REVIEW: Before You Wake

I just finished reading my friend Erick Erickson’s book Before You Wake. My first thought afterward was, “Wow! I needed that.” My second thought was, “Why don’t I ever cook anymore?” These are not trivial comments. In a world of Las Vegas mass shootings, the non-stop roiling waters of modern day American political discourse, and the overall busyness of life in 2017, Before You Wake is a welcome respite. I don’t read as much or for as long as I used to. Yet I looked forward every evening to reading this book. I was sad when it was time to turn off my bedside lamp.

In the course of writing this series of love letter to his children, Erick has written a message to everyone who reads them in this collection. It’s a message that causes the reader to frequently sit back and ask themselves, “When did I get so busy that I forgot about the stuff of life? Somehow, despite our vows to do otherwise, we have let the constantly connected world crowd out our precious memories and push aside valued lessons. At no time does the reader have the feeling that Erickson is lecturing or preaching to you. Instead you find yourself sitting the book down for a moment, reveling in Erick’s stories, empathizing with his heartbreak, sharing his laughter and then recollecting cherished moments from your own past.

One of my favorite chapters in the book us titled, Yalla, Habibi, and Shway Shway. It recounts some of Erick’s experiences as a schoolboy in Dubai. I spent a couple of hours in the Dubai airport once, but other than that I have no life experience in the Middle East. Yet I found myself completely engrossed and was taken back over and over to teachers or fellow students that made me laugh or were influential in my own life. This book has a way of taking you there, and its good medicine.

Another of my favorite sections is Break Bread Literally, here Erick shares recipes and talks about the conversations and fellowship that uniquely take place in the kitchen. There is something special about breaking bread together that reminds us of our shared humanity. The delightful smells and the warm laughter of my grandmother’s kitchen were the source of some of my most impactful life moments. What happened to that? Why doesn’t my family do it more? Sure, we cook, some, but we are always in a hurry. We seem to have fallen into a trap of, “Get the meal prepared and eaten so we can get the dishes done and move on.” Erick reminds us that preparing and enjoying a meal together can and should be a time of fellowship and bonding. We forgo that at our peril.

Finally: a personal note. The book is at it’s most poignant and moving when Erick recounts the health struggles that inspired the writing. Life threatening health scares inspired these lessons to his children and Erick recounts those times powerfully. It was in reading of those struggles that the full impact of something Erick did for me was realized. In the midst of his own health scare, he agreed to meet with me when I asked for his counsel regarding an important life decision of my own. At the time, I didn’t realize the magnitude of what Erick was facing in his own life. In retrospect, his taking the meeting was more than I had any right to expect or ask for.  I don’t always agree with him on every issue but one thing is certain, Erick Erickson is always fair, always thoughtful and cares deeply about the welfare of others. Those qualities come through in his writing and leave the reader better for the experience. 

Before You Wake: Life Lessons From A Father To His Children 

Thoughts of a Life Long Falcon Fan

I know it is just a game, a spectator sport at that, but as a Georgia native and life-long fan of Atlanta sports, this is yet another brutal loss. Quite frankly, it is a bit breathtaking. Fifty-one years. Fifty-one years, many of them horrid, we Falcons fans have waited for last night.

For me personally it has been forty-one. Having grown up in Georgia, I watched my first Falcons game with my grandpa in 1976. I was already 13 but due to some instability in my home life, I knew nothing about football. On that day, grandpa was patient with me. He explained the rules of the game and it remains a precious memory of time spent with him talking about something that was just for fun. The Falcons lost to the L.A. Rams that day. I believe the score was 56 to 3. Still, I was hooked.

This is far from the first heartbreak the Falcons have given me. The worst came off the field earlier this year. That one was so bad that, for the first time in my life I tuned them out. My reasons are stated here. I remain angry and disappointed by their decisions, but as this year’s team looked better and better, my history as a fan got the better of me. I began to tune in again by game twelve. One would think that at fifty-three years old I would know better than to make such dogmatic proclamations.

