Mitt Romney

Franks '08: The Stature We Crave, the Incompetence We've Grown Accustomed To

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Bill Gertz is drumming up support for Gen. Tommy Franks on a GOP ticket in 2008, claiming that three unnamed Republicans might draft him as a running mate.

The choice of Gen. Franks as vice president would be a direct affront to antiwar Democrats, who plan to make opposition to the Bush administration's handling of the war the main plank of their campaign platforms.

A staunch Republican, Gen. Franks hails from Oklahoma but considers Texas his home state. Having him on the ticket would boost Republican prospects in the must-win Lone Star state.

OK. Two things.

1) It's not just "antiwar Democrats" who'll be campaigning against "the Bush administration's handling of the war" in 2008. Mitt Romney has criticized the administration's handling of the war. So, obliquely, has Rudy Giuliani. So has John McCain, albeit from the position that we needed more troops—that Franks was completely wrong, in other words. Franks was successfully lobbied by Rumsfeld to limit the number of soldiers in the ground invasion and famously dithered in the crucial few months after the fall of Saddam.

2) Texas is, indeed, a "must-win" Republican state, as they haven't been in any danger of losing it since 1992. If that's even on the map, the party is heading for a Dukakis-shaped landslide defeat.

But does Franks have any political drawing power? Republicans tested Franks as a Senate candidate in Florida in 2006 (he lives there, too, I guess) and he polled a respectable 44 percent, nearly tied with incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson. Or was that respectable? Shouldn't a gritty general who makes liberals cower in their Guccis be able to, you know, easily crush a nonentity like Bill Nelson? Compared to Norman Schwartzkopf or Colin Powell (the obvious comparison here), Franks has missed out on the popularity surge that comes with winning a war. He's not William Westmoreland, exactly, but neither does he have any appeal to the voters who think the war was botched. If Gertz is right, those three GOP candidates are in deep, deep, Saddam-in-spider-hole-deep denial about this.

I suppose I haven't addressed the issue of Franks' political readiness for the VP job, or for the presidency after President Huckabee pulls a Jim Fixx during a brisk morning run, but neither has anyone who might draft him.

NEXT: Soldier Baby of Mine

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  1. “Franks has missed out on the popularity surge that comes with winning a war.”

    He also missed out on the winning the war part.

  2. He also missed out on the winning the war part.

    Picky, picky, picky.

  3. Shouldn’t a gritty general …be able to, you know, easily crush a nonentity like Bill Nelson?

    Nelson beat out multi-term term-limits supporter congresscrap Bill McCollum, which says something about his appeal.

  4. “Having him on the ticket would boost Republican prospects in the must-win Lone Star state.”

    That’s like saying the Democrats need to boost their prospects in must-win Massachusetts.

  5. Is anyone really doubting that the GOP is heading for a “Dukakis style defeat”? Really.

    After Hilary, wins, we’ll see this:

    – thousands of Americans repatriating from Canada who left in 2000, hyuck hyuck.
    – the Iraqis singing Kum Bay Yah with each after we leave
    – no politician will ever be corrupt. Ever.
    – shit let’s throw in that cancer will be cured, world peace begun, and global warming reversed.

  6. Finkelstein-

    As much as I hate Hillary, I can’t see how she would be much worse than Bush-Cheney at this point. Seriously, I thought I would never say that seven years ago but they’ve proven me wrong.

  7. Oh and Finkelstein–

    I guess you are a Republican, so what will you think when HRC has all those new, shiny, unitary executive tools at her disposal?

  8. I can’t see how she would be much worse than Bush-Cheney at this point.

    I agree. But just as bad is just as bad.

  9. Finkelstein left out “and the Kingdom of Heaven will be at hand.”

    Interesting thing is that this works for both Clinton supporters and for Christian fundamentalists who consider her the anti-Christ.

  10. Tommy Franks is a general in the finest tradition of the American military.

    He combines the strategic brilliance of William Westmoreland with the acute moral sensibility of Curtis LeMay.

    (Hey, Gimme a break, the only other comparison that comes to mind is Wilhelm Keitel. Yes, sir, absolutely, sir, that’s a great idea sir. Did you lose some weight, sir?)

