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2016 American of the Year: Kellyanne Conway

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For a decade straight, from 2004-13, this website named an American of the Year.

With my writing emphasis switching to baseball over the last two years or so, that tradition was tabled.


Baseball is still my primary writing subject. But here at my home website, I’ll be getting back to covering political, social, spiritual and other issues once again in the coming weeks and months.


Over the course of those first ten years honoring an American of the Year, nine different men were honored, as well as one heroic group of them. The complete list is available at the end of this piece.


Now, for the first time, a woman is receiving the honor. And this particular woman is a genuine surprise, because when this year began, frankly, I had never heard of her.


In 2016, Kellyanne Conway became the first woman in the history of American politics to run a winning U.S. Presidential campaign. 


She did it in basically two and a half months, not taking over as the head of Donald Trump’s campaign until August 17, at which point the possibility of his election was very much in doubt.



Conway is actually a local girl. She was born in Camden, New Jersey as Kellyanne Elizabeth Fitzpatrick on January 20, 1967. She was raised in the Atco, New Jersey area by her single mother and other female family members after her parents divorced when she was just three years old.


“I grew up in a house with my mom and her mom, and two of my mother’s unmarried sisters,” she explained to Ronald Kessler of Newsmax back in 2008. “So four Italian Catholic women raised me.”


At age 15, Conway won the New Jersey Blueberry Princess pageant. She frequently has credited her eight summers working on a blueberry farm for developing her strong work ethic.


Conway graduated from Trinity College in Washington, D.C., graduating magna cum laude with a degree in political science. 


She then studied at Oxford University, and was elected to the prestigious Phi Betta Kappa honors society. Then in 1992, Conway earned her law degree with honors from George Washington University. 


After graduation from law school, Conway served a clerkship with D.C. Superior Court Judge Richard Levie. Conway then got into the research and polling field for a couple of years before finally starting up her own polling company, aptly named ‘The Polling Company’, in 1995.


Over the next couple of decades, Conway made television appearances as a pundit/commentator, and worked for numerous Republican politicians, usually helping those pols efforts to appeal to female voters. One of those politicians was the late actor and Republican U.S. Senator Fred Thompson from Tennessee, with whom she was romantically linked for a time.


She also spearheaded numerous high-profile projects with ‘The Polling Company’, doing research and consultancy for major organizations such as ABC News and Major League Baseball.


In 2001, Conway married New York lawyer George Conway. The couple then built a family with four children, including twins. They now live in Alpine borough, New Jersey’s northeastern most situated county and the most expensive ZIP code in the country according to a 2012 Forbes magazine ranking.


In 2005, Conway penned a book titled “What Women Really Want” as co-author with Cellinda Lake, a female Democratic pollster.


Conway worked for the losing presidential campaign of John McCain in 2008, as well as Newt Gingrich’s failed run at the 2012 GOP nomination. In working for McCain, Conway found political inspiration in his running mate choice, Alaska governor Sarah Palin.


Per Kessler, Conway stated that Palin “signaled to many professional women, myself included, that maybe you can have it all, all at the same time; but you just need to be a very organized, time-efficient person who completely strips your life of extracurricular activities.”


In 2006, Conway had been living with her family in one of Donald Trump’s buildings when he first met the future POTUS. While serving on the board at Trump World Tower, the man himself would often show up to meetings in order to hear residents concerns, which made an impression upon her.


When Trump began to organize his run for the Republican nomination, he met with Conway and offered her a job with the campaign in March of 2015, a role that she declined to take on at the time.


Instead, Conway accepted the job of running a super PAC for the Ted Cruz campaign. But the honor and responsibility of the job as Trump’s overall campaign manager was eventually too good to pass up this past summer.


Conway got to work, tirelessly putting together candidate Trump’s schedule and doing her best to keep him on message. She also displayed unwavering loyalty in standing up for Trump when various fires erupted down the stretch that had more to do with personal attacks than the actual political issues.


In the end, all of Conway’s work was vindicated by the voting public. And that was a real key: she, her candidate, and their campaign staff simply outworked the favored Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton.


In comments to MSNBC, Conway criticized Clinton for “not campaigning enough” and not having a positive message. “You need to campaign, you need to connect with the people. Hillary Clinton just could not break past that stubborn 45, 46, 48 percent in these states that President Obama carried twice.”
Trump would ultimately capture a decisive Electoral College victory by a 304-227 margin, capturing 30 of the 50 United States. And the new President has never failed to give Conway the credit that she deserves.
Everything that Donald Trump said about the populist uprising, and people really just wanting fairness and an opportunity and a voice, ended up being true,” said Conway to The Wall Street Journal. “We can talk about it being an anti-elitist election. That has some merit. But at its very core, people were talking about security.”
Following his victory, President-elect Trump named Conway to a key role with his transition team, and she will surely have a key role in the Trump administration.

