Brent Teichman’s life story to date resounds with the quintessential Americana, Mom & apple pie, wholesome “Young boy makes good” narrative. According to the classic cynical witticism, if it feels too good to be true, it probably is. But I know Brent Teichman. Fairly well, actually! We’ve hung out and conversed extensively, even consumed a meal together. He is who he purports to be: the sort of friendly Midwesterner with whom you would not only enjoy becoming acquainted, but whom you would trust with your children (especially if his wife, the beautiful and gracious @Mommentator, was on hand to steady the household ship!)
One of the ways in which I’ve been blessed in nearly a year of writing this column has involved learning how to elicit the character studies I seek by framing questions that will produce the pertinent information. That dynamic certainly applies this week. Brent’s Twitter feed is usually consumed by scintillating snarkiness of one variety or another. Usually, these barbs are directed at the Obama Administration or liberal philosophy, in general.
We’re privileged here, however, to see a glimpse into the tremendous heart this man has for his country, his family, his friends and his God. I was especially stirred by the mix of steely realism and hopeful optimism that tinges Brent’s commentary on the current trajectory of the nation. Trying times are here, but better days are within reach if we wage the fight that has been entrusted to our generation. Brent Teichman understands this and is committed to spreading the message.
I profiled Molly Teichman early on in this series. Today’s feature on Brent marks the first occasion where I’ve been privileged to interview both halves of a husband/wife team. When it comes to the Teichmans, it’s easy to see that this couple, whom many of us have grown to love, perfectly complements each other. I’m glad they’re both on OUR side!
10 Questions for Brent Teichman
1. I’m reliably certain I’m not alone in viewing Brent Teichman as a bold, outspoken, very funny guy with a genuine warmth of spirit when you get to know him. Can you detail the life journey of your growing up years that made you the man you are today?
Most people are shocked when I tell them that I grew up on a pig farm in rural Missouri. My dad was a fourth-generation farmer, and the oldest of three kids. Back in the 1800s, my ancestors were German settlers who struck out for America in order to find a more prosperous life, and they ended up settling, like a lot of Germans, in Lafayette County, Missouri (about 50 miles east of Kansas City). That original family farm is still owned and operated by my grandparents and their three kids – my dad, my uncle and my aunt. Today, they mostly farm crops – corn, soybeans and wheat – but when I was growing up, there were pigs, cattle, and even a few chickens, too. My sister and I would help out where we were able and allowed, but mostly, I just remember being in complete awe every day at how hard my parents and grandparents worked.
My dad was an entrepreneur. He is the very definition of a “self-made man.” He parlayed his small farm interest into several other business ventures while I was growing up – he owned a CB radio shop, as well as a chain of jewelry stores, and also became a real estate developer and eventually an investor and nightclub owner. It truly has been amazing to watch him from the time I was a small child chasing him around the farm while he was throwing hay bales and helping pigs deliver their young (disgusting, by the way), to building entire apartment complexes and subdivisions and operating these massive nightclubs. He embodies the American dream and has been a tremendous influence on my perception of what is possible in this country if a person is willing to put forth the risk and effort to accomplish their goals.
My mom was very attentive and devoted to our education. When I started kindergarten, I was way ahead of the rest of the kids in my class simply because my mom had cared enough to sit with my sister and me and teach us the things we needed to know before we ever got to school. Looking back, that was one of the greatest gifts any human being has ever given to me, and I am so thankful to her for that. She was the ultimate “Head Start Program.”
2. The Twitter community loves @Mommentator. What is it like being her husband?
Awesome. Humbling. Never a dull moment. Molly and I met in high school when my dad decided to move us out of Lafayette County and closer to a couple of the real estate developments he was working on at the time. I’m sure you can imagine that I wasn’t thrilled at the age of sixteen to be moving away from all of my friends, but it worked out for the best. I probably never would have met Molly had my dad not made us move at that time. So, I’ll forgive him…
Everyone on Twitter does love my @Mommentator – except for those crazy feminists. They don’t seem to care for her much. And you know, I think that’s because @Mommentator is a real threat to everything they espouse. Here is a beautiful, intelligent, successful mom who can just coolly and calmly dissect all of their insane arguments with surgical precision…and smile while she’s doing it. It really is fun to watch sometimes. On top of all that, she’s conservative, she’s a Christian, she loves to cook, and she’s hot. And she’s happy being a stay-at-home mom – that drives them nuts! It’s kind of like the effect that Sarah Palin has on the media. They just don’t know how to take her. (Don’t tell @Mommentator I compared her to Sarah Palin, by the way.)
