Saturday, August 25, 2007


NOTE: In the next month, we in the Sarah Palin Crusade will be working hard to add to our growing list of people supporting Sarah for V-P. To sign up, either leave a comment or send an e-mail to She is fresh, and everyone else is tired. When we get 20 new Palin backers, we will hold a lottery and the winner gets to buy Adam dinner!

When Alexander the Great lay dying while still in his 20s, he had conquered all the known world. As his key lieutenants gathered around him, they asked whom he wanted his kingdom to go to. In his last words, Alexander said, "To the . . . strongest."

Adam Brickley is a 20-year-old college student who lives in Colorado Springs and goes to the University of Colorado campus there ity. Of great significance, he started the Draft Sarah Palin movement. He's a living exemplar of another famous statement by Alexander about the main rule of life: "The weak give what they must, the strong take what they wish." Generally mild in manner, Adam is one of the strong.

Some people, even a journalist as good as Bill McAllister of KTUU-TV in Anchorage, look askance at a 20-year-old. How can anyone at such a “tender” age launch a Movement that’s taking on national implications? Surely, they think, he must be a minor figure in the effort. Not so.

I’ve run into some extremely smart political operatives who were very young, such as Dale Perry of the University of Georgia, as well as Lynette Steine, Earle Johnson, and Knott Rice, all young Georgians who played critical roles in the early Gingrich campaign. Adam is the best of the best. (See his blog at:

I’ve called him “the young Karl Rove,” which frankly is a compliment to Karl Rove. In a sense, however, it may be better to look at Adam as a political version of Tony Conigliaro. Those with long memories will remember “Tony C” as an outfielder on the Boston Red Sox baseball team.

Because of a terrible eye injury, Tony didn’t break Babe Ruth’s record. But he accomplished something neither Barry Bonds, nor Hank Aaron ever did. Before he reached his 21st birthday, Conigliaro hit 100 home runs. No other baseball player has ever come close to that achievement.

As an 18-year-old, Conigliaro was already a home-run-hitting-machine. He was what we now call a super-star at an age when most young men are wondering what kind of corsage to buy their date for the prom.

But didn’t some baseball types of the age ask what an 18-year-old was doing in the major leagues? Wouldn’t he have benefited from spending several years in the minors, as baseball players – even very good ones – usually do? Wouldn’t he gain some valuable experience with the minor-league Red Sox in Pawtucket rather than the major-league team in Boston? Might he not inspire jealousy among some of his teammates who had paid their dues in the minor leagues? What about sitting him firmly on the bench, where he would be less of job threat to aging veterans?

Of course, the questions are ridiculous. Tony Conigliaro earned his spot with the “Big Boys” of baseball by hitting an incredible number of home runs. He might have been very young, but he was already a great athlete. He didn't need any seasoning. He learned on the job, and he obviously was a very quick learner.

The same is true of Adam Brickley. His remarkable accomplishments with the Draft Palin effort make him a budding mega-star in politics. He knows how to organize coalitions, which is the political analogue to a baseball player who knows how to hit home runs and win games.

When Bill Gates was Adam’s age, he was dropping out of Harvard (and NOBODY drops out of Harvard) and beginning to develop what soon became Microsoft. When Tiger Woods was Adam’s age, he was preparing to become the youngest player ever to win a major tournament.
When Alexander the Great was Adam's age, well, you know about "The Great."

What I’m asking individuals is to evaluate Adam on merit, not on age and on any supposed lack of experience. In fact, that’s also what we’re asking people to do with Sarah Palin, who is more than twice Adam’s age.

A person Adam and I both respect almost to the point of idolatry is Fred Barnes of FOX News and The Weekly Standard. Fred says that, for a variety of reasons, Sarah is not ready – YET – for the vice presidency. He notes that she needs to spend more time meeting the movers and shakers in the Washington Beltway.

Frankly,Adam and I believe that some of the experience Sarah would get in the Beltway is precisely the kind she doesn’t need. She can avoid meeting all the big-time lobbyists in the $2,000 suits who reside on K Street and hand out cash to their political servants. She can pass on kissing up to the blowhards who rule the roosts in the House and Senate. Yes, there are a few good men (and women) in DC, but one key reason for sending Sarah there is to clear out the riff-raff, which is just what she's doing in her home state.

