Mike Flynn, RIP

Reading Time: 2 minutes

When the BBC called Brexit for LEAVE at about 12:30 a.m. CDT today, I thought first of my friend Mike Flynn. Mike had a keen sense of history. He put the Tea Party movement into proper perspective, as he did with all events. Mike kept us from overstating both the Tea Party’s effect and its potential. Or he put them in context and reminded us that our potential depends on ourselves, not outside forces. Among nascent political operatives and activists, Mike was the adult in the room, even among people many years his senior.

I wanted to talk to Mike about Brexit, because he’d have a brilliant understanding of the event’s historical significance. I believe it’s the biggest political event since the Berlin Wall fell. Would Mike say I’m exaggerating? Underestimating?

I met Mike, Andrew Breitbart, and Chip Gerdes in September, 2009, around the time of the massive 9/12 Tea Party in Quincy, Illinois.  Here’s how I described the end of that pivotal weekend:

I was hungover.

I sat in a booth at the Holiday Inn in Quincy, Illinois, with my wife and two friends from St. Louis. The day before was my wife’s birthday, which she graciously spent waiting for me to speak at a tea party in Quincy.

Angela and I sat with Jim Durbin and Ben Evans. About four feet away, sitting at the bar, were Andrew Breitbart and editor-in-chief of Andrew’s BigGovernment.com, Mike Flynn. Andrew and Mike were monitoring the Sunday talk shows on the bar’s big sports TVs. Andrew  and Mike, and a kid named James O’Keefe, were the subjects of every political program that weekend. Just two days earlier, the famous ACORN videos dropped on BigGovernment.com.

I’ll never know Mike’s thoughts on Brexit. My friend, the political editor of Breitbart News, passed away last night. The Lord has now taken three central figures in the Tea Party’s rise, especially St. Louis Tea Party: Andrew Breitbart, Chip Gerdes, and Mike Flynn.

Mike Flynn, Chip Gerdes, and Andrew Breitbart at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, August 2011. Photo courtesy Jeremy Segal

I saw Mike in Washington DC in April. I was in town for only a couple of nights, but he made time to hang out and talk about politics, the primaries, family, and old times. He was joyous and funny, as always. Mike left early that night because of an appointment early the next morning.

Freedom will miss Mike, as we all will. You and I will have to pick up a little extra work now.

Why did God see fit to call how Andrew, Chip, and Mike so soon? No idea. But He probably knows what he’s doing.

God bless Mike, his family, and the grieving nation Mike left behind.

Please read the touching words of Mike’s friend and colleague, Mike Leahy.

Irish, Jewish, Gay

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Richard Brookhiser called the moment’s start, and I called its death. But before we get into that, are you as surprised as I am about Zuckerberg’s war on gays?

You would think that a jihadist attack on a gay nightclub would trigger an anti-terror backlash against Islamic terrorists, would you not?

Anti-Gay Jihad

Instead, America’s radical left has declared a jihad against gays. Leading this jihad is Imam Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook. Zuckerberg’s improvised excommunication device is banishment from his social network. And Zuck aims his weapon at two kinds of gays:

  1. Gays who oppose Islamification of the West.
  2. Gays who support Donald Trump for President.

Here are just a few examples Zuckerberg’s anti-gay jihad:

You probably thought, like me, that the Orlando Massacre would trigger an anti-Islamic terror backlash, but it’s pretty obvious the left in America is going after gays instead. Look at all the Democrats and media types who defend violent attacks against Trump supporters, especially gays and Hispanics. Even NBC admits gay Trump supporters are subject to violent attacks:

A number of gay men who have decided to throw their support behind Trump told NBC OUT it has not been an easy road. Juan Hernandez, a gay and Latino member of the Log Cabin Republicans, said his support led to physical violence by anti-Trump protesters at a rally in San Jose. Images of the attack and his bloodied clothes went viral.

The same NBC story highlights a Marine veteran who’s afraid to reveal his last name:

“When you put your name out on a national level as supporting someone who attracts that much vitriol and disgust, you’re putting yourself up for doxxing … Especially for someone like me who’s considered a ‘traitor,'” added Eric, who is a member of LGBTrump, an online network for LGBTQ people who support the GOP presidential hopeful.

Why hasn’t Imam Zuckerberg banned NBC News for reporting this? It’s coming, folks, just watch.

Where’s the left’s outrage over this open war on gays? Huh? Where the hell are they?

They’ve moved on because the Gay Moment has passed.

America’s Gay Moment

This violent anti-gay backlash from the left confirms my 2013 hunch that America’s “Gay Moment” was ending. For about 40 years, gay was THE cultural moment in America, but all moments end, as Richard Brookhiser wrote in 1999.