My history with the Falcons goes beyond games with my grandpa. Growing up I moved and changed schools often, sometimes in the middle of the school year. One survival skill I learned was to look for a boy or two with a Falcons trapper or maybe a sticker on his lunchbox. I could talk to him. Maybe we would become friends for the few months I would be in that place. It was an icebreaker that served me well.

Two weeks ago I went so far as to travel back to Atlanta. I took my son to the NFC Championship game against the Packers. We had attended other games through the years, the majority of them bitter losses. This time was different. It was different for the entire stadium than any sporting event I have attended. Though it was unexpected, the Falcons were comfortably ahead by the third quarter. The entire stadium was joined in a massive celebration from that point until the trophy presentation. It was as if the fifty-one years of frustration were being released by everyone present all at once. We had a blast.

After the game the celebrating continued into the Marta tunnels and onto the trains. My son and I high fived and even hugged, total strangers. All that was needed was to be wearing the colors. Even as I enjoyed the moment, I couldn’t help but think, “Why am I not like this at church?”

Sports allow us to hide our differences, at least for short periods of time. The Falcons theme for the season has been “brothership” (a word they made up but you get the point) or more recently, “brotherhood”. But sports are only a brotherhood that runs jersey or tee-shirt deep. There can be a brotherhood in Christ that goes all the way to our core. Would that I get as excited about that eternal brotherhood on a regular basis as I did about the Falcons games these last few weeks. I suppose that’s another topic for another day.

Of all the Georgia sports heartbreaks this was the worse. If you follow those teams you know what a mammoth statement that is (Georgia basketball’s recent loss to U.K. is one small example…I am a UGA Alumni).

In the meantime, I wonder what my grandpa would have thought of this year’s Falcon’s season. Then of course, as a believer who passed away in 1995, he has far better things to occupy his time. I wonder if those schoolyard buddies I once knew were watching last night and if their hearts are broken this morning as well.

Now the game is over and I am stunned. I don’t even feel like thinking about next year. Yet I hope this isn’t the end of the good times for us Falcons. I hope the city of Atlanta gets that elusive championship someday. Maybe by next September I will be ready to shout once again, Go Falcons. Rise Up!

The Risks Of Hillary

There is a large segment of conservative voters who are caught in the crossfire between #NeverTrump and Pro-Trump. It should be noted that there is a great deal of philosophical and intellectual real estate between Jonah Goldberg (who I admire greatly and read regularly) and Sean Hannity. We err grievously as conservatives if we dismiss the thoughts of Prager, Levin, Hewitt and my fellow fiction writer Brad Thor as merely “selling out” or “existing in a political bubble.”

Like Prager and company, I believe that a Hillary Clinton Presidency will not just be very bad for the country, but will in fact be catastrophic for our federalist republic. I am not saying American citizens will be driven to the catacombs. I am saying that the negative changes we have seen over the past eight years, will be accelerated exponentially in four more years of liberal rule. Because of the breadth of the topic, this will be a two part column.

Part I: Hillary’s Head Start

The aforementioned Mr. Goldberg states in his G:File this week, “America is larger than one election for one office in one branch in one of the many layers of government.” That was true before the mess the Obama administration has made of this country, but as it stands, I reject Goldberg’s premise. The question should be:

Can America survive four more years of radical leftism, after Obama has had eight years to lay the groundwork? The question should be, “Is America larger than Hillary after Obama and: a culture that can’t agree on who should use which bathroom, or on whether or not it is suddenly racist to stand during the national anthem; a world in which there seem to be a higher number of bad actors than ever (China, North Korea {with nukes}, Russia, ISIS, Iran {soon with Nukes…thanks Obama} to name a few) while our military has had its morale depleted by ridiculous rules of engagement, and which now takes an extra plane into combat so it can have spare parts; a intelligenc service who has gotten the message loud and clear that this State Department and this Justice Department sees it as an object of mistrust much more worthy of prosecution than commendation; an education system that has shifted violently leftward and has recently completed its thirtieth anniversary of full blown indoctrination of our college graduates; a radical green agenda backed by literally billions of dollars, that is hell bent on de-stabilizing our energy infrastructure; the demographics of an out of control Southern Border; the machinations of Black Lives Matter (recently funded by a one hundred million dollar grant from the Ford Foundation); La Razza, and the suddenly “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood; the aftermath of Obamacare and its failure; and a daily onslaught of federal overreach that quickly rendered the IRS scandal a non-story?

