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    A Memory of a Political Convention long ago and far away In the opinion of H. L. Mencken, who didn’t equivocate, “ There is something about a national convention that makes it as fascinating as a revival or a hanging.”   I wouldn’t go that far.  In my political career, I attended conventions where serious business was done and history was made.  The conventions, after all, have a lot to say about the leadership and the direction of the country in the four years after all the balloons have been popped and all the banners have gone into the garbage.      There is much about this year’s conventions that is out of the ordinary.  But, then, these are not ordinary times.  For a long time now, there has been no mystery about the nominees, for President and Vice-President, of both parties.  In the absence of suspense, one watches for what the mood of the conventions tell us about each party. With no real drama to absorb my attention, I found myself remembering my first experien
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Jean Kennedy Smith r i p I met with her when she was U.S. Ambassador to Ireland and I was in the country, helping to negotiate a cease fire and framework for peace between the rival factions in what were called, euphemistically, as "the troubles." Here are my recollections of that meeting, from my book Citizen Mack : When I left Belfast, I went to Dublin, where I had another experience in peaceful coexistence. I was scheduled to visit the US embassy there and spend time with the ambassador, Jean Kennedy Smith, who was, of course, a member of the Kennedy political family. It seemed unlikely, to say the least, that I—a conser- vative Republican senator from a Southern state—would be able to bond in any way with her. I expected the visit to be strained and formal and that it would seem to drag on forever. Well, the spirit of reconciliation must have been in the air. After I was introduced to the ambassador, we began a bit of awkward small talk and before
Speaker Newt Today is the birthday of one of the more memorable leaders and friends from my years in politics.  He engineered the Republican takeover of the House in 1994.  Something that political insiders and experts considered impossible.  But he did it and went on to lead the Republican Revolution.  His energy is boundless and as they would say in his native state of Georgia, "there is no quit in him." Here is a passage from my book Citizen Mack that might give you a sense of the man: …… there may not have been anyone in the modern history of the House of Representatives who was more committed to doing very big things than one Newton Leroy Gingrich of Georgia. His goals were simple enough: first, become the majority party, then repeal most of the work of Lyndon Johnson ’ s Great Society and a lot of Franklin Roosevelt ’ s New Deal. And, in the meantime, win the Cold War and halt the march of communism.  Senator Mack's new memoir, titled 'C
G.H.W. Bush: President and Patriot This photograph should have been posted last Friday, which was George H.W. Bush's birthday.  However, we had some technical problems so I'm putting it up late.  Just can't let it go to waste.  Not with my hair so full and free of gray. President Bush was a patriot and a great public servant and I remember him with respect and fondness.  He makes several appearances in my book Citizen Mack.   This excerpt mentions the airplane that he said, after he had lost the election to Bill Clinton, was the thing he missed most about being President: President [George H.W. Bush] gave me a tour,[of the new Air force One] and it was clear he loved that plane. It was too bad that he wouldn ’ t have much longer to enjoy the use of it.  Even President Bush seemed to sense this. On the flight down to Miami, he said to me, “ You know, I think we may have waited too long to get serious with this campaign.”  I think I said something li
Cancer Survivors this is your day Today is National Cancer Survivors Day.  There are more of “us” every year and this is certainly something to celebrate.  Though we certainly shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that there is more to do and a long way yet to go. Still, there are many good stories. And much to be grateful for. I survived a melanoma – the kind of cancer that killed my brother – because, as I write in my book, the  … cancer had been detected in time, and the treatment, which had amounted to barely more than an inconvenience, had been successful.  Even if I hadn’t been a believer in early detection and treatment before, I surely would have been now.  I became even more of a believer a few months later. I had been on a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon, having the time of my life, and when it was over and I got home, Priscilla met me at the door. Later on, she would tell me that she had rehearsed how she was going to ask me to tell her
Great Man, Great Speech remembering Ronald Reagan and The Boys of Pointe du Hoc Today (June 5th) is the anniversary of Ronald Reagan's death in 2004. He was President during the three terms I served in the house (1983 – 1989) and he was the kind of leader who comes along rarely and, for some reason, when American seems especially to need one like him. He had many gifts and we remember, especially, that one for language, rhetoric, and speechmaking.  One of his most memorable speeches was the one he gave commemorating the 40th anniversary of D-Day.  The title of that speech was The Boys of Pointe du Hoq.     The anniversary of D-Day is Saturday, June 6th.  That speech is very much worth revisiting.  As Ronald Reagan is very much worth remembering.  I am still proud to think of myself as a Reagan Republican and for playing my part in the Reagan Revolution which was, fundamentally, about celebrating and defending freedom. Photo Wikimedia
D-Day remember the heroes  Source: U.S. Department of Defense photo via  Wikimedia Commons On the anniversary of this day, please take a moment to remember and to watch this very moving video,  Honoring Our Fallen Heroes , from Hillsdale College.  Freedom comes at a high price.  But it is always worth it.