I first met Erick Erickson in 2009. Well, I’m not sure if we formally “met.” I know he was in the room because I’ve seen the photographic evidence. The truth is I don’t think either of us remembers meeting the other because our attention was totally focused on the third person in the green room, Rush Limbaugh.
Erickson went on to guest-host for Limbaugh, of which I take 99 percent of the credit. However, his new book is letters of advice to his children, so sadly I can’t take credit for any of that. During his tenure in the conservative movement, Erickson has also been a contributor to Fox News, founder of The Resurgent website, and talk radio host.
In Before You Wake: Life Lessons from a Father to His Children, Erickson takes a break from politics to write about his faith, building strong communities, and even his family’s favorite recipes. If you’re looking for a respite from political news, Before You Wake is a good option.
The De Pasquale's Dozen asks political figures, free market-minded writers and entertainers to take a break from politics and talk about their pop culture obsessions.
1. What's your favorite movie line and to whom would you like to say it?
“Men, all this stuff you've heard about America not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of horse dung. Americans, traditionally, love to fight. All real Americans love the sting of battle.??When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big league ball players, the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. Now, I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war. Because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans.”
I’d like to say this to everyone everywhere every day.
2. Tell me about your favorite teacher and how he or she influenced your life.
My favorite teacher was Mr. Middlebrook. He taught me fourth grade music and 6th grade generally. He revolved the entire year around Ancient Greece. Our readings and school play, etc. were all related to it. He also challenged me to write better and more honestly.
3. If you could be paid to do anything besides your current job, what would it be?
Nothing else. I have my dream job.
4. What advice do you remember your mother or father giving you?
When you get married, move at least a day’s drive from home so if you have an argument you can’t run home to your mom and dad.
5. What’s the best present you ever received as a child?
A BigTrac, which was sort of like a futuristic tank that you could program to move forward or backward or fire “laser beams."
6. What’s the best present you ever gave?
I took my dad and brothers-in-law to a Cubs game in Chicago this year for Father’s Day. We sat the dugout and stayed in the Trump Hotel Chicago. I paid for everything and we just had fun.
7. If you hosted a late night show, who would be your guests and band?
Every night I’d randomly select a person from the crowd. Who knows who they would be. But they’d come on stage and we’d show the world that strangers can find common ground and have a fun, interesting conversation. Everybody has an interesting story to tell and everybody is somebody to someone else. Pearl Jam would play backup.
8. What's your favorite book you read this summer?
1864. I read it about once a year. Dick Cheney recommended it to me. It is a biography of Lincoln and the Civil War, but only on the year 1864. I had never read a biography like that before. It is wonderful.
9. How do you unplug from the news cycle?
I did not know that was possible.
10. What's your favorite family meal to cook?
Gumbo. On the first day of college football until the day after Easter, I regularly make gumbo and we invite over all our friends. Their kids play outside and we all share the pot of gumbo as the sun sets.
11. What would you like tomorrow's headline to say?
Jesus returns. The end.
12. Tell me why you decided to write this book for your children.
In 2016, I got rushed into a Cardiac ICU unit with blood clots filling up my lungs. I had a blood oxygen level less than 90 percent and was very literally in the process of dying. On the very same day, my wife was diagnosed with an incurable form of genetic lung cancer. We had protestors show up at our home around that time. We had armed guards parked in front of our house. My kids got yelled at in the store by a stranger because of me and my job. My kids would come home from school crying that their friends said I was going to be shot. I wanted to write them love letters telling them everything would be okay and telling them about me and about the values I thought they should have if something did happen to their mom and me. And they needed to know how to cook all their favorite foods.