CPAC – Jim Gilmore

CPAC 2007 Logo Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore came by to shake hands and I managed to talk to him one-on-one for a few minutes. His term preceded my having moved back to Virginia in 2002, so I mostly knew him from his time as RNC Chair and a few appearances on the Sunday shows. He was quite impressive.

What most impressed me about him is that he seems to have a very firm grasp of foreign policy issues, which I wasn’t expecting from someone with a domestic-focused political career. It turns out his undergraduate degree is in international relations and he served his first few years out of college as an Army intelligence officer. More importantly, I had forgotten his tenure as head of the Congressional Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction, aka the “Gilmore Commission.”

I asked him about how he would approach breaking out of the pack of the second tier candidates, many of whom have genuine conservative credentials, and establish himself as the “conservative alternative” to the Big Three. He said that they’re raising a lot of money, to be sure, but they’re having to spend it to convince people they’re something they’re not, while all he had to do is tell people who his is. He thinks that’ll be cheaper.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.