On Being Authentic

                Life is full of risks. Or at least, life contains plenty of risks that you could take if you chose. Of these, perhaps the greatest has to do with authenticity or being real.

                I wish for the life of me I could remember who it was I heard talking about this the other day, but the anecdote bears repeating, even though I can’t recall who was telling the story. Some contestant on a “reality TV show” related that after filming a scene, the producer advised everyone that they needed to shoot another take because the first one wasn’t good enough. The contestant queried, “I thought this was reality TV?? Wasn’t what just happened the real deal? If so, why do we need a redo of the scene?” No one could offer a satisfactory answer to the question of why “real” action, already preserved on film, now required a second attempt, but they proceeded apace to shoot a do-over anyway, apparently unruffled by his protest.

                We live in a culture where high premiums are placed on apparent authenticity, but where the genuine article is seldom practiced. And it is easy to see why. Authenticity renders a person vulnerable to the judgment of others, which all too often turn bitter. This is a fate most of us find difficult to handle. It is simpler to keep parts of ourselves masked.

                I think most of us do life this way. I know I do…even though one of the comments I hear most often about myself is some variation of the statement that I’m either refreshingly candid or ruthlessly blunt, probably dependent on whether the person(s) in question appreciated or resented whatever I said or did! (Either reaction is perfectly understandable, of course, although I tend to enjoy the former more!)

                A few things seem obvious to me.

                1)      Not all the relationships we have with every person in our lives are equal in depth or durability. Most of the people we encounter range from acquaintances to casual friends. Most of us wouldn’t risk expressing polarizing opinions to these groups of people for obvious reasons, one of them being that it very well may not be worth the possible ensuing fallout.

                2)      People who seem compelled to loudly point out every conceivable fact about an issue or a person to anyone who will listen range from annoying to boorish. Who wants THAT??

               3)      At the end of the day, though, authenticity should be about TRUTH. Life’s journey is about the pursuit of truth, then trying to align oneself with the dictates of truth once one discovers what the truth is. Along the way, a relative few relationships are formed. With those people, is it not a person’s obligation to be as authentic as possible?

               4)      In a larger sense, then, shouldn’t a person who is striving to live a truthful life avoid shying away from authenticity as much as possible? Doesn’t a truthful life involve as little artifice and as much honesty as God, family and friends deserve? I would suggest an affirmative response to both of the above questions is in order.

               I have been contemplating all of the above factors as I start writing here and there again. I don’t care equally about every subject, but one decision I have made is going to manifest itself in my blogging in the days ahead: If it’s a subject, personality, situation or just a basic truth that I care about, I refuse to shy away from stating how I view it and why. Life is too short to obfuscate my point out of fear of blowback, either from friends or opponents. Yet, humility and graciousness remain worthwhile pursuits. I have changed my mind before, sometimes against my own will, and it will probably happen again! Sometimes, in fact, that has only occurred when I was jolted out of a comfortably, but erroneously held opinion…but that’s another story for another day.

                I guess the bottom line here is this: I may not know how to live a completely authentic life, but I am more convinced than ever that it is a worthy goal to strive for. Jesus Christ didn’t refer to Himself as the “Way, the Truth and the Life” (emphasis mine) in a mere poetic turn of phrase; He meant what He said. If I seek to pattern my own life after His, then authenticity in relationships and truth in how I present myself has to be the standard for which I strive, even while acknowledging that I regularly fall short of both.

I’m Back! (Or At Least, I’m Going To Try To Be!)

I sincerely hope the above title is humble enough to convey my own very modest expectations. I haven’t blogged in well over 2 years. And for the 6-8 months prior to that, I probably averaged a post every 10 weeks. I certainly don’t suffer from an overabundance of hours in my day, and wonder how I can possibly add any more duties (especially a voluntary one like writing) to an already rather staggering load? Let’s sidestep that for a moment, though…

SO…In contemplating a return to the world of blogging, what does one even say after not posting anything lengthier than a Facebook status update or a tweet since March of 2012?  If I were planning to pursue the path of total candor, it would sound something like this:

