Wednesday, January 9, 2013

McChrystal Light in 2016

Twice in the last three days I have seen on TV the next Republican Party candidate for president. He is tall, slim, articulate, a young-looking 59, a man with vision, accomplishment and dedication. He commands, instills, inspires and practices loyalty.

He's a retired U.S. Army general, forced to resign for imprudent comments his staff made to a Rolling Stone reporter about their civilian leaders. But in the bizarro world of politics we operate under today, insulting Vice President Joseph Biden or President Barack Obama would be listed as an accomplishment on his résumé when read by the Republican elite. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the next Republican candidate for president, General Stanley McChrystal.

As a nation we have a long history of electing generals and other war heroes to lead our country. Washington. Jackson. Tippacanoe’s William Henry Harrison. Taylor. Grant. Teddy Roosevelt. Eisenhower. Kennedy. Bush 1. McChrystal would slide in quite nicely with that list.

McChrystal is making a publicity tour to promote his book, My Share of the Task: A Memoir. He's a darling of corporate America. Executives pay top dollar to soak up his leadership mantra as they sweat together jogging around the capital, stopping at various monuments so McChrystal can impart some leadership lore. 

I'm not sure he's fully on board with the main GOP planks. Heck, I don’t even know if McChrystal is a Republican. He actually has come out for limiting public access to military style weapons. That would be a novel position for any Republican standard bearer. Perhaps he would offer a more common sense alternative to the crazies who have crushed the mainstream of the party during the last two presidential elections. 

Perhaps he’s not as dogmatic when it comes to GOP platform planks. Who knows if he is anti abortion? Anti taxes? Pro debt reduction? Anti social services spending? Pro big defense spending? Blindly reveres Ronald Reagan? As a military strategist, he’s had to maneuver assets based on resources and capabilities. He’d figure out quickly what are electable positions. We might actually get a Republican candidate not so intimated to admit science proves global warming, science proves the earth is more than 6,000 years old, Creationism is bunk, evolution should be embraced, infrastructure is important to the military and our economy and money should be invested to upgrade it.  

I can't foresee any right-minded Republican presidential hopeful man enough to challenge him in the primaries. Sure, they might be correct in saying he has no government experience, but that might be appealing to Tea Party faithful and independents who consider normal politicians to be most of the problem in Washington. Let him pick a vice president with congressional experience, someone like senator Marco Rubio, and we might be looking at the ticket that restores the Grand Old Party to the White House, with perhaps strong enough coattails to sweep majorities along in the House and Senate.

McChrystal believes all Americans should engage in national service, not just military service. Having commanded troops most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan, he's fulfilled his military obligations. Now he's primed for public service at the highest level. There's no way Republican poobahs are not salivating at the prospect. There's no way Democratic strategists are not shivering at the possibility. Democrats will need a really strong counter-candidate, someone who can keep together the Obama coalition of women, minorities, East and West Coast liberals and independents. Are you up to the challenge, Hillary?