NAME: Rich Galen
OCCUPATION: Writer, Political Pundit, Public Relations Advisor, Philosopher
HOMETOWN: Alexandria, VA
Rich Galen is the author of MULLINGS, a three-day-a-week column, which reaches some 400,000 people per month and is considered required reading by senior reporters and operatives on both sides of the aisle. He began writing MULLINGS in 1998 when he served as Executive Director of GOPAC. Prior to that stint, he served as press secretary to Dan Quayle, when he was a Congressman and a U.S. Senator; and to Newt Gingrich when Gingrich was House Republican Whip and, in 1996 became the communications director of the political office of Speaker Gingrich. In 2003-2004, Rich did a full tour of duty in Iraq, at the request of the White House. During the six months he was there, he was responsible for bringing the message of the positive aspects of what the coalition was doing in Iraq back to Middle America.
What does “conservatism” mean to you?
Conservatism means, simply, applying the principles of responsibility – governmental, fiscal, and personal — to everything you do. Responsible government doesn’t mean NO government. Fiscal conservatism does not mean allowing predatory or reckless capitalism. Personal responsibility means doing what is best for your God, your country, your family and your self.
What is at the top of your ‘I tunes’ play list right now?
I keep my iTunes in alpha order, but because I am of a certain age, I have a heavy concentration of folk music from the ’60s and ’70s. I am currently listening to the newest David Baldacci novel, “Divine Justice.”
Name three interesting guests (living) you would like to host for dinner.
Newt Gingrich, Fred Thompson and Karl Rove.
Who was your influence in conservatism?
Newt had the biggest impact. I was his press secretary when he was House Republican Whip and learned day by day how defining his principles in clear – even stark – terms generated enthusiasm and support.
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Friday afternoons. I normally write MULLINGS Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday nights. Friday afternoon – after I’ve answered all the e-mails – I have all the way until Sunday night before I have to write again.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Watching USA Network from 1 p.m. all the way through to bedtime (Law & Order reruns, NCIS reruns, House reruns and more L & O reruns) – when I’m supposed to be watching the evening cable news channels.
What is the first website you visit every morning? (Heritage.org excluded!)
Crackberry.com – a site for BB addicts, which I am. The first NEWS site I visit is WSJ; I get the Washington Post at my front door.
What is the last book you read, and do you recommend it?
The last book I read is the as-yet unpublished book by former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge. I think it is a terrific look at what really goes on at the highest levels of government without being whiny or puffing himself up.
What do you worry about?
Iran and Wall Street. Depending on the time of day. I believe the government of Iran is the most destabilizing government on earth. Wall Street (brokerages, hedge funds, banks, etc.) has yet to take any responsibility for the mess they’ve gotten us all into. And their continuing arrogance is stomping on any sparks of confidence in our financial system.
Name your hidden talent.
I used to be a really good guitar player. I hesitate to take it up again because it was one of the reasons I got thrown out of Marietta College, Marietta, Ohio 45750: Instead of going to class I practiced seven or eight hours a day. It’s like smoking – I stopped 28 years ago, but I’m afraid if I had one tonight I’d be back to a pack-and-a-half a day tomorrow.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Staying married to a terrific woman for 36 years, allowing us to raise a wonderful son.