If you’ve been wondering what’s happened to former U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, he has been teaching a course in American foreign policy at Williams College in Massachusetts.
His other pursuit is more interesting. Gibson wrote a book called “Rally Point” (Hachette Book Group) which was released Tuesday to excellent reviews. In “Rally Point,” Gibson lays out five ways to, as the book’s subtitle states, unite the country and revitalize the American Dream. Conservatives are embracing the book as an inventory of right-wing values, but judging from excerpts, “Rally Point” is more moderate than meets the eye and analyzes recent politics with a sharp-eyed, even-handed approach.
Consider this passage: “For the majority of Americans, the 2016 presidential campaign was not a positive experience. Both major candidates were deeply unpopular, with unfavorable ratings well above 50 percent. That is unprecedented in American politics. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were widely viewed as divisive and dismissive of large swaths of the electorate. Given the results of this election, Americans are deeply divided and uncertain about the direction of the country...Donald Trump won the presidency, and for conservatives that presents opportunities and challenges. First, however, we must recognize this stark reality: We are not only a nation divided — as Republicans we are also a party divided.”
In the book, Gibson cites numerous ways in which America is being torn apart, yet he doesn’t point fingers or assign blame. In scholarly terms, he points out that America, contrary to Trump’s campaign slogan, has been great and is still great. It will just take a nudge to make it greater. The nudge will come from following the fundamentals of national security, a “peace through strength” philosophy and advancing U.S. interests with diplomacy and economic growth instead of saber-rattling.
Gibson makes a compelling case for free and open debate of his principles for protection of the U.S. and its future as a world leader. “Rally Point” is a personal work that reveals much of Gibson’s background and its influence on his character. Alas, what it doesn’t reveal are Gibson’s intentions for his political future.
In an interview Wednesday, Gibson said he has no plans to run for office in the near future, although the book comes across as written by a man testing the waters for a return to politics.
“I have family and teaching obligations until 2019,” Gibson said. “After our son graduates high school, we will assess and decide whether or not I will run for office again. It’s possible, but I’m not promising it.”
Obligations until 2019? After our son graduates? Assess and decide? Possible but no promises?
Could 2020 be a big year? If so, Gibson is holding his cards close to the vest.
In “Rally Point,” Gibson says the U.S. is strong but it has to do better. He says the American Dream is still within reach. It has to be kickstarted by Americans with the will to live as the Founding Fathers exemplified, to return to fundamental values yet keep an open mind and to allow faith and intelligence to set our course for the future.