I’m old enough to remember the campaign of 1956, in which Dwight Eisenhower administered a second well-deserved beating to the Democrats’ favorite egghead, Adlai Stevenson. Four years earlier, the country was heartily sick of Harry Truman (whose reputation was then at its nadir) and ready to embrace a relatively apolitical military man — who just so happened to have been the supreme allied commander during World War II — to get things sorted out.
So perhaps the time is right, given the current, suicide-inducing prospect of a Trump vs. Hillary election — and before it’s too late either to stop Trump or for a viable third-party candidate to get in the race — to thump the tub for retired Marine General James Mattis:
As the inevitability of a Donald Trumpnomination grows, many Republicans are moving to the acceptance stage of grief. Trump’s unfavorability ratings are historic for a presumptive nominee. Some reputable polls have him as high as 60 percent negative, many others have him losing by double digits to Hillary Clinton. Retention of the Senate, already an uphill climb in an election year swelling with vulnerable Republican incumbents, is an equally dim prospect.
Not all conservatives have given up the ship. The presumptive Democratic nominee is a hair away from federal indictment. The presumptive Republican nominee is a reality-TV lunatic who has run multiple business ventures into the ground. Never before has a third-party candidate looked so viable, even the odd duck 1992 election that saw Ross Perot earn a generous share of the popular vote.
This third-party option would need to thread a needle. The candidate would have to be conservative, enough so that non-Trump conservatives —keep in mind this is a strong majority of traditional Republican voters—have reason to show up and pull a lever for him and the party’s Senate candidates. The candidate would also need to be sensible, experienced, and respected—not a demagogue like those who have so excited Republican voters this cycle. The name would need to be recognizable, but not in the garish celebrity sense like Mr. Trump. The candidate would need to convey strength in a year teeming with voter concerns about ISIS, cybersecurity, a rising Russia, and Chinese shield-thumping in the Far East.
So who better than retired Marine General James Mattis?
Who indeed? He’s what Americans used to be, before David Axelrod foisted Obama on us; I mean, how can you not root for a guy who says things like this:
- “The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some a**holes in the world that just need to be shot.”
- “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you f*** with me, I’ll kill you all.”
- “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”
- “No war is over until the enemy says it’s over. We may think it over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.”
The Daily Beast story continues:
Mattis is a battle hardened warrior, renowned for his humble leadership style and aggressive pursuit of America’s enemies. Nicknamed the “Warrior Monk,” Mattis is something of a cult figure in the Marines. One such tale had the general relieving a young Marine captain of sentry duty on Christmas Day, taking up the post himself so the young officer could be with his family. He’s known for his excellence in both the arts of combat and diplomacy alike. Mattis led the First Marine Division in an aggressive thrust into the Euphrates River Valley in 2003, but also skillfully managed the kaleidoscope of conflicting diplomatic relationships as Commander of U.S. Central Command.
Mattis is a student of both history and economics, known for quoting Greek sophists but unafraid to dabble in some occasional profanity—though his famous blunt talk, famously known as Mattisisms, would seem mild in a year laced with Trump’s vulgarities.
He neuters both party frontrunners’ perceived strengths. Trump’s faux-tough guy act would crumble when met with an actual warrior, and Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy chops would seem like an 100-level International Relations course next to Mattis’s experience and expertise.
And of course the military loves him, as this instant-classic post on Duffelblog makes clear:
General Mattis Crosses Potomac With 100,000 Troops; President, Senate Flee City
In an unprecedented turn in American history, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, several years after being dismissed by the President and exiled to his estate in the countryside, marched on the national capitol early Tuesday morning with an army over one hundred thousand strong.
This number includes at least ten infantry legions, several aviation and artillery legions, and multiple cavalry cohorts.
“I come in peace, by myself, in order to hand-deliver a Memorandum of Concern to the Commander in Chief and the Senate,” said Mattis in a press conference. “I am moving on foot at a leisurely pace, with no ill will. If these American citizens choose to take a stroll with me, then who am I to turn down their companionship?”
The contents of the so-called memorandum are unknown, but are rumored by Mattis’ close advisors to contain paragraphs addressing unconstitutional acts by the administration and the Senate. Alarmed by the amassing of troops sympathetic to Mattis over the last week at Fort Myer, the Senate, the President, and various generals attempted to recall various combat divisions to Washington to defend the city.
These included the 101st Airborne, 82nd Airborne, 10th Mountain, and 3rd Infantry Divisions, in addition to the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force.
“We even attempted to contact NAVSURFLANT and SUBLANT,” confided one Senate aide as he packed his Datsun to flee northward. “All we got was laughter and then static.”
Patriot? War hero? Hates Obama and all he stands for? Well, we can dream, can’t we?