After praising Sen. Warner for his service to country and the Commonwealth, Mr. Faulk wonders what type of Virginian could follow a man with such big shoes to fill.
His conclusion? The man who ran for the office (and who was not publicly supported by John Warner) ... the man who has spent his adult life in service to country and the Commonwealth.
Mr. Faulk wrote of Gov. Gilmore:
He volunteered for service in the U.S. Army in 1971 -- a Vietnam-induced low point for the military -- and became a counterintelligence officer. After leaving the armed services in 1974 with an honorable discharge, he enrolled at the University of Virginia School of Law, as Warner had two decades before. With a juris doctorate in hand, he entered private practice before signing on as a lead government lawyer.Adding that this was the type of man who could "seamlessly transition into John Warner's role as national security senator," Mr. Faulk continued:
His 10 years of public service as a lawyer included stints heading both criminal and civil prosecutions against those who would do violence against the commonwealth. Attaching the label "relentless" to him is not a stretch. His previous service was rewarded when he was chosen as chief executive of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
To further burnish his reputation, Congress appointed this man to serve as chairman of the Congressional Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction. The commission's major claim to fame: It warned that "valid concerns remain that the United States is still not appropriately organized and prepared to counter and respond to the threat of either mass-casualty . . . terrorism [or weapons of mass destruction]."
That warning was given on Dec. 15, 1999. In other words: He led a commission that warned America was not prepared to repel or respond properly to a 9/11-style attack almost two years before it tragically happened in Lower Manhattan and Northern Virginia. This gentleman went on to become a nationally recognized expert on homeland security.
Jim Gilmore is a good, honorable man who dedicated his lifetime of labor to serving this nation and this commonwealth.I agree with that statement, something I have been scorned for by anonymous readers who are too cowardly to step forward and publicly back their statements.
Mr. Faulk continued:
... Gilmore made a wildly popular promise to the voters during the 1997 election that he would end the personal property tax on automobiles -- the "car tax." Eight simple letters -- No Car Tax -- put him in the Executive Mansion."Come hell or high water..." The man may not have the soft, couched-in-flowery-language words that many aspire to hear ... but he is tough and honest and follows through. That's the kind of person I want fighting for me. Or, as Mr. Faulk puts it:
As relentless as Gilmore was as a prosecutor, he proved just as relentless in trying to keep his promise to relieve Virginians of paying the hated (and inane) car tax. And let's be perfectly frank: The day I write my much-reduced check to pay my very small car-tax bill, I'd vote to elect Jim Gilmore pope. And I know I'm not the only one. [my emphasis added]
... Gilmore promised to end the car tax without raising other taxes and voters swooned. He did little more than try to keep his word.
Other politicians promise one thing, and then deliver something else. Not Jim Gilmore. He promised come hell or high water to end the car tax, and he worked like mad to keep his word. There's something admirable (and rare) about being able to trust the word of a politician.
... is Gilmore one of those duplicitous, slick hucksters who normally infect the modern body politic? No. He deserves some credit for that.Augusta County carried for Jim Gilmore. We did our part to put a man in office who actually deserved it and not because of a pleasant personality or smooth campaign style. I still think he was the right man for that job ... and time may prove to others that they should have voted him in as we face the possibility of more terrorist attacks and instability in our financial markets.
But back to his perfect-to-replace-John-Warner résumé: Should anyone castigate voters for not sending Gilmore to the U.S. Senate? No. Citizens don't vote -- in a vacuum -- for résumés. For all his service, this just isn't Gilmore's time. The former governor is a bare-knuckled, hard-scrabble partisan brawler. That's not the country's mood right now. After the intense political brutality of the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush years, the public is tired and ready for something more conciliatory.
But that doesn't mean Gilmore doesn't deserve his due for a lifetime of service.
Time will tell....