  11. At least Bill Gertz is taking time out from his usual job of trying to foment war with China.

  12. Texas may be safe as can be for the Republicans in the Presidential election, but turning out Republicans could swing down ticket races.

    Senator Goodhair is facing a serious challenge, because of his brain problem, and there are a number of House races that are likely to be tight. The fact that Texas is such a foregone conclusion in the Presidential race tends to reduce turnout, so giving your people a reason to turn out is a smart move.

  13. I would have lost a lot of money if somebody had bet me that there would be a Jim Fixx reference in today’s H&R.

  14. Hillary will have a General of her own as a running mate: Wesley Clark

  15. Hillary will have a General of her own as a running mate: Wesley Clark

    Yep, that seems very likely.

    Speaking of Senate races, John Warner just retired. the VA Senate seat is in play again.

  16. Shouldn’t a gritty general who makes liberals cower in their Guccis be able to, you know, easily crush a nonentity like Bill Nelson?

    Bill Nelson is a Democrat who was reelected in 2006 with over 60% of the vote in a marginally Republican state. While he may not be a player on the national level, common sense should tell you that, in Florida at least, this guy is anything but a pushover.

  17. He also missed out on the winning the war part.

    Won the war, lost the occupation. If Bush had the common sense to declare victory and pull out shortly after Saddam was captured (after shooting Saddam “while attempting to escape”), the Democrats would be scolding Bush for not sticking around and preventing the chaotic aftermath, and the Republicans wouldn’t be facing a Dukakis moment in 2008.

    Not defending Bush’s warmongering — never should have gone into Iraq in the first place — just pointing that no matter what you do, the opposition party will try to spin it as absolutely the wrong thing to do.

  18. prolefeed,

    His opponent was Katherine Harris! And she she may have run the worst campaign in living memory.

    Nelson’ only upside was the he went to space.

  19. de stijl — good point. But, the turnover rate is in the low single digits for incumbent politicians in Congress once they survive their first reelection challenge. For example, in Hawaii, to my knowledge no member of Congress has ever been defeated when running for reelection.

    For example, our state recently reelected Senator Akaka, despite running a campaign whose slogan might as well have been “I’m an embarassingly inarticulate bumbling pleasant old guy who hasn’t accomplished jack. Re-elect me!” And he beat a bright, polished Democrat who ran a tough campaign in the primary, then won a landslide victory (about 2/3 of the vote) in the general election.

  20. “Speaking of Senate races, John Warner just retired. the VA Senate seat is in play again.”

    Think he’s been to MSP and this is pre-emptive? Retire now or we give you the Larry Craig treatment?

  21. Hes retiring in the sense hes not running for re-election. Its kind of sad, John Warner was a good Senator and a decent man, one of the few pols I can vote for without feeling dirty.

    Now the RPVA gets to choose between Gilmore and Tom Davis, and possibly Macaca man himself. Not exactly a gold mine.

  22. They’d have better luck with Barney Frank, IMO.

  23. Cesar,

    Ah feel your pain. If things go according to the general sense of this thread, I’ll be losing a Senator but gaining a President. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to chuck Schumer until 2010. Here’s a question — if Hillary wins and has to give up her seat, does Spitzer then appoint the new Senator? Or is there a special election?

  24. Franks for president? I hope not–he envisions an authoritarian future for our country:

    Now, let me talk to the substance of your question: Two years after the fact of 9/11, we should ask ourselves what is-not in 1941, not in 1917?1918-today, in the twenty-first century, what is the worst thing that can happen in our country? The worst thing that can happen is, perhaps-and this is my personal opinion-two steps. The first step would be a nexus between weapons of mass destruction of any variety. It could be chemical, it could be biological, it could be some nuclear device; and terrorism. Terrorists or any human being who is committed to the proposition of terror, try to just create casualties, not for the purpose of annihilation, but to terrify a population. We see it in the Middle East today, in order to change the mannerisms, the behavior, the sociology and, ultimately, the anthropology of a society.