“Hi everyone! In case anyone wonders why I haven’t blogged for 1/5 of a decade…well, life happened. It’s how the cookie crumbles; no two ways about it, and I’m not complaining. But the truth is…I wonder if anyone really even missed that I wasn’t contributing anything to the already deafening roar of cyberspace chatter that consumes our lives? Please don’t everyone all holler ‘NO!’ at once because that’s impolite and also, it might shatter my self-esteem…”

Here is the heart of the matter. I have missed contributing through the written word to the ongoing conversation that is politics, culture, religion, family, entertainment…these and sundry other components of LIFE in general, complete with all of its glorious messiness. In recent weeks, I’ve arrived at the realization that I have missed it far more than I knew I did, and that there has been a void in my life for a while that nothing else can fill.

I’m going to preemptively concede that what I’m about to say constitutes a ridiculously egocentric notion…but I’ve felt a tug lately to return to writing, despite the fact that I’m busier and happier in my current career than I’ve ever been in any pursuit. I’d almost dare refer to my recent inclinations as a calling…although I shudder a little even as I employ the term! How many nutjobs over millennia of time have convinced themselves that God Almighty was using them as His mouthpiece, when nothing could have been further from the truth? Yet, God does delight in using seeming absurdities to communicate His grace to a needy world. Wouldn’t it be a joy to play a part in that unfolding narrative, if He saw fit to let it unfold in that fashion? So run my musings lately…

The fact is, I’m under no illusions when it comes to the sheer mass of columnists, podcasters, bloggers, radio hosts, TV talkers and assorted other soapbox invocators vying for precious minutes in everyone’s day. And I’m talking only about the world of politics! Preachers, priests, sportscasters, musicians, our own peers, even…What do I have to offer that none of them do?

Only this. I’m me. No one else can be. And I need to write.

So I’m going to try to. I’m not sure where this will go, but I hope you’ll consider coming along for the ride, or at least checking in every once in a while.

Losing Andrew Breitbart: Some Thoughts

There are only a few days in a lifetime like this. September 11, 2001 and the day Ronald Reagan passed away come to mind. And now, I am among a legion of others who will never forget where we were the day we lost Andrew Breitbart.

I had just left home for a day full of appointments…was five minutes into my trip…and then Glenn Beck got the news: “Andrew Breitbart is…dead.” I had to pull off the road, overcome by shock and sorrow.

Unlike many of my friends, I can’t claim to have been close to Andrew Breitbart. I have seen him many times and we’ve spoken on a couple of occasions, but I’m confident he wouldn’t have known my name. His influence on my life, though, was unsurpassed in so many respects. For one, we did share a host of mutual friends: Kurt Schlichter (& “Hot Wife” Irina Moises), Breitbart TV editor Larry O’Connor, Stage Right Show producer Meredith Dake, Big Journalism contributor Ben Howe, and of course, my dear friend Jenny Erikson…

This could go on and on. Because all of us in social media loved Breitbart. If there is a constant theme I’ve heard echoed all day, it would be fearlessness. Breitbart never held back; he gave it everything he had, whether skewering the Left or partying with his friends on the Right.

I’m a reader. As I shared with another mutual friend, Sarah Smith (@mamaswati on Twitter) earlier today, Breitbart’s 2011 memoir clearly came out just in time. It was one of the literary highlights of summer 2011 for me. I absorbed it at a time when I was working through a lot of changes, including the loss of my job in an unprecedentedly tough economy. The story of Breitbart’s success, despite his languid approach to much of the first half of his life (which he shared very candidly in his book) gave me hope that maybe there was still a role for me to play in the fight for my country, despite recent personal setbacks.

I ran into Breitbart a few weeks later at the Smart Girl Summit in St. Louis. I stepped into the elevator at the Crowne Plaza and there he was, busily texting away on his smart phone. I touched his arm to get his attention and told him how much I had enjoyed his book. He smiled broadly, thanked me and grinned somewhat self-deprecatingly…I couldn’t think of much else to say, so my friend Rick Hornsby chatted with him, and then we all exited the elevator and went our separate ways. At least, I got to express my gratitude…But I wish I’d have had years, decades even, to get to know him even better. The ache of loss is heavy…though not a fraction as severe as the pain is for his wife and four children.

