LOS ANGELES, December 21, 2015 — Who is Jim Gilmore? That is a question that even many political junkies are asking. Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore is the only one of the remaining 14 GOP presidential candidates who has been excluded from most of the presidential debates. He is not even at 1 percent in the polls, the threshold for the undercard debates.
At 0 percent, it is reasonable to ask why Gilmore is even bothering to run. Rather than mock his standing in the polls, the respectful thing to do is give him a fair hearing. At the Republican Jewish Coalition 2015 Presidential Candidates Forum, Gilmore was given exactly that.
RJC member Brad Wine introduced Gilmore to the attendees.
Gilmore made his first impression with an awkward but amusing joke about kishka, a very unhealthy but tasty Jewish food. He quickly turned serious because he is a serious man.
He called the San Bernardino shooting an act of terror and spoke about radical Islam. “This is savage Middle Ages type of barbarity and it has no place in the modern world of civilization.”
He was against torture until he saw what Israel went through when he met with Israel’s attorney general.
Since many in the room were unfamiliar with Gilmore, he recited his credentials. He has military experience, having served during the Cold War. He was in New York the day before 9/11. He was a “War Governor,” taking critical actions as governor of Virginia on 9/11.
“I may be an outsider, but I am no amateur.”
Gilmore blasted the (Tennessee Sen. Bob) Corker Amendment that allowed the Iran deal to go through, noting that all four senators running for president supported that amendment.
As for moving the embassy to Jerusalem, he is fine with it as long as Israel wants it, an addendum that did not come across as equivocating in any way. While it is generally assumed that Israel absolutely wants this, there is no harm in ensuring that this is the case. Far too many people talk about what is best for Israel without asking or listening to Israelis. This is especially true in the American Jewish community.
In the Middle East, says Gilmore, there is no solution on the horizon. He opposes letting Syrian refugees into the United States, and calls Radical Islam “a new form of warfare.”
“It’s a war for the minds of people.”
“The world is on fire. Only American leadership can bring some form of stability before it’s too late.”
On debt and entitlement, the problem is, “We have a deliberate slow growth policy. … I will not have a lost generation of college students.”
A Gilmore Administration would “build up the economy, use that to protect our nation.”
Gilmore is not known for having a flashy style, but he is a man of substance who conveyed serious policy ideas in a sober manner. Those in the room who knew nothing about him now know more. His message is intelligent and important, even if voters are paying more attention to other messengers.