Ryan D’Agostino at Esquire has an article wherein ex-Congressman Eric Massa alleges a vast conspiracy to destroy his credibility, because… well…
… The conference-room door closed, the congressman stirred his coffee and then folded his hands on the table before him, paused for a dramatic moment before beginning to speak. “Gentlemen, what we have here is a constitutional crisis,” he said. “If what I’ve been told is true — and I believe it is — General David Petraeus, a commander with soldiers deployed in two theaters of war, has had multiple meetings with Dick Cheney, the former vice-president of the United States, to discuss Petraeus’s candidacy for the Republican nomination for the presidency. And in fact, that’s more than a constitutional crisis. That’s treason.”
One month before, in early January, Congressman Massa had called me and sketched out the bare bones of the tale he was now propounding. Four retired generals, he said — “three four-stars and one three-star” — had picked up disturbing reports that Petraeus, the commander of United States Central Command, whose portfolio contains the worst trouble spots on the globe, including Iraq and Afghanistan, had recently met with Cheney — twice — and Cheney was trying to recruit him to run in 2012. Were he to be the nominee, Massa said, Petraeus would be in the unprecedented position of a military man running for president against his own commander in chief.
“We have to see this for what it is,” Massa said, his voice pleading. “There is a reason that we have in this country civilian leadership of the military. It is, among other things, to avoid something like this. Because in order to succeed electorally, General Petraeus must fail militarily. You understand? In order to succeed electorally, he must fail in his mission. Were he to run and win — and if he were to run, he would win in a landslide — we would be witness to an American coup d’état. It is the functional equivalent of the political overthrow of the commander in chief.”
The congressman was beside himself. And although we did not come to agreement on how best to describe the implications of such high-stakes, high-level skulduggery, he did manage to impress upon the small group in the soundproof conference room of the midtown high-rise that if the general and the vice-president were indeed hatching such a plot, it was a serious matter indeed.
He also managed to impress upon us something else: Congressman Eric Massa was a little bit crazy.
Of course, if his story were true, and could be verified, would anyone ultimately care about that? After all, if crazy people were disqualified from participation in the significant events of our time, there would be a lot fewer significant events in our time.
He then told us how this task had fallen to him because he knew these generals intimately from his decades as a naval officer and because of his quickly rising prominence as a new member of the House Armed Services Committee. “They said, Eric, this is happening, and you’ve got to stop it,” said the congressman. “And then it became my problem. They’ve left a steaming pile of dog shit on my desk, and now it belongs to me. And I am now in a position that if I do the right thing, I will likely be destroyed. I know who I’m dealing with here. David Petraeus and I go way back. He’s wanted this from the very beginning.
“And mark my words, as a naval officer of twenty-four years who has looked at our current conflicts from every angle, I believe that having David Petraeus as president is precisely the way for the Dick Cheneys of the world to perpetuate these wars for the rest of our lives, and to start new wars. To have endless wars. Endless war is their goal.”
The congressman paused, smiled. “Hey, who needs a political career?”
The scenario Massa describes (or, to be precise, that D’Agostino says Massa described) is pretty much a reworking of the 1933 Business Plot against FDR, about which Wikipedia says, “While historians have questioned whether or not a coup was actually close to execution, most agree that some sort of “wild scheme” was contemplated and discussed.” General Petraeus denies everything, of course, but when it comes to Dick Cheney there is no level of political criminality that can be safely ruled impossible. And just about the only point on which all modern political and cultural commentors agree is that this is the Age of the Sequel…
wait a minute. the firebaggers told us he was outted/rail roaded by nakid phallic jamming RAHM because massa’s sole vote would block HCR.
now you’re telling us he’s/they’re nutz!?!
If Petraeus retires, he can run for President, no coups necessary. I think there’s a minimum waiting period of sorts, a few years, but other than that there’s no problem. Hell, there’s even precedent for a retired high-ranking general running against his former CINC: George McClellan in 1864.
That’s what excessive snorkeling will do.
I just deleted a smartass comment because that article was pretty damn sad.
Trying to figure out how this has anything to do with General Butler.
Ok, read the last paragraph, Michael. Never mind! :-)
The reason this struck me is because a couple summers ago, I actually got to stay at Smedly Butler’s private home. A friend of a friend lives above the garage adjacent to it and tends to the house for Butler’s daughter (grand-daughter?) I have a lot of interesting photos of the inside of the place, which has been pretty much left the way he left it.
Unfortunately, it is in a bit of disrepair.
I can’t see anything here. Cheney trying to recruit a prominent General to run against Obama – sure. It is exactly the sort of half-assed, unethical, illegal and counter-constitutional sort of scheme that Cheney would come up with an try to execute. The man is a serious menace. But even Petraeus will know know enough to retire and then run for office in a business suit, not a uniform. And like Wesley Clark he will be much diminished once he is out out of that uniform.
But at this point we have rumours zooming around the Pentagon that shameless recruiting is going on. That is a long, long way from a coup.
