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Petraeus For President! (12 Months Late)

By Matthew Yglesias  

"Petraeus For President! (12 Months Late)"

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It’s certainly true that Washington was abuzz with the idea of the GOP trying to recruit General David Petraeus as a 2012 presidential candidate, but as I recall that was 12-18 months ago so I’m a bit puzzled to see it put at the heart of Elisabeth Bumiller account of Petraeus’ changing role in the new administration.

Meanwhile, ome of these stories about various generals not getting the kind of tender loving care from Obama that they came to expect from Bush seem to me to defy common sense. There’s a finite amount of time in the day. A major financial crisis and global recession arose last fall. Dealing with that takes time. Obama, unlike Bush, acknowledges the scientific evidence that the world is poised on the brink of catastrophic climate change. Dealing with that takes time. There’s a need for new financial regulations. Dealing with that takes time. A new administration needs to appoint hundreds of people to various jobs and get them confirmed. That takes times. And the administration is trying to pursue comprehensive health care reform. That also takes time. Doing lots of things that take lots of time leaves less time for other things.

It’s probably also true that Obama doesn’t share the personal Bush-Petraeus rapport that the two men built over the “surge” debate. After all, one’s estimation of Petraeus is naturally going to bound up with one’s evaluation of that episode in American history so anyone who continues to be skeptical that the surge was a strategic masterstroke isn’t going to be as buddy-buddy with its tactical architect as Bush was. But even if Obama and Petraeus had the closest possible emotional bond, it still wouldn’t be the same as it was when a lame duck president with no domestic agenda who couldn’t even be bothered to understand his own administration’s policies for coping with the financial crisis.

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