I first met Erick Erickson at CPAC 2009. Well, I’m not sure if we formally “met.” I know he was in the room because I’ve seen the photographic evidence. The truth is I don’t think either of us remembers meeting the other, because our attention was totally focused on the third person in the green room, Rush Limbaugh.
Human Events readers are familiar with Erickson’s blog, Redstate.com. The best description of RedState’s role in politics is the description on his Twitter account (@ewerickson): “We fight the left and clean up the right.” He is also a political contributor to CNN’s “John King, USA” and an elected Republican member of the Macon, Ga., City Council.
In January 2010, the London Telegraph ranked Erickson number 65 among the top 100 most influential U.S. conservatives. He is sandwiched between columnist Victor Davis Hanson and Newsmax founder, Chris Ruddy.
Despite his foray into television and international stardom, I am happy to say that Erickson remains accessible to his colleagues and readers. In fact, I may name my firstborn in his honor. How does Pasquale De Pasquale sound?
1. If there were a television channel that showed only one movie over and over, what movie should it be?
2. What’s one of your favorite movie quotes?
ERICKSON: “No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.”–Patton
3. In A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm McDowell is strapped in with his eyes propped open and forced to watch images until he is “cured.” If you could give President Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Leader Harry Reid the Clockwork Orange treatment, what movie would you make them watch?
ERICKSON: The storming of the beach scene in Saving Private Ryan followed by Ken Burns’ Civil War.
4. What do you remember most about going to the movies as a kid?
ERICKSON: Going to the movies as a kid was a family affair. We all went. The first movie I remember seeing was Star Wars. I think I was four, but really too little to appreciate the outing because I was so overwhelmed by the movie. However, Raiders of the Lost Ark was a different story. It scared me to death, but I loved every minute. The whole family went.
5. What’s your current “guilty pleasure” non-news television show?
ERICKSON: The Mentalist.
6. Which movie, television or rock star would cause you to lose your ability to speak if you ever met?
ERICKSON: Russell Crowe & Angelina Jolie. A tie.
7. One mainstay in politics is the grip-and-grin photos that line people’s walls and desks. What grip-and-grin photo do you cherish the most? (And you can’t say one with President Reagan because that would be everyone’s answer!)
ERICKSON: Honestly, I have only one, but it is not on the wall. It’s Clarence Thomas and me at a small dinner at the Heritage Foundation when his book came out. But I don’t put up pictures like that. People get too roped into the personalities and friendships in politics and I never want to be tempted to do that, lest I surrender my objectivity on an issue to a guy I really don’t know that well, but who hangs out on my wall.
8. What do you enjoy most about your job? What do you enjoy the least?
ERICKSON: I enjoy the contact with people without actually having to be in a room with people. I get roughly 2,400 emails a day from people all across the country putting candidates on my radar, telling me what’s going on in their area, asking questions, venting, etc. It’s a great way to keep my finger on the pulse of the grassroots. But I really do not like crowds and don’t like being in rooms filled with people. So I can maintain the contact without actually having to be in a room full of people.
9. What are you two favorite non-news websites?
ERICKSON: Daringfireball.net and Kottke.org
10. What’s the coolest thing you’ve been able to do because of your role in the political arena?
ERICKSON: I got to meet Rush Limbaugh in person. Now I just want to guest-host for him. Then there was last week when I walked Nikki Haley and Sarah Palin out onto the front steps of the South Carolina Capitol, introduced Rep. Haley, and stood with Gov. Palin. Very cool.
11. What question do you wish reporters would ask you? What’s your answer to that question?
ERICKSON: I wish they’d ask what I’ve learned so far. The answer is actually pretty simple: All men are sinners. All politicians will eventually disappoint us. The key question must then become whether we are disappointed or broken hearted.
12. Tell me about the moment you decided to enter the political arena.
ERICKSON: I grew up in Dubai. Starting in the fifth grade, armed guards routinely surrounded our school and would literally pick apart kids’ sandwiches looking for explosives as we entered the school grounds. Hezbollah or some group once tried to plant a bomb in our school. At the American school in Abu Dhabi, the military kept a tank stationed by the front door of the school.
I kept hearing my parents talking about how some guy named Ronald Reagan kept us safe. We became a host family for the 5th Fleet. Every time a ship pulled into dry docks, my parents organized block parties for the enlisted sailors. I’d wake up some mornings and have a dozen or so sailors sleeping on couches and the floors. The sailors loved this Reagan guy. I couldn’t help but want to help him in some way in the fight for freedom.