There have been a dozen blogs and thousands of comments across the blogosphere lately bemoaning our lack of a candidate for 2012. Invariably, the ones that start the harsh words and ill feelings are the ones that begin to eliminate possible candidates. I don’t need to go over the downfalls of any of the candidates here to remind anyone of the shortfalls that others see in their personal favorite. I would just like to draw an analogy and suggest a course of action.
In 1939 FDR and others saw our inevitable involvement in what was shaping up to become WW II. With this in mind FDR appointed General George C. Marshall as the Army Chief of Staff with an eye towards preparing us for this future involvement. In 1939 the United States Army consisted of seven Infantry Divisions and One Cavalry Division, for a total manpower of roughly 150,000. By 1941 the Army had 29 Infantry Divisions, 5 Armored Divisions and 2 Cavalry Divisions. In 1945 the Army was at a strength of 67 Infantry, 16 Armored and 5 Airborne Divisions, for a total strength of over 5 million men. General Marshall planned and oversaw this expansion.
Marshall’s previous assignments had provided him a unique view of the resources available in the Army of 1939. The resource that made the difference was his knowledge of the Officers available to help make the change. It is a common rumor in the Army that Marshall kept a “Black Book” filled with the names of Officers he had a place for. Some of those names include…
Dwight Eisenhower, a Lieutenant Colonel in 1939, working for the former Army Chief of Staff, General Douglas MacArthur in the Philippines, Eisenhower was promoted to Brigadier General and assigned to the US Army HQ as the Chief of Plans in 1941. By 1944 he was Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF), responsible for the Allied War effort in Europe.
George S. Patton, a Colonel in 1939 due to his familiarity with Tank (Armored) Warfare, played a vital part in the formation of the Armored Divisions and soon found himself picking up the pieces of one of Marshalls other choices, General Fredenall in North Africa. His first Division Command was the 2nd Armored Division, “Hell on Wheels”. (the only Division is US Army history to wear their Unit Insignia over their heart rather than on their sleeve, because General Patton was buried with that patch worn over his heart.)
Omar Bradley, known as “The Soldier’s General”, one time Commander of the 82nd Infantry Division (later the 82nd Airborne Division), and the man who held Patton in rein during the Campaigns in Europe.
These are only a few of those suspected to have received a bit of help from the Chief of Staff, the legendary military leaders who learned their leadership from General Marshall is long and honorable. The invasion of Sicily saw Captain “Jumpin’ Jim” Gavin lead a handful of men to seize a key intersection and hold it till armored re-enforcements arrived. That same man was a Major General when he led the 82nd Airborne Division on their jump hours before the allied landings on June 6th, 1944.
What does all this wonderful history, and these Soldier’s meteoric rise in rank, have to do with the Presidential Elections in 2012 and the arguments that causes here among conservative activists? Everyone remembers a year ago when the conservative movement was declared dead and was in the same undermanned condition as the US Army of 1939. Well, we are now at the 1941 strength and still growing as Obama, Pelosi and Reid continue their progressive socialization of America. This November will see us at our 1945 levels and we are already now a force to be reckoned with.
What we need to do now is what Marshall did, concentrate on the build up and training of our forces and note those who deserve increased responsibility later. Later, because the 2012 Presidential Election is later, our first mission MUST be the election of 2010. Once that is finished and we have every seat we can possibly take, then, and only then, can we turn our attention to the “black book” we have been keeping and begin to propose our candidates for 2012.
We do not have the luxury of a George C. Marshall to have kept that list, but we know who the possibilities are, and still more will arise as we go through the elections and the legislative battles this year. Be patient, our fighting forces cannot be re-built over night, the time necessary will reveal even more good choices and we will have several to choose from before the beginning of the campaign season. Bemoan our lack of choices now, but do not despair a viable candidate in another year. That year will be as revealing as Obama’s first year in office, and we will profit from the revelations!
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