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Greitens’s Win Was Just a Moment in Time. But a Big Moment
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Navy SEAL Eric Greitens won the first political race of his life. Few first timers win a major party’s nomination for governor of a state. You’ll probably hear just how rare Greitens’s feat was. But not tonight. I want to tell some stories.

Eric Greitens gave up a morning of this campaign to talk to one of my kids. That kid is a man now. He’s in the Navy at a helo combat squadron in San Diego. Sure, his mom and dad and step mom and brother influenced him. But none of us could push him over the top. Eric Greitens did.

My stepson went through a horrible car accident last year. Eric heard about it. Eric again left his campaign to make sure my stepson was comfortable. And my stepson couldn’t do much for Eric. But Eric didn’t care about that. He didn’t expect a return.

A lot of my friendships were strained or broken during this campaign. Good friendships. Every time I took a stand for Eric, he had my back.

Tonight’s remarkable win against a field of candidates with a combined . . . I don’t know, 3,000 years in politics, was amazing. It’s the kind of win you read about, as Panger would say. It was a sweet moment in time, but only a moment,

Most politicians would complain about my writing that. “Just a moment in time, Bill? Come on!” But not Eric. I know this was just a moment in time—a fire to pass through—because Eric Greitens taught me so. I learned that philosophy from him.

We don’t bounce back from wins or loses, we move through them. We emerge different. And our measure is what we do with our different selves.

Eric Greitens and so many remarkable staffers and volunteers walked through a fire and came out the other side. They’re all changed. Forged. Harder. More resilient. And they’re moving on.

This is a moment in time, but you should take a moment to savor it.

When I knocked doors for Eric, I heard one recurring theme. “I won’t vote for anyone who’s held public office before.”

Some will say Greitens won because people are fed up with the status quo. That’s possible. But I’ve been in this political game a little while. I’ve heard “throw the bums out” many times, but the bums never get thrown out.

Until now.

I have an idea about why now. People are willing to cast aside the old establishment because they finally see a leader who can fix the things the establishment broke.

Put another way, the devil you know beats the devil you don’t until an angel comes along.

For the people without a voice, Eric Greitens is our angel.

It’s a moment in time, but it’s one hell of a moment.

Thank you, Eric, for leading so many  of us through that fire. And for walking straight at the next inferno. There’s no one I’d rather follow.

It’s time to move through Koster.

Hooyah!

 Photos by Dortie B


Also published on Medium.

  • Denise Smith

    To add to an already ‘weird’ political season…..Bill Hennessy (who I admire) is a Greiten fan. Interesting. I’m not. Right now, I don’t plan to vote for him in the General, either….but, I’ll be watching. I saw him as rude and petulant. That doesn’t ‘fix’ anything.

    • whennessy

      Denise,

      Thank you for the kind words.

      Having spent time around Mr. Greitens, he strikes me as a leader with a lot of military experience. But I have a lot of military experience, too. We see what we recognize, don’t we?

      One reason I’m supporting Eric Greitens is because he will sign most of the good legislation Jay Nixon and Chris Koster would veto. And have vetoed.

      If you’re okay with another 8 years of a Republican legislature passing good bills that die by the governor’s veto pen, you’re doing the exact right thing. You will be very happy with the sameness. No need to get involved, so it will be much less work. That’s the smart way to go, actually.

      • Denise Smith

        Signing bills…as would any of those running…. A friend responded to my ‘no go’ on Greitens in a similar fashion. When I asked about executive experience and wondering out loud where he (Greitens) came from….she retorted “..he has 4 tours as a Navy Seal!”. Me: “So does that mean if he had had 6 tours he would be running for President?”. Call me ‘war weary’ about our ‘heroes’ (aka John McCain, et al) who capitalize on their ‘service’ for personal gain. I also have family members that have served. While I totally honor and appreciate their service….I don’t believe that in and of itself gives anyone a free pass in politics. We are so easily ‘impressed’ these days. Pity.

        • whennessy

          In addition to being an LCDR in the Navy (which alone puts in probably the top 1% of leadership skills in the country), Eric Greitens:
          –Duke University scholarship–
          –Rhodes Scholar–
          –Humanitarian: Rwanda–
          –Humanitarian: Bosnia–
          –Humanitarian: Costa Rica–
          –Humanitarian: India–
          –Founder: The Mission Continues–
          –Time Magazine 100 Most Impressive People in the World–
          –Fortune Magazine 50 Greatest Leaders in the World–

          That list isn’t complete.

          But you seem very difficult to impress, which usually means you have a resume that’s impossible to beat. Why don’t you list some of your leadership achievements, especially those conferred by others that we can verify. You’ll probably get a lot of write-in votes come November.

