I failed. There, I said it. I thought we could change the world, or
at least America with the Dear Mr. President publicity campaign. The
plan was simple — place radio advertisements on sports radio, music
radio, news radio in an effort to “reach beyond the choir” with a
message of what the real issues were in the impeachment of William
Jefferson Clinton — honesty, integrity, morality, and accountability.
I thought that if we could focus people’s attention on those issues
we might change the poll results. And the change in the poll results
might change the Senator’s views. And the change in the Senator’s views
might change the outcome of the trial.
But I was wrong.
I’ve accepted that. But I’m having a harder time swallowing some
lessons learned along the way.
The most disturbing lesson was that there are wolves in sheep’s
clothing all around us. I’m not talking about the hounds of hell from
the IRS baying at the door; I’m not talking about the mad dogs of
government leaping at our windows; I’m not talking about the spineless
pack dogs of Congress slithering through our front gates. I’m talking
about “wolves” who we’ve not only welcomed into this “house” we call the
conservative movement, but wolves who are so cleverly disguised, that in
many cases we invite them to sit at the head of the table.
Some of those “wolves,” those villains in heroes clothing, are highly
respected (and highly rated) talk radio hosts. It astonished me when a
prominent mid-western conservative radio personality refused to have me
on his program to talk about the radio campaign because I wasn’t willing
to spend the Dear Mr. President contributions to buy ads in his program.
No matter that the whole concept of the campaign was to reach beyond
the talk radio audience with the ads. This host, over the objections of
his own staff, would not allow me on his program to even talk about Dear
Mr. President unless I came with cash in hand. I refused.
I thought it would be an isolated incident — until a prominent
Christian radio personality informed me through her network sales staff
that I would not be booked as a guest on her program until and unless I
agreed to spend a considerable amount of money advertising on that
network. Again I refused.
It happened at least a half dozen times. I can’t adequately
articulate the agony I felt, not for myself but for those “warriors” who
worked on the campaign with me, investing in the effort spiritually and
financially. Here we were, in the middle of a public awareness drive
that had energized and mobilized a legion of Constitution loving
Americans, yet some of the heroes of the conservative movement wouldn’t
give us the time of day unless they could make money doing it. I
couldn’t help but think, “Do they care more about their financial state
or the state of the nation?” The answer was painfully obvious. Patriots
for profit are alive and well … and they are among us.
Two other “heroes” or friends of the conservative movement, highly
visible national radio personalities, did even more damage to the effort
by implying their listeners shouldn’t waste their time, energy, or money
supporting it. With “friends” like these, who needs enemies? There were
already more than enough enemies to go around.
Enemies such as Wells Fargo Bank who “froze” $20,000 of credit card
donation deposits in my account for six months (until at least June of
this year) simply because they felt the deposits were a “risk.” Never
mind that not one credit card donation has been challenged or “charged
back” by a contributor. (Wells Fargo made it abundantly clear they were
uncomfortable with the message of the ads.)
Enemies like KUSI, the San Diego television station that suspended
radio host Roger Hedgecock for promoting Dear Mr. President in his
weekly TV commentary (he remains on indefinite suspension); the news
services that wrote stories juxtaposing Dear Mr. President with
anti-impeachment radio campaigns but only gave contact information for
the anti-impeachment organizations. I could go on and on about enemies
but I’d rather tell you now about heroes.
Heading up the list of heroes in the Dear Mr. President effort would
have to be Joseph Farah of Worldnetdaily.com. He was the first to give
the campaign national attention. He gave me wise counsel and he gave me
spiritual support. He is a hero.
Michael Reagan gave us our first national radio exposure and never
up. The support his listeners contributed was unequaled by any other
national talk radio host. Michael is a hero.
Roger Hedgecock of San Diego’s KOGO radio, lost his television
commentary job because he was an unabashed and tireless supporter of the
campaign. But he was undeterred. In fact he personally led his listeners
to Washington D.C. to hand deliver copies of the radio ads to every
congressperson’s office. He, along with his producer Jimmy Valentine and
production assistant “Macarena” rank high on my list of heroes.
KSFO, San Francisco hosts Lee Rodgers and Melanie Morgan, aided by
their producer Sherrie Yee generated more financial support for the
campaign than any other single radio station — over $20,000 in one day!
Heroes without doubt.
Nationally syndicated radio host Jerry Hughes (the announcer voice in
the ads) put his job on the line by assisting the campaign. Fortunately
he is still on the air with one of the best radio programs anywhere. He
is a hero.
There are so many others — Lisa Thorpe; Ronda Gabrielson; Derry
Brownfield; Blanquita Collums; Ken Hamblin; Oliver North; Jim Quinn;
Claire Wolf; Scott Wilder; Mark Scott; Dolly Kyle Browning; Scott
Hogenson; Lisa Ronthal; and many, many others too numerous to mention.
Thankfully the heroes outnumber the villains.
God has blessed me beyond words through those heroes, and all the
who gave financial and spiritual support to make the Dear Mr. President
campaign possible. So much so that the failure will soon be a fleeting
memory. But I will never forget the effort. I will never forget the
lessons learned. I will never forget the heroes and villains.
Most of all, I will never forget the thousands of calls, letters and
emails I’ve received over the last six weeks expressing a renewed
“spirit of America” … all because of a little ad campaign.
Maybe I didn’t fail after all.
Steve Vaus is a singer-songwriter with a top-notchwebsite.