All at sea (at least for the next week)

As I write this post Angela and I are in our stateroom aboard the grand vessel Allure of the Seas embarking on the National Review post-election cruise — where I will be speaking on several occasions.

We’re heading out of the Port Everglades inlet here in Ft. Lauderdale and it brings back many fond memories working with the executive director and folks of Port Everglades to make this a first class point of embarkation and debarkation — it is after all the world’s busiest cruise port.

I looked down at the Port Everglades pilot hosts and recalled the time I went out with those stellar seamen and actually climbed aboard a moving cargo ship at sea that was coming into port. Yep, a former Army dude climbing up a rope ladder onto a moving ship – I’d much rather jump from an airplane.

We went out past the home of now deceased former Broward County Sheriff and legend Nick Navarro where I attended several functions — the view down the beautiful Ft. Lauderdale beach at night is stellar — what an honor to have represented such a picturesque area.

But sailing out to sea made think about today being the 239th birthday of the greatest sea fighting force the world has ever known — our United States Marine Corps! For all these years these warriors of the sea have set sail aboard our great ships and have brought their tenacity, courage, and commitment to defend our nation — from the air, on land, and sea. First to fight for right and freedom and to keep our honor clean. They are indeed so very proud to claim the title of United States Marines — Semper Fidelis my warrior brothers and sisters. And a hearty Ooh Rah to my older brother Herman West Jr. veteran of Vietnam, survivor of Khe Sahn, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment.

There is something so very calming and engaging about the sea and its ability to bring about reflection. And so I am reflecting on the start of this cruise, listening to the sound of the water being displaced by the ship. The door is open, the New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks are playing — all is well. Ok, well, there’s just one thing — no Fox News, just CNN International!

This past Friday I was announced as the incoming CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA). I cannot think of a better position at a critical time in the life cycle of our Constitutional Republic. I made the statement that if our country is to move forward, it has to be about “policy, not politics.” Of course there are those who fail to understand what those simple words mean.

You see, politics is about men and women who will tell the electorate what they believe they want to hear. They will hire slick wordsmiths and pollsters who will run marketing tests and surveys that come up with trite little sound bites they believe will enrapture the public. Politics is about the aspect of nepotism and cronyism where favors are bought and politicians end up looking like NASCAR race drivers with sponsor patches all over their nicely tailored suits. Politics ends up being the successful playground of those who focus on special interest and self-interest, not the constituent interest.

Conversely, policy is based on sound fundamentals, proven principles that are espoused by statesmen and women unconcerned about winning elections — or reelections — but rather telling the electorate what they need to hear to promote their individual success and achievement. Policy means you tell the truth regardless of how painful it may be — or detrimental to yourself. But when you stand on a firm foundation with the blessings of divine providence, you have a sense of peace and security.

Where do we find ourselves today in America? I’m quite sure you can answer that question. However, I do believe that after the elections last week, there is an awakening happening in America — an opportunity to broaden the discussion on policy and end the reign of political gimmickry. Reset button? Now, what genius came up with that one?

And how do the players of politics combat against statesmen — you know, empty rhetorical names — partisan, extremist, and even questioning ones education. It’s a funny thing, during World War II those fighting against Nazi Germany in France, Greece, and other countries in what was called the “underground” were called partisans — they were brave individuals who were making a stand for liberty and freedom against the worst of tyranny and evil.

And today, when some folks are unable to categorize the Islamo-fascist, jihadist, terrorist enemies by their proper name — they refer to them as “extremists.” That’s the same term used against fellow Americans who stand upon the time tested constitutional principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, individual sovereignty/liberty, free market/free enterprise system, and strong national defense. I’m still trying to figure out what’s extreme about that.

So to those who feel those principles are extreme, then pray tell, enlighten us regarding what is the norm to you? Can it be nationalizing production, expanding the welfare nanny-state, creating a social egalitarian society, decimating our military capability, and advancing secular humanism – is that what you term normal? Hmm, those are not in keeping with the basis of a Constitutional Republic.

You see, I believe $17.5 trillion in debt is rather extreme – with one administration adding more debt than the entire collection of presidents before him. I would say lying to the American people and willingly disregarding the rule of law is extreme. Telling the greatest nation in the world, home of the indomitable entrepreneurial spirit “you didn’t build that” is really extreme. But most of all, unleashing government agencies against your own people — well, it just doesn’t get any more extreme than that. And watching an Islamic terrorist army behead Americans while we do little to crush them — well, that isn’t just extreme, it is flat out insanity.

But when all this is masked behind sound bites and marketed messaging — well, that’s how politics ends up trumping policy, and a nation falls for it — and suffers because of it.

So, as I embark upon the seas, I will also embark upon a mission to do one thing: reverse the tide and have policy once again reign preeminent in our Republic. Over this week I will share with my musings from the sea to stimulate your interest on economic, energy, and national security policy. America’s best days are ahead of us and these next two years are going to be our Renaissance moment.

And to all those aboard the Allure of the Seas, I look forward to chatting with you — especially my fellow veterans with whom I get to spend Veterans Day! And I just gotta tell ya, if you’ve never been on the Allure of the Seas, what an amazing vessel — doggone Christopher Columbus would be proud!


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