    That goes to step number two, which is that the western world, the free world, loses what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty we’ve seen for a couple of hundred years in this grand experiment that we call democracy. Now, in a practical sense, what does that mean? It means the potential of a weapon of mass destruction and a terrorist, massive casualty-producing event somewhere in the western world-it may be in the United States of America-that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass-casualty-producing event. Which, in fact, then begins to potentially unravel the fabric of our Constitution. Two steps: very, very important.

    http://www.cigaraficionado.com/Cigar/CA_Profiles/People_Profile/0,2540,201,00.html

  25. Ah feel your pain. If things go according to the general sense of this thread, I’ll be losing a Senator but gaining a President. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to chuck Schumer until 2010. Here’s a question — if Hillary wins and has to give up her seat, does Spitzer then appoint the new Senator? Or is there a special election?

    Unfortunately for both your state and our nation, Spitzer appoints her successor which will most likely be Bill Clinton.

    And Chick Schumer is a huge ass.

  26. Do people really vote for President based on who the Vice President is? Before this current administration the Vice President never did squat.

  27. Actually, Al Gore was quite active as Vice President, serving as a top foreign policy hand and running some major initiatives.

    And Bush the Elder was a pretty big player – he was far more involved in Iran-Contra than the president, for example.

  28. Won the war, lost the occupation.

    That’s like saying that the team won the first half, but then lost the second. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just something that people who want to feel better about catastrophic failure tell themselves.

  29. A staunch Republican, Gen. Franks hails from Oklahoma but considers Texas his home state. Having him on the ticket would boost Republican prospects in the must-win Lone Star state.

    He may consider Texas his home state, but nobody I know here in Texas considers him a Texan.

    As much as I hate Hillary, I can’t see how she would be much worse than Bush-Cheney at this point. Seriously, I thought I would never say that seven years ago but they’ve proven me wrong.

    Gun control.

  30. Gun control.

    Excellent point. Since both parties where I live are pro-gun, I often forget that about the national Dems.

  31. “easily crush a nonentity like Bill Nelson”

    Do you people at Reason just make shit up as you go along or are you really that fucking ignorant. Calling Bill Nelson a nonentity in Florida is akin to claiming Lyndon Johnson was a nonentity in Texas.

  32. “And Bush the Elder was a pretty big player – he was far more involved in Iran-Contra than the president, for example.”

    That was back when we recruited locals to fight enemy regimes. Though I didn’t support it then, and wouldn’t support it today, Bush II could learn alot from his pops about letting the locals fight their own battles.

  33. Why don’t you guys here just admit that you all hate the Military. Is there a single Vet here on this thread?

    Bet not. Just a bunch of coward pussy boys who never served a day in their lives in the Armed Forces tearing down those of us who have served.

    Guess that’s the way you deal with y’all’s guilt of not living up to being a man, and supporting your country.

    Ya fuckin’ girly man pricks.

  34. “Why don’t you guys here just admit that you all hate the Military. Is there a single Vet here on this thread?”

    Why don’t you just admit that you love the military and, as a result, have unrealistic expectations of its abilities?

    It’s sad that you find your virility in military conquest. What are you, Napoleon f*cking Bonaparte?

  35. Hillary will be Bush, only with higher taxes and socialized medicine.

    I doubt she’ll push gun control – she saw what happened last time the Dems did that, and she’s too pragmatic to piss away political capital on it again.

  36. Why don’t you guys here just admit that you all hate the Military. Is there a single Vet here on this thread?

    I served four years active and the rest of my 20 in the reserves, as an infantry officer. That includes a tour in Vietnam. Any questions?

    I find it amazing that “Maybe we shouldn’t push our soldiers and marines into a meat grinder” is equal to “hating the military.”

    I doubt she’ll push gun control – she saw what happened last time the Dems did that, and she’s too pragmatic to piss away political capital on it again.

    As First Lady, Ms. Clinton had personal experience in the downside of pushing universal health care, yet on her website it’s Number Two of her “Top Ten Reason to Support Hillary.”

    As for gun control, she doesn’t have to push. Kennedy, Schumer et al will lay it on her desk. All she’ll have to do is “sign here.”

  37. Eric, you pussy, quit hiding behind the troops.

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