AZ congressional candidates and Newt Gingrich…
. . . together at an American Solutions event at Grand Canyon University.
Western Free Press was there to cover the event and spread awareness to the activists in attendance about our activities and the research we have done on the upcoming congressional elections.
It was an excellent event, with a number of great candidates having a chance to speak: Ruth McClung, Doug Ducey, Ben Quayle, and David Schweikert, followed of course by Newt Gingrich.
It is David Schweikert upon whom I would like briefly to focus. In The Measure of a Politician, written following my first encounter with this candidate, I mention how impressed I was with the degree to which Schweikert is, in person, a person. As I discuss briefly in that piece, it's not always easy to find that, especially in a politician—for a host of reasons, some of which are even forgivable. I have met Schweikert in person since, and my view is always reinforced.
But that's in person—what about giving a speech? After all, is that not another test of a politician?
All of the speakers at the event were good, but Gingrich and Schweikert were by far the best.
(As a brief aside, we also got to meet Speaker Gingrich in person at a reception prior to the rally, and he was great. Affable, interested, kind, and engaged. Between that and the fact that he would spank just about anyone in a debate, I think he would make a good presidential candidate, should he choose to run in 2012.)
Back to Schweikert. Though his speech was shorter and focused on campaign-related issues, he held the room every bit as much as Gingrich, and you want to know how? Because his realness in person comes through on the stump too. He went up there without any prepared remarks, without any canned witticisms that he's said a million times. He had it all in his head; he just said it, and it was real. And everyone listened.
I think a lot of times, politicians think they need to sound a certain way. They try to mold themselves into what they think a politician should be, and often, their personality gets subsumed in the process. I have heard it said that that is what happened with Bush 43, a.k.a. "Dubya." Many people who met him in person said that when he was speaking in person, off the cuff, and not trying to "sound like a president" (whatever that means), he came off as quite articulate, something that was not always the case when he was in "sounding presidential" mode. Several analysts I have heard have said that if he had just been more himself—if he'd been more "Dubya"—he would have sounded better.
David Schweikert doesn't appear to have that problem. His personality in person—someone who is interested, sincere, and real—comes across on the stump. Between that and the fact that he knows his stuff, and that his conservatism is clearly not an affectation but core belief, I believe he would be an honorable addition to a not-always honorable institution.
And here is my disclaimer about this article, same as last time: If I didn't find this personality stuff to be true, I woudln't tell you about it. We are partisan towards conservatives, so we would still speak favorably of him, but we would focus on other stuff (issues, electability, etc.). But character matters too, and since we can report favorably on that in this case, we do. So there ya go.
Here is a clip of Schweikert talking about what is important in the final days leading up to the election: