I guess as the new guy in charge, the unenviable task of bidding goodbye to the man who made this site what it is falls to me. In that respect, I feel probably much as John Adams must have felt when he heard George Washington was going to call it quits, or maybe how Aaron Rodgers must have felt when he heard that Brett Favre was actually leaving the Green Bay Packers – full of excitement, if an excitement tinged with fear about screwing a great thing that a good friend has built.
Erick has always been careful to note the work of Josh Trevino, Ben Domenech, and Mike Krempasky in founding RedState, and we all owe a debt of gratitude to our founders. But no one who’s been involved with the site over the years would deny that it’s been Erick’s tireless work that has grown the site to something much more than what it was when it started.
After just three months in the managing editor’s chair I can safely say that it really is work. I understand now the time it took Erick to generate all the endless content that he has over the years – not to mention the nightly chore of assembling the Morning Briefing when your brain is dead tired already from writing all day and all you want to do is read a book… or sleep. How Erick has managed to do it all these years while also managing a radio career and frequent travel for television and in-person events is something I will never be able to fathom and is a testament to his almost bottomless reservoir of creative energy.
And that is to say nothing of the headaches he has endured from the rest of us contributors over the years – of whom I have probably been the chief offender. Not to worry, I am now receiving my just desserts for my many transgressions on Erick’s time.
But what has always impressed me over the years has been Erick’s courage. I can well remember when Charlie Crist – who was then a popular sitting governor – announced his intention to run for the Senate seat, even though we at RedState had endorsed a young candidate named Marco Rubio who had come to our first Gathering. I can well remember the internal discussions when the first polls were released showing Crist with close to a 50 point lead, accompanied by news that Crist had already raised millions of dollars in his first week of campaigning.
“Well,” I said, “We tried. I guess there are other races we can focus on.”
“To hell with that,” Erick said. “We are sticking with Rubio and he is going to win.” Day after day he bombarded with posts and emails convincing us (and everyone else in the world) that Rubio had a chance and could win, until he dragged us all kicking and screaming into that belief with him. It’s a pattern I’ve seen over and over again – with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who was assumed to be a sitting duck against incumbent Bob Bennett, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who was supposed to get run over by Dewhurst, and countless others. The candidates Erick backed didn’t always win but they always kept incumbents more honest and when they did win, the Republican party was made better by their efforts. Erick has always had an infectious power of belief in the underdog that will sorely be missed here at RedState.
But the thing that has always impressed me most about Erick, and that some people (especially his legions of angry and barely coherent detractors on Twitter) might not guess about him is his incredible generosity. Here I will say that not only I and the rest of the contributors at RedState could tell you stories in which Erick has been personally generous in their lives and times of need, but also near total strangers. I won’t tell those stories as they pertain to my personal life because Erick wouldn’t want me to – that’s not the reason he does them. But I will say that I have also seen how Erick is endlessly generous with his time and attention – always willing to go the extra mile in helping out anyone who asks him, by putting in a good word here or sending a lengthy email there or appearing free of charge to promote good causes there. I have never once known Erick to turn a request of this nature, even when sometimes his favors have been repaid with backstabbing and spite.
And so, Erick, on behalf of all the RedState contributors, along with RedState’s many daily readers: Thanks. Not only for the work you have done in making the site better, but for the help you have given us becoming better writers, thinkers, and people.
So long, Erick. Thanks for all the fish.