I hate to personalize a day like this, but if I’ve internalized any conviction from our collective sorrow, it is this one: I need to be back in this fight. I have allowed my new career to detract me from blogging and connecting with fellow movement soldiers. I’ve listened to the voice in my head again for far too long that tells me what I say doesn’t matter, that too few care anymore for the country’s future and that the struggle is lost. It’s a lie. I am needed in this cause…and so are thousands upon thousands, yea, millions of you.

For Andrew Breitbart knew and embraced the secret: There are more of us…those who treasure the ideals of the Founders…than there are of them…the progressive detractors of the nation’s heritage.

So as long as I live, I will employ the Breitbart name as a rallying cry for freedom’s cause and I will never forsake this fight for the Constitution, for liberty…for the United States of America.

Rest in peace, Andrew Breitbart. We will NEVER forget you.

Book Review: “Democracy Denied: How Obama Is Ignoring You And Bypassing Congress…”, by Phil @Kerpen

After reading just one chapter of Democracy Denied, I immediately drew a key conclusion: This is not just another richly deserved expose of Barack Obama’s wretched record. Not that it would have been wrong if that was all Phil Kerpen had accomplished with his inaugural literary effort. But he achieves far more than that.   

Kerpen compiles documentation of eight of the most egregiously un-Constitutional offenses of the Obama White House. Then, from the vantage point of having watched it all up close as Vice President for Policy at Americans for Prosperity, Kerpen provides riveting behind-the-scenes detail of how the damage has been implemented and the ensuing devastating fallout. But rather than simply identifying the offenses, the coup de grace that lends his account with the force that it possesses involves steps to solving each of these crises.

For instance, I had never heard of the REINS (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny) Act until Kerpen wrote about it in Chapter 1. Co-sponsored by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Kentucky Congressman Geoff Davis, this bill, if passed into law, has the potential to roll back the size and cost of government as much as any proposed law in my lifetime. In brief, the REINS Act simply proposes that “all rules, regulations, or mandates that require citizen, state or local government financial expenditures must first be approved by the U.S. Congress before they can become effective.”

Kerpen provides the background story of the development of the REINS Act, along with far more details than I can here. There is, however, seismic potential here to force a return to Constitutional government here in a Washington that has run amok amid a chokehold of regulatory oversight. The REINS Act shines a glaring light on the Obama pattern of pivoting to regulatory agencies to implement what he cannot accomplish through the legislative process. But it would do more: short-circuit and even defeat such blatant attempts.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act–better known as Obamacare–comes under heavy fire as the most obvious instance of determined flouting of not only the will of the American majority, but of Constitutional consideration. Kerpen reminds us that the bill that eventually passed was originally touted as a draft bill that could be fixed in conference…but then, Scott Brown was elected to the Senate in Massachusetts. Obama and the Democrats saw no other option than to renege on their promise and to pass a tangled web of medically-based chicanery, laced with contradictions and double talk.

Other Kerpen targets encompass the Dodd-Frank banking bill monstrosity, Obama’s war on the energy industry via support for cap and trade and blocking of new drilling options and the Employee Free Choice Act (“card check”). But the chapter on the largely uncovered vast land grab that the Obama Administration has overseen is an example of the valuable service this volume provides. The breathtaking sweep of the Obama Administration’s thirst for control of private property is astonishingly illustrated, for instance, by the Clean Water Restoration Act. This outrageous legislation would literally “[expand] the jurisdiction of the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of engineers to all the land and all the water in the United States” (emphasis mine). Quite an apt metaphor for the stealthy, yet ever consistent overreach and unquenchable appetite for encroachment that constitutes the attitude of the Obama Administration since January 20, 2009.

Finally, I appreciate that in Democracy Denied, Phil Kerpen repeatedly cites the research of those working in the conservative movement trenches, such as my friends Seton Motley of Less Government and Erik Telford of the Franklin Center. These two and others like them may not yet be names that are known from shore to shore. But Kerpen recognizes where the real toil is done that accomplishes genuine change in the nation. How refreshing!

