Improvise, Adapt, And Overcome

by Paul R. Hollrah –

In almost every field of endeavor we find those who display an indomitable spirit laboring side by side with those who are only too anxious to throw in the towel when the going gets tough or when the odds appear too long.

As a case in point, I remember being summoned to the Chicago home of former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld on July 7, 1986. Those in attendance, some twenty-one individuals, included political operatives from all regions of the country, as well as corporate executives and former top government officials. We were there to help the former defense secretary think through the question of whether it was still possible to defeat George H.W. Bush for the 1988 Republican presidential nomination… in spite of the fact that Bush already had a large and experienced campaign organization in place, left over from his 1980 campaign against Ronald Reagan, and in spite of the fact that he had served as Reagan’s vice president for five and one-half years and had staffed every agency of the federal government with loyal campaign aides.

And although we all came from widely varying backgrounds, with but one or two exceptions we all shared one thing in common: we were all military veterans. The consensus we reached was that, in spite of the odds against us, we could still defeat George H.W. Bush and Senator Bob Dole for the 1988 GOP nomination. There was no trepidation. We were confident that, if we followed the advice of the U.S. Marines… improvise, adapt, overcome… we could be successful.

A week after that initial meeting I went to work full time on the campaign as principal deputy to the campaign manager, and in the days and weeks that followed I saw some of the most notable and accomplished men and women in the country drop whatever they were doing to devote themselves to our cause. And in spite of the fact that some were people that George H. W. Bush was counting upon to take responsibility for major portions of his campaign, no one asked for a guarantee that we would ultimately be successful in our quest.

When I was the last to leave the campaign in August 1987, I sent a letter to the Rumsfelds in which I attempted to put into words exactly what it was that had made so many men and women of accomplishment drop whatever else they were doing to enlist in our “dark horse” campaign for the presidency, a campaign that was not even a “blip” in the presidential preference polls.

Describing the Rumsfeld campaign as a three-legged stool, I used Barbara Tuschman’s definition of the word “quality” as the first leg of the stool. She said, it is “… achieving or reaching for the highest standard as against being satisfied with the sloppy or fraudulent. It is honesty of purpose as against catering to cheap or sensational sentiment. It does not allow compromise with the second rate.”

As the second leg of the stool I quoted Sidney Hook’s proposition to William F. Buckley regarding the essence of true leadership. As Hook described it, the essence of true leader ship is “great intelligence… in combination with great moral courage.”

And finally, and most importantly, as the third leg of the stool, I quoted the guiding philosophy of Edwin Land, the inventor of the Polaroid camera, who advised, “Don’t do anything that someone else can do. Don’t undertake a project unless it is manifestly important and nearly impossible. If it is manifestly important, then you don’t have to worry about its significance. Since it’s nearly impossible, you know that no one else is likely to be doing it.”

That is precisely what we in the Rumsfeld organization were trying to do, and although we were not able to elect a “dark horse” candidate as president of the United States, in spite of the fact that he was arguably the best qualified and best prepared candidate ever to seek the presidency in all of American history, it was not for the lack of trying; we simply ran out of time and money. However, the experience contributed much to my understanding of the people who are the “movers and shakers” of the world. It was then I began to understand that those who have served in the military, both men and women, have an extra dimension to them that non-veterans simply do not have.

That difference in “dimension,” although I have never before been able to put it into words, has never been more evident than in the attitude of many pundits and commentators who consider the question of what impact a series of major scandals will have on Barack Obama and his ability to lead the nation.

At this very instant, we have a man sitting in the Oval Office who has no right to be there. It is indisputable that he was born with dual US-British citizenship and that he is currently, by reason of his own claim of parentage, a citizen of Kenya “by birth.” It is entirely possible that he holds Indonesian citizenship, as well, and is not even an American citizen. Beyond that, the document he has presented as his long-form birth certificate is, in fact, a rather poorly crafted forgery; his draft registration card was created for him in 2008, at age 47, after he launched a campaign for the presidency; he currently uses a stolen Social Security number that was originally issued to a man named Harrison J. Bounel in 1940; and a simple Social Security Administration E-verify test, using Obama’s name and Social Security number, produces a “no match” response.

And now, having usurped the most powerful political office on Earth through the most audacious political crime in recorded history, this man finds himself embroiled in a multiplicity of scandals that would have landed any other chief executive, not only out on the street, but in prison.

Nevertheless, respected commentators such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and others, none of them military veterans, throw up their hands in surrender, declaring that the full weight of crimes in the Obama administration will never find their way to his doorstep.

They reason that the number and seriousness of his crimes are of little importance because the mainstream media will throw a blanket of protection over him such that he will not be blamed for any of the crimes committed in his name. They argue that fighting to blame Obama is a waste of time and energy.

On the other hand, an even larger number of political pundits and commentators, all military veterans, are of a far different opinion. Those of us in the “never say die” category understand that, in order to defeat a sitting president, no matter how powerful the phalanx of apologists around him, we must follow the advice of the U.S. Marines: we must improvise, adapt, and overcome.

Twenty-six years ago we were unsuccessful in our attempt to elect a supremely qualified man to the presidency. Now, in 2013, we find ourselves up against a man who is not only ineligible for the office he holds, but who is profoundly ill-equipped for any sort of leadership role.

It would be helpful to have the Limbaughs and the Hannitys of the world with us, using their substantial influence to support our effort, but if need be we will march on without them and we will be victorious. As believers in Constitutional principles and the rule of law, we are superior to Barack Obama. We will improvise as necessary, we will adapt to whatever roadblocks he throws in our path, and we will overcome. The house of cards is beginning to fall. Don’t bet against us. | May 31, 2013

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Authors Note~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ >>
It has not been easy these past few days trying to produce a few written words. Rushing to a neighbor’s basement to ride out a tornado watch two or three times a night (they are living permanently in Panama and we have access to their home) is very disruptive to a normal routine. As it turns out, we have all been spared. Neither of the two tornados that have struck Moore, Oklahoma, in the past week caused any damage to our grandson’s home, and the tornado that touched down near Mazie, Oklahoma, just three miles west of us, receded back into the wall cloud and passed directly over us.

The storms have now moved east and are threatening people in Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. To those who live in those states, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Paul

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