Jim Webb has opened a Presidential Exploratory Committee. This, of course, is a precursor step to possibly launching an actual campaign for president.  This action on his part is the catalyst for offering this brief statement in support of his potential candidacy.

Here are three good reasons he should be president. First, he has courage. His physical courage was proven beyond any doubt on the battlefields of Vietnam where he was a Marine infantry officer involved in substantial close combat. His service there was recognized by a variety of citations, including the Navy Cross, our nation’s second highest award for valor. His loyalty to the young Marines who served under his leadership has been demonstrated again and again. But even though physical courage is a significant asset for a president, having moral courage is even more important. If you want evidence that he has this trait, look back to 2002. The Bush administration was seeking Congressional approval to invade Iraq. In fact, even many prominent Democrats including Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillicon Valley: FBI fires Strzok after anti-Trump tweets | Trump signs defense bill with cyber war policy | Google under scrutiny over location data | Sinclair's troubles may just be beginning | Tech to ease health data access | Netflix CFO to step down Signs grow that Mueller is zeroing in on Roger Stone Omarosa claims president called Trump Jr. a 'f--- up' for releasing Trump Tower emails MORE and John KerryJohn Forbes KerryOvernight Defense: Trump signs 7B defense policy bill into law | Rips McCain hours after signing bill named after him | Green Beret killed in Afghanistan blast Trump rips McCain hours after signing bill named after him Kerry: 'Disgraceful' that Trump didn't mention McCain during defense bill signing MORE voted for the Iraq war approval. Jim was then a private citizen, but before the Congressional vote, he published an op-ed piece in the Washington Post strongly opposing this war, mainly on strategic grounds. In the article, he argued against this intervention, demonstrating both good judgment and moral courage opposing a sitting president and the overwhelming majority of Congress.

Second, Jim has the experience to be president. After his service in the Marine Corp he graduated from law school and worked as a committee counsel in the U. S. House of Representatives. Later, during the Reagan administration he was an Assistant Secretary of Defense, and followed that post with service as Secretary of the Navy.  Because of the high level positions he held in President Reagan’s administration, you might like to think of Jim as sort of traditional Reagan Republican, even though now, he is of course, a Democrat. Most likely, his primary reason for being a Democrat was his strategic opposition to the invasion of Iraq, which led him to challenge Virginia Republican Senator George Allen, a supporter of the Bush policy in Iraq, in the 2006 election. Much to the surprise of most observers, Jim, who had never held elective office before, not only won the Democratic nomination for the Senate, but also defeated Allen in a tough race in the general election. Among his duties in the Senate, he was a member of both the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, (until he elected not to run again when his term ended in 2012), giving him additional experience which would be most useful to a future president. He was able to work with bipartisan success getting important legislation passed such as the modern G. I. Bill. And, on top of all that, he communicates well, with a series of successful, published books to his credit.

Third, and by far the most important reason Jim should be president is that he truly loves America. He is a champion of middle and working class citizens. His life proves his bona fides as a patriot. If Jim were nominated, actually by either major party; Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and especially Independents could see his record, his qualifications, and his love for America. He could get votes from all these groups and he could win! Readers, especially any of you who are part of the presidential nominating process, think about it. Do you want to win the general election? If so, here’s a guy who can do it for you. Yes, if he were nominated, he could win, and we, his fellow citizens would be better off for it!

Boggs is a retired university professor emeritus and classmate of Jim Webb at the U. S. Naval Academy, class of 1968.