In all seriousness, though, it’s been great to be able to witness the relationships Molly has forged on Twitter over the last couple of years, mainly because I get to see those people share in the awesomeness that is @Mommentator. She is a special, special person and I am so lucky to be able to spend my life with her. And yes, she is one busy momma. In addition to running the 3 ‘Little Teichs’ all over the place, she has continued to become more and more involved in the political scene over the last decade, organizing campaign events and fundraisers, going door-to-door for candidates, marching in parades, phone-banking, blogging, and doing everything in her power to get more people engaged and involved in the process. She brings a unique perspective to the political discussion and has really been able to carve out a niche with her website, politicalmommentary.com. In addition, she recently began working with an organization called momthink.org on a public awareness campaign dedicated towards educating mothers about important social, economic and political issues that impact their children today and in the future. It’s a very exciting time around Chateau Teichman as I get to witness firsthand the realization of the vision she set forth to accomplish in this regard. Oh, and did I mention she’s going back to school in August as a graduate assistant to teach public speaking classes and begin working on her Masters? Yeah, @Mommentator rocks…
3. My hunch is that Molly probably had a Twitter account first, then pulled you into the mix. You indulge in a good bit of social media yourself now, though, both frivolity and the serious stuff. Is my assumption correct and how did it all happen?
Well, like so many others in the conservative movement, Molly and I found ourselves sitting in front of the television on election night in November 2008, feeling hollow, confused, frustrated, and totally lost…
I think our story is very similar to many others out there. In the days and weeks that followed that night, our frustration and confusion continued to build. Our kids, at the time, were 7, 5 and 2. We knew that our nation was embarking down a terrible path towards self-implosion and that we were never going to be able to hand off to our kids the same opportunities that our parents passed on to us unless something drastically changed. It was at this time that Molly began to blog. She joined Twitter and Facebook, and started to seek out others who shared our frustrations…and she found them. As Obama took office and started to implement his insane policies, Molly was having nightly online conversations with people from all over the nation about the impact all this craziness was going to have on us and on our children. The natural result was that the time we used to waste watching silly, meaningless shows together began to decline. Well at the time, I was a little distressed by that. So I began to ask, “What is this Twitter? And why are we not watching ‘Survivor’?” I think she joined in January 2009, and I was about 2 months behind her. Twitter has been our ‘gateway drug’ to intense political involvement. We were both always very much in tune and involved with what was going on politically – definitely more so than most – but the election of Barack Obama, coupled with the rise of social media, has accelerated our involvement into a full-blown online version of guerilla warfare. And I don’t apologize for that comparison – this is a war. Not in the traditional sense of killing people, mind you, but a war for the heart and soul of America. So beware, liberals and feminists…we’re not going away any time soon.
4. What kind of law do you practice and did you aspire to be an attorney from a young age?
I actually wanted to be a baseball player growing up. My parents paid to send me to summer camps, take private hitting lessons, and I tried out for (and made) a high school traveling team when I was in 7th grade; but, life happened and I started to realize that I had about a 1% chance of ever making it anywhere with that endeavor, so I went into acting. Weird, I know. I started college as a Theater Major, and went my first 3 semesters to Central Missouri State University on an acting scholarship. Somewhere in there, though, reality (again) began to set in when I was hearing all the statistics about people who actually made a living doing that stuff. Plus, there were a lot of liberals in that department. I was the only conservative in the entire CMSU Theater Department, so I’m sure you can imagine some of the lovely discussions we used to engage in back in the green room. I didn’t want to be broke my whole life and I really didn’t think I could handle a lifetime of listening to that kind of tripe on a daily basis, so I made a conscious decision to set out on a new course.