Conway “played a crucial role in my victory,” Trump said in the transition team statement per Reuters. “She is a tireless and tenacious advocate of my agenda and has amazing insights on how to effectively communicate our message.

For that tireless and tenacious work, especially in clearly communicating the message during one of the most divisive presidential campaigns in American history – especially in light of the ultimate victory – Kellyanne Conway is named as the first woman and the 11th overall American of the Year.
PREVIOUS AMERICANS OF THE YEAR

2004 – Pat Tillman
2005 – Bill O’Reilly
2006 – Rev. Billy Graham
2007 – P/O Chuck Cassidy (for the American police officer)
2008 – George W. Bush
2009 – Glenn Beck
2010 – Ron Paul
2011 – Seal Team 6
2012 – Michael Phelps

2013 – Ted Cruz

2014-15 (none named)

2013 American of the Year: Ted Cruz

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The junior U.S. Senator from the great state of Texas, Ted Cruz, has been selected as this website’s 10th annual American of the Year, marking the first time that someone born outside of the country has been so honored.

Cruz was born in Canada, in the city of Calgary and province of Alberta in December of 1970 to a Cuban father and American mother from Delaware who were there to work the oil business.

Cruz’ parents moved to Houston, Texas in 1974, and he went to a Baptist high school, becoming Valedictorian of his 1988 graduating class. He then went to Princeton University, where he became a debate champion and noted speaker, graduating in 1992. He then attended Harvard Law School where he graduated magna cum laude, while also dealing with his parents divorce during this time.

In 1995, Cruz served in Virginia as law clerk to a true, great conservative jurist, J. Michael Luttig of the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and in 1996 became the first Hispanic to clerk for the Chief Justice of the US when he worked for William Rehnquist.

After working a few years in private practice, Cruz joined the presidential campaign of George W. Bush in 1999 as a domestic policy advisor, and was influential in the court process during the contested Florida election results battle at both the state and Supreme Court levels. This led to a role in the victorious Bush administration for a few years before a return to Texas.

During the Bush campaign, Cruz met his wife, Heidi Nelson, a New York investment banker who would go on to work for Condoleezza Rice at the White House and who now works for Goldman Sachs. They now have two daughters together.

From 2003 to 2008, Cruz served as Solicitor General of Texas, arguing numerous cases before the US Supreme Court including landmark victories in which he stood up for 2nd Amendment rights, the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools, and on behalf of a Ten Commandments monument at the Texas State Capitol.

Cruz returned to private practice from 2008 until his surprising Senatorial election battle of 2011. In what was described as a stunning grass-roots victory for fiscal conservatism, he defeated the sitting Lieutenant Governor and heir apparent. He then trounced his Democratic opponent in the November general election.

In the last few months, a poll by the respected Rasmussen organization found that Ted Cruz was the 3rd most influential world leader, following behind only President Barack Obama and Pope Francis. That position comes squarely from his emerging leadership as the most forceful, outspoken critic of what are proving to be disastrous liberal political programs, policies and ideas.

Particularly in 2013, Cruz emerged as a vocal opponent of Obamcare, the President’s attempt to socialize the American healthcare system. Cruz publicly and aggressively attacked the program at a time when many even within his own Republican Party were treading lightly.

What Ted Cruz has done is stand up and give voice to the massive base of the Republican Party that has felt left behind by the Party’s political leaders in recent years. As spending has exploded, war droned on, and deals been cut with Democrats that have allowed disastrous socialist programs to continue, that base has grown from restless to revolutionary.

While that Republican Party leadership cut those deals and smiled for the cameras, talking words like “compromise” and “collaboration”, the old “reaching across the aisle” stuff, Cruz not only recognized these continuing methods as disastrous for the Party politically, but for the nation intrinsically.

In 2013, Senator Cruz has invigorated the Republican Party base, which the Party will need if it is to have any chance at taking control of the full Senate in 2014 and then winning back the White House in 2016. Properly motivated, that base has the ability to make just those very things happen.

Republican control of both Houses of Congress, combined with control of the White House, in the next few years gives us the best, perhaps the only chance to reverse the disastrous liberal socialist spending programs instituted under Obama. That can only happen if more politicians become as publicly aggressive and fearless as Cruz was this year. Reaction to his style makes that possible now.

For his aggressive, principled, public stands on behalf of truly Conservative political values during a period when far too many Party leaders have been cow-towed into political cowardice, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is selected as the American of the Year.

