Yes, if Fred Thompson jumps into the race for president, the decision would discomfit* me. He has cancer; he has two small children. I would wonder about Thompson’s priorities. Every candidate makes sacrifices when he or she runs for president, and many would-be candidates decide against running because they feel the sacrifices, especially for their families, are too great — Mark Warner comes to mind. In the end, perhaps the best candidates, and even the best presidents, are the ones with that rare combination of ambition and sense of duty so powerful that it convinces them to run, and enables them to win. Judging their choices in the personal realm doesn’t necessarily mean one will find fault with them. But as voters, we get to judge.
(*By the way, I hereby forsake the verb “discomfit”. It’s a bit archaic and stodgy and was never the best choice to convey the meaning I intended. For what it’s worth, what I should have said is that I found the decision by the Edwardses, and the one pending by Thompson, troubling. Or, as I said later, that I wouldn’t make the same decision myself.)