The above is only a partial list. I could go on…and on…and on. And we still haven’t talked about the national media, who passed partisan about four years ago, and is now a fully dedicated liberal propaganda machine. Being concerned about the cumulative effect of these things finishing off the America of 9-12 and replacing it with some marshmallowy, gooey, socialist state with a weakened infrastructure and military, resulting in the absence of any superpower counter to the aforementioned forms of hostile totalitarianism doesn’t make me paranoid. It makes me mildly observant.

And what of those layers of government Mr. Goldberg speaks about? Would those be the layers that have rendered state governments nearly irrelevant by doing things like striking down marriage and North Carolina’s completely reasonable voter I.D. law? Or perhaps he refers to the layers (mostly local and state governments) that Erick Erickson highlights in his book that are currently bankrupting Christians, rather than allowing them their first amendment rights. But of course we’ve got Congress to protect us. We may all stand confident in the fire and fight they have displayed for first principles…oh… wait.

I write this on 9-12. Allow me to posit a question. Is the America that exists after eight years of Obama and the one Hillary inherits, even capable of a 9-12 mentality? Tragically, under similar circumstances now, I could envision the Democrats in Congress joining in song on the Capitol steps with Occupy Wall Street as they locked arms and knelt during the national anthem. Meanwhile BLM would be screaming at Capitol Police, all while GOP Congressmen stand alone just off camera impotently, pitifully as the media voiceover eviscerates them for partisanship.

Another conservative columnist I respect recently scolded those of us who think the nation will fail under Hillary by saying “you said the same thing about the Obama administration and we survived that.” Did we? Really? Has the America we have known survived when the aforementioned spirit has been replaced with plane loads of shrink wrapped, tax-payer funded, cash payments to Iran, that will end up in the hands of the same types of jihadists that brought down the twin towers? Where are the pitchforks and torches (metaphorical)? The 9-12 America would not have tolerated this outrage for ten seconds.

Hillary Clinton will begin her agenda from a starting point that is much farther left, and much more dangerous for the country, than Obama did. And that’s only the smaller part of the reason she must not be elected.

Murder of the Scientific Method and Free Speech

As The Washington Times recently reported, a University of Colorado (at Colorado Springs) professor recently told his class that no debate would be allowed on climate change. The course is entitled, Medical Humanities in the Digital Age (whatever the heck that means and whatever the heck that has to do with climate change).  The professor went on to quote a completely bogus statistic that is an ongoing favorite of climate alarmists saying, “Opening up a debate that 98% of climate scientists unequivocally agree to be a nondebate would detract from the central concerns of environment and health addressed in this course.”  This statistic has already been disproved by my friend Dr. Roy Spencer and others but it doesn’t stop alarmists from quoting it constantly.

But this story is much bigger than the same old story on the so called gospel of man-made climate change. Our Universities with their safe zones, spurious accusations of “micro-aggresion”, and canceled debates, are now virulently and proudly standing against the scientific method. One cannot do scientific research or think critically about scientific hypotheses if it is streng verboten to examine all the data related to the hypotheses.

This closed mindedness on the part of University officials (and the University of Colorado is far from the only institution where catastrophic man-made climate change theory is taught as scientific law) in indicative of a larger and more frightening mindset in the culture.

Earlier this year, I joined nineteen others (many of whom are esteemed climate scientists and legal experts) in signing a letter to several Attorney’s General who are seeking to bring RICO criminal charges against anyone who dare questions man caused climate change. That letter was subsequently read on the floor of the Senate by Hillary Clinton’s Vice Presidential Nominee, Tim Kaine, who took much of it out of context and attempted to ridicule those of us who signed the letter.