This is one of the most important books I have read this year. You will be well armed to argue the Election 2012 case if you make it part of your repertoire over your Christmas break.

 

 

Post-Herman Cain, Do We Really Want “Fresh, Unconventional, New, etc., etc.” Presidential Candidates?

It is regrettable that the rise of the Herman Cain phenomenon coincided with a career change for me, to the extent that my first (and likely only) blog post about the campaign is about its spectacular flameout, rather than covering anything that occurred in the interim. There are probably, however, some metaphors in there somewhere that would apply to the execution of the Cain operation from start to finish. I’ll leave it to sager souls than I to figure out what those are.

Herman Cain and his Presidential bid have both been endlessly and somewhat tiresomely rehashed over the last month. He made his decision today to withdraw from the race, which I applaud. It appears that the most recent revelation that he may have, at one time in the past, supplied some cash to Ginger White (the most recent woman to come forward with sexual allegations) and then failed to inform his wife about it probably constituted the final straw in an already flagging White House effort.

Beyond a few questions that, in my mind, remain unanswered (Why would you give another woman than your wife a significant wad of money and not tell her about it? Also, why not go home for a while rather than continuing a speaking tour?), I have no compelling desire to pile on any further. Cain will do what he will do and some of his ardent supporters will back him to the hilt, regardless. So it is with public figures who project charisma and authority and have an engaging life narrative, to boot.

This is the question I’ll be toying with over the following weeks and months, perhaps even longer:

Do we really want what we claim to desire, as a Republican electorate?

Cain’s chief resume enhancement, by his own repeated admissions, was that not only had he succeeded in the private sector; he had never held one elected position. And at the outset, especially, I wondered if in fact that might work in his favor. I think it did, temporarily, and perhaps still holds some allure to a tiny minority of devotees. But Cain’s repeated gaffes in interviews, notably on foreign policy subjects (this and especially this spring oh, so readily to mind), combined with the egregiously inexplicable fumbling of the multiple sexual harassment accusations, ultimately outweighed any advantages his outsider status initially granted him.

I still like the idea (on paper, anyway) of a capable private citizen being elected to the highest office in the land. There is something so…AMERICAN, so ultimately Horatio Alger-esque about the notion that this COULD happen. But is it a realistically possible expectation in our time, after the descent into fiasco by the Cain campaign, witnessed (especially in its final days) by the entire nation?

There is only one caveat that I can see: Some may contend that indeed, such a race could be run and that someone other than Cain could have handled the scrutiny to which he was subjected with greater alacrity and enhanced intuition. Perhaps that is true, but I’m not so sure. It has only been a few short months, after all, since Cain’s biography and credentials were being praised in multiple serious quarters. How squeaky clean he seemed at the time…and my, how things change on a dime.

I have been fairly heavily involved in political activism ever since Barack Obama took office…not nearly as long as some of you, but sufficient time to garner some pertinent observations. And it is increasingly difficult for me not to conclude that at least a minimal amount of government/systemic experience is necessary, in order for a Presidential candidate to dodge the murky shoals that lie in wait for any campaign in these times. I wish I were wrong and I’d be thrilled to be proved so. But that’s my working hypothesis for the moment.

#BlogCon 2011: I Am Not Alone!

I haven’t blogged for two months. Might as well put it out there and confess it straight up. So when the indefatigable Tabitha Hale of FreedomWorks contacted me and assured me I was still welcome to attend BlogCon 2011 (Twitter hashtagged as #BlogCon11), I was humbled and gratefully accepted the invitation.

I’ve attended enough of these events now that, riveting as many of the presentations are, I simply can’t recount all of the minutiae and do it justice. Or more aptly, I could, but can’t summon the requisite mental tenacity. The following, however, constitutes what I took away from a glorious couple of days.

Andrew Breitbart was not present for #BlogCon11, but he was ably represented by a sizable contingent of his “Bigs” retinue, including Kurt Schlichter and “Hot Wife” Irina Moises, Big Journalism editor, radio host and CNN contributor Dana Loesch and her husband, Chris, BreitbartTV editor and Stage Right Show host Larry O’Connor and his inimitably lovely producer, Meredith Dake, and Big Hollywood editor John Nolte.

