Election 2016 still has a good five months or so to tick off the calendar, but David French isn't going to be part of it. The Iraq War veteran and National Review writer hand-picked by Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol to be the third-party savior against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump won't be throwing his hat in the ring after all, he wrote Sunday evening in the National Review. "Here is a sentence I never thought I’d type: After days of prayer, reflection, and serious study of the possibilities, I am not going to run as an independent candidate for president of the United States," French declares, acknowledging himself that he was a "pretty darn obscure" choice. Not that he doesn't think someone should take on the current candidates. "Never before have both parties failed so spectacularly, producing two dishonest, deceitful candidates who should be disqualified from running for town council, much less leader of the free world," he writes.
And he goes to great pains to trash both Trump and Clinton, calling Trump a "minute-by-minute" habitual fibber who "changes positions based on his moods" and "has attracted an online racist following" that aggressively goes after opponents—including French's own wife and daughter, he says. As for Clinton, French makes the same claims about her prevarications and flip-flopping (except for her steady "pro-abortion extremism") and also notes issues related to the Clinton Foundation and her ongoing email controversy. But although French says "it would be tempting to say that when it comes to confronting this national moment, 'somebody' stepping up is better than nobody," he concludes "somebody is not always better than nobody." "I'm not the right person to challenge Trump and Hillary, but the path remains open for others," he says, adding he thinks the person to best take them on should either be "extraordinarily wealthy" or a "transformational political talent." His entire essay here. (At least he'll have time to keep doing his Game of Thrones recaps.)