For Tom Schweich

Last Friday, I flew from St. Louis to Kansas City for Reagan-Lincoln Days. This event is the Missouri Republican Party’s statewide annual gathering.  Lost in thought at the security line, I heard the familiar voice of Tom Schweich call out from behind me.  He was with his wife lovely wife Kathy. We walked together to the plane, chatting about nothing in particular.

We were not able to sit together on the plane, but we did share a ride from the airport to the hotel that was hosting the event.  Our conversation was light and touched on topics from Bolton (John, not Michael), collectible coins, my new job at Eagle Forum, and a good deal about our families.  Tom sat in the front passenger seat insisting that the back seat was “where the dignitaries sit, Mr. Chairman – for one more day.”  Tom was a thoroughly pleasant man.


The hoary saw “Politics is not Beanbag is every bit as true as it is cynical. I remember clearly the first time someone called me “corrupt.”  I was running for Congress and a man whom I did not know, and could not possibly know me, shook my hand, narrowed his eyes and said “I know you, you’re Ed Martin, and you’re corrupt.”

He spit the words out with such venom that it made me shudder.  I thought fleetingly about slugging the man but just grimaced and turned away. It put me in a foul mood.

Alas, I learned that when you run for office this is what you can expect. You will be terribly dispirited if you complain or dwell on these unprompted and unfair personal assessments.  I learned to take them with some bemused interest while thinking to myself  “Hey, pal, you don’t know me ….”

When you run for office a whole lot of people are very supportive: they know you, love you and they recognize your heart and intent, and give you the benefit of the doubt. Having that kind of support is wonderful, but its antithesis is pretty awful. I understand why politicians develop this thick skin and can seem remote. No matter how many people support you, in your mind you know that there are many who call you everything under the sun but what your mother named you. It’s a strange and disorienting business, politics.


We really don’t know people in public life.  But we think we do and we judge them thus, often with a harshness that is hard to fathom. Tom Schweich was a friend of mine.  By that, I mean, I knew him more broadly than just his political persona. I was a young associate at Bryan Cave when Tom worked there as an attorney. The community of Saint Louis is small enough that charitable and social work will bring people together as interests in community service overlap. I obviously know him from politics both as a candidate and policy leader.

Tom and I broke bread together, he’s invited me over for dinner at his home with his family and we’ve been out for lunch or supper together.

I knew he loved his wife and kids; that he collected coins, autographs, and posters; that he loved John Bolton and his tough brand of foreign policy; and on and on.  He was a fearless auditor. Tom was unsparing as he held everyone accountable for the public trust. He loved doing his job.

Mostly, I knew Tom as a driven, successful man.  And honest.  To a fault perhaps. Tom wore his heart and his mind on his sleeve.  This morning, when I woke up having slept on the terrible news, I wondered if I was really his friend. The burdens of life can be ominous – Lord knows I’ve felt that groaning weight.  I am blessed with my wife and family and so many friends who will share my burdens and for whom I share my love. I wish I could show that love to Tom. I offered it in my prayers last night and today but it felt very weak.


That Tom has died is a mystery to me. It still seems unreal. If the burdens of being a public figure were part of his tragic death, it makes me think about how we as a society treat people we do not know.

The Lord said that we should judge others in the way we would want to be judged. Without plumbing the significant depths of this simple, profound statement, one facet I find is that we should be humble, and not rush to think harshly of someone just because we oppose them, or that they are different. Mercy needs to be the first filter through which our words and thoughts pass.

God created every man and woman in His likeness.  And any loss of His creation is infinitely sad.  I also believe in a God who is generous and merciful that He sent His only Son to save us all.  That God, so merciful and kind, will take up Tom now.

I will lift up my friend Tom Schweich in prayer before the merciful God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will have confidence that he is at peace.

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Big Changes – New Challnges

Eagle ForumOver two years ago I ran to be Chairman of the Missouri Republican Party. At the time, the party seemed fractious and out of touch. Many felt the party was not listening to “We The People.” They were seen as taking the votes and support of patriotic grassroots Republicans for granted. I knew we could do much better.

Many of the men and women I have worked with over the last two years proved that the MOGOP could correct course and regain our lost footing. The crushing defeat of Big Government and Crony “Capitalist” politicians in the 2014 election demonstrated that our party had a message worth running on – a winning message.

