Last night, after the speeches, after the cameras had left, after the reporters had filed their stories, Bob Schaffer stuck around, talking to supporters, party members, and party-goers.
Bob's unwavering belief in - and advocacy of - the unique animating principles of American life are an inspiration. He's always understood that while winning is the sine qua non of politics, winning on the opponent's terms is as good as losing. He was a friend to my own campaign at its very beginning, breaking protocol to endorse me in the primary. It was an infectious declaration of confidence.
I first met Bob Schaffer through the Leadership Program of the Rockies. On the very first day of the program, he recited by heart, in his own voice, the next-to-last paragraph of Patrick Henry's famous speech to the House of Burgesses:
They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest.
Bob is truly a centered man, a poiltician who has not let politics displace from his life that which is truly important. There are no more honorable men in public life than Bob, and I expect we haven't heard the last of him.