This was part of a larger attack led by Sheldon Whitehouse against the Heritage Foundation and others who are, as Kaine said, “providing information that technically is not a lie” in order to educate the public on why man-made climate change theory is far from proven and in fact looks more and more suspect as a viable theory. Did you catch the word games by Kaine? “Technically not a lie” means that the information and data provided is in fact the truth. The problem is, that that information does not jive with Kaine’s and Whitehouse’s alarmist,  pro-green subsidy, anti-coal, agenda.

What’s more, the Democratic Platform Drafting committee unanimously adopted a “joint proposal calling on the Department of Justice to investigate alleged corporate fraud on the part of fossil fuel companies who have reportedly misled shareholders and the public on the scientific reality of climate change.”

Such  a mindset should be beyond alarming for the American public. Like all good leftists propagandists, from the Universities, to the use of the Senate chambers as a forum to hurl baseless accusations of fraud against climate realists, to criminalizing valid scientific inquiry, the climate change lobby is doing all it can to shut down speech that is counter to its narrative. As Dr. E. Calvin Beisner recently wrote, “Earth’s climate system is one of the most complex natural systems ever studied. It consists of thousands of subsystems — feedback mechanisms — most of which we still don’t understand. We don’t know how strong they are or in some cases even whether they increase or decrease warming or the balance of benefits and harms from it.”

Still, that won’t slow down the champions of the left and their anthropogenic, catastrophic, climate change alarmism. The first amendment must be ignored and trod under foot. The scientific method, which has served scientific inquiry so well for over four hundred years, must be abandoned. There is simply too much money to be made to let this fallacious crisis go to waste.

 

Bulldog Ties That Bind

Photo Credit; Logan Booker, Bulldog Illustrated
Photo Credit; Logan Booker, Bulldog Illustrated

Authors Note: This column is written to kick off the 2014 season. It is all the more applicable for the 2016 season.

My day had started at 4:30 a.m. After a few hours of work, some whirlwind errands, some last minute packing, and seven hours of driving, I had finally arrived in Atlanta.

“Why do I do this to myself?” I sighed. “I could have stayed home, saved a ton of money, and watched it from my recliner.”

My quest was to make it to my good friend Taron’s house. He has been my friend since we met as students at the University of Georgia in 1984. The following morning, the two of us were headed back to our alma mater, and those hallowed hedges of Sanford Stadium to watch our beloved Bulldogs play their season opener against Clemson. But … why?

Taron and I both have big screen televisions these days. I have a DVR, so I can pause the game and go get a coke. The viewing experience has never been better at home. Yet here I was, willing to drive over five hundred miles, with no tickets, to walk the campus from one end to the other in ninety eight degree heat, hoping for an opportunity to pay double, or more likely triple price, to get into the game. It made no practical sense.

The next morning things seemed a little more understandable as we donned our red and black official Georgia clothing and headed toward Athens, but in the back of my mind I was still asking myself if it was worth it. Along the route Taron and I reminisced about old times, but we spent much more time worrying about the future and shaking our head at the state of things.

When we finally hit campus, I grumbled to myself again about paying thirty dollars to park a good mile from Sanford Stadium. I shook my head at my own stupidity, as sweat poured from our brows as we tromped through every tailgate party we could find with two fingers aloft in search of tickets. “I’m too old and too wise for this,” I actually said aloud. Then I thought to myself, this time would probably be my last.

We got the tickets and they were the best I’d ever had. The fifty yard line split our seats right down the middle. We had plenty of time to attend the Dawg Walk, where players walk through a corridor formed by fans and the band on their way to the locker room.

photo courtesy of Logan Booker
Photo Courtesy of Logan Booker

I stood there in the sweltering heat, awaiting a procession of nineteen- to twenty-three-year-olds whom I had never met and will never meet again. Despite myself, I was getting caught up in the crowd’s excitement. I looked up and saw a three-year-old girl in a cute little cheerleader outfit. She was sitting on her daddy’s shoulder and waving her red and black pompoms. I got a lump in my throat as I remembered the way my own daughter, now all grown up, had once done the same.

