Back when he was representing the state’s 19th District, Chris Gibson, a retired Army colonel with 24 years of active-duty experience and six years in Congress, was widely seen as the strongest Republican contender to pose a challenge to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
It’s understandable, then, the top dogs in the state Republican Party — and quite a few more from the Democratic Party — were disappointed to learn Gibson planned to retire from politics and leave Congress to spend more time with family and begin a third career as a visiting lecturer at Williams College in Massachusetts.
Gibson may not be interested in re-entering the political arena anytime soon, but his academic experience, military background and time on Capitol Hill helped him produce “Rally Point,” a book that is creating a stir among critics and pundits who believe it is a sort of campaign blueprint or policy statement for a future run for governor or, possibly, higher office.
Questioned by reporters about his future plans, Gibson has said his son graduates from high school in 2020, fueling more speculation about a run for president. With typical equanimity, Gibson denies the speculation and said his book is an account of his personal values and how they can be applied to unify the nation’s fractured political, economic and social systems.
There are some idiosyncracies at work here. “Rally Point” is not an alarmist, hyperbolic polemic — it’s a carefully wrought treatise on government and the social order that’s as forward-thinking as David Axelrod yet as deeply rooted in the past as the Founding Fathers, who Gibson invokes many times in his book.
We understand these are muddled and confusing political times; the good news is, Gibson also understands. In “Rally Point,” the former congressman tries to help the reader make sense of what is happening today and place it in the context of American history.
Gibson’s supporters — and there are many — hope he will change his mind and run for governor, or maybe even president. If he doesn’t, his book can help readers catch their breath, get their bearings and lean on the past as a way to navigate an uncertain future.