Well I’ve just finished biographies of both Truman and Eisenhower. Eisenhower declined to run in 1948, but one biographer (Perret) seemed to indicate that when he ran in 1952 it was primarily to prevent the isolationist wing of the Republican party from putting Robert Taft up. Eisenhower kept his party affiliation a secret for a long time, and surprised many when he finally sided with the Republicans.
This may sound harsh, but if I manage to outlive Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck I will consider my life a success even if I end up living under a bridge like a troll….
OT, but the awesomeness that is Nikkigate in SC is going to heat to boiling by slow drip.
There’s nothing quite so great as when married right wing conservatard women want to get their freak on with other guys. The Ron Ray/Alan Sears imbroglio is one of my faves.
Smedley Butler was one of the greatest Americans who ever lived. Eric Massa can’t hold a candle to him.
It would be nice to have someone in this day and age who talked like Butler, though, so I guess we have to take what we can get.
Geez, I once gave a donation to this douchebag. Wonder if I can get it back…
c u n d gulag
Dick Cheney would sacrifice his non-lesbian daughter to have Obama lose in 2012.*
*He probably wouldn’t, but I’m trying to plant a seed.
@c u n d gulag: I’m thinking he probably would.
AWESOME! Its not every day that you see Smedley Butler’s name used in a blog post title.
Nice work Anne.
Criminality? So discussing running in the next election against Obama is now a crime? Go, Thought Police, go!
This may be the dumbest post in Ball-Juice history, which would make it the dumbest post ever on the interwebs. Congrats, A-M. I knew you, of all the world’s slow-witted Guam-tippers, could do it. John must be proud of what this place has become.
The only takeaways from this article are 1) Tickle Me Massa is insane, and 2) Anne-Marie is a retard. But we knew those things already.
Even if this is true, I don’t see what the big deal is. Generals run for political office all the time. MacArthur more or less actively sought the Republican nomination while still an active general in 1944 and 1948. McClellan ran against Lincoln. Eisenhower might very well have run against Truman if Truman hadn’t decided not to run for another term.
The idea that Petraeus running for president would amount to a “coup d’etat” is absurd.
Where did he get the idea that Petraeus is an unstoppable electoral juggernaut? Just because the Chimp hid behind him for years?
you don’t need a general for that. hell, you can get that by simply electing mainstream Democrats.
To give this more actual thought than it deserves, Petraeus would not be “running against his Commander-in-Chief” because he would not be running against an incumbent. He would not have to “lose the war” in order to run, all he would have to do is resign his command and turn it over to some other commander to lose.
Okay, the last half of the last sentence is where the serious thought expired.
Wouldn’t failing in his command diminish his clout a wee bit?
He wouldn’t be running against an incumbent president in 2012?
@Brien Jackson: No…. see McCain, John S.
Pro-tip: It’s not a coup if it’s subject to rejection by voters.
Wile E. Quixote
Except Eisenhower had retired from the Army in 1952 to run, so Truman was no longer his commander in chief. Ex-generals generally don’t do well running for the presidency. Macarthur, despite his popularity with the right and a record of success that Petraeus will never match, never got any serious traction in 1948 and was DOA by 1952. Al Haig’s campaign in 1988 was nowheresville, and Wesley Clark’s campaign never really went anywhere either.
But if Petraeus were to resign from the military and run for office so what? He has a perfect right to do so. But I don’t think that he’s the savior the right is looking for. Eisenhower won the presidency because he had a track record of success and helped win World War II and because the country was involved in an increasingly unpopular war in Korea and also because the Democrats were split over civil rights and ran the nominated the incredibly lame Adlai Stevenson. Eisenhower was also a master politician. Really, he was, he managed to keep SHAEF together during World War II and that was no easy feat.
In contrast Petraeus doesn’t have a track record of success, he’s up to his armpits in the failure that is Iraq and can hardly claim, as Eisenhower did, that if elected he can fix the mess.
Sure, If Petraeus runs he’ll have all of the moronic Republicans like Bender, Max Boot and Jonah Goldberg, you know, chickenhawks who are totally queer for a man in uniform because they never served themselves, falling all over themselves to polish his boots with their tongues, but outside of that his campaign will be just as successful as Al Haig’s was.
I assume the idea is this:
If Petraeus actually finished the job in Afghanistan, if things got stable and sane there (which I don’t necessarily believe is possible, but whatever) then Obama would come out smelling like a rose. He’d be completely unbeatable. Petraeus would also get some of the credit, but by and large that’s not how the public thinks in the US. At least not yet.
So, if Petraeus wants to run for president and have a hope of beating Obama, the has to do two things: make sure that Afghanistan gets worse, not better, and then make sure that the blame lands squarely on Obama, and none of it on Petraeus. The former would be easy for the commanding general to do. The latter would be the default situation with our current mainstream media.
I’m not saying that this is happening, mind you. And I don’t think in any case that Afghanistan needs any help to get worse; in fact, I think it’s just going to continue to do so, no matter what Petraeus does. However, you must admit that this kind of negative incentive isn’t the greatest idea.