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If you missed the Center’s “Well-Done Roast of the Well-Seasoned” Mitch Pearlstein two weeks ago you missed a very special event. A sold-out crowd of 300 people came together to honor the man and hear an impressive list of political leaders praise his heroic contributions to Minnesota.
Generous praise and humorous, well-written roasts were delivered by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Rudy Boschwitz, Sen. Norm Coleman, Sen. Dave Durenberger, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Rep. Tom Emmer, Rep. Jason Lewis, Rep. Erik Paulsen, Rep. John Kline, Peter Bell, Katherine Kersten, and Dane Smith. To have a list of leaders like this salute your accomplishments over the past generation, well, it doesn’t get any better than that for a Minnesota conservative.
Great, great thanks are due Chuck Spevacek and Robin Kelleher for conceiving and organizing this terrific, fitting, and enjoyable evening. Below I will share with you the excellent poem they wrote for the event, but first I’d like to add a few personal reflections of my own that go beyond Mitch’s bravery in the public arena and landmark policy achievements on the Minnesota landscape.
In the early days we did big mailings by hand and Mitch would usually pitch in to help with the stuffing and labeling, and the interns loved all the personal interaction with the President. Sometimes we would get Rocky Rococo pizza, which is tough to eat by hand, but Mitch insisted on awkwardly folding it over and showing us how to properly eat pizza “the New York way.”
But that idiosyncrasy aside, the character trait I observed in Mitch that stuck with me the most was that he was always very kind and very generous, both to myself and everyone I saw him interact with. And that was a great example to a young conservative, a middle-aged conservative, and today to a not-as-young-anymore conservative. Thank you Mitch for both your accomplishments and for your character displayed behind the scenes.
And now, please enjoy the special poem written and performed by Chuck Spevacek and Robin Kelleher (with credit to Ernest Thayer who wrote the original “Casey at the Bat,” upon which this version is based) at the Mitch Pearlstein Roast on November 16th.
Mitch at the Bat
The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Gopher State that day;
the electoral map stood solid blue, and no change seemed on its way.
And then when Wheelock lost his race, and Ludeman did the same,
a sickly silence fell upon us thinkers – could the 1990’s change the game?
A many few packed for Naples in despair.
The rest clung to the hope that change was in the air;
they thought, if only Mitch would move to Minni from his home out East –
they’d put up even money now that Mitch would tame the liberal beast.
Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
it rumbled across Golden Valley, it rattled in the dell;
it echoed across 10,000 lakes and recoiled upon the flat,
for Mitch, mighty Mitch, was advancing to the bat.
There was ease in Mitch’s manner as he settled into his chair;
there was pride in Mitch’s bearing, and he still had all his hair.
And when, responding to the cheers, he deftly touched the keys,
no liberal at the Strib could doubt what was coming surely would not please.
Ten thousand words went flying as his fingers hit pay dirt;
five thousand more were entered, as he spilled lunch on his shirt.
And when the writhing snowflakes placed their hands against their hips,
defiance gleamed in Mitch’s eye, a smile curled Mitch’s lips.
Like a blizzard the lucid writings came hurtling through the air,
as the mighty Mitch sat watching in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy wordsmith the tide of changed opinion sped –
“That’s more my style,” said Mitch. “We agree,” the people said.
But from the panicked leftwing newsrooms there went up a muffled roar,
like the pounding waves of Lake Superior on a stern and distant shore.
“Silence him! Silence Mitch!” the ink-stained wretches yelled;
and it’s likely they’d have silenced him had not Mitch’s courage held.
With a smile of Jewish charity, great Mitch’s visage shone;
he stilled the rising tumult; he bade the debate go on;
he signaled to the opposition – “there’s room for differing views.”
Then back to his keyboard the great Mitch went, and out came Blueprint Two.
“Fraud!” cried the sheltered class, and echo answered fraud;
but more insightful words from Mitch and the audience was awed.
They saw his face go stern and cold, they heard him softly say:
“Center of the American Experiment will provide a better way.”
Oh, all across this favored land the sun is shining bright;
bands are playing, people are dancing and everywhere hearts are light.
Men and women are laughing and happy children shout;
for there is great joy in Minnesota – the ideas of Mitch Pearlstein have won out!
Peter Zeller is Director of Operations at Center of the American Experiment, where he has been honored to serve since June 1, 1993.