Sarah became governor of Alaska with roughly zero support from the state's Republican establishment, including the state chairman, whom she accused (rightly) of ethics violations. In what probably was a first for politicians in her state, she went into office beholden to none of the Kingmakers or influence-buyers.

Gee, could she do the same kind of thing in Washington, DC – go in as a reformist-outsider free of the Beltway tentacles? Could she and the President go directly to the American people with sound, common sense proposals to resolve issues like Iraq and immigration? That's exactly what she's doing as governor.

If she follows Fred Barnes’s advice and cuddles up with the political potentates and media egomaniacs in DC, then she would be just as tarnished as everybody else. Playing the Washington game is a case of the fly seeking to dominate the fly paper.

Adam and I and others have tried hard, but it’s so difficult to get this across to people like Fred Barnes this point: The reason our elected officials can’t “clean up the mess in DC” is that they ARE the mess. They accept the unacceptable – such as taking long vacations in times of national crisis and building Bridges to Nowhere. Washington is the place that’s earned its reputation for turning idealists into cynics. Trust us: Washington needs her more than she needs it.

Sarah has said that her life in Alaska is “reality” – with her making the beds, preparing peanut butter sandwiches for her daughter Piper, and then rushing off to be governor. "In Alaska, it's easy to keep it real," as she says.

Yes, Alaska is different. It lacks the pomposity and rigid ideologies that have a paralyzing effect at times in the "lower-48." It's a place where residents don't stand on ceremony -- and where most people genuinely like one another. The rest of the nation could benefit from some "northern exposure."

Six months ago, Adam Brickley saw Sarah Palin as a woman embedded in reality. He viewed her as a special kind of elected official. He observed that she had become the most popular elected official in the country FOR SEVERAL GOOD REASONS.

For one thing, she was honest while many others were at least mildly corrupt. Another was that she wasn’t under the thumb of the traditional movers and shakers in Alaska politics – particularly the oil companies and their suppliers. What’s more, she was a conservative with a heart, one who had a real respect for the people she governed. She also talked constantly about her need to abide by Alaska's state constitution.

Adam also saw that Alaska’s relatively small population was a non-issue. Look at it this way: Dick Cheney, a relatively unpopular politician is from a state, Wyoming, with three electoral votes. Sarah Palin, a wildly popular elected official, is also from a state with three electoral votes.

As a 20-year-old, Adam Brickley has a long time to live in America. I have no doubt he will have a tremendous political career. He’s proving that people of any age, if they have intelligence and drive, can change the world. He’s demonstrating that the kind of country we live in depends on getting people with the seeds of greatness into high office.

Adam, take a bow! You and I expect a lot from Sarah Palin, but we both know she expects even more of herself. For both of you I'd say this: when the going gets tough, think of Tony Conigliaro -- and keep in mind Alexander's axioms.

Stephen R. Maloney


Sanity102 said...

Hate to burst your passionate bubble (and sorry so late--work has been a real trial lately) but I'm a great believer in fairness.

Adam may have brought Palin to your attention, but after YOU mentioned Palin to me as a POSSIBLE VP candidate and I came back with an affirmative (read The White Queen), YOU, Steve, YOU ran with it and brought THIS movement to where it's being taken seriously.

It is YOU who are working your tail off while Adam goes back to college and the rest of us go back to our businesses.

So if this is all about giving credit where credit is due, I'd say, we (those who REALLY want to win the war and get the only party that does, back into power and retain the WH) owe you lottery.

And no Alexander the Great or Karl Rove wannabes need apply...this is America where the best and the greatest aren't the only ones that can rock the system and change the world.

Sometimes a retired ex-professor, armed with the internet can whisper a logic so profound, it's like that commercial jingle that won't go away.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Thanks Sanity, I think the world of many people involved in this effort and I think you for nominating me for "King for a Day." The thing that gets to me is the decency of the people involved, different as we all are in age, gender, views on this or that. Adam started out all alone on this one, and he is a young star. At this point in my life, I want to leave this world (hopefully not too soon!) as a better place than it was. This country, our beloved country, means a lot to all of those involved in this effort. To paraphrase William Faulkner, it's important that we as a people not only survive but that we prevail. You're an absolute sweetheart.


Stephen R. Maloney said...

I wanted to add one comment: Without Adam Brickely, there would presumably no Draft Sarah Palin effort vigorously underway. He is a remarkable young political talent and has a great future.