NOTE:

In an original version of this article, I posited that Cruz was not eligible to become the President of the United States himself. This was based on an improper reading of materials which I believed stated that, with his having clearly been born outside of the U.S., both his parents needed to be U.S. citizens in order for him to be eligible for POTUS.

This is not so. On further research, the key information relating to Cruz comes from the ‘Citizenship Clause’ of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, as well as from the Nationality Act of 1940. Ted Cruz, with his mother clearly a U.S. citizen for more than 10 years, was considered a U.S. citizen himself at birth.

Basically, Cruz enjoyed ‘dual citizenship’ from the U.S and Canada. He has chosen to retain counsel in order to prepare the paperwork necessary in order to renounce his Canadian citizenship. This is clearly a precurssor to a projected run for the US Presidency in 2016 or sometime in the future. He does indeed enjoy such eligibility. My earlier comments were in error, and are well corrected here.


AMERICANS OF THE YEAR:
2004 – Pat Tillman
2005 – Bill O’Reilly
2006 – Rev. Billy Graham
2007 – P/O Chuck Cassidy (for the American police officer)
2008 – George W. Bush
2009 – Glenn Beck
2010 – Ron Paul
2011 – Seal Team 6
2012 – Michael Phelps

TO VIEW all articles relating to the previous ‘American of the Year‘ award honorees, simply click on that below ‘Tag’

2012 American of the Year: Michael Phelps

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Politics, faith, education, service to either country or community have been the hallmarks of the previous eight honorees as the ‘American of the Year’: Pat Tillman (04), Bill O’Reilly (05), Billy Graham (06), Chuck Cassidy (07), George W. Bush (08), Glenn Beck (09), Ron Paul (10) and Seal Team 6 (11) have all distinguished themselves in these arenas.

 
Critics would say that many of these individuals, at least where politics and culture are involved, can be associated with a conservative slant, and that in at least a couple of those years a more liberal selection would show this website to be both more balanced and fair.
Fact is, this website reflects it’s creator, and so it will always reflect my own leanings, and thus those choices.
 
An examination of the year 2012 left America lacking in political leadership, as our main Republican and Democratic parties battled for control of the White House amid some of the most divided conditions in history.
With the nation clearly so divided, and with the current leadership so clearly lacking answers to our most pressing problems, there was opportunity to look at the full scope of American achievement.
 
The Olympics are a major world event, and in the summer of 2012 more than 10,000 of the world’s greatest athletes representing 204 nations gathered to compete across 302 events for national pride and individual glory.
The United States was represented by a large contingent, and one man stood out above all others. In fact, one man stood out above all Olympians of all-time. That man is our 2012 American of the Year, Michael Phelps.

 
This past year, Phelps won 4 Gold and 2 Silver medals at the London Games. This was following on the heels of his record-shattering performance at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where Phelps broke a 36-year old record held by another American male swimming legend, Mark Spitz, by winning 8 Gold medals.
But Phelps’ domination at the Olympics had not even begun there. Back in 2004 as an 18-year old phenom, Phelps won 6 Gold and 2 Bronze medals.
 
With his performance over these 3 Olympiads proudly wearing the “USA” across his chest and performing for the pride of his nation, Michael Phelps thrilled both serious and casual American fans of swimming in particular and sports in general. His 22 medals make him the most decorated Olympian of all-time. His 18 Gold medals are double the second-highest all-time totals.
 
In these days of doping controversies involving major athletes across sports as varied as professional football, baseball, cycling, running, and more it is fair to ask whether it is dangerous to award any athlete such an honor as is being bestowed here.

However, to his credit, Phelps has gone above and beyond in this area as well. During the ’08 Olympics he had signed up for Project Believe, a project of the US Anti-Doping Agency in which Olympians could voluntarily agree to be tested in excess of World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines. Phelps passed all 9 tests that were administered to him.
 
For his achievements in representing his nation in setting the all-time Olympic medals record with his performance in London during 2012, for his all-time performance representing his nation going back over the past decade, and for his principled anti-doping stance in these days of questionable athletic tactics, Michael Phelps is a very deserving honoree as the 2012 American of the Year.
 
 

TO VIEW all articles relating to the previous ‘American of the Year‘ award honorees, simply click on that below ‘Tag’

2011 American of the Year: Seal Team 6

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The United States Navy ‘SEAL’ teams are the Navy’s principal special operations force. The ‘SEAL’ acronym stands for Sea, Air, and Land, and each of these factors was on display on May 2nd, 2011.

