Let Us Now Praise Jim Gilmore

Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Jim Gilmore is a good, maybe even great, man. His failure to rise in the polls may be due to his personally becoming — yet politically toxic — level of humility. He has not bragged on his credentials. His credentials are stunningly great.

Jim Gilmore is a man of enormous dignity, towering accomplishment, and splendid national service. He deserves nothing but respect. Take note.

Gilmore was a successful supply-side governor of Virginia. He served as the chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2001, as governor of Virginia from 1998 – 2002 (previously having served as Attorney General) and was president of the Republican Governors Association. He also served as chairman of two important federal commissions. Since leaving office, has been an important voice in the policy universe for economic growth. He, also, is a reliable social conservative and NRA board member.

Of perhaps even greater significance, Gilmore served in the 650th Military Intelligence Group as a U.S. Army counterintelligence agent in West Germany during the Cold War. This gives him unique credentials as a Cold War veteran, and an intimate sense for national security operations. Although it would embarrass him were he to read this let it be said: Jim Gilmore is an authentic Cold War hero.

For you young’uns, for whom the Cold War seems as remote as does the Civil War to geezers like me, take note. (See the Wikipedia, from which portions, not all, of this little tutorial were drawn verbatim):

During the height of the Cold War, before Ronald Reagan finally turned the tide, there was an elite consensus that the Soviets could not be confronted but only contained. The doctrine of “containment” defined US policy.

There was, however, a small but passionate faction that believed otherwise. They pushed for the creation, inside the CIA, of what became known as “Team B.”

“Team B” was a competitive analysis exercise commissioned to analyze threats the Soviet Union posed to the security of the United States. The purpose was to put a fresh set of eyes on the same data that analysts within the intelligence community were studying. The intelligence community was in the process of putting together an assessment on the Soviet threat while the Team B panel of outside experts produced its own assessment.

Team B, approved by then Director of Central Intelligence George H. W. Bush, was composed of “outside experts” who concluded that the National Intelligence Estimate on the Soviet Union, generated yearly by the CIA, underestimated Soviet military power and misinterpreted Soviet strategic intentions.

Let it be noted in passing that George H. W. Bush thereby played a critical role in America’s victory in the Cold War and deserves more credit for that than has yet been provided.

The Team B reports became the intellectual foundation for the idea of a “window of vulnerability” and of the massive arms buildup that began toward the end of the Carter administration and accelerated under President Ronald Reagan.

“Team B” turned out to be critical to the putting the U.S. on the road to victory in the Cold War.

Gilmore’s front line experience in the intelligence community very likely makes him more attuned to the process by which America won the Cold War than is any other presidential aspirant. The process by which America won the Cold War is important for countering the national security threats posed by Daesh (a.k.a. ISIS) today. This represents invaluable experience.

Jim Gilmore does not appear well positioned to claim the GOP presidential nomination. That should not diminish our respect for him or the honor that is due to a man who has devoted his life to the greatness of America: as a notably successful supply-side governor, as an RNC Chairman, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, as an important voice for economic growth, and as a Cold War veteran.

If Jim Gilmore, as now appears, is not destined to be the next president of the United States, he should be at the top of the next president’s short list for National Security Advisor, Secretary of Defense, CIA director, Energy Secretary, or for a White House or cabinet position to help advance the GOP agenda of peace through strength and of equitable prosperity.

Let us now praise Jim Gilmore.

Ralph Benko, internationally published weekly columnist, co-author of The 21st Century Gold Standard, lead co-editor of the Gerald Malsbary translation from Latin to English of Copernicus’s Essay on Money, is American Principles Project’s Senior Advisor, Economics.