It was 1992. I was living in New York City and was a frequenter of small but powerful private dinner gatherings called the “Political Club For Growth”….the precursor to the more commonly known “Club for Growth.”
The Political Club for Growth was well known as a place where a candidate from anywhere could walk in, and if he or she made an appropriately appealing and optimistic pitch, walk out with a handful of very large and very legal checks. Pretty much a bunch of extremely rich dudes in a private room just listening and, well, writing checks. (And it wasn’t all about Republicans. A young-ish pre-presidential Bill Clinton, in fact, came in once and charmed everyone out of their minds).
Anyway. So as a young NYC-based political fundraiser it became known that I was a part of this ragtag group, even though I was very far removed from the extremely wealthy status that membership required. I am to this day not quite sure why I was allowed in, but alas! Actually, I think it was because I was at the time associated with Vice President Dan Quayle, whom they all admired, but who knows. Perhaps they just liked me.
One day I got a call, I don’t quite recall from whom, asking if this guy from Virginia called Jim Gilmore, an Henrico County attorney running for attorney general of the Commonwealth, could be invited to visit. I was up for it, and they were up for it; he came to town and from there developed a great friendship and partnership with one of the very best men I have ever known.
Let me repeat: The Honorable James S. Gilmore is one of the best men I have ever known.
“He’s the most Reaganesque candidate I have seen,” said my friend John Fund from the Wall Street Journal at the time.
Of course, Gilmore became attorney general and then governor of the Commonwealth where I now live and have lived for well over a decade. He served finely–more than finely-and, in Reaganesque fashion, cheerfully and hopefully in both roles. He accomplished great things for Virginia, most notably beating down what was an horrifically onerous car tax that was utterly suffocating its residents.
This spirit carried over to his most recent job, as the United States ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe under President Donald J. Trump. He served honorably and, if I may say, brilliantly. His regular LinkedIn posts about what he was up to and what he was working on in our name internationally gave me chills. A true statesman and gentleman at a time when we were desperately in need of both.
So here we are. In this huge vacuum. We have a president whom, and I say this carefully and respectfully, is simply not up to the task. Who is the Man or Woman of the Hour? Whom shall rise to this moment and lead us to desperately needed unity and sanity? Who has the power of will to make us love our nation and our neighbors again?
Gilmore is beloved in Virginia. He can’t walk down the street without kudos and God help you if you try to go to a NASCAR race with him. Man of the Hour? Could well be. Could be our modern-day Reagan.
I’d throw my trusted friend Jim Gilmore’s hat in the ring with pleasure. The domestic and foreign record of accomplishments really speak for themselves. This is what we need. And that is that.