Every one of these people brim with ideas and passion, but that wouldn’t matter if they were anxious to hoard the intellectual property they’ve garnered, rather than sharing it with the rest of us. To a man/woman, however, they are all invested not only in their own success, but the ongoing prosperity of the conservative cause. As John Nolte put it, Andrew Breitbart is committed to the idea of building stars through the
vehicles of his “Big” Internet publications. I’ll editorialize and note that he is succeeding spectacularly.

I have been acquainted with Tom and Deneen Borelli of Project 21 and the National Public Policy Center for a while now. They were featured speakers at the mini-BlogCon event FreedomWorks sponsored in Indianapolis this last March. For those who have not met her, Deneen is a black conservative.  I had not, however, heard DeNeen tell her life story up to this point. She only spoke for about 15 minutes right before lunch on
Saturday. But she received the only standing ovation I witnessed during the whole conference. In her own words, “I have been called a house n—-r, a sellout and an Uncle Tom. But I will not back down in this fight for freedom.” Deneen’s new book hits stores in March. Let’s send it to #1 on
the New York Times bestseller list.

My new friend, Kira Davis, is another African-American conservative woman who affirms the fact that truth and opportunity trump race-baiting and blather any day of the week. Kira’s inspiring story of her journey from Left to Right is another narrative that merits a wide audience. In her case, a conservative father-in-law refused to stop asking her probing questions about exactly why she didn’t like George Bush, what the Democratic Party had done for African-Americans, etc. Kira saw the light and is a radiantly eloquent evangelist for the free-market movement.

On another note entirely…I have admired CNBC/Reuters contributor Jim Pethokoukis for some time now because of his astute analysis and timely commentary on free-market economics and current events. I enjoyed his Saturday morning presentation…at least the part for which
I was in my seat. Pethokoukis had probably been speaking for about 5 minutes when I felt a wave of dizziness sweep over me. I didn’t pay it much heed and quaffed a few more sips of coffee. Then the second spasm hit…and I really thought I might pitch over into my seatmate’s lap.

I was spooked enough that I turned promptly to said seatmate, my friend Bethany (Murphy) Mandel of “Commentary” magazine, and asked her to follow me out to the hall where I collapsed into an easy chair. It became abundantly obvious that I was suffering from the same altitude-induced ailment that I had noticed was afflicting a significant number of my New Media colleagues. Bethany plied me with Gatorade, as well as some applesauce and a banana, after extricating the vital statistics  on what nourishment I had consumed that day (which was nil, although I had already imbibed an astounding amount of caffeine).

Bethany’s kindness notwithstanding, I struggled for much of the day Saturday with a raging headache, shortness of breath and dehydration. I have traveled to Colorado countless times throughout my life, but I don’t recall ever struggling with anything of this sort on prior occasions. I don’t care to ever endure it again, either.

Our location in Denver was only a couple of blocks from the 16th Street Mall. Good eating abounded, of course, and we took advantage of it. Friday night, I enjoyed a 12 oz. New York Strip at Marlowe’s, along with Kimberly Haney (@KimberlyHaney on Twitter) and her daughter, along with Jeff Schreiber of America’s Right (@AmericasRight), Jack Nischik (@Mr_Fastbucks), and my friends April Gregory (@AprilDGregory) and
Julie Borowski (@JulieBorowski). The atmosphere and cuisine at Marlowe’s are highly recommended, but be warned that it is more pricey than Outback or Applebees.

On Saturday night, about twice as large a group of us gathered at Pho’s Vietnamese Grill. Jeff Schreiber, April Gregory and Jack Nischik were all back, as well as “Bigs” contributor Mandy Nagy (@Liberty_Chick) and guy pal Scott Jacobs (@AblativMeatshld), John Hawkins of Right Wing News (@johnhawkinsrwn), Amelia Hamilton (@Amelia Hammy, author of a lovely little book you must buy for your kids for Christmas: ), David Hauptmann (aide to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell), Cord Blomquist (@CordBlomquist…a GOP webmaster extraordinaire whose knowledge on all things tech-related knows no earthly limits), Colorado native and libertarian Michelle Ray (@GaltsGirl) and filmmaker Matt Perdie of @PerdieFilms. Pho’s offers very reasonably priced Vietnamese fare that I would describe as hearty and tasty, though not extraordinarily flavorful unless you aren’t shy about adding your own herbs and spices, which I’m not.

