The Buzz

Steve Kraske: Remember the name Eric Greitens

Eric Greitens didn’t call me back.

And that’s a surprise, because Greitens is from St. Louis and apparently wants to run for governor.

In other words, he needs name ID now in Kansas City, and I thought he’d grab an interview with gusto.

But he didn’t. Maybe that’s because one question he knew I’d ask was what made him think he could overcome his lack of political experience. Greitens has never held public office but now wants to leap into Missouri’s most important public job.

I’ve seen this act before, and you have, too. At 40, the Republican has already amassed a resume to die for, has raised $300,000 for his campaign and has accomplished more than 99.99 percent of the population ever will. Surely he’s thinking, “Why not? Why can’t I become governor?”

Of course he’d believe that. The man is an ex-Navy SEAL and founder of The Mission Continues, which encourages volunteerism among vets. He won a Bronze Star during his four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Did I mention he’s a best-selling author? His latest: “Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life.”

Fortune Magazine once called him one of the 50 greatest leaders on the planet. He was a Rhodes Scholar. He’s got a Ph.D. His thesis considered how international humanitarian groups can best serve war-affected kids. He knew something about that because he had volunteered in Rwanda and Cambodia, India and Bosnia.

His days begin with a workout featuring pullups in a 60-pound vest.

But as I said, we’ve seen young men in a hurry before. Adam Taff wowed Johnson County in 2002 as a former Navy jet fighter who decided to run for Congress on Sept. 11th. Jamie Metzl — Phi Beta Kappa, Ph.D. from Oxford and Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School — came along in 2004 and offered Kansas Citians an alternative to Emanuel Cleaver for Congress.

In 2010, Tommy Sowers — Green Beret, London School of Economics, two Bronze Stars — ran for the U.S. House in southeast Missouri. Last year, a dashing diagnostic radiologist, Milton Wolf (member, Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society), ran for a Kansas U.S. Senate seat.

But all those guys lost.

That’s a problem. Because they reached so high so fast, their states were robbed of their special talents that might have been put to good use if they had run for a more, shall we say, attainable office.

Who knows? Maybe Greitens proves me wrong. A good way to start would be to return my call.

To reach Steve Kraske, call 816-234-4312 or send email to