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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Kindness and generosity in the political/policy world of Washington, D.C. is not an unknown quality. But too often, the public doesn't hear the true story about someone and their personality until after they die. And so it was with Kate Walsh O’Beirne. Here's what you ought to know...

Kindness and generosity in the political/policy world of Washington, D.C. is not an unknown quality. But too often, the public doesn't hear the true story about someone and their personality until after they die. And so it was with Kate Walsh O’Beirne. Here's what you ought to know...

Mieux vaut tard que jamais - Better late than never...

Updated 2017-05-04 255 PM

I'd meant to post some thoughts last week on my blog about the recent passing of Kate Walsh O’Beirne, but somehow, I got so distracted by the dozens of other things on my mind these days that the first time I had a chance to publicly comment on her death, it was via Twitter, which for all of 140 reasons, is simply too small a platform for me to share what I knew with you loyal readers of the blog.

With the epidemic of shallow and biased news reporting going on all around us in South Florida on local and network TV, as well as what's in print locally and nationally, where a once-iconic magazine like TIME magazine is a shell of its former self -to say nothing of what's become of the once impressive reporting talent at the Miami Herald of the mid-1980's, when there were few newspapers in the U.S. who had a better group of clever and curious foreign correspondents trying to ferret out facts and trends worth knowing- I'm trying to rectify that oversight of mine regarding Kate O'Beirne today.

My reasons for doing so are both altruistic and self-serving. 
Self-serving in the sense that I always like to have an opportunity to remind you in a very tangible way that my blog and I can offer you a unique perspective on the news and current events of the day, locally and nationally, that you simply can't find elsewhere in South Florida or Florida.

Altruistic because I want you loyal readers of the blog to have the advantage of learning and knowing something very fundamental about the ways of Washington, D.C. that are usually ignored by the news media but which I came to learn from personal experience via my 15 years of living and working in the Washington, D.C.area, and getting to meet and know personally some of the biggest political, social and media personalities of the area from 1988-2003.
People whose names and work you know and whom you recognize the moment they appear on TV, even before they're identified on-screen.
People whose work and reputation at or whom are closely identified with The Washington Post, the New York Times, ABC News, CBS News, NBC News and the Brookings Institution and CSIS to name but a few places... 

I suppose the best way to express my feeling is to say that more than the vast majority of you readers can possibly imagine, even the more open-minded among you, there really ARE LOTS of very smart, opinionated and hard-working people in DC who, while perhaps holding diametrically opposing political or policy points of view from you, are not just lots of fun to be with personally, but are, fortunately, possessed of a unique kindness and sense of generosity that 99% of the people with whom you probably politically self-identify with, simply are NOT.
But Kate Walsh O’Beirne was one such person.

In the entirety of the 15 years I lived and worked in the DC area, meeting and working with a wide variety of very smart and conscientious people in all kinds of political and policy areas, there was never a year I was there when at least one person -and often several- and very well-known persons at that, who trusted me to keep their confidence, didn't at some point confide to me a positive story or anecdote they had to share about the exceptional nature of Kate Walsh O’Beirne's personal kindness.

Since I need to respect that confidence that was placed in me, I choose here, now, to share the story of someone who personally knows of her kindness and generosity, and whom, regardless of what you may think about him personally or politically, is better known than any of those people whose names I could name-drop here - Rush Limbaugh.

He, along with Ramesh Ponnuru's spot-on appreciation of her in his National Review column, tell a compelling story of a very influential woman.
Rush, thru the magic power of radio and painting a picture of her that's better and more true than almost anyone else I can think of on the current stage today could.

As it happens, I listened to Rush Limbaugh's nationally-syndicated radio show that day, as I do most days, and knew that it must be important because he started off his show -the single most-listened to radio program in America- with this very telling anecdote.
And as soon as he said her name, I knew exactly what was coming...

(Below, I have posted the video of that Limbaugh radio show segment that is, in a word, amazing. Or as I described it in my tweet last week, GOLD.)

And in listening to Rush Limbaugh relate the story of how she came to take an active interest in someone like him who was then an unknown quantity on the DC political stage, and someone that even many Conservatives and GOP partisans were highly-suspicious of, and often outright condescending of, it made me smile.
Smile because Rush was sharing a story that I personally knew to be true from experience over the years. 
But it's also a story which also made me quite sad because it only reaffirmed the reality that it's usually the case that most people in a community, even the very small community that political/media DC really is, don't hear about those truly selfless positive stories until after someone has passed away.
Trust me, there are a lot of people in Washington at all sorts of places who have felt true #gratitude.

And when you think about it, it also makes you wonder why we can't hear about these sorts of stories about other well-known people when it actually might matter and serve as a model for others, right?


---


National Review
Kate Walsh O’Beirne R.I.P. 
By Ramesh Ponnuru
April 23, 2017 3:05 PM 
@RAMESHPONNURU

Kate O’Beirne was part of National Review’s world before she joined the staff. When she became the magazine’s Washington editor in 1995 her resume already included stints at Senator Jim Buckley’s office, the Reagan administration, and the Heritage Foundation. She served NR in that position for eleven years and then became president of National Review Institute for six more. 
She brought a witty and well-informed conservatism to a national television audience as well through weekly appearances on CNN’s marquee political talk show “Capital Gang.” Conservatives were outnumbered there as on cable news generally at that time, but it never seemed that way as long as she was on.
Both her “Bread and Circuses” column for NR and her television commentary were marked by a rare combination of a deep interest in conservative policy, psychological insight, and common sense. Many of those same qualities put her advice — on politics, editorials, careers, and personal matters — in high demand.



Kate O’Beirne: Godmother of the Modern Conservative Movement
Transcript of this segment is here:
https://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2017/04/24/kate-obeirne-godmother-of-the-modern-conservative-movement/
I encourage you to read it, too, since it might make even more of an impact.


In his column, Ramesh Ponnuru uses the phrase rare combination of a deep interest in conservative policy, psychological insight, and common sense

It's also what, after I changed my party registration from Democrat to Republican after moving back here from DC in 2003, I observed is so clearly and frequently missing in Florida and South Florida commentary, esp. among the GOP set who so often are jaw-droppingly disconnected from pop culture. 
Or boring.
Or boring and depressing to be around!


Both her “Bread and Circuses” column for NR and her television commentary were marked by a rare combination of a deep interest in conservative policy, psychological insight, and common sense. Many of those same qualities put her advice — on politics, editorials, careers, and personal matters — in high demand.

And yes, in case you forgot, Ramesh Ponnuru was talking her working for the Sen. James Buckley who was William Buckley's older brother, so she knew both brothers about as well as anyone could know them.




Dave 


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