It was good to see Indiana’s own State Treasurer Richard Mourdock making his case at #BlogCon11 as he wages a bid to become Indiana’s next U.S. Senator. Richard is campaigning to upset 35-year GOP veteran Senator Dick Lugar in the May primary next year. As FreedomWorks’ Alex Pappas articulated, Lugar has been around long enough to vote both to bail out New York City in the ’70s and to bail out the banks in the 2000s. He has been part of the problem in Washington, D.C. for a long time and has not been called “Obama’s favorite Republican” without good cause. Mourdock needs your support. Please consider showing it tangibly here.

Perhaps my most cherished memory, however, came at the conclusion of the day yesterday. About 30 of us were crammed into Stephen Kruiser’s suite on the 17th floor of the Crowne Plaza and it was getting on towards midnight when Matt Perdie raised his voice slightly to the dozen or so of us hunkered down around him. His question to us all: “What animates you every day and keeps you involved in the cause?” For the next 20-30 minutes, I listened to my comrades for freedom powerfully articulate the various reasons that keep them fighting in the arena of ideas. I will never forget it. My friend Kathleen McKinley, in her understated, yet confident style, reiterated her belief that we are engaged in an ideological
struggle that pits right against wrong, truth against falsehood and good against evil.

And at the end of the day, this is what #BlogCon11 meant to me. As I sit here on the plane ride home, tears well in my eyes and a lump warms my throat as I realize anew that I am not alone. This has been a year of intense upheaval for me and my family that has included a career change I did not anticipate. But the three days in Denver affirmed my knowledge that I’m a part of a supportive community of activists and friends that are
there to cheer me on and lift me up when I realize again I can’t do it alone. We aren’t just an alliance of political convenience. We’re a family. And I couldn’t be more delighted to know I’m still a member in good standing.

P.S. I know what you’re thinking! What about #OccupyDenver? Exactly…That merits its own post later on…

 

Four Reasons Why I’m Backing Rick Perry for President

(Photo courtesy of the "American Spectator.")

Eleven days ago, at the RedState Gathering in Charleston, South Carolina, Texas Governor Rick Perry officially announced that he will be a candidate for President in 2012. It was indisputably the most energizing speech of its kind I have heard in 23 years of paying attention to politics. I commented on Twitter a few days later that for me, the race has just now gotten
fun. It had kind of muddled along up to that point, but Rick Perry injected a major adrenaline boost into this contest.

We had been hearing rumors that Perry would jump into the race for a couple of months before he finally made it official. I arrived at a personal point of support for Rick Perry in the 3-4 week run-up to August 13. My enthusiasm for Perry’s candidacy centers around four major factors.

Rick Perry has served as a successful Governor of one of the nation’s largest states for 10 years. The last Presidential race was a choice between two less than desirable options, to say the least. Americans were forced to choose between a community-organizer-turned-politician with a glitzy campaign and a career Senator with some conservative perspectives, mixed with a heavy dose of quasi-progressivism (think McCain/Feingold and cap and trade, for starters).

Of course, that contest itself was small potatoes in comparison to the disaster that the winner of that race has visited upon this country. Barack Obama’s lack of governance credibility has been displayed for a watching world to view over the last 2 ½ years. Obama never looked more like a bystander than he did in the recent debt ceiling fight. While representatives of the two parties tussled, Obama dithered and gawked on the sidelines like a wide-eyed teenager, occasionally interrupting with a sullenly sarcastic rejoinder, but never a genuinely constructive suggestion.

We cannot take the risk again of turning the Presidency over to anyone with no record of executive experience. For that reason, all things being equal, I can’t see myself ever voting again for someone who is a career DC politician when there is an alternative on the ballot who has either governed a state or led a business that was responsible for creating wealth.

