I have to tell you about a man I know. He’s a good man whom I respect deeply. When I’m done, I hope you’ll have a new friend. But first, I have tell you about microwave towers and optical illusions.
Microwaves and Curves
Has this ever happened to you?
When I was a kid, my dad worked for a company that owned a small resort for employees about 90 miles south of St. Louis, down Highway 21.
In those days, 21 was a twisty, hilly mess of a road. Those curves and hills created a cool optical illusions, though. At least if you were a kid in a car on a hot, two-hour drive. It was something like this.
A microwave tower, visible forever, appeared, for miles to be on the east side of the highway. Right up a few dozen yards before you passed the tower, you’d swear it was on the left as you passed heading south.
Then, when you were just about on top of it, the road curved, the trees cleared, and the tower seemed to leap to the west side of Highway 21.
My sisters (older than me) made up a guessing game about landmarks along that road. First time players got the microwave tower wrong every time. Until you were right there at the tower, you couldn’t tell where it stood.
A Long Way From New Jersey
When I read Dan Riehl’s hit piece on Ed Martin Jr. in Big Government, I thought about that microwave tower on Highway 21 in Jefferson County, Missouri. I remembered that Dan Riehl lives in New Jersey, far from Missouri’s 2nd District. Clearly, Dan doesn’t know Ed.
So let me introduce the Ed Martin I know in just a moment.
As I read on, I realized that Dan’s opinions come mostly from reading two anti-Martin blogs: Bungalow Bill and “Fired-Up Missouri,” the Carnahan family blog. Living in New Jersey, Dan probably didn’t realize he’s getting a distorted view of Ed Martin—a view intentionally tainted to make Ed Martin look bad, truth be damned.
I’ll blame the leftist blogs, for example, for Dan’s confusion on the Eckersley affair. Dan should have read the 4-part series on that case in 24thstate.com (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4). There, The Editor refuted all of the major charges leveled against Ed and Matt Blunt in a detailed, documented series of reports, concluding correctly with Memogate Explained in 30 Words or Less:
Jay Nixon's lawyer friends sued a Republican and his staff to help Nixon's election bid. The case was settled when Nixon was elected and the lawyers needed to get paid.
A View From Missouri
If Dan spent some time in St. Louis with Ed, maybe he’d come to know the wonderful man I met about February 22, 2009. That’s when Ed saw my Facebook event for a Tea Party in St. Louis and asked if he could help.
As I said before, Ed took a big political risk coming to that event, and he helped make that first Tea Party the success it was. He helped steer the St. Louis Tea Party Coalition in its infancy, right up to the day he announced his candidacy for the U. S. House of Representatives in Missouri’s 3rd District.
Dan could learn even more by coming to St. Louis or reading some of our more conservative bloggers. Dan seems surprised, for instance, that Ed Martin’s establishment opponent out-raised Ed in the last quarter. Well, Ed doesn’t have a lot of DC Establishment friends to turn to for cash. For Ed’s support, he relies on Tea Partiers and 9-12 Project patriots, Right-to-Lifers, and even some Reagan Democrats.
Had Dan been in St. Louis a few Saturdays ago, he might have seen about 600 typical Ed Martin people at a Trivia Night in Two Heart’s banquet hall, complete with mostachioli. The place was packed on a night that was really too beautiful weather-wise to be inside. I was there, along with all my sisters and old neighbors from Epiphany. It was a classic St. Louis event.
That’s the way the Ed Martin I know raises money—by having fun with the people who vote, not sipping champaign with business executives and their lobbyists.
Ed Off the Record
Then there’s the Ed Martin that you’ll never see all the way from New Jersey—microwave links or not. I’m talking about the unofficial Ed Martin.
Here’s one story that tells a lot about the Ed Martin I know, the one who’s running for Missouri’s 2nd US House District in 2012.
Ed asked me to speak at his New Year’s Eve Party on December 31, 2009. The event was in far South St. Louis County, at Orlando’s banquet center. About 100 or so people enjoyed drinks, dinner, and a midnight toast.
Late in the evening, as I was getting ready to leave, I met a family from Illinois. The man was a pharmacist. He wasn’t a political type; he seemed uncomfortable. In fact, I believe he and Ed might be of different parties.
“I’d do anything for Ed,” the man told me.
“A few years ago, the state of Illinois tried to shut me down because I refused to dispense the Morning After pill,” he said. “I’m Catholic.”
“No one would take my case because it was too risky and too sure to lose. That man,” he said, pointed toward Ed who was a few tables away, “was the only lawyer who stepped up and offered to represent me. He came to me. I didn’t even know who he was.”
“Ed fought like a dog for me. He was the only one with the courage and conviction to take on the entire state of Illinois and Governor Blagojevich.”
Ed never told me that story. I never heard him tout it on the stump in 2009 and 2010. Maybe he did and I missed it.
Nor did Ed tell me about volunteering to represent a man who was wrongfully accused of threatening Russ Carnahan. Again, when most lawyers were afraid to take on the (then) powerful Carnahan machine, Ed Martin stepped up and fought for what was right.
I could tell you about the Tea Partiers I know who love Ed because he’s “not like all the other politicians.”
One man told me, “I know a lot of Republican politicians around St. Louis. I’ve asked them what I can do, and I told them I want to get involved. But I’m just a regular guy. They brushed me off. I wasn’t important enough for them. So I said, ‘the hell with you.’”
“Ed, though, treats me like he treats everybody else. I feel like I know him. He knows me. He’s right there in the neighborhood all the time, not in Washington or Europe.”
Straightening the Curves for Dan
So, I’m sorry Dan Riehl—normally a careful researcher—missed so much on this particular story. (We all have bad days.) Or maybe Anthony Weiner hacked into Dan’s Big Government account.
I was warned in May (and I passed along the warning) that the Missouri Republican establish was out to destroy Ed Martin and his Tea Party supporters. Had Dan read my piece, maybe he’d have checked his sources a little more carefully before posting the shabby, undocumented hit piece.
Here in St. Louis, we know where Ed stands. He stands with us, people who can’t really help him. He fights the battles that others won’t.
To this ordinary guy, Ed Martin is street, and his current battle is our battle: to fix the establishment, not romance it.
P.S. If you’re a fan of Ed’s, send a donation to Ed Martin for Congress.