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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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Today I was reflecting on my recent comments about the Bush disappointment. Well, it’s not exactly disappointment because I expected that this would happen sooner or later in the Bush presidency, but I voted for him hoping that I would be proven wrong and that he might surprise me. I didn’t blog it, but I was starting to long for Perot to come in as a viable third-party candidate—that’s how bad things are this election go-round.

Then I remembered the only time in my 11 years of majority when I was actually excited about a presidential candidate, the only time I actually volunteered for a campaign. If you know me, you know that I don’t volunteer for anything. Ever. Well, I guess the pottery studio ended up amounting to volunteer work, but I went into it with the expectation of earning some money.

The candidate was Steve Forbes, the CEO of Forbes magazine, and the year was 1996. He was a candidate whose central message was the flat tax, but who had a slew of other excellent positions that made my heart sing with hope. His was the candidacy for optimism and freedom. He spoke of returning to the gold standard. The gold standard! I can’t remember the last time any candidate even spoke of fiscal policy, much less suggested returning to a long abandoned notion. He spoke of free trade, but not the free trade of the WTO. He advocated unsubsidized, unfettered, and unilateral trade. He opposed Communist China and recommended a similar hard-line stance that worked with the Soviet Union. Okay, he had some minor social conservative views and wished that the problem of abortion would go away. I can live with that because shrinking government would leave it ineffective in pursuing such policies.

I miss Steve Forbes! I don’t know if we’ll have a candidate like him anytime soon. He was the Barry Goldwater of my generation. Thank you, Mr. Forbes, for giving me hope and a cause to fight for! I wish that you could run again and defeat your mealy-mouthed, altruist Republican colleague but I know that you’ve got better things to do, like tend to your businesses. I don’t begrudge you your private life, but I still fervently wish you’d run again some day. If you do, I promise that I will volunteer my ass off in the service of your campaign. I took you for granted in those heady times and I will never make that mistake again.

(SIDE NOTE: Forbes also has his own private island. How cool is that! Imagine a president spending his vacation there instead of some Texas ranch or Maine manor.)