Under Rick Perry’s leadership, Texas has flourished, especially in comparison to the rest of the country. Texas has not been exempt from economic difficulty in recent years. The unemployment rate there has risen, just as it has in every other state in the Union. Yet according to Bill Peacock of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Economic Freedom, on Rick Perry’s watch, Texas has seen a net growth of 1.2 million new jobs.

However, even more astonishing, quoting Peacock once again, “since June 2009…Texas has added 265,300 net jobs, accounting for 45 percent of net U.S. job creation.” (Emphasis mine) In other words, in the heat of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, Texas has managed to generate close to half of the nation’s new employment activity.
Profoundly impressive.

Rick Perry is an unabashed conservative and always has been. I read George W. Bush advisor Karen Hughes’ memoir Ten Minutes from Normal about 8 years ago. Nearly a decade on, I still recall one of her postulates as she discussed
the decision for whom to vote in any given election, “Perfect is not on the ballot.” This is a perennially true axiom and it applies equally for 2012.

Newsflash: Ronald Reagan was not a perfect conservative. Nor have I always been. For that matter, neither have you. The same truth applies to Rick Perry, who is a human being like all of us. Has he deviated at times from the path some of us would rather he walk? Yes. But it is more important to me that a leader admit error and institute a course correction than tout perfectionist aims that cannot be achieved.

Rick Perry has not only proved capable of this; he has also proved to be an instinctive conservative who understands the power of limited government. Furthermore, his promise to “work every day to make Washington, DC as inconsequential to your lives as I can” is as sound a reverberation of conservatism as we have heard encapsulated in one sentence in decades.

Rick Perry is a solid social conservative. He grasps the economic incentives that low taxes and an easing of regulation provides. He will do what must be done to strengthen America’s national defense. In addition, he understands that our debt is crippling our ability to function and, indeed, threatening our very survival. Whether you cheered or cringed, Perry’s
characterization of a potential QE3 (quantitative easing yet again by Bernanke’s Federal Reserve) as “almost treasonous” amply exemplifies the truth of the last sentence.

Finally…

Rick Perry can take the fight to Barack Obama and I believe he will beat him. The bloom is definitely off the proverbial rose in 2012 for President Obama, but the powers  of incumbency in our system of government are immense. You need only read Craig Shirley’s book on the 1980 election for a reminder of how close the polling was between Reagan and Carter for the bulk of that year.

Ronald Reagan won that year because he was willing to tell the truth about the economic havoc wreaked by a Democrat President who sported a wide grin and harbored a nasty streak. Reagan carried the day with applause lines like the following, “A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. And a recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses HIS.”

The following from Reagan’s 1980 Republican National Convention speech could as easily be uttered in Tampa in 2012, replacing “Carter” with “Obama”:

“Our problems are both acute and chronic, yet all we hear from those in positions of leadership are the same tired proposals for more government tinkering, more meddling and more control — all of which led us to this state in the first place.

“Can anyone look at the record of this administration and say, ‘Well done?’ Can anyone compare the state of our economy when the Carter Administration took office with where we are today and say, ‘Keep up the good work?’ Can anyone look at our reduced standing in the world today and say, ‘Let’s have four more years of this?'” 

It is not a stretch to imagine Rick Perry saying exactly that! I had heard Rick Perry speak and been aware of him for a decade. But my ears perked up when I heard him utter these words at the American Conservative Conference in New Orleans:

“We need to stop apologizing about stemming the tide of entitlement mind-set that’s out there…Our party cannot be all things to all people. It can’t be. And our loudest opponents on the left are never gonna like us so let’s quit trying to curry
favor with ‘em!”

The time for kid glove treatment of an immature, petulant, economically clueless President is long past. The nation is in dire straits and it is time to be forthright about who bears the lion’s share of the blame for its ruin: the current occupant of the White House, Barack Obama. We need a candidate who is unafraid to expose the media charade that catapulted Barack Obama into power.

The right candidate for 2012 will combine a revealing portrait of where the past has taken us with a vision of what can be again if freedom is restored and the shackles are removed from the American economy. It will take a daily, disciplined, undaunted effort, but Rick Perry is up to the challenge. He is a proven leader. And he can win. I am proud to support him.