          Or maybe instead of criticizing me for being impressed by one of the 50 Greatest Leaders in the World, you could tell us your criteria for impressiveness. I’m sure it’s impressive we’ll all learn a lot from you.

        • 2ndchild

          Denise – If you don’t agree with Bill . . . he gets a little pissy! I, like you, have questioned where Greitens came from (besides out of nowhere). I find it odd that he made the list of Time and Fortune Magazines without MOST Missourians hearing SOMETHING about it. Bill, I didn’t say he DIDN’T – I’m saying that it is amazing that a Missouri boy (I use that term loosely due to the list that your provided) with that list of accomplishments, totally escaped our radar.
          And to you, Bill . . . You would serve Greitens better by helping to explain his sudden appearance into the political scene while seeking Missouri’s highest office. After all . . . this is the SHOW ME STATE. Voters want to know HOW they can connect with him or IF they can connect with him. Your comments when someone has an opposing opinion has left me surprised. I can’t decide if you are on Trump and Greitens’ payroll, star struck in some weird way, over compensating for low self-esteem or just seeking fewer readers.

          • whennessy

            Who are you?

            Everyone knows who I am. I don’t hide behind fake names.

            Who are you? And what are your demons?

            For the record, I do not take money from candidates or office holders. I pay for this site, and it costs me money.

            Going public is costly.

            Anonymity is cheap.

          • 2ndchild

            Name is dduncan. I’m not hiding – that’s just the name that I used when I signed up for Disqus. so that is what comes up.

            Who am I? Well, I suppose that you are not really interested in my entire life experiences, so I will give you one element of who I am. I was at the St. Louis Arch (on a very cold day) for the first Tea Party, at Kenner Plaza with 7K other people and have attended many other events since 2008. I became more politically involved than I’ve ever been – due to people like YOU, Dana Loesch, and Kevin Jackson. The speakers at these events taught me to question rather than to blindly follow. Through this movement, I’ve learned about the Saul Alinsky Rules for Radicals and how those that chose to control you, subject you to those tactics. Bill, I’ve learned a lot from your past articles, and I am confused as to the major change (in you) that I have seen. What are my demons? Well . . . I’m human, therefore I am subject to whatever life throws at me. I strive to do the right thing. I suppose that I am continually “under construction”.

            Back to Greitens – Most of us have been a leader, a volunteer or even an inspiration to someone in our community. (It may have only been ONE person that our words or actions helped or affected and we may have not actually realized the impact.) As I said in my previous post, “You would serve Greitens better by helping to explain his sudden appearance into the political scene while seeking Missouri’s highest office. After all . . . this is the SHOW ME STATE. Voters want to know HOW they can connect with him or IF they can connect with him.

          • The MOGOP offered Greitens clear sailing to Lt. Gov. He turned it down. Lt. Governor would be the least important job he’s had since high school.

            I’m sure you’re proud of your resume. I’m proud of mine. But ours together don’t come close to Eric’s.

            Eric became a Navy SEAL because his humanitarian work showed him that bad people need to meet good people who are even badder. That’s what the SEALs are: the baddest good guys you’ll ever meet.

            That job is down. He’s moved on. Governor is probably the smallest job he’s qualified for. He’s not a legislator. He’s an executive.

            And I haven’t changed a bit. I’m remarkably consistent.You should read The Conservative Manifesto (1993). Very little has changed.

      • gregzotta

        Bill, the Missouri House and Senate have veto-proof majorities, so anything they wanted to pass could have been passed. unfortunately, there are RINO’s in Missouri’s Congress.

        • They passed. Nixon vetoed. The special interests pulled a few sheep from the flock. That’s going to happen. The pressure was incredible.

          With a Republican governor who said he would sign the good bills Nixon vetoed (I supported Nixon on one in particular), we don’t have to put the legislature through that agonizing ritual.

          If the other guy wins, Missouri will sink to the bottom of all economic charts. Jobs will become more scarce. Education will decline. Koster has promised more of the same. Greitens is change for the better. Better jobs, better schools, better people.

  • socaldano

    Awesome Bill, Greitens is our man. I took a lot of flack for the Geitens signs in my yard and my positive support of him. It was great to see the team at the afterparty

    • whennessy

      Thanks! Yeah, it’s a shame that so many people let Republican consultants run their emotion engines for them. People surrender so much power.

  • doug63026

    Congratulations to Eric and to you Bill for shining the light very early in the political season. I can’t wait for your analysis of the fall off in support for Blunt and Wagner.

    • whennessy

      Thanks, Doug. It was a great night. Thank you for standing by when so many others took all their emotional cues from the consultant class.

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