Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Mike's America Joins Political Realities

Spreading the message of conservative governing principles one step further!

L.D. Jackson invited me to become a contributor at Political Realities. By way of introduction I offer the following short biography. I'm sure regular readers at Mike's America will also find it informative.

Why Mike's America?

Before I began blogging after the 2004 presidential election I would send out stories I found interesting to friends and family via email. Invariably, someone would lose one of the emails and ask me to resend it. I thought, there must be a way to have all the news I notice in one place as a reference for me and anyone else who might be interested. Blogging was a new way to achieve that while offering a creative outlet for me following several years writing columns for a local magazine.

I choose the name Mike's America after 2004 Democrat vice presidential candidate John Edwards and his "two Americas." Unlike Edwards' reformulation of America as a nation in dire need of liberal correctives, Mike's America celebrates and respects the history and traditions which make this the greatest country on earth. If Edwards'  America was so rotten, why do millions risk their lives to come here?

Mike with William F. Buckley Jr.
I blog from the perspective of my personal experience in politics and government which runs from the Court House to the White House. I've sold dog licenses as a Deputy Auditor in small town Ohio and I've worked in the White House Political Office under President Reagan. I'm the veteran of two statewide campaigns in Ohio, the second of which was working with the late Congressman John Ashbrook, a founder of the modern conservative movement, in his ill-fated bid for the U.S. Senate. Also, I got a first hand education in how the federal government really works (or rather, doesn't work) by working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC.

Over the years I have met many of the great and good conservative leaders. Does anyone remember Congressman Phil Crane or Phyllis Schlafly? I stood on the platform of the GOP Convention in Detroit in 1980 while Barry Goldwater spoke. But of all these, my favorite moments were those with Ronald Reagan.

I first met both Ron and Nancy Reagan as they arrived for a campaign event in Cincinnati, Ohio before the 1980 primary. Four years later, I organized one of the largest student groups in the country and was rewarded with a Presidential visit to my hometown. Four years later, in 1988, I was working in the White House Political Office.

I have three favorite Reagan photos, all of which I took myself.

The President spoke from the rear platform of U.S. Car One of the "Heartland Special" during a Whistlestop train tour of Ohio, October 12, 1984. The speech (sixth item here) was one of those great "take off the gloves" and tell it like it is speeches. I was lucky to get a front row seat and snap the following scene dramatically lit by torch bearers.

U.S. Car One is the official designation given the Ferdinand Magellan when the car was purchased by the U.S. Government in 1946 for the exclusive use of the President of the United States. Tour U.S. Car One at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum in Miami, Florida.

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).

Finally, when my boss in the Political Office asked for ideas for presidential visits, I mentioned how successful the visit to my hometown had been in 1984. So, Reagan returned again and I took the following photo outside the Wood County Courthouse in Bowling Green Ohio. No longer just a spectator, I was a key aide in planning the trip.

President Reagan visits Bowling Green, Ohio,
October 19, 1988. Speech here.

The story of my time in the White House appears in a column published in a local newspaper shortly after the death of President Reagan in 2004.

Now Fighting for the Right in South Carolina

Sen. John McCain, and his mother (at left)
visit Mike's America in 2007.
I left Washington in 1996 and moved to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. But I still kept up my political activity. Living in South Carolina I have the good fortune to meet many of the presidential GOP candidate wannabes as they visit before the crucial SC primary. The most memorable was a rather testy exchange with John McCain where I took conservative criticism to him very directly in a small group event in 2007. True to form, McCain doesn't like criticism from the right. It appeared then, as it does now, that he's far more comfortable trying to make nice with Democrats than his fellow Republicans. The same is true for his best buddy, Senator Lindsey Graham who also serves our state. Sadly, I doubt we'll be able to replace Lindsey in 2014.

I likely won't post everything from Mike's America at Political Realities. Besides, it would be hard to keep up with L.D. Jackson who always seems to post on a particular topic while I'm still mulling it over. But I will invite Mike's America readers to visit Political Realities and vice versa. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

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