According to Bloomberg, the feverish speculation about just whom Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol was hinting at as a third-party candidate may be over: two Republicans close to Kristol say the candidate is David French, the highly-articulate lawyer and Iraqi War veteran whose prose often graces the pages of the Standard. One of the Republicans said some conservative donors are warm to the idea of supporting French.
Kristol wrote in the Standard, “the fact of Trump’s and Clinton’s unfitness for the Oval Office has become so self-evident that it’s no longer clear one needs a famous figure to provide an alternative,” then mentioned French, commenting, “To say that he would be a better and a more responsible president than Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is to state a truth that would become self-evident as more Americans got to know him.”
Here are five things you need to know about the prospective candidate.
1. French graduated from Harvard Law School, and served in Iraq in Diyala Province as Squadron Judge Advocate for the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, where he was awarded the Bronze Star. He is a major in the United States Army Reserve (IRR).
2. He lives in Tennessee with his wife Nancy, a New York Times best-selling author, and their three children.
3. He is the past president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), and has defended religious liberty on college campuses, serving as a senior counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice and the Alliance Defending Freedom.
4. He has written the New York Times-bestselling Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can’t Ignore, as well as Home and Away: A Story of Family in a Time of War and A Season for Justice: Defending the Rights of the Christian Church, Home, and School.
5. In 2012 French was awarded the American Conservative Union’s Ronald Reagan Award.
French wrote on May 20 of those in the GOP who abandoned their conservative principles and decided they would support Donald Trump because he had triumphed:
When naked ambition dictates that you support liars, frauds, con men, and demagogues, then you take giant leaps on the road to hell — without even the excuse of good intentions. The “losers” in this particular ideological war now have their own choice to make. Do we bend our principles to match our short-term ambition and work to claw our way back into the good graces of the strongman, justifying our moral flexibility with the allure of a “seat at the table?” Or do we double down on serving principle, making the arguments for the ideas that we believe represent the best hope for national recovery and cultural renewal? Choosing to serve doesn’t make you a “loser,” it makes you wise. Yes, there will be those who choose to reign. Let them reign over the ruin they’ve created. The servants will wait to rebuild.
As French wrote to honor Memorial Day:
I also know that courage is never truly wasted. It returns incalculable value to brothers-in-arms, to the military, and to the nation. We’ve seen throughout history that cowardice is contagious — but so are honor and courage, even (and sometimes especially) honor and courage displayed in a “losing” cause … This Memorial Day I’ll remember the men whom I knew — men who died fighting in a war that is the subject of renewed, ferocious debate and in a country that is the focus of renewed, ferocious combat overseas — and I’ll draw strength from the courage. They were our best, they gave their all, and their sacrifice sustains our nation far beyond its battlefields. They have made our nation. They make it still.
For those who think it unusual that a writer should run for president, there is precedent; in 1872 Horace Greeley, who was the editor of the New York Tribune, ran against Ulysses S. Grant. Greeley was one of the founders of the Republican Party, fought for Abraham Lincoln to gain the 1860 GOP nomination, and later led a split against what he felt was the corruption of the Grant administration. The Democratic Party actually canceled their convention to join him.
Of course, the greatest leader of the 20th century, Winston Churchill, was also a gifted writer before he chose to enter politics.