Growing up, I had always had a love for politics – I was five years old when Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980, and my parents often discussed the issues of the day sitting around the dinner table. I used to get into political arguments on a daily basis with my high school forensics teacher, and I remember her telling me on the last day of my senior year, “I can’t wait until you go to college. I guarantee you won’t be as conservative after that experience.” Well, she was wrong. I decided to apply my love for politics towards a career that might allow me to one day have an impact. So, I abandoned my theater scholarship and switched my major to History & Political Science, with a minor in Theater & English. I graduated in 1998 and immediately went to Law School at Mizzou. Molly and I ended up getting married in the middle of my third and final year. We both knew that I couldn’t put up with sitting in a library doing research for some large firm, so we decided that I would take the risk of striking out on my own. We moved back to Lafayette County and I hung a shingle – much to the shock and dismay of several other local attorneys who had been firmly and comfortably ensconced in their practices for decades. They were all appalled that “some kid” thought he could just roll into town with no experience and just start poaching their clientele. I think a lot of them thought I would fail and be out of business within a year, but we have been truly blessed. It took a few years (and lots of very long nights) to build the practice, but I now have a thriving business with hundreds of clients and 3 staff members. I am your typical small town lawyer, doing everything from estate planning to family law to traffic tickets and beyond. It’s not as exciting as the sexy television legal dramas or a Grisham novel, but it’s a nice life. And we are extremely happy and blessed to be living it.
5. I have a hunch that, as a practicing non-sports follower, I may not be able to comprehend the full answer to this…But nonetheless, I have enjoyed the Teichman/Seal smackdown for the last couple of seasons. How did that rambunctiousness get started?
Ah, Jackie Seal… I’m not sure how our paths initially came to cross on Twitter. I think it was about the time that she made a complete fool out of Norah O’Donnell on MSNBC, but I do know that she initially “blocked” me before ultimately following me… I’m assuming that was a mistake on her part…the blocking part, that is…
Molly and I love Jackie. She is like the little sister I never had. It really is amazing…the scope and depths of relationships you can form with people in this medium. We’ve only had the pleasure of meeting Jackie in person once – at CPAC 11 in February – but we’re very protective and proud of her. She is one smart cookie and an awesome role model for young conservatives everywhere. If either (or both) of my daughters turn out to be like her, I definitely will have done my job. But she has terrible taste in sports teams!
Anyone who follows both of us on Twitter will often see us chiding each other over the successes and failures of the other’s teams, especially when it comes to college basketball. In March 2010, we had the idea to take our ‘trash-talking’ to the next level by competing against each other in an online ‘March Madness’ bracket challenge – the loser having to suffer by posing for a photo in the winner’s Snuggie of choice and making it their Twitter avatar for the next 30 days. We called it the “Teichman-Seal Smackdown,” and it was a lot of fun. Especially when it resulted in a photo of Jackie Seal sprawled out on a couch in the now infamous “Duke Snuggie.” This year, I successfully defended my title in the “Teichman-Seal Smackdown 2,” and the Twitterverse was treated to 30 days of Jackie Seal sporting Duke facial tattoos. You’re welcome, Twitter. We are already taking suggestions for what her punishment will be for losing next year…
6. Share some of your favorites with us: Books, Movies, Musical Artists, Sports (Players, if you want), Foods…and a couple more categories.
Well, as you can tell from my last answer, I am (unapologetically) a huge Duke fan. I love everything about Coach K. He is pure class. I also love my Mizzou Tigers, KC Chiefs, and those lovable losers, the Royals. I was 10 years old when the Royals won the World Series in 1985. I have an official game ball that was signed by all of the Royals’ players and coaches after their Game 7 win. It is prominently displayed in my office and I will never, ever part with it. My son is now 10 (also a fan of all of the above), and I hope and pray that he can one day experience the sheer elation of watching his team win it all. (@Mommentator thinks all this sports stuff is pure insanity, by the way…she just doesn’t understand).
Some of my other favorites:
Movies: “Braveheart” (Freeeeeeeeeedommmmm!!!!!), “Field of Dreams,” The original “Star Wars Trilogy”, “Tin Cup,” all the “Indiana Jones” movies, and “So I Married an Axe Murderer.”
Books: The Harry Potter series, all things Dan Brown (I know, it’s sacrilegious…but they’re soooo good!), and John Jakes’ North & South.
Musical Artists: George Strait, Martina McBride, Bon Jovi, Carrie Underwood, The Beach Boys and Sarah McLachlan.
Foods: Steak, crab cakes, lobster. And beer.
Presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Polk and Ronald Reagan.
7. Where on the scale of Democrat Presidents will Barack Obama be ranked and can he be beaten next year?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – Worst. President. Ever. He can be beaten, and he will be beaten.
8. In these features, I often pose a variation of an inquiry, regarding who my subject admires or who has been an influence on his/her life. I’d like to ask a slightly different question this time. As a husband and father today, who are three men, as you look back over your life, whose positive impact and example you can not only sense, but strive to emulate?