On that day, the Navy’s “SEAL Team 6”, it’s Special Warfare Development Group, got revenge for America and exorcised a ghost that had haunted the nation for two decades, particularly in orchestrating the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. On that day, they killed Osama bin Laden.
“Operation Neptune Spear” was led by the C.I.A. and included their own agents, U.S. Army Airborne Rangers, and Seal Team 6. Their target was a compound in the Bilal Town section of the city of Abbottabad, Pakistan where intelligence gathered over the previous 9 months had led to the conclusion that Osama bin Laden, the murderous leader of the al Qaeda Islamofascist terrorist group, was living.
The mission was to be a “kill or capture” one in theory, but information developed from the intel had led most to feel that those inside the compound would not allow themselves to simply be captured. The American team was ready for a fire-fight.

In discussions between the President and leadership within the National Security Council, it was decided to leave the Pakistani government in the dark as to the planned raid. There was a complete lack of confidence in their government’s ability to keep such a plan a secret.
Approaching the compound using newly designed helicopters, the SEAL team dropped in and made their attack. They came under fire as they entered the main building, and in the end there were five people killed, including bin Laden and his son. Watching from the White House Situation Room, President Obama said “We got him!”
The identities of SEAL Team members are supposed to remain classified for many reasons, including the potential for retaliation against individual members and their families for actions such as this raid on the bin Laden compound. The President came under scrutiny for releasing some of this information in the aftermath of the attack.
Here we will not concern ourselves with the individuals, and will absolutely respect their necessary anonymity. What we will do is recognize this group and their actions in avenging 9/11 and ridding the world of one of it’s worst-ever terrorists. For their heroic actions in May, we recognize the entirety of the group known as ‘SEAL Team 6’ as the 2011 American of the Year.

2010 American of the Year: Ron Paul

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There was no bigger development on the American political and social scene in 2010 than the emergence to power of the “Tea Party“, and that movement arguably had no bigger inspiration than Texas congressman Ron Paul.

Emerging in the wake of the disastrous Presidential election of 2008 that saw Barack Obama win the race to the Oval Office for the Democrats, the Tea Party (basing it’s moniker on the historical ‘Boston Tea Party’) espouses a firm adherence to the U.S. Constitution, drastic reductions in government spending, and reducing the national debt and budget deficit.

A longtime critic of what he perceives to be the frequent misuse of our nation’s military power by the American military-industrial complex, Paul inspired the Tea Party with his Libertarian-based run for the 2008 Republican Party nomination. Paul fell short, but his agressive criticisms of the American foreign, domestic, and monetary policies, especially in attacks on the Federal Reserve system, struck a chord with many.

For his leadership example and principled stand on the vital economic and Constitutional issues at this fragile time in American history, Ron Paul is named as this website’s annual “American of the Year”, following in the footsteps of previous honorees Glenn Beck (2009), George W. Bush (2008), Chuck Cassidy (2007), Billy Graham (2006), Bill O’Reilly (2005), and the first honoree Pat Tillman from 2004.

Born and raised in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Paul went on to Gettysburg College and then to med school at Duke before becoming a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force during the 1960’s. On leaving the military, Paul became an obstetrician, deliving more than 4,000 babies in the ob-gyn field across two decades before turning solely to politics.

He first ran for President in the 1988 election as a member of the Libertarian Party, finishing 3rd in receiving .5% of the popular vote. More than trying to actually win, Paul wanted to begin to spread Libertarian values as an alternative to traditional Republican and Democratic Party platforms. Those values include strong emphasis on civil liberties, less government regulation, and military/diplomatic non-interventionism in a generally less powerful state.

In 1996, Paul sought a return to Congress, where he had held a seat from Texas during a portion of the 1970’s and 80’s, and won in a hard-fought campaign. After that he built his political popularity and power to the point where he was winning re-election fairly easily, now serving in the U.S. House of Representative from Texas’ 14th District.

Inspired by many of Paul’s ideals, the Tea Party candidates upset Republicans in a number of elections this year and became a viable political force with the elections of politicians such as U.S. Senators Scott Brown in Massachusetts and Mike Lee in Utah, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Dean Murray in the New York State Assembly, and Paul’s own son, Rand Paul, to the U.S. Senate from Kentucky.

While Ron Paul himself has had limited and perhaps just regional actual election success, his inspirational ideals and speeches have changed American politics and may have begun a genuine push-back by the more conservative side of American society in an age when liberalism and even socialism are rearing their ugly heads. For this inspiration and leadership, Ron Paul is the 2010 American of the Year.

NOTE: To view the write-ups for all of the ‘American of the Year’ winners simply click on to that ‘Tag’ below this article at http://www.mattveasey.com