Via Dave Weigel my “I can’t believe this is real” website of the day — One Last Mission.org, dedicated to launching a Draft General Peter Pace movement. Draft him for what? To lose to Mark Warner in the Virginia senate race next fall, of course. What about the fact that he’s shown no inclination to run? Well, “It is, however, your reluctance to serve that suggests to us that you must serve.” Indeed.
Dave points out that there’s a growing trend here as we’ve also seen conservatives pushing Tommy Franks and David Petraeus as political candidates.
Now of course there’s a long tradition of generals (but not, I think, admirals) entering politics in the United States, starting with George Washington. Contemporary conservatives, however, seem to be misunderstanding the tradition in crucial respects. The idea, normally, is to nominate flag officers who are associated with noteworthy victories — from Andrew Jackson to Wesley Clark — or else for a junior officer who showed noteworthy courage in battle (John Kerry, John Kennedy) to run for a lower office. Neither Franks, nor Petraeus, nor Pace is actually popular, probably because insofar as anyone knows who these guys are it’s from their association with a giant unpopular fiasco in Iraq. What the Republicans need to do is find candidates who can distance themselves from this war, not embrace it more closely.