Well, nuts. David French has just announced that he is not going to run for president after all. When word leaked last week that he was Bill Kristol’s mystery candidate, there was an initial thrill at the prospect of having an honorable alternative to enter the race. But I have to say that French’s explanation for not running is wise. I can’t say that I disagree with any of it. It is too bad that we live in a country in which you have to be fabulously wealthy to consider a run at this point. But that is the reality. French explains:
Given the timing, the best chance for success goes to a person who either is extraordinarily wealthy (or has immediate access to extraordinary wealth) or is a transformational political talent. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve my country, and I thank God for the successes I’ve had as a lawyer and a writer, but it is plain to me that I’m not the right person for this effort.
I believe with all my heart that there is an American movement ready to both resist the corruption, decadence, and dishonesty of the American elite and restore the promise of the American Dream. But that movement may not emerge for some time, and it might emerge only after further heartache and pain.
French goes on to describe the total capitulation of the GOP to Trump. He writes,
We live in a time when patriots are mocked and demagogues celebrated. Even good men have reduced themselves to excusing the inexcusable and defending the indefensible.
Last week, Reince Priebus said that those involved in the independent effort were “embarrassing themselves.” But what is more embarrassing? Is it doing your best to defend the nation you love from two people who are unworthy of its highest office? Or is it using your God-given gifts and talents to advance the interests of a man who cares only for himself and who rejects the very values you’ve long claimed to uphold?
It was so disappointing to see how the media and GOP establishment reacted to the possibility of a David French candidacy. GOP elites dismissed it with a sneer. Media elites immediately began trying to figure out how to discredit him as a maniacal patriarch at home (by the way, don’t miss Nancy French’s devastating rebuttal of this particular canard). It was a sad spectacle. But it was also revealing of how cynical our politics have become.
Our nation needs men of reason, courage, and good faith. It needs statesmen willing to put the national interest before their own interest. Where are those men? David French is right. The list of men with the experience and resources to pull this off is really short–with the most obvious candidate being Mitt Romney. But that apparently is not going to happen.
I have no idea what comes next. The nation has an awful choice to make between major party candidates that should be disqualified from the office which they seek. One candidate is disqualified because of failing to tell the truth about what she has done. The other candidate is disqualified because he might actually be telling the truth about what he will do. It’s an impossible, tragic choice. And it is why some of us won’t be supporting either of them.
David French is a patriot. I can hardly imagine a better candidate. That he even contemplated running shows how much he was willing to sacrifice–even though his service in the Iraq War already showed us his willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice. His name may not be on the ballot, but I have a feeling it will end up on many.