The band was there, and the Drum Major had them strike the first notes of the fight song, “Glory, Glory to Ol’ Georgia … ” It was the song I sang to the top of my lungs as a student in ’84. Beside me was a handsome young couple, probably about twenty years old, and they were singing to the top of their lungs too. I joined in and for a moment forgot about the heat.

Later we made our way to our seats. I struck up a conversation with two older men in the seats behind me. Both were in their seventies. We made small talk mostly, but we talked about the Bulldogs too and what they might be this season, and whether or not we dared to get our hopes too high.

From Seats

The band marched, the pomp and ceremony was unleashed, and the Bulldogs stormed out onto the field. As the Dawgs burst through the paper G held by the cheerleaders, all things seemed possible. An SEC Title seemed in reach, a national championship just around the corner. It was opening day, and we were undefeated.

My friend and I cheered with great gusto, and I noticed the elderly gentlemen were giving it their all as well. We all knew all the same cheers. The game was a real battle through three quarters and every time the DAWGS were defending on a second or third down, we leapt to our feet with ninety-two thousand others. The heat was more oppressive than ever, but the game was on the line, the opportunity lay before us to hang on to our optimism, so we downed one bottle of water after another and rose to cheer once more.

Then the Bulldogs began to dominate, and the excitement built to a fever pitch. High-fives were exchanged between Taron and me and the elderly gentlemen, and the two guys to my left and the father and son to Taron’s right, all of whom we had shared friendly conversation with during time outs. After a long touchdown run we made the high-five rounds, but added a fist bump for the guys in front who we’d never so much as spoken with prior to that.

Photo Credit Logan Booker, Bulldog Illustrated
Photo Credit Logan Booker, Bulldog Illustrated

That’s when it hit me. I knew why I did it and would likely keep doing it, as the two gentlemen sitting behind me. All ninety-two thousand of us were human. And despite the fact that we like to think of ourselves as independent or as loners, there is nothing we desire more than to be with other like-minded humans. We seek unity in diversity, E Pluribus Unum–out of many, one. On Saturdays in Athens, when the Red and Black is worn with pride, there are no racial divides, or political parties, or wedge issues. For that brief snapshot in time, we are all united. We are all one Bulldog nation. And we long for that in our “real” lives … we yearn for it. But it eludes us.

Bulldogs young and old love Athens. We flock to it from literally every corner of the nation. From the three-year-old little girl with her pompoms, to the twenty-year-old couple, to Taron and me, to the elderly men, we know the cheers. They are the cheers of our forbearers from football seasons going all the way back to the 1800s. In a world of constant and overwhelming change, the cheers stay the same and that comforts us and warms us. When we learned the cheers we were young and vibrant, hope was in abundance, the future was before us, and everything was possible … for the Bulldogs and for us.

The game ended with a decisive Bulldog victory. We shook hands with the new found friends, not conscious of the fact that we will likely never see them again. There was a twinkle in our eyes as we departed because we knew that the dream of a national championship would live another week. We walked, at first in a sea of red and black, towards our cars. Then as we branched out further from the stadium, our numbers dwindled, until finally Taron and I walked alone through the last dark parking lot. We drove off through the night dehydrated and drained. Faint smiles still lingered on our faces as we rode silently down a dark Georgia highway barreling headlong back into reality. But we had been there hadn’t we? What we’d felt was real, wasn’t it … just for a little while? That we were united as one, and in our hearts we’d all been young again, and hope had overflowed, and all things had seemed possible … Go Dawgs!

We Shall All Hang Separately

You’ve heard it before a million times but it bears repeating right about now. Upon signing the Declaration of Independence, Ben Franklin is reported to have said:

We must all hang together now, or most assuredly, we will all hang separately.

Franklin’s pun was well aimed. The founders were defying the wishes of the King of England, leader of the world’s military superpower at that time. Only by standing together as a unified group, (and only with some perfectly timed divine intervention) did the leaders of the colonial revolt stand a chance.

I attended Red State Gathering last week in Denver. I enjoyed spending some time with Erick Erickson and talking for a bit about things besides politics (but also about politics). I also met a lot of strong, dedicated conservatives. I made a special attempt to talk to as many of them as possible. I even talked to a few of the speakers after they came off stage.  There were some areas that divided us to be sure, but there is one thing that unites us. We are scared.