There are still plenty of work to be done. When I talk to grassroots Republicans, there is clearly a great deal of bridge building and fence mending left to do. While our platform has the blueprint for American greatness, many of us expect more from our leaders in full-throated support for Constitutional governance and opposition to the disastrous course on which our political opponents have us.

During these two years I have been working on various projects with Phyllis Schlafly, the legendary conservative activist. She formed Eagle Forum in an era when the rise of Socialism was thought to be inevitable. Her indefatigable work, advocating for basic conservative values paved the way for the defeat of the grossly mislabeled Equal Rights Amendment and the Reagan Revolution that reversed the “malaise” Jimmy Carter talked about but did nothing to correct. Phyllis was relentlessly pro-life, and had unwavering faith in freedom – nobody was a more zealous advocate for America and her defense during the Cold War than Phyllis Schlafly.

Eagle Forum is still a leading organization in the fight against the tyrannies of this age large and small. Over the last two years, I’ve been learning just how brilliant a tactician she is even as I have been awed at her accomplishments.

I have been honored and humbled this weekend to learn that the Board of Eagle Forum and Phyllis Schlafly have asked me to be President of this amazing organization. After a great deal of prayer, I have accepted the post.

This means that my time as Chairman of the Missouri Republican Party must come to an end. I have been privileged to lead our party these last two years, and I am excited by the new challenge I face.

Thank you all for your support. Please continue your support of our Grand Old Party. Kep its leaders in your prayers, keep their feet to the fire. Remember Ronald Reagan’s wisdom – politicians may not see the light until they feel the heat.

All the best.

Ed Martin Signature

Ed Martin

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Happy Birthday to the Extraordinary Phyllis Schlafly

Dear Friend,

Phyllis Schlafly is a sharp, charming woman, a good friend and a formidable intellect with an amazing resume, but all of her effort is directed at protecting what matters to her most – her family.

I’d like to tell you about my remarkable friend, Phyllis Schlafly. Like me, Phyllis is a lawyer as well as President of Eagle Forum.  I have the privilege of working in an office in the Eagle Forum building and, on occasion, with her.  When she is working in her office, I will stop by and she’ll say “Ed, come on in!”  Phyllis is busy, but she will usually make plenty of time for me and for many other young conservatives.  We’ll talk about the events of the day, she will ask me about my kids and I will ask her about her children and grandchildren.  She has an immense wealth of insight – personally,  politically, and professionally.

Some of you know Phyllis as the unwavering voice for the family.  For decades, she has been at the tip of the spear in the culture wars. During the Cold War, Phyllis formed reading clubs among women to inform them about the existential threat of Communism, and why it was imperative to fight them.

Phyllis_ReaganShe ran for office, served as a Republican committeewoman, and has been a delegate to every GOP convention since the early 1950s. Phyllis fought the Republican Establishment before it was cool, supporting Goldwater, excoriating Nixon, and helping Reagan get elected.

Phyllis used her growing influence to fight for life. In the years around Roe v Wade, both the Democrat and Republican leadership were in favor of abortion.  She organized the group RNC for Life and inspired the rank and file of the Republican party to rise up and demand that a pro-life plank be included in the platform.  She has fought to secure that plank every time it is challenged.

It is hard to believe the small lady down the hall wrote one of the most influential books of the 20th century – A Choice Not an Echo without one lick of help from a major publishing house.  Her self-published bestseller informed and inspired millions of men and women to participate in our nation’s great debates.

Phyllis recognized feminism as a great threat to womanhood.  Her sharp mind was not fooled by the misleading title of the Equal Rights Amendment which would have done far more harm to women than good. She led the charge against ratifying this destructive change to our constitution despite the overwhelming odds. Phyllis beat the academy, the media and our political class almost alone.

When I pass by her office and see her at work, it is easy to forget how incredibly prolific she is.  Phyllis’ intellectual output is a force of nature.  She just finished recording her three minute radio commentaries that run five days a week for the month of September.  She has been doing this for years, producing nearly 8100 scripts and recordings.  Every week she pens The Phyllis Schlafly Report. Each week she does a radio program for an hour.

Phyllis formed the Eagle Forum which has been invaluable in providing influence over our political culture.

