Every so often it does a man good to go home again. On Monday night I was privileged to be asked to give a speech to the Mobile (AL) County Republican Executive Committee, which wanted a report from me as a conservative columnist on what I’ve seen in my two years back in Washington after spending the previous eight home on the Gulf Coast. I decided not to give them a conservative pep talk, but rather a honest report, along with some historical perspective.
What I found, as an outside observer, was a well-organized and active group of people of good will, good heart, and good energy. The experience led me to believe that the grass roots are in better shape than are the party offices and congressional caucuses in Washington. If I could give a speech to those congressional caucuses to report what I saw at the grass roots, I think my speech would be more upbeat — and I also think the listeners would be more in need of hearing any lessons I could pass on to them than were the listeners in Mobile, who already seem to be full of the wisdom that those on Capitol Hill seem to have lost.
That said, here is the text of the speech I gave Monday night; I’m curious to know if American Spectator readers find that it rings true to their own observations:
IT’S REALLY GOOD to be back home. Back home where you can trust what people say without always trying to figure out what their “angle” is. Home, where people don’t obsess every day about Nancy Pelosi’s parliamentary tactics or about whether Barack Obama is going to be able to appeal to the guns-and-God voters in Appalachia.
Dadgum, doesn’t anybody up there know that summer is time for family and fishing?
That said, I know that this IS an audience that cares about politics, and for the right reasons, because you care about our country. And speaking of politics, I see here one of our favorite politicians, Commissioner Hammer himself, Stephen Nodine.
Now I’m gonna tell a story about Stephen that he’s probably sick of me telling, but it’s just so prototypically Nodine that I can’t resist.
Back when Stephen was a city councilman, the biggest possum you’ve ever seen in your life decided to die in the middle of my street right in front of my house. I mean, this critter was big, and it was ugly — and as my wife Tresy and I soon found out, dead possums stink worse than dead, rotting fish. I mean, after just one day you could smell the thing a block away.
Our neighbors tried calling all sorts of city services to get the possum removed — Sanitation Department, Streets Department, you name it. But nothing worked, and the blasted thing sat there for three, solid, smelly days.
So I picked up the phone and called our councilman himself, telling Mr. Nodine that his civil servants were falling down on their jobs and creating a health hazard.
Well, I’ve gotta say I was expecting some city workers to get there within another day after my call. But the city workers didn’t come. Instead, some blond-haired city councilman came by with a shovel or something, probably swinging the shovel like a golf club, and scooped up the possum himself, and drove off. Who knew that being a councilman entailed giving a whole new meaning to “playing possum”?
Seriously, I’ve been grateful to Stephen ever since. But I can only tell the story down here, because if I tell it up in D.C., they’ll get the wrong idea.
If they heard about it in Washington, almost half of the Republicans in Congress would try to insert spending earmarks for their own particular districts for local possum removal. Just pass the possum pork, and put out the press releases.
What’s worse, probably 95 percent of the Democrats in Congress would see that and want to up the ante by creating a fully nationalized program of possum removal. Then they would offer an amendment to mandate Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements for all contracted possum removal, just to make the union bosses happy. And then they’d pass another amendment waiving the national “class action fairness act” in this instance so the trial lawyers could sue car manufacturers for building the vehicles that run over the poor creatures…
ACTUALLY, I EXAGGERATE only a little. The way things are in Washington these days, it’s not hard to imagine spending for possum pork on top of the various bridges to nowhere… to go along with farm payments to Manhattan millionaires, and subsidies for ethanol that drives up both food and gas prices while actually harming, not helping, the environment … and so many other priorities of the loony left that we’re almost already in the left’s idea of big-government paradise right here and right now.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online