Larry Kudlow and Why America’s Best Days are Ahead

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My Larry Kudlow Introduction – Lincoln Club Annual Dinner 2014

One of the major reasons I booked tonight’s speaker is because I wanted to introduce him, so I come to you now with a great deal of excitement and nervousness. My overall confidence levels have grown a lot over the years, and yet there is still something nerve-wracking about introducing your hero, and that, my friends, is what Larry Kudlow is to me – a hero. So if I sound wobbly or nervous, just take it for what it is, humility. I am genuinely humbled by the privilege of getting to introduce Mr. Kudlow.

Why would I not be humbled by the honor of introducing one of the great public figures of our day, who began his career as a staff economist at the Federal Reserve, and by the early 1980’s served in the Reagan White House on what was not only the great economic cause of our day, but I believe the great moral cause as well: the flattening of the U.S tax code, and the creation of an economic platform that ushered in the greatest prosperity any nation on earth has ever seen. Larry’s time in the OMB with Art Laffer and the supply side pioneers who filled out President Reagan’s economic team prepared him for what would be an extraordinary career as Chief Economist and Senior Managing Director at the once legendary Wall Street firm, Bear Stearns (may she rest in peace).

Larry joined CNBC, the financial news behemoth owned of course by NBC, just as my career in financial services was launching. I have had CNBC on in one way or another nearly every single work day since Larry came to the network. Most days it is on as wallpaper in my office, home, or hotel room, usually for 12-14 straight hours. I watched CNBC religiously for several years before Larry joined the network, never believing there was one single conservative anywhere in the organization. After 13 years with Larry at the network, I believe the conservatives now outnumber the leftists by 2-to-1. Now, I don’t actually believe that there were no conservatives at the network before Larry got there – I just believe that Maria Bartiromo and Michelle Caruso-Cabrera and Joe Kernen and eventually Rick Santelli and others found a voice at CNBC when Larry was there – they found courage – and they found COMFORT in being a Hudson River conservative, because LARRY MADE IT CREDIBLE to be so. This is not just an anecdotal point or a point of interest to me in my particular career; it is the great challenge we face as a party, a club, and advocates of a cause: In a world where the major cultural institutions are so determined to brand us as lunatics and unworthy of leadership in the public square, how has a man of Larry’s principles and convictions and worldview become such a highly regarded leader in the pillars of power and influence?

The answer is that tonight’s speaker is a man of intelligence and conviction, but he is also a man of civility. He did not run his highly successful show for the past decade by watering down his principles (I’m giving you a mulligan on ‘cash for clunkers’, Larry) – he gave an unbelievable voice to the message of free market conservatism at the 7:00pm New York time slot each and every day. But Larry is civil. He is serene. He has poise. (And of course, he has consistently been named one of PageSix’s annual best dressed). Do you see now why I want – why I need – a hero like him? I saw Larry give a speech at the Club for Growth donor’s retreat in Palm Beach about five years ago where a very belligerent man went after Larry with an anti-free trade China-bashing tirade. The skill, wisdom, and class with which Larry ended that episode was something I will never forget. Larry had Robert Reich, the practically Marxian Berkeley professor who once worked in Bill Clinton’s cabinet, say on the network over and over that “the best path to prosperity is free market capitalism”. If we can get neo-Marxians like Robert Reich to say that, we are doing something right.

I can go on and on about his “greatest hits” over the years and all of the reasons I admire Larry. But I want him to come up and speak so I need to wrap it up with the real reason I wanted Larry Kudlow to keynote our annual dinner. We as a club are often despondent. Our cause has taken on a lot of water in the last decade. Our organization has suffered some painful defeats. Our collective confidence in the future of the nation has been shaken to the bone. We are so often conservatives who are looking down at our shoes, not straight ahead, and not straight up. But if I may be so personal, anyone who knows the personal story of Larry Kudlow, and the testimony of this man’s recovery and redemption, cannot possibly believe that our cause and our country are unredeemable. When I consider the miry clay that God lifted Larry Kudlow out of – that he has lifted David Bahnsen out of – I believe that it is shameful to ever consider our cause and our fight as unwinnable. In his belief system, Larry is an extraordinary patriot, and an unwavering optimist. All realists are optimists. But beyond his belief system, Larry Kudlow’s experience, strength, and hope are a source of magnificent encouragement for me, and his life, his recovery, his victory, and his efforts for our cause, are the very essence of what the Lincoln Club of Orange County is all about. Our cause is on the right side of history, my friends.

Please welcome my hero, Larry Kudlow.

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