Saturday, June 24, 2006

Greetings From Mike's America!

The Palmetto Pundit asked if I would stand in while he vacations at the shore this week. Since I vacation at the shore year round, it's no great sacrifice for me to share with PP's readers a taste of Mike's America.

Why Mike's America ?

The idea for doing a blog came to me during the 2004 Presidential election. I was one of those people sending out emails with news and information about the campaign to friends and family. So, taking the next step and putting it all in a blog which affords a range of text, audio and visual possibilities in an easy to reference web page seemed a natural.

The name, Mike's America came after reflection on the class warfare tactics of the Democrats, most especially that of the Democrats Vice Presidential candidate, John Edwards. In his famous "Two Americas" stump speech (which you may read here)he enunciated the politics of dividing our society, creating envy in the so-called "have-nots" and seeking to punish the "haves" or the successful people in our society whose initiative and drive are the engine which pulls the whole train down the track.

Mike's America is dedicated to the unity of our country, not it's division. And that unity is ever more necessary as we face what truly are life and death issues on a daily basis. Since the awful atrocities of September 11th we have had two national elections in this country where the issues of security, freedom, peace, justice have been front and center along with economic progress and societal fairness.

The voters have spoken in increasing numbers for a unified plan to address that host of concerns. That is the ethos of Mike's America: "Better, Safer, Stronger and Free."

Mike's Experience: A Front Row Seat to History

I formed many of my political views through long experience since my early years as a child. Even in the 4th grade I was politically active. When the teacher asked for students to bring in campaign literature from the presidential campaigns, I volunteered to bring in Nixon pamphlets. Of course they, along with the Humphrey literature, mostly wound up in the wastepaper basket with funny faces painted over the candidate photos. Proving that many Americans, and especially at an early age pay little serious attention to politics.

In college, I had the good fortune to find one of the rare political science professors who was a Republican and also had the distinction of working on campaigns and in the political structure at the state and national level. With his encouragement I worked in my first statewide campaign in Ohio to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would eliminate the partisan gerrymandering of election districts. We suceeded in getting the amendment on the ballot, but it was defeated.

I was also encouraged to start a College Republican Club at Ohio Wesleyan, and after doing so, took club members to the election night celebrations for President Reagan's election in 1980 in Columbus, Ohio. It was that celebratory evening where my group and myself (far right in photo at right) met Congressman John Ashbrook , an early founder of the Conservative movement along with Goldwater, Buckley and Reagan (Ashbrook bio here).

Meeting the "Right" People

After graduation, I worked on Congressman Ashbrook's statewide campaign for United States Senate. Unfortunately, he died suddenly during the campaign. But it gave me the opportunity to meet many of the great conservatives like Phyllis Schlafly and later, William F. Buckley, Jr.

In 1984 I was active once again organizing campaign activities on behalf of President Reagan. I founded a student group at Bowling Green State University that at the time had the largest number of new student voters registered on behalf of his re-election campaign. We were rewarded by a visit by President Reagan. It would be his first campus election event.

The atmosphere on campus that September day was electric. It seemed the usual liberal sniveling that often is highlighted by the press at events such as this was totally absent. Perhaps it was the fleet of five helicopters, including Marine One, the President's own, landing outside Anderson Arena that really got the crowd excited. Students of history may wish to read the speech President Reagan delivered for a flavor of the times. Notice in the question and answer session that followed how one student asked if our involvement in Central America might become "another Vietnam." Some things never change.

The event was so successful, that the Reagan-Bush campaign soon scheduled similar events across the country.

Three weeks later, President Reagan returned to the area again. This time, it was onboard the Ferdinand Magellan, or Car One, a railroad car built especially for use by the President of the United States. I took the following photo at the nighttime scene lit by torchlight. It's too bad they don't do events like this anymore. Buses just don't seem to have the same magic.

Working in the White House

After I completed my postgraduate studies at Columbia University in 1988 (focusing on national security topics under the direction of former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski) I was anxious to play a role in the upcoming presidential campaign. And why not witness the art of presidential politics from a viewpoint inside the White House. So I accepted an internship in the White House Political Office.

The story of my time there was published in the Carolina Morning News, and I reprinted that story along with reflections of President Reagan sent in by other bloggers during the Mike's America celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the first Reagan Inaugural this past January.

Palmetto Pundit also joined that celebration by linking with his description of President Reagan as " not only [] the greatest president of the 20th Century, but also one of the greatest Americans to have ever lived. " You'll get no argument from me Palmetto.

It was at the White House that I was also privileged to witness the arrival of one of the greatest British leaders that ever lived: Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, on her last state visit to see President Reagan, her partner in so much good work, before he left office. I took the following photo on the White House lawn, November 16, 1988. (the program cover may be viewed here)

After leaving the White House with the change of administration, I went to work for the United States Environmental Protection Agency. It was a marked change from the "can do" White House to a federal bureaucracy where the usual attitude was "can't do."

In 1996, I was disappointed that no place could be found for me with the Dole/Kemp campaign and decided to leave Washington for Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Considering how badly Dole/Kemp did that November (thanks in great part to the interference once again of Ross Perot) it was fortunate I did not sacrifice the many months that would have been required only to be defeated.

Since then, I have used my writing talents, such as they are, to continue supporting conservative candidates and causes from my perch here on the edge of the Atlantic, yet deep in the heart of the New South.

Technorati talk bubble
Locations of visitors to this page