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.
After that weekend, Mike Flynn became a close ally of the St. Louis Tea Party. He gave a few of us blogger accounts on BigGovernment.com. He made his way to St. Louis for many of our events, big and small. He invited John Loudon and me to sit on the board of the Ensuring Liberty PAC, intended to boost tea party-friendly candidates for US Congress. I suspect Mike used his media clout to get me invitations to write op-eds and to appear on political talk shows, like Larry Kudlow's.
In short, Mike Flynn did a lot for St. Louis Tea Party Coalition and for me.
I was shocked to get an email from a mutual friend, Michael Patrick Leahy, the other night, alerting me to Dave Weigel's story that Mike Flynn is considering a run for Aaron Schock's seat in Congress. Flynn and I have been on different sides of intra-tea party disputes a few times. I wasn't sure if he'd want my support.
But he did. Or does.
Mike returned my call Thursday night to say hello and ask my thoughts on his possible run. He explained that he's spent most of his life helping to get people elected, and nearly all of them disappointed him. An example is the current Congress that's funding Obama's illegal immigration policy.
When it comes to issues and philosophy, Mike's views are pretty much interchangeable with mine. Mike sometimes thought my anti-establishment views were too strong or counterproductive, but that was just a difference of degree, not kind. And Flynn seems to be closer to my position now. As Dave Weigel reports:
I can't believe this Republican Congress is funding something that the courts already found to be illegal," [Flynn] said, referring to President Obama's executive actions on immigration. If he won, and he got a 2017 vote on the speaker of the House, he'd be inclined to back "a conservative" instead of John Boehner.
I tried to find out if Mike had made his final decision on Tuesday. Sources said Mike's getting close to making an announcement, including forming a campaign team.
People in Illinois's 18th Congressional District, which includes Mike's hometown of Quincy, seem angry and ready for a change. They feel former Obama Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has "influenced" Republican party elites to clear the deck for LaHood's son's coronation as Aaron Schock's replacement.
Mike Flynn would represent IL-18 as a lifelong advocate for better government. After managing one of his family's soft drink distributorships, Mike went to work on tax policy in Illinois and Washington.
While some in the tea party movement might find Mike's familiarity with DC troubling, I don't. First, Mike Flynn has battled on our side in Springfield and Washington. He's advanced good policy and good government with ALEC and other organizations. Second, Mike has testified before Congress on numerous occasions. He knows how DC works, and he knows its weak points.
The biggest reason I like the idea of US Rep. Mike Flynn (R-IL) is that I like Mike. He's been a straight shooter with me since we met in Quincy on September 12, 2009. He's given me sage, honest advice when I needed help navigating the political minefields in Missouri. And he's funny as hell
If Mike Flynn runs and wins, I'll consider it a huge win for the people who created that magic moment in 2009 and 2010. The Tea Party was the start of a 20-year realignment in America, and Illinois 18 voters can advance our cause by electing Mike Flynn.