It has been many years since I wrote on a regular basis. For friends of mine, my return to writing ishardly welcome, as the last time led to many colorful discussions of me 6 and 14 years ago.
I am if nothing else, infatuated with my own opinion. I self quote all the time, a habit only my wife could find tolerable. I routinely end arguments with “disagree with me if you want to be wrong – it’s a free country.” I am CERTAIN that my opinion was always right – its just that, occasionally, events unfolded in such a way that God himself could not have foreseen the outcome.
For example, in December of 2007, I laughed at my brother’s assertion that a freshman senator who was 36 months removed from the Illinois state senate (again, as a junior member), could ever win the White House. Its not that my prediction was wrong, it’s just that events conspired against me in the form of a tanking economy in late September (don’t forget, McCain lead in enough states to win the election on September 14 and the numbers were trending his way).
Or how I, along with everyone else in the room, figured there was NO WAY the midnight pay raise would cost anyone a job – certainly not several of the most powerful people in the building. How could my opinion be wrong? It was not – I made it without knowing facts purposely hidden from me in order to skew my analysis – its totally not my fault.
I tell you all this to spare you the frustration of sending me angry email in the weeks to come expecting me to change my opinion. I know you think you are well meaning, but the fact is, I am right until unforeseen events require a new “visualization” of my opinion that will again make me right.
I will see those moments all by myself. If I don’t, the aforementioned wife will make sure I do. No one needs a harsher critic than an opinionated man’s wife. She suffers more than all y’all and is all too happy to note when I need to “re-visualize” my opinion.
I am, of course, being somewhat silly, but you get the idea – opinionated and proud of it.
Now that, you know I have great faith in my own opinion, let me introduce myself.
Some of you may know me – most of you do not.Even those of you who have met me may find, in the
coming weeks, that I am not what I appear to be.
I have worked as a big-firm lawyer, an in house counsel, and as a lobbyist. I ran for congress once. My favorite job was the one I was least qualified for – teaching senior English at a summer school. I am a father of three, a husband of one, and an annoyance to dozens of friends and family.
I am a registered Republican but hardly dogmatically so, as I find blind adherence to any political organization an act of intellectual cowardice. I am a gigantic fan of the founding period: I operate most of the time under the assumption that, as Joseph Ellis put it, “the American system was designed by geniuses, so it could be run but idiots.”
I am unapologetically a rational optimist with a mean realist streak, meaning I am idealistic when it suits me and practical when faced with actual decisions.
I am, plainly, an American. I am rough around the edges at times – short sighted when heated, and long winded when possible. I love to argue, and I relish in contrarian discussion: after the last 6 years of measuring my words, first as a candidate and then as a lobbyist, it is nice to be, well…
One of my favorite sentiments from the founding period is a thought I am sure Jefferson has when faced with revisions to his first draft of the Declaration of Independence: “We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”
It’s nice to be back on the job.