Well, my dad, for all of the reasons I stated earlier. In addition to all of that, he has always been there for my sister and me, no matter what. I think the greatest gift a parent can ever give to their child is the gift of unconditional love, and I have been blessed with that gift from both of my parents.
For completely different reasons, I would have to say Ronald Reagan. Again, I was five years old when Reagan beat that buffoon, Jimmy Carter, in 1980, and he had a tremendous impact on my life growing up. For me – and those in my generation – Reagan kind of “set the bar” as far as what we should expect from our leaders, and frankly, until very recently, I haven’t seen a lot of leaders who had the guts, the integrity, and the fearless leadership skills that Reagan possessed. He was firm and unwavering when it came to our protection, honest and straightforward on matters of economic reality, and calm and comforting in times of tragedy and sorrow. I love Ronald Reagan, and I pray that my children can grow up with a solid leader like him to watch and admire.
Third, would have to be my great-grandfather (my mom’s grandfather), Lolan Howerton. I was fortunate enough to be blessed with knowing all 4 of my grandparents (they’re all still alive), and equally blessed to have a close relationship with my great-grandparents, Lolan and Oval Howerton. She just passed away last year at the age of 97. He had died 7 years earlier, in 2003, 11 days before my 28th birthday. Growing up, my sister and I would spend time over the summers with them, heading off to their little farm down in southern Missouri for a couple of weeks at a time. They would take us camping, go fishing with us, let us feed their chickens, collect eggs for breakfast, and otherwise engage in all other sorts of traditional American living that kids nowadays just don’t have the opportunity to experience. I never once heard him raise his voice, cuss or talk badly about another human being. He was everything that was good and right in America. He loved God and his family, and I know that he would have given everything he had to save us from any pain or suffering whatsoever. He was an anchor. And I miss him terribly.
9. What role does faith in Jesus Christ play in your life?
Wow. It’s everything. It’s why I’m here. When Molly and I got married in October of 2000, we were required to meet with “Pastor Bob” at the Baptist Church on several occasions leading up to our wedding date (they won’t marry you in the Baptist Church unless you go through these sessions first). Mind you, this was at the height of the Bush vs. Gore presidential election, and I, of course, had my Bush-Cheney stickers plastered all over the back of my car. When we walked into Pastor Bob’s office one day, he said, “Hey, I notice you have a Bush-Cheney sticker on your car.” Thinking I was about to get to talk politics (my favorite subject) with a man of the cloth, I perked up and started spewing off about how excited and optimistic we were about the prospects of the upcoming election. Listening calmly and intently, Pastor Bob simply responded, “You know, George Bush never saved another human being from eternal death and he never will.” Ouch. Talk about perspective. I always remembered that. Sometimes, we who live within the political bubble of this 24-hour news cycle, who live and die with every poll and hang on the word of every talking head, and “live tweet” presidential debates and State of the Union addresses, tend to lose perspective on what it is we’re really doing here. The mission statement of our church is simple, but powerful: “To know Christ, and to make Him known.” Nothing more, nothing less. But it’s everything.
10. Why is conservatism a viable philosophy and can it prevail in America in the 21st century?
Conservatism is America. And it must prevail in the 21st century, or America will cease to exist. The principles of conservatism are timeless – individual freedom, self-reliance and the belief that all life comes from God. These are the principles upon which America was built. They are the foundation for everything that exists in this nation today. Thomas Jefferson once said, “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” So true. Our history since the American Revolution has been a persistent and ongoing story of liberty yielding to government – at every turn. At some point in this story, there comes a time when liberty refuses to further yield. I truly believe we’re at that moment. It’s, at times, a bit unsettling, and at others, humbling. I believe our generation has been given a tremendous opportunity to finally restore the conservative principles to America that made it the richest, kindest, most compassionate and most successful civilization in human history. But we have to do it now. This “can” has been kicked down the road for so long that we are now out of road. Will it be easy? No. Will it make us popular? No. Will it cause us to be criticized and vilified by our opponents at every turn? Absolutely. But the alternative is simply unacceptable. Everyone has their own reason(s) for being on Twitter or Facebook or for working on a campaign or for getting into arguments with their forensics teachers or for voting. For me, all of my such experiences can be summed up as follows:
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” ~ Ronald Reagan