Opinion Brief

General Petraeus for president?

Forget about the next Reagan — do Republicans need an Eisenhower to beat Obama in 2012?

The occasional calls for Gen. David Petraeus to challenge President Obama in 2012 were joined by conservative British columnist Toby Harnden, who argues in The Daily Telegraph that Americans are yearning for a decisive non-politician in the White House. The U.S. Central Command chief would make "a powerful presidential candidate and a potentially accomplished President," he writes. Despite Petraeus' repeated denials, will the reportedly self-described "Rockefeller Republican" run in 2012 — and if so, could he win?

Petraeus isn't conservative enough: Petraeus is "a stand-up guy," says Clifton B. at Another Black Conservative. But Harnden's "view from the other side of the pond is a wee bit distorted." Integrity isn't enough for Americans now — "any successful 2012 candidate" must also have "impeccable fiscally conservative principles," and Petraeus has shown no strength in that department. "President Petraeus?"

He's perfect for 2012: Not only would Petraeus make a "great President," he'd also "revitalize the conservative movement in America with his wise leadership," says Tom Ryan in the Kansas City Star. He's respected here and around the world, and he surrounds himself with experts in all fields. We may not know everything about Petraeus, but the next two years is plenty of time to "start learning." "Petraeus for President perhaps"

Petraeus won't risk his popularity by running: The more we learn about Petraeus, the more he loses his apolitical "soldier-scholar" appeal, says Andrew Romano at Newsweek. As 2004 Democratic candidate Wes Clarke shows us, "campaigning inevitably forces respected generals to morph into typical politicians." It's hard to see Petraeus risking his stellar reputation "for a fourth place finish in Iowa — as much as we might want him to." "Why we want Petraeus to run for president—and why he won't"

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