Some may deny it, some may talk about optimism for the future and may even believe it to some extent, but we are scared about what’s going to happen two months from now. By that I don’t mean that folks think the world is going to end, I mean that after eight years of Obama, and under such poor leadership going forward, they think America will become some form of a European Socialist Democracy.

This columnist is done with the analysis. I am so sick of it I can’t put it into words. Since the conventions we have all been trying to choose between a noose around the neck or a pistol shot to the temple with these two candidates. Set aside the enthusiastic supporters of each for a moment. That only leaves two types of voters, those who are #NeverTrump and those who are #NeverHillary. If, after Red State, I could boil all the areas of disagreement between those two factions into a couple of lines it would be these: One group thinks the floor is lower with Hillary as President, the other thinks the floor is lower with Trump. Neither side has embraced or promoted either candidate. So, why can’t there be a mutual respect between the two going forward? Why can’t we agree to disagree and be fully prepared to lock arms on November 9th, regardless of the outcome, and fight for conservatism together once again?

I ask because that’s not what’s happening now. I didn’t see it so much at the gathering but with the exception of columns yesterday by Erick Erickson and Steve Deace and, that’s not the tone that is being struck. Donald Trump’s candidacy has done the one thing that I thought would have been impossible after eight years of Barak Obama, he has fractured the conservative movement into pieces. Some may think that a good thing…a pruning as it were. But when I look at the demographics of this nation, I can’t agree. We can barely win an election now 51% to 49%, we will never win again if we are split apart.

We need more calls for unity. If we can’t unify behind Trump so be it. Then lets at least unify around one another, lacking that let’s unify around conservatism or better yet, around our shared faith in a creator God.

The first step to us doing that is for both sides to admit something to ourselves…we don’t know. Neither side can have any certitude about which candidate will be worse. This is an unprecedented election. Not only does the world seem to be in the midst of massive political and economic upheaval, the throwing off of the Judeo Christian ethic by the larger part of American society is going to have widespread repercussions. All this is happening in an age when information, photographs and even HD video, travel worldwide in seconds. A thousand things could happen to change the course of American democracy while one of these candidates is President and we have no idea how they will respond to those changes. So in light of this volatility can we allow one another some leeway…some grace?

One thing I am confident of, the vast majority of people voting in this election truly want to do what’s best for their country. Those who disagree with my conclusions love their country too. That being said, we had darned well better rediscover our commonality. If we don’t, in a few more years, Franklin’s quote won’t just be a historical, metaphorical, reference.

Comes a Statesman

 

There was a western released in the late seventies called “Comes A Horseman”.  It was good but not great and it probably isn’t even the best Western movie analogy for the point I am trying to make here. High Noon with a little bit of High Plains Drifter (Clint Eastwood) thrown in would probably have been better but those film titles didn’t segue nearly as well…author’s privilege.

The familiar story in some of these Western’s goes like this; townspeople and at least one woman who won’t settle for a man with a squishy backbone in her life, yearn for a man of principle and a strong sense of right and wrong to show up. Then along comes James Caan or Gary Cooper, or Clint Eastwood. At first the town folk are thrilled that this guy is going to stand up for them, but they always end up offended by his insistence on moral absolutes. When the hero calls them to task for their own role in the thieving or cattle rustling, they deem him too harsh, too principled, not pragmatic enough. They begin to murmur behind his back, “Now hold on a minute partner (okay they probably don’t say partner if the Western was made after 1930 but again…author privilege)…a man can take things too far! We just wanted you to get rid of a couple of bad guys so we could return to business as usual. Now you’re steppin on our toes.”

All my life I have heard conservatives and conservative pundits cry out for a statesman not a politician, for a man (or woman) that would stand for principle not party. Yet last Wednesday night, when Ted Cruz embodied exactly that type of leadership, many conservative pundits and fellow Republican politicians were apoplectic. Of course we all expected Cruz to be vilified by Democrats and the main stream media no matter what he had said in his speech. But it was beyond disappointing to hear such a negative reaction from fellow conservatives. Even media figures and politicians who had been very supportive of Cruz throughout the primaries joined in the piling on.