Brookhiser identified three great moments in 20th century America:

  • The Irish Moment (1900 to 1945)
  • The Jewish Moment (1946 to 1999)
  • The Gay Moment (1971 to about 2014)

Here’s how Brookhiser identifies Moments:

The form for describing Minority Moments is a two-part phrase. The first element is always plucky . Plucky suggests the minority’s embattled status (but not too embattled, because to enjoy a Moment is to have won). The second element is some quality that is characteristic, in their own and the world’s eyes, of the minority. The Irish were plucky and brave (the Fighting Irish). The Jews were plucky and smart (10,000 intellectuals and comics). Gays are plucky and cool (gays themselves might say plucky and fabulous -and why not? Everyone understands).

And when a moment ends, the moment’s champions turn against the cause. The people who championed the Irish turned against the Irish. The folks who then championed the Jewish moment turned against the Jews. And now, as I predicted three years ago, the gay moment has ended and the anti-gay backlash has begun.

Which all reminds me of a story.

The Tea Party’s Moment

In 2010, I was sitting in a restaurant at the Grand Ole Opry convention center in Nashville along with about 30 other people attending the National Tea Party Convention. Andrew Breitbart was there, and he made an observation. The 30 or so people sitting at a long, long table represented something of the Tea Party leadership at the time. After dinner, Breitbart took a quick poll of ethnicity and discovered that more half of that Tea Party leadership group was either Irish or Jewish or, in the case of Breitbart, both. (Andrew was raised Jewish by his adoptive parents, but his biological parents were of Irish descent.) What wasn’t as well known at the time–some of those Tea Party leaders were gay.

Now, people of Irish descent make up about 10 percent of the US population, while Jews account for about 2.6 percent. And gays less than 2 percent. Which means that all three of Great Moments were over-represented in the Tea Party leadership. Grossly over-represented in fact.

You might say the Tea Party got its moxie, its pluck, from the three great cultural “moments” of the past century. And now, owing in part to the horror at Pulse nightclub, the representatives of those now out-of-favor moments fight for our lives against the left’s latest “in” group.

The new American moment, championed by Zuckerberg, Hillary, and the radical left, is the Muslim Moment. And, unlike the first three moments, this one will end in tears. The only question is: whose tears?

P.S. If you think I’ve lost my mind, try reading “How Phil Robertson Ended the Gay Moment.” I was even crazier back then.

This will only take a minute

Reading Time: 2 minutes

It’s unlikely you read Hennessy’s View and not The Gateway Pundit, but there’s always the chance.

This morning, just as I was taking a break to catch up on news, I got a text from a friend that drew me to a particular post on GP. The headline: 

After the Pulse Club Massacre, It’s Time for Gays to Come Home to Republican Party

In it, my friend Jim Hoft, co-founder of St. Louis Tea Party Coalition, and relentless conservative warrior, mentions he’s gay.

I say “mentions” because Jim doesn’t make it a big deal. As Jim says, like most gays, he doesn’t wear it on his sleeve.

Now, I hate to sound like I’m throwing cold water on Jim’s announcement, but so what?

Jim Hoft is still the best blogger in the midwest, the blogger I wish I’d become. I envied Jim for years, but then, with Jim’s help, I realized my strengths span many other areas. Blogging is writing, but it’s not the only kind of writing. And writing isn’t everything. It’s great to have some division of labor in the movement, and Jim is the master of super-magnetic headline writing. (Jim would be more famous than David Ogilvey if he’d gone into advertising. Maybe more famous than Don Draper.)

Jim Hoft is also a snarling pit bull against communism, fascism, racism, and Islamicism. Jim’s reporting brought down Van Jones early in the Obama Administration. His headlines land on Drudge’s top line about once a week, and that’s an amazing accomplishment, folks. Unbelievable. Probably more than anyone else, he gets to the top of Drudge. Not to mention Rush’s Stack o’ Stuff.

So the point is, Jim’s done remarkably great things for you, for me, for America, and he will continue doing that greatness for many, many years. Oh, and he’s gay.

Writing about the 1980s, Jim says he came out to friends and family during the AIDS epidemic. “It was a scary time to be gay,” Jim writes.

After the Orlando Massacre the teens look like a pretty dangerous time to be gay, too. Our president looks disinterested in protecting Americans from terrorists. That would distract from his Legacy Tour. And his chosen replacement, Crooked Hillary Clinton, refuses to name Islamic terrorism. Yet women and gays will probably suffer most in jihad. Especially gay conservative activists. This doesn’t seem to bother Democrats. Which makes this a scary time for everyone in Western Civilization.

