News that Gen. David Petraeus is venturing out of his Centcom comfort zone late this month to the state of New Hampshire is catnip for a certain chunk of obsessives who believe that Petraeus wants to run for president (and be nominated as vice president) in 2012. Petraeus has said he's not interested, in public. So do most would-be candidates at this stage. So ignore that for now. Here's what I can add:
First, as James Pindell notes
, Petraeus lives in New Hampshire. He's registered to vote there as a Republican.
Petraeus attends a lot of fancy private dinner gatherings in Washington. I have never been to one of these gatherings, but I've spoken with several folks who've attended several of them, and they all seem to come away with the impression that Petraeus is far more interested in exploring his political options than he says publicly.
He's speaking at St. Anselm's College, the site of many historic political moments -- Ronald Reagan paid for his microphone there. No one runs for president without speaking at St. A's New Hampshire Institute of Politics.
I presume but don't know that Petraeus will run as Republican. Maybe he'd run as an independent. How does Petraeus fit in with the Tea Partiers, the Libertarians, the Social Conservatives? He certainly upstages Mitt "No Apology" Romney by sheer force of conviction. He's not a terribly good political speaker, though, even though he gets the politics of large institutions quite small. Also, he's small in stature. Do not be mislead into believing that a candidate's height -- even a general's height -- doesn't matter. Wes Clark can tell a few stories about that.
When Petraeus sets food in Cedar Rapids...now that'll be something to watch.
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is an Atlantic
contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One
, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week