She will be releasing two more books to add to the dozen already published. I am currently reading an advanced copy of Who Killed the American Family which is a detailed study of the cummulative effects of our culture on those closest to us.  She has revised her landmark book A Choice Not An Echo (email me to pre-order a copy) to remind conservatives that this is not the first time the Party of Lincoln has been run by the feckless.

Phyllis Schlafly is a sharp, charming woman, a good friend and a formidable intellect with an amazing resume, but all of her effort is directed at protecting what matters to her most – her family.  She wanted her beloved children and grandchildren to grow up in a free society where they could pursue happiness and faith.

I’ve read some of the nasty things her political foes said about her over the years, particularly in the fight over the Equal Rights Amendment.  Despite this vitriol, Phyllis was and is a happy warrior.  She knows the truth, knows that the truth is worth fighting for, and does it all with joy, laughter and class.  An amazing achievement considering how crass her opponents are.

Today is Phyllis Schlafly’s birthday.  When I sit across from my friend, it is hard to imagine that she will begin her tenth decade.  When you consider all that she has done, any one of those decades would be a great lifetime achievement.  Even so, as the Lord gives her strength, there is much more she will do. Join me in wishing her a Happy Birthday, and to thank her for her amazing service to us all.

All the best.

Ed Martin


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Mississippi Radio Ad – FYI

Posted for your information:

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We Are Getting a Puppy, Can You Help? (and vote Yes on “Right to Farm”)

Yes on Right To FarmI grew up with an Irish Setter and two German Shepherds. My wife Carol had a Boxer named Rocky. So far, though, our family has but one pet, an imaginary cat named Mittens. Candidly, our four kids seem to be more than enough.

A few years ago in an attempt to put an end to some argument with our oldest daughter, we promised that we would get a dog when she turned eleven. In the spring, we will make good on our promise. We welcome your suggestions for breed, and perhaps even a name. Continue reading

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Op Ed: GOP Race-Card Playing in Mississippi Mimics Democrats in Missouri

The following is an op/ed published in today’s Washington Times.

When it comes to political dirty tricks, what is happening in Mississippi is not staying in Mississippi. I know, because the race card was played just as blatantly in 2000 in Missouri with one difference: Back then it was the traditional, bigoted Democratic Party that acted so badly; this time it looks like it was members of my party, the party of Lincoln, the Republicans.

GOP Plays Race CardThe 2000 election in Missouri was extraordinary for many reasons. We had an open governor’s race with an incumbent statewide Democratic elected official facing off against popular Rep. Jim Talent and a heated U.S. Senate race pitting incumbent John Ashcroft against sitting Gov. Mel Carnahan in a swing state that drew tons of presidential attention. (Missouri went for Jimmy Carter in ‘76, Ronald Reagan in ‘80 and then George H.W. Bush in ‘88 and Bill Clinton in ‘92 and ‘96.) Continue reading

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Investigate Mississippi Primary Racism

Priebus_Letter_July_8th_2014In 1999, I had the privilege to lead a Freedom Ride. The Freedom Ride for Faithful Citizenship was comprised of three buses of mostly young people. We rode to Memphis, Tennessee and Birmingham and Selma Alabama. We walked the route of the civil rights heroes who plead their case for equality in those cities. On the Freedom Ride, we spoke of the new civil rights fights, such as for education equality and the inalienable right to life.

One rider was Sister Antona Ebo. Mother Ebo marched at Selma in the 1960s. She endured segregated convents. Her dignified witness and loving ministry lead to her becoming a teacher and leader to many Christians, Catholics and Protestants alike. Continue reading

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Our Ingrate Elites

pouty_ingrateListening to the radio, I heard former congresswoman JoAnn Emerson discussing with Mark Reardon on KMOX the latest very bad idea from President Obama. He was unable to pass an economy crippling Cap and Trade energy scheme when his party was in control of both houses of Congress. Now that he is a lame duck, has decided to do by executive fiat what those pesky “people’s representatives” refused to do through legislation.

Continue reading

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The VA and Memorial Day

VA Cartoon "I'm In Hell"Veterans Day is set aside to thank the men and women who serve or have served our country in uniform. Memorial Day is the day we set aside to remember those who gave their lives protecting America, and by extension, those who have passed on since their service.

