UPDATE: Friday 9 Sept. Just learned that Robert Gates will be th new President of William and Mary. Big loss for WA.
Soon to retire as Defense Secretary, Robert Gates gave a commencement address at WSU.
This is not just a May visit by an eminent graduation speaker. Gates is committed to living in Washington State and had been rumored to be a candidate for President of the UW. Between Gates and Michael Young, the new UW President, Washington State will have something it has not had in a long time .. high level, out of the closet, openly proud moderate Republican elders!
Along with the aging Dan Evans, Gates and Young will comprise a trio of very rational, highly respected leaders with a commitment to pubic service. My fantasy is that these men could effect a major change in the Republican party. While it is unlikely any of them will run for public office, Evans, Gates and Young could have a big impact on the till now very low profile of Washington State’s community of ultra wealthy business leaders. The most prominent of these, Bill Gates, is officially apolitical, but Bezos and Balmer are apparently closet Republicans. With their support, it easy to imagine some new and very impressive faces recruited to the local conservative political scene as a welcome antidote to Tea Party radicalism..
Andu, a Eritrean graduating from WSU, may have heard this in what he called “a political message behind (Gate’s speech.”
Gates’ words (from The Spokesman Review):
“I understand that it can be disheartening to hear today’s talk of rancorous and even tawdry political discourse,” he said. “Too often those who chose public service are dismissed as bureaucrats or worse.”
“To serve our country you don’t need to deploy to a war zone or third-world country or be buried in a windowless cube in a Gothic structure by the Potomac River. You don’t have to be a CIA spy or analyst or Navy SEAL who tracked down to bring to justice the most notorious terrorist in the world,”
“I lived through each of these periods of declinism, when many were convinced America was stuck in a downward spiral. And yet after meeting the many challenges we faced head on, our nation emerged from each of these” stronger than before, he said. “I’m convinced that we will do so again.”
Gates’ wife, Becky, earned a history degree from WSU in 1965 and sits on WSU’s College of Liberal Arts council. Their son also is a WSU graduate. Gates, who has served as the defense secretary since 2006, is retiring June 30. Gates said he and his wife plan to retire to the Northwest.
Welcome home Mr. Gates.