I could understand it a little better if these conservative critics simply thought Cruz made a tactical error politically, but they went further than that to question Cruz’s motives. I am stunned by how many consistently label Cruz as only self-serving; as though he couldn’t possibly be genuinely trying to do what he thought was right. As with his filibuster on Obamacare, where Cruz is blamed for single handedly shutting down the Government, (last I checked Harry Reid had the capability to avoid a shut-down had they not been so inflexible themselves) it seems never to occur to conservative talking heads that Cruz might actually have been trying to do what he had promised his constituents he would do if elected. Also last week, as was done following the filibuster, the term “stunt” was thrown around quite often on Thursday when evaluating Cruz’s speech.

Is it possible that conservatives have gone so long without truly principled leadership that many didn’t recognize it when they saw it? Isn’t it more of a condemnation on the current jaded state of conservative punditry than it is on Ted Cruz that so few saw his stand as courageous? We talk about the founders and founding principles constantly. So what do the so called “experts” suppose a George Washington or a John Adams would have done in a similar situation? Pundits are free to disagree with Cruz’s conclusions but Cruz genuinely believes that Trump will be harmful both to the country and to the party, a position most of Cruz’s critics held until eight weeks ago. Had Washington or Adams believed the same would they have endorsed for the so called “greater good”.

Like those western towns folk, many conservatives only think they want statesmanship. Because when I hear phrases like, “suicide note” and “self-serving stunt”, I can’t help but hear echoes of “now hang on there a minute partner, a man can take things too far.”

Conservatism cried out for decades for a selfless leader who was willing to stand against the tide and articulate conservatism. Then when that leader showed up and did exactly that, we discovered that conservatism has been so compromised, so watered down, that three fourths of our own movement didn’t recognize true leadership when they saw it.

Cruz’s Speech Tonight is HUGE…YUUUUGE!

 

Love him or hate him, the future direction of conservatism may well hinge on Ted Cruz’s speech tonight.  My colleague Steve Berman writes here that Cruz will get the loudest applause other than Trump. I hope so but I’m not so sure. With the way this campaign season has gone, piped in boos against Cruz are not out of the question (and that’s just counting the recorded boos broadcast by Breitbart).

On a more serious note, I reject any notion (as Newt Gingrich posited last night) that Cruz is somehow obligated to endorse the nominee. Why can’t Cruz simply tout conservatism and the aspects of a fairly conservative GOP platform that he agrees with while skillfully skirting the “endorsement thing”. That type of speech would still strike an upbeat, pro-America, pro-conservatism note, while not offending anyone in the hall and without kissing the orange ring.

One thing is certain, this conservative will be leaning into the screen listening closely to Cruz’s every word, both spoken and unspoken. I continue to believe that Cruz is the most conservative candidate in my lifetime that came so close to the nomination while undergoing attacks from so many quarters within his own party. In my view, his survival of that gauntlet with most of his hard won support intact makes him the de-facto spokesman of American conservatism at the present hour.

Cruz has an opportunity to be Reagan in ’76 here. He has an opportunity to strike a course for conservatives as we move forward into what may prove to be our roughest waters in decades. Because of that, I would posit that this speech is more important to the future than Trump’s will be.

So with all that being said, what if he endorses Trump. I truly don’t know. I will be disappointed, but I will also be listening for qualifiers Cruz might use. If Cruz does endorse, then this columnist is going to have to go to ground for a couple of days and re-think some things. I am going to have to decide if any politician can be trusted for very long after they have assumed office in Washington.  Because if have misjudged Cruz as closely as I have followed his career, my confidence in my own ability to evaluate politicians is going to be shaken.

Still, I am far from ready to give up on men like Cruz. I’ll certainly give him a hearing before I jump to any conclusions about his motives. We’re listening Ted. Many of us have worked very hard for you to get as far as you did. Don’t let us down.