The first question, as important as whether candidates have eaten pork belly in Iowa, is how they match up on a debate stage with Trump. The Democrats need someone who can command him to back off, or freeze him with a smile when he repeats the “Jaws” trick of circling his opponent, as he did with the much shorter Hillary Clinton while she took her turn.
So in 2019, look for Retired Admiral William McRaven. He’s not running as of yet, but he has a memoir coming out in May that’s going to remind everyone what a hero he is. The SEAL commander surely has the best resumé entry on the planet: he planned and commanded the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, although according to Trump it would have happened a “lot sooner if he’d been in charge.” Sure.
In person the brave, brainy and eloquent former University of Texas System chancelloris cool enough to repel any fusillade from a president who doesn’t let a clean fact stand in the way of a crude insult. Trump tested the customary restraint of military brass when, seemingly out of sheer cussed pique, he stripped former CIA Director John Brennan of his security clearance. Remove mine, too, said McRaven, addressing the president in the Washington Post: “Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation.”
His steadfast character and impeccable national chops may be just what Americans want after the traumatic resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.