Disgraced former Congressman Eric Massa, of the infamous Glenn Beck interview, is back again with a new charge that Dick Cheney is engaged in treasonous activity by hatching a conspiracy to get Gen. David Petraeus elected president in 2012 as a Republican. Massa told Esquire, “we would be witness to an American coup d’état.” Petraeus denies it, and Cheney is not talking.
The story according to Massa as printed in Esquire goes like this, “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.”
Massa continued, “We have to see this for what it is. 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.”
Massa accused Cheney of plotting a coup against the US government, “I know something about the Uniform Code of Military Justice. And I want you to tell me how this is not a coup. You’ve got a commander with armies in the field, and he’s plotting with Dick Cheney to bring down his commander in chief. How is that not a coup? It’s Seven Days in May!”
A Petraeus spokesman told Politico that there is no truth to Massa’s claim, “Gen. Petraeus has not met with former VP Cheney to discuss a possible 2012 presidential nomination. Nor has he exchanged anything other than pleasantries with the former VP in their one or two chance encounters since VP Cheney left office. Gen. Petraeus has stated on the record numerous times that he has no interest in, nor intention of, running for political office.”
Even when you consider Dick Cheney’s involvement, this is a pretty fantastic allegation. Massa assumes that Petraeus would want to run for president in 2012, that what Cheney is doing is plotting the overthrow of the United States government, and most importantly if Petraeus ran, he would defeat Obama. I happen to think that a potential Petraeus candidacy would play out similarly to that of Wesley Clark’s failed presidential bid. In the modern era, military persons often lack the media and political skill sets to be formidable candidates.
The days of direct military service being a direct path to the presidency ended with the Ike. Massa also doesn’t take into account that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan remain unpopular, and that it is the economy, not national security, which is dominating the minds of electorate. Choosing a candidate who is directly involved in war would be popular with Republicans, but not the electorate at large. Selecting a candidate with no experience at all in politics would be the fast track to being blown out by Obama in 2012.
Determining what if anything to believe in Massa’s claims is tricky, because Massa is crazy, but Cheney is evil. Dick Cheney tried to circumvent the constitution by declaring himself a separate branch of government. The former vice president is someone who views the law as an optional guideline, but Massa is insane, so I think the part about Cheney trying to recruit Petraeus to run makes sense, because he doesn’t care for Palin or Romney, but the coup part strikes me as a fantasy. Then again, it can be argued that Cheney’s time as vice president was littered with treasonous acts, so I wouldn’t put it past him, but the 2012 part of this makes no sense at all.