Monthly archives "December 2011"

Those Big Half-Hours

It has been said that there are 15 to 20 big 1/2 hours that largely shape our lives.   I think there is truth in that.   We all face major decisions such as where to continue our education–which college or vocational school.  What is my career path?   Who will I marry?   Do we wish to have children?   Where will we live?

Generally these decisions come down to a big half-hour where we decide.  There are 15 to 20 of these which make us who we are–that determine our destiny.   For example, if we choose this college rather than that one we study under particular professors and rub shoulders with particular students that shape our lives.  Many persons meet their spouse at an institution of higher learning which obviously changes personal life as well as society through children born to that union.

My wife and I had some of those big half-hours aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam from 12/4-12/11 on The Weekly Standard Cruise.    We spent time with Bill Kristol, Fred Barnes, Steve Hayes, Scott Rasmussen, Juan Williams, Mary Katherine Ham, Terry Eastland, Jonathon Last and Matt Continetti.   We had extended time with Mark and Mollie Hemingway.  Mollie is also a native of Colorado.

There are several impressions we take from this experience.   First, these are realistic but also positive persons.   The type of individual with whom one wishes to spend time.   Second, they represent several generations–seniors, middle-aged, and youth.   Third, they are gifted intellectually and in their ability to express themselves.   Fourth, they are well schooled in our history and thus understand the present and have vision for the future.   Finally, and perhaps most important, they give one hope as they believe we can be restored under the the right leadership.  We saw this with the 2010 elections and it needs continue with the Presidential election of 2012. 

However, they also heed the words of the brilliant Charles Krauthammer who wrote recently that we are nearing our last chance.   President Barack Obama must be defeated in 2012.   Juan Williams said that Obama is the first 21st century President.   I personally said to him that, if that is true, he is the wrong such President and asked who would be a Republican to consider for the new century.   He answered, “Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann–someone like these.   Like most conservatives I disagree with Juan on many issues but he has this right.

As cruise leaders discussed the coming election–Presidential, Congressional and for the Governors, there was a name consistently mentioned for Vice President, Marco Rubio.   Steve Hayes said that as impressive as he is on television he is even more so in a personal interview.

We also conducted an informal election on board as to who should be the GOP nominee for the Presidency.   Newt Gingrich garnered just under 60 % of the vote with Mitt Romney collecting most of the rest.   A number of the Weekly Standard leaders believe that Newt’s lead will hold unlike Perry’s and Cain’s in the immediate past.

These cruises also afford time on shore.  We went to Half Moon Cay, Grand Cayman, Roatan, Honduras  and Costa Maya, Mexico.   Nor are the seminars all seriousness.  One gentleman told Bill and Fred he thought they were wishy washy for not identifying President Obama as a Socialist.   Bill smiled and said that it was good to be out of D.C. where the Weekly Standard crew is seen as a dangerous, far right fringe while on the Caribbean they are not dangerous but wishy washy.

There will be another cruise in July.  We recommend that you book passage if you can.   If not, at least consider a subscription to The Weekly Standard.   It is more than an alternative to Time  or Newsweek.   It is an intelligent, culturally rich conservative case for America.   And you may find reading it to be a big half-hour.


The New Comeback Kid

The November 28 issue of The Weekly Standard  features three articles on Newt Gringrich.  Both editor, Bill Kristol, and executive editor, Fred Barnes, devote their essays to the former Speaker.   Kristol’s effort is more generalized under the title “Evitable” and notes that Mitt Romney’s poll support has fallen from 26% in August to 22% in November.   This indicates two things:   Romney has not caught on with conservatives and different opponents have risen to challenge him and then fallen away–Bachmann, Perry, Cain.   Now Newt Gingrich is leading Romney.

Bill Kristol asks whether Newt will also fade.  The editor thinks perhaps not as he is a more experienced national candidate than either Perry or Cain.     There are two mitigating circumstances that favor Romney.   He leads President Obama in national polls while the former Speaker slightly trails the President.    Then there is the Newt baggage.   Fred Barnes mentions baggage in the first sentence of his article, “The History of Newt.” 

But Barnes notes that Ronald Reagan had enough baggage that Jimmy Carter was thrilled to run against him.   Former CA Governor Pat Brown tried to warn Carter not to underestimate Ronald Reagan.   He also thought he would beat Reagan easily only to lose by 600,000 votes in the Golden State.   Carter learned the same when he managed to win 10 states in 1980 and lost the popular vote by some 9 million.

And the Gingrich baggage is somewhat like Bill Clinton’s which the public looked past.   Like 1980, 2012 is not a normal election and three marriages and foolish alliances with Hillarycare and Nancy Pelosi on global warming may not doom Newt this time.   And let us not forget that Obama now has a record and it is not hope and change.   He has his own baggage named Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Bernadette Dohrn and Tony Rezko.   These may be old names but a smart, tough man like Gingrich can foil gangsters like this into a campaign.

Newt Gingrich is a shrewd operator who openly says that, like Richard Nixon, he is not likable but he knows how to connect with populist yearnings and the angst among the electorate.   His needling of the mainstream press does not hurt either among average voters.   The elites do not like it but that helps him also.

Gingrich is not a traditional politician nor is he running a traditional campaign.   He has neither money nor campaign infrastructure.   But he has lots and lots of intelligent words which he  shares even with Iowans not eligible to vote.  Weekly Standard  reporter, Michael Warren, writes about the middle school in Osage, Iowa where Newt spoke of the building of the railroad and positive attitudes of Americans that made that possible and how it can happen again under his leadership.   The adults present (and others) have a political fantasy of Gingrich and Obama 20 paces apart with no teleprompter.   The breadth of Gingrich’s knowledge is not lost on the young audience even if they cannot follow it all.   Ask Newt a question, any question, and he has a ready answer.

Fred Barnes closes his entry by noting that Gingrich’s view of this is race is the contest between the tortoise and the hare with the man from Georgia as the tortoise.   Hard to see the brilliant man with the flashy words as the tortoise.   But in the end we all know who won.