For the seven years I’ve known Jim, I felt protected by his pen against the swords fighting against freedom. Thank God for Jim Hoft. I’m glad he’s on our team, and I’m as proud as ever to be his friend.

Two Faces of Memorial Day

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The god of Memorial Day is Janus, looking to the future as well as the past.

Memorial Day looks back, but it also warns of something coming. The list of war dead is incomplete. It always will be.

Each generation looks at its wars and finds something final, but the end never comes. Memorials never end while man roams the earth.

When I see the Vietnam Memorial, with its rows and ranks of lost warriors, I see, too, the invisible ledger that stretches to the horizon. Empty granite awaiting the engraver’s hammer. The list of names who’ve given the last full measure of devotion only grows. It never stops.

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but Memorial Day now seems both about the brave heroes who’ve gone before and about the heroes who will follow. Every young man and woman in uniform holds a ticket for that grim lottery. Two and a half million Americans serve, active and reserve. Two and a half million tickets. My dad held those tickets twice, in World War II and Korea, but he survives still. I held a ticket for over nine years, but here I am. Two of my boys hold tickets in the Navy now, and another is a new firefighter. I pray those numbers don’t come up.

But those lottery balls spin and bounce in their cage. Politicians roll them out. Numbers line up. Names are called. And the engraver’s hammer strikes the granite. And it will again.

On Memorial Day, as we honor the noble dead, I also think of the noble living. The hammer will strike for some of the living who’ve put themselves between us and harm. I know war will never end, so I can’t forget that some of our fallen heroes walk among us today.

God love them all.

 

Safe Sex for Alcohol and a Condom for Your Liver – Podcast

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Let’s regress in time to the 1980s.

Remember C. Everett Koop, the Surgeon-General who launched the Safe Sex movement? Koop wanted to curtail the spread of AIDS. The Safe Sex movement started slowly and originally focused on non-monogamous gay men. By 1987, though, everyone was doing it. (Or not doing “it” as the case may be.) A February 17, 1987 New York Times headline declared “Safe Sex Movement Gains Favor Among Heterosexuals.” The story said, “Caution is in. The one-night stand is out.” And a woman in a condom ad said, “I’d do a lot for love, but I won’t die for it.”

Think of the Coalition for Safer Drinking as the Safe Sex movement for alcohol. Chigurupati Technologies’ NTX is like a condom for your liver and DNANTX prevents 93 percent of the liver damage caused by drinking and about half of the DNA damage. (Yes, even one drink damages your DNA.)

In other words, we’re facing reality on reality’s terms. We know people drink, and we’re not encouraging them to do so. We also know people care more and more about their health. Part of concern for health involves the stuff we put into our bodies, including alcohol.

So the Coalition for Safer Drinking wants you to know that regular alcohol is bad for your liver and your DNA, but alcohol made with NTX is nearly harmless to the liver and significantly safer for DNA. Right now, only Bellion Vodka contains NTX. Bellion will be available throughout the United States this summer, so look for it. If you live in Texas, New York, or Connecticut, you can get Bellion right now.

I am the national spokesman for the Coalition for Safer Drinking and author of the book on NTX, Fight to Evolve, which is available for Kindle now and will be available in hardbound very soon. Look for it on Amazon.com. Contact me at bill-at-billhennessy.com. I’d be happy to schedule an interview for your radio program, blog, or podcast.

Cross-posted from billhennessy.com

I’m trying to write the truth

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I was a pretender.

In 2012, I pretended I believed Mitt Romney would win. But I knew better. I just didn’t have the heart to tell the truth to the volunteers banging doors and working call lists from our election office in South County.

But I knew Romney would lose. I suspected the GOP would not regain the Senate.

When some of our hardest workers showed up to help break down the office and move our belongings, I couldn’t look at them. Nor could I look at them at the election night watch party. I sat in the back room blogging, but I could hear them yelling at the TV as one key state after another fell to Obama. “You’re wrong! They’ve only counted three percent of the votes!”

After that, I told myself “never again.” I’m done encouraging magical thinking. And, though I sometimes get the facts wrong, I try to tell the truth when it’s important.

Which is why you’ve been reading a lot about Donald Trump on this blog.

Last summer, I was firmly in the anti-Trump camp with posts like:

Trump: Good, Bad, and Ugly <–The most important

We Deserve Better

Trump: The Final Nail in the Conservative Coffin?

The fact that most people expected Trump to win told me I should stop writing him off, but in August and September I still thought he’d fade.

