fissure; Nominating Petraeus

Reports of an impending Ice Age may be greatly exaggerated, but they do occur:

Temperatures on Earth have stabilized in the past decade, and the planet should brace itself for a new Ice Age rather than global warming, [Khabibullo Abdusamatov, head of a space research lab at the Pulkovo observatory in St. Petersburg] said in an interview with RIA Novosti Tuesday...Had global temperatures directly responded to concentrations of "greenhouse" gases in the atmosphere, they would have risen by at least 0.1 Celsius in the past ten years, however, it never happened, he said...By 2041, solar activity will reach its minimum according to a 200-year cycle, and a deep cooling period will hit the Earth approximately in 2055-2060. It will last for about 45-65 years, the scientist added.

There is a "note the source" caveat that goes along with any such report that issues from Russia. Russia really needs to sell fossil fuels, so Russian institutions have an interest in assuring Russia's customers that burning the fuels will have no ill effects. Still, the climate signature claimed to be the anthropogenic global-warming signature is written in very small script, just two or three decades. If the stabilization asserted here is real, there could be a problem.

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This fissure in the Democratic coalition is not important for the nominating process, but it could be for general election. Steven Malanga reports in City Journal:

Black politicians, noticing the growing anger within their communities, have started to shun the immigration debate. Major civil rights organizations didn’t participate in the Latino marches and protests in favor of amnesty last spring. At the Congressional Black Caucus’s annual legislative conference last September, no sessions tackled immigration, despite the issue’s national prominence. And when Sheila Jackson-Lee proposed her liberal immigration-reform bill in 2006, only nine of the CBC’s 43 members cosponsored it.

Again, if Barack Obama is the candidate, he would be ill-advised to continue to use the English translation of Si se puede as his slogan. On the other hand, if John McCain is the Republican candidate, he would not be in a position to capitalize on the issue.

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As if one election cycle were not enough, Spencer Ackerman at The American Prospect is contemplating how the Democratic incumbent might fend off an attractive Republican challenger in 2012:

Indeed, [General David] Petraeus can basically write his next round of orders. But wherever he goes, his next important campaign probably won't be on any battlefield. It'll be political. For the past year, the GOP has laid the groundwork to enlist Petraeus as its standard-bearer in the fairly likely event that the party loses in November to Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. You read it here first. Plant your lawn signs now. Petraeus 2012: Surging to the White House. [To forestall this development, a Democratic president could] give Petraeus a promotion he can't refuse. There are really only three that suit the bill: Petraeus can either become commander of all forces in the Middle East; NATO commander (as the Times reported may soon happen); or chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Ackerman notes but dismisses the fact Petraeus has said he will not run for president. He gives us this link to an interview that Petraeus gave in December 2007:

[CHRIS WALLACE] Some pundits have suggested that perhaps just like General Dwight Eisenhower in the early '50s, that you might at some point take off your uniform and run for president. Any interest in that, sir?

PETRAEUS: None, Chris, at all. Thank you. I have great respect for those who do choose to serve our country that way. I've chosen to serve our country in uniform.

And I think that General Sherman had it right when he gave what is now commonly referred to as a Shermanesque response when asked a similar question.

WALLACE: So are you giving a Shermanesque response — if elected, you will not serve?

PETRAEUS: I am, Chris. And I don't think it would ever get to that point anyway.

The interesting aspect about the Eisenhower candidacy in 1952 is that he might have headed the ticket of either party. Both solicited him. He ran on the promise of effective government. That would also be what Petraeus would have the record to offer, if he is available for 2012. A candidate whose chief claim to fame was not making government smaller, but rebuilding a working welfare state in Iraq, would not be an obvious fit for the Republican Party, assuming the party survives until 2012.

Copyright © 2008 by John J. Reilly

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