There are any number of Americans who are as qualified to be a Member of Congress as Heather Wilson, but I doubt there is anyone better qualified.
Congresswoman Wilson represents the 1st Congressional District of New Mexico as she has since she won a special election in 1998. But that's not the part that is so impressive.
I came out here to do an event supporting Rep. Wilson Just as I have done in North Carolina for Rep. Virginia Foxx and in Connecticut last weekend for Rep. Chris Shays. (If you are involved in a Congressional campaign which you think might benefit from a visit, e-mail me today!)
They, and many others, are as qualified as Heather Wilson; but not better qualified.
New Mexico is neither the bluest of blue states, nor the reddest of the red. President Bush lost it in 2000 and won in 2004 but by a whisker both times.
Democrats believe the 1st District should be theirs by divine right, and have forced Wilson to run a flat-out campaign at each election. This year the Democrats have mounted a furious, hate-filled campaign to try and wrest the seat away from her.
Wilson, grew up in difficult family circumstances in a small town in New Hampshire. Not knowing she didn't have a prayer of success, she applied for an appointment to the Air Force Academy. She was accepted and became one of its first female graduates.
She applied for, and was accepted to be, a Rhodes Scholar. She went off to Oxford University and earned a Masters degree. Then she hung around and earned her Doctorate in International Relations.
Still an active duty member of the US military (unlike another well-known Rhodes Scholar) she was assigned to NATO where she worked on arms reductions negotiations with the Soviet Union.
Remember when Ronald Reagan used to say the Soviet Union could never endure because it was antithetical to the human condition; and how the intelligentsia in Manhattan laughed into their Manhattans about how naïve Reagan was; and how we needed to, if not actually accept and embrace Communists and Communism, learn to cooperate with them and it because they and it were going to be around for a long, long time? Remember that?
Does any of this sound familiar in the current context of George W. Bush's position on radical Islam and the war on terror?
Wilson was then asked to go to the White House and join the National Security Council Staff as Director of European Defense Policy and Arms Control. Dr. Wilson told me that Dr. Condoleezza Rice was her peer at the NSC but "she was, clearly, first among equals."
But none of that is what qualifies her as a great Member of Congress.
This is: She met and married a man, Jay, now a full Colonel in the Air Force Reserve. She walked out of the White House, and away from a career which certainly had put her on the fast track to influence - if not fame and fortune - to move with her new husband to New Mexico.
Jay and Heather adopted a child who is now an adult and had two of their own - a son 13 and a daughter 9.
When you get to be - how best to put this? - of a certain age, it takes about a millisecond to decide whether or not a kid is a spoiled brat; half of a millisecond - which is the definition of a New York minute.
I had dinner with them - Heather, Jay and the children - after the political event Wednesday night.
Forget being a former Air Force Officer, a former Rhodes Scholar, a former NATO negotiator, or being a former White House NSC staffer.
These two kids were polite, engaged, and appeared to be the happy beneficiaries of well-grounded and loving parents.
For Representative Heather Wilson, Washington is, and always has been, the office. New Mexico, since she left to start a family, has always been home.
How differently someone must view the world if the center of their world is not the House in Washington, but her house in New Mexico.
Knowing that difference is what makes Heather Wilson so highly qualified to serve in Congress.
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to Heather Wilson's official bio and her campaign web page, two excellent Mullfotos from the Balloon Fiesta which was going on in Albuquerque whilst I was there, and a Catchy Caption of the Day.