This Memorial Day, there are veterans who occupy graves rather than enjoying time with their family for no other reason than negligence. There are veterans who served honorably and to whom we owed care who are gone. They ought to be alive but are dead as a result of incompetence and mendacity at the Veterans Administration.

This is a political issue because politicians have a responsibility to administer the government’s obligations. Terrorists in Guantanamo Bay have zealous advocates in the media, academy and in the administration. They receive magnificent health care. By contrast, the VA has been making veterans wait for needed care to the extent that veterans have passed away for want of that care. Worse – and perhaps criminal – staff at VA hospitals have been cooking the books to hide their wickedness.

Problems at the VA are the kind of systemic problems when you have a government bureaucracy in charge of anything. That said, the global war on terror exacerbated these problems as thousands of our sons and daughters fought and came home in need of medical care. The Obama administration was told during its transition that audits during the Bush administration indicated that the VA was not doing its job, but President Obama’s team did nothing substantive.

This is not a lack of money problem. Our government spends a great deal on each veteran, but just like the education establishment, the more money that is spent, the poorer the outcomes. It is impossible to distinguish the VA from any other government-run racket that exists not to provide vital services to those entrusted to its care, but for the power, prestige and financial enrichment of those who run it.

Alas, the people most responsible for this – and every other government agency run amok – are the American people. We tolerate politicians who somehow have the wherewithal to ask for money for their election campaigns but cannot muster the will to roll heads at the VA. While our “Innocent Bystander” President is the most public version of the “Who Me?” politician, every congressman currently in office has a responsibility to manage our institutions.

But let’s not kid ourselves. Every politician was voted into office by the majority of their state or district. Nothing that happens in government happens without the people being ultimately responsible.

Memorial Day is set aside to remember those who gave their lives in service to our country or who served and have passed on. This Memorial Day we need to think about those who needlessly died due to the incompetence and negligence of officials at the VA. On Election Day, we need to roll some heads.

All the best.

Ed Martin

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The Amazing Shamgar

And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel.

- Judges 3:31

Last week, I was out of town for work which of course meant I was away from my family. I returned on Sunday. That night, I put my sons to bed and we went through our usual prayers. They asked me to tell them a story. I suspect it was so they could stay up a little longer, but I missed them all week, so I indulged them.

I usually regale the boys with the stories of “Daddy and Uncle Jimmy.” These are tall tales in which my brother Jimmy and I rescue fair damsels, fly to the moon, and generally save the day.

The Amazing ShamgarThis night I was inspired by some excellent preaching I had heard earlier that day. Rather than my usual embellishments, I decided to tell the boys about a real life hero of old: Shamgar.

Shamgar is the Israelite hero who slew 600 Philistines using only an oxgoad. Shamgar v. the Philistines was a David v. Goliath – only more awesome. David had a sling against an armored giant. Shamgar fought 600 Philistine troops with what was essentially a pointy stick. Against all odds, Shamgar rolled to victory.

While the Bible only offers a few verses about Shamgar, I and my sons were able to “fill in” the gaps creatively. Shamgar, transformed by the power of God, became an unstoppable warrior, a real mixed martial arts/Rambo figure. By the time we were done and ready for bed, all three of us agreed to start using “Shamgar” as our nickname as in “Mikey Shamgar,” “Edward Shamgar,” and “Daddy Shamgar.”

Lying on their bedroom floor as my sons ascended to their bunk beds, I quietly thanked God for his gifts to me – especially my sons. Tucking them in and saying our final “good nights” I hope my boys will remember the central truth of the story of Shamgar vs the 600 – that the Lord will use us where we are and with the tools we have at hand. There is no doubt that Shamgar’s victory was the work of God. So long as we are prepared to give God the Glory, he will accomplish great things in our lives.

I feel overwhelmed. Often. I have never faced six men bent on doing me harm, much less 600, but given the many messes in which we find ourselves, I can empathize with how Shamgar might have felt when the war cry of 600 barbaric Philistines unleashed and bore down upon him, and the surprise he must have felt when the last invader fell.

I am confident that if we will humble ourselves, face the challenges before us with the simple faith that our future is with God no matter the outcome, we too will experience the elation Shamgar’s family and friends heard the news of the deliverance of Israel.

All the best.

Ed Martin

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