Then came the terrorist attacks in France and San Bernardino. Those events led me to believe Trump would win. I wasn’t happy about it, but my gut said ‘it’s over.”

In December, I did a lot of critical thinking. I challenged my own beliefs about Donald Trump. Some beliefs changed, some were dropped, many survived. In the process, I gained some new beliefs, too. For instance, I learned that Trump is a master of persuasion. Since one of my titles is Persuasive Design Director, I should have recognized this skill sooner. But my professional judgment was clouded by my personal animosity. Confirmation bias blinded me to many of Trump’s good or useful qualities.

I wasn’t sure how to present my revelation to the world. So I avoided the subject as much as possible. I was afraid writing or speaking the truth as I saw it would anger my friends who still hated Trump or believed Ted Cruz was divinely anointed to be our 45th president. I was afraid that telling the truth would sound like an endorsement to the deep parts of their brains where powerful feelings and emotions lurk. I was afraid I’d be called a “sell-out” just for telling the truth as I saw it. Brave, I know.

Then I started seeing so many people trapped in self-imposed confirmation bias loops, or affinity bubbles. Just like I was last summer. In the conservative echo chamber, Trump became a larger-than-life monster bent on destroying America.

So I decided to write.

It’s Time to Choose

Party Like It’s 1992

I wasn’t trying to change anyone’s vote; I was trying to prepare them for what I believed was inevitable. And I was trying to get people to critically examine their beliefs of the likeliest results and likeliest consequences of the nominating process. I wanted to caution people against making promises they couldn’t keep or predictions they wouldn’t want repeated.

I particularly wanted Cruz supporters to realize his Evangelical strategy was flawed. It was based on bad interpretation of data from 2012 and 2008. The analysts who came up with the strategy failed to measure all the variables that were available to them. If they had, they’d have discovered that the missing voters of 2012 were not conservative Evangelicals but Ross Perot voters and Reagan Democrats. Here’s what Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics wrote:

What Cruz is really talking about doing is something akin to what Barack Obama did in 2008, when he turned a sizeable number of non-voting African-Americans into voters. Cruz is hoping that evangelicals and conservatives who have traditionally just not voted will opt to vote for him. It’s a tough haul, since the National Election Study suggests turnout among born-again Christians is around 80 percent to begin with. But stranger things have happened (I suppose).

The candidate who actually fits the profile of a “missing white voter” candidate is Donald Trump. As I noted Wednesday, he fits in the mold of the Nixon-Perot-Huckabee-Santorum populist strain of Republicanism.

In other words, Cruz’s plan was get his top-performing segment to performer even better. Every motivation designer knows that’s very difficult and very expensive and runs the risk of frustrating your best supporters. (Remember, I do persuasion and motivation for a living.)

At this point I had three strong data points suggesting Trump would probably win the nomination:

  1. Trump has remarkable persuasion skills.
  2. Voters expect Trump to win, and voter expectations are far more accurate at predicting winners than voter preference polls (because voters lie).
  3. Cruz’s Evangelical strategy was flawed, but Donald Trump was designed for the “missing white voter.”

So when National Review, Glenn Beck, and others lost their minds in January, I felt I had to step up my game. They were actually helping Trump, not hurting him. And a lot of people now hate me for it. For telling the truth as I saw it.

Since then, Trump has won three straight primaries and caucuses, and he’s expected to sweep or nearly sweep Super Tuesday. He picked up two endorsements from sitting governors yesterday, and Newt Gingrich believes the nomination is over.

Some readers might think it’s my fault for not doing more for Cruz. Well Cruz was never my first choice. I like all of his policies, but that’s not enough. Cruz’s policies are not popular with Congressional Republicans. Congress will not rubber-stamp whatever a President Cruz sends up the hill. (If he couldn’t get the bills through the Senate as a Senator, why would he be able to do it as President?) To be effective, a president must be persuasive. If Ted Cruz can’t persuade a majority of Evangelicals to vote for him in South Carolina or Nevada, how will he persuade Congress to pass his flat tax? But, most of all, I never saw a path to the White House for Cruz. His general election strategy was too flawed, as I’ve said many times already.

I am not trying to influence the election. I’m just trying to tell people what I think will happen. And I’m encouraging people to have a useful contingency plan in case I’m right. I do this knowing you might not want to hear it from me. But I know that hearing it early from me will make the realization less painful.

I’ve learned that writing the truth is a lot harder than encouraging people’s fantasies. It hurts me to know my honesty pains some readers, but I think it’s my job as a blogger. And if the truth as I see it is too painful, you don’t have to read my posts. But I’m glad you do.

Thanks for reading.