According to Politico, the phrase “incredibly boring white guy” is now part of the search criteria needed to qualify one for a place on Mitt Romney’s VP short list.
Of course, Romney’s desire for a running mate bearing this awkward description stems from the negative backlash suffered by Senator John McCain in 2008 after he selected Governor Sarah Palin as his “game-changing” VP candidate and then was pounded for the choice by the mainstream media.
Several very competent “incredibly boring white guys” (IBWGs) such as Ohio Senator Rob Portman, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, and South Dakota Senator John Thune have all had their national profiles raised recently, guaranteeing them a spot on the VP short list, but precisely because they are a group of IBWGs, the needle on the media excitement meter has scarcely moved a millimeter.
In seems that IBWGs are only exciting when one is in desperate need of an experienced heart surgeon or tax attorney — or if your name is George Clooney.
However, there is someone who holds high national stature and also happens to be an IBWG and who, if he agreed to be Romney’s running mate, might actually qualify as a “game changer.”
That person is David Petraeus.
Mr. Petraeus no longer holds the title of general because he has been very quietly working as director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for the Obama administration since September of 2011.
Serving in that capacity does not necessarily label Mr. Petraeus a Democrat — for when Petraeus was asked by his commander in chief to serve his country without a uniform, he responded as a patriot.
Back in April, 2011 when President Obama announced that General Petraeus was going to retire from the Army and become his CIA director, Reuters posted this interesting headline:
“President Barack Obama’s choice of General David Petraeus as CIA director will bolster his national security team with a Republican favorite who is sometimes seen as a future White House aspirant.”
The piece continued:
The pick put a quick end to occasional Washington speculation that the commanding general in Afghanistan might ride to the rescue of Republicans as a 2012 White House or vice presidential candidate against Obama.
Well, that “quick end” may in fact be more open-ended as Petraeus’ name seems to pop up more often lately, although it is still near the bottom on the list of potential Romney VPs.
Recently, a widely circulated piece appeared in Foreign Policy magazine, written by Paul Miller, a former White House and National Security advisor. Miller made the case for a Romney /Petraeus ticket with these arguments:
Petraeus has nearly universal name recognition and is one of the most well-respected figures in the country. A year ago only 11 percent of Americans had an unfavorable opinion of him, according to Gallup, half that of (Gov. Chris) Christie. And as a non-partisan figure he has not been tarnished by the partisanship and mud-slinging of recent years. Additionally, Petraeus would bring foreign policy expertise to the ticket, balancing Romney’s focus on economic issues. If Obama really intends to claim that his foreign policy accomplishments should earn voters’ respect, there is no one in the country with more credibility than Petraeus to take Obama’s argument apart.
Petraeus’ name has not been in the news much lately because he has been busy quietly fighting the “War on Terror” that the Obama administration says is over. However, I agree with Miller and have long thought that Petraeus might be a good fit for Romney.