Twitter tittered with a combination of contempt and amusement yesterday when word leaked that it might be our own David French who is considering an independent run for president. On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” — that great “herd of independent minds” — the same tone prevailed (except for Mark Halperin, who noted that much would depend upon whether French could get financial backing). Mika Brzezinski scoffed that Bill Kristol needed a vacation, and the assembled crew were unanimous that French lacks the stature to enter the race.
In any normal year, they would certainly have a point. But look around people. This is the year when the Democrats are about to nominate a woman who may be indicted. The Republicans are nominating a reality star who knows nothing of policy but excels at schoolyard taunts, and threatens to undermine the one party that, until recently, stood (broadly) for the Constitution. But David French is out of his league? French is a graduate of Harvard Law. While Trump was bedding married women and allegedly defrauding strivers who signed up for Trump University, French was earning a bronze star in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He’s a major in the US Army Reserve. He’s a bestselling author of, most recently, The Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can’t Ignore and countless brilliant articles. He is past president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and has worked for the Alliance Defending Freedom and the American Center for Law and Justice.
While it’s true that he’s only had one wife, and that’s clearly a demerit this year, she’s a great one. Her memoir, Red State of Mind: How a Catfish Queen Became a Liberty Belle, is one of the most hilarious reads of the past 20 years.
Yes, it would have been better if some fine American political figure with endless money, 100 percent name recognition, and a record in elective office had stepped up. But strangely, and tellingly, that’s not what people are griping about. They’re saying: But French is an unknown! How can he tangle with the pro-wrestler the Republicans are nominating and the crook the Democrats will choose? Where are his reality TV credits? Where are his insults? Where is his fraudulence? Where are the lies? We can’t have an honest man in this contest!
For a recent dose of David French, here’s the Need to Know podcast from May 20 when he joined Jay and me. (No, I had no idea at the time!)