Richard Obenshain: A Spirit of Fire
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To get started today that's anchor dot F._M.. mm-hmm get started today. You know what you need more of your life politics. Nobody do you ever said that. If you've got to go ahead and spend money on one nonfiction book it's gotTa be the ultimate clash of wisdom awesome there's and then obviously the politics but comedy. Why not a little bit of a memoir why why not something that's going to make you say hey? I actually enjoyed reading this. I laughed. I learned something in the process. Check out my book. It's an Amazon bestseller. You may have heard of it. It's stay away from the Libertarians. It talks about put all the things you think you might know about. Libertarians plus a lot of things that I bet dollars to doughnuts you. Don't know about you can get on Amazon and Barnes and noble online so go on right now you can get imprint or e books or kindle or whatever you call it just go out and get it on Amazon and Barnes and noble online today. It's stay away from the Libertarians by Renzo W Marsinah's tap to be me yeah welcome back to the one the only Martinez experience I'm your host is always Martinez. Go ahead and do me a quick favor. Go ahead and follow me on twitter at Renzo Four V._A.. V._A. R._e._M.. S. O. F. O. R. V. As in Virginia following me off all you back indiscriminately that way we can go ahead and keep this awesome conversation going on after the show as always show notes are available at our w Martinez eighteen is dot com. This has been an interesting year for Virginia Politics Right now what we have is we already have a former congressman Scott Taylor jumping into the U._S.. Senate race he was recently endorsed by my former Congressman Barbara Comstock and <hes> apart from that Virginia Republicans are embiid of a vivid reset period you know post two thousand eighteen with the campaign of Corey Stewart and everything else Gillespie back in two thousand seventeen and a lot of people are asking you know what what what's going on in Virginia over at the fear Plus Loathing Twenty Twenty podcasts over Ace Journal today dot com I went ahead and spoke with a Republican candidate for I'm sorry Republican nominee for house of delegates Heather Mitchell on we spoke about whether or not Virginia's in play play the the broader question is do Virginia Republicans really have the will to fight and you know as we saw in the state legislature yesterday over at the state Senate with all those last minute gun bills proposed by Republicans inst- back Governor Ralph Northam a lot of people are still asking you know what what is it we're doing. What are we fighting for and I think that the book we're going to talk about today of the with the author I have on Israeli one of those opportunities for a lot of people to ask ask? Where have we been? What have we done in where we going the book I'm talking about today with the author Joel Hensley is Richard Obin Shane a spirit of fire? I have this description opened up at the daily news record. I'll go ahead and post the article on lines can go ahead and see more of a more of an introduction over there. We'll go ahead and discuss everything else on the show but former chairman of the Republican Party in Virginia Richard Obin Shane became well known in the world of politics during the early nineteen sixties seventies and his name lays across the headquarters of the Republican Party of Virginia in downtown Richmond but his career was cut short after returning home from a campaign appearance where he won the Republican nomination to run for U._S.. Senate the small twin engine airplane a plane he was travelling in crashed into trees while attempting to land killing open Shane the pilot and the flight instructor the story of Open Shane who inspired many comes back to life through the pages of a new book Richard Open chain a spirit of Fire Ladies and gentlemen. Please welcome to the show Joel Hanley Joel. Thank you for joining the program say it's a pleasure to have you on or he runs. I really appreciate you having me on. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk a little bit more in depth about Dick Open Shane so author to author. I have to ask because recently I just finished my second book. It's narrative telling of the life and times of governor George Wallace not necessarily someone as likable as Richard Obin shame but I'm always curious people write biographies of other people especially especially those who are no longer with us what kind of prompted you to look into the life of Richard Obin Shane and what was this whole experience been like the whole lowdown or sure. I'd be happy to it's it's been quite a long long journey and a long road with this project and it really started. I'm thirty three years old now but I'm it started. When I was an Undergrad in in college at Jam you and I was taking a course of practical politics in Virginia was solicited name of it and we were one of our textbooks was a book by Frank B Atkinson who wrote the Dynamic Dominion and that book covered Virginia's modern political history <hes> from roar up until nineteen eighty and he wrote a follow up book to that caught Virginian Vanguard <hes> which went which covered nine hundred eighty two two thousand and six but <hes> for the first part of the class you know we were discussing the Middle Twentieth Century and dictum chains name popped up in that book he was a character a character if you will a part of the larger story but as I was reading about him I was becoming more fascinated and I already knew state Senator Marco Shane My dad and him had I've been had been friends and I knew him? I knew I'd heard of his dad but I really didn't know much about him. And so as we were going through this course I've really just became fascinated and almost felt somewhat of a kindred spirit you know bond with the sky and and <hes> so I asked my professor his name was <hes> former delegate piece and and we called him <unk> professor P and <hes> you know. Why hasn't anyone written a biography on him his his story is fascinating? <hes> there's been five books written on Harry Bird. There has been a a memoir published by Governor Linwood Holton and <hes> you you have all these others. There's a book that's been published on Mark Warner recently and saw just astonished that nobody had written a biography on Dicko and chain and so I talked to my professor Badin he said you're a good writer. Why don't you try it and so I took the idea hard I went to Frank Atkinson and wanted to make sure that you know he wasn't already in the process of writing a biography your feet and what he told me as he originally wanted to write a biography dacoven Shane but it just sort of expanded out into this larger work and you know so it ended up becoming what it was and finally I reached out to the oven chain family who I already knew and maitre talk to each individual member kate open chain had expressed interest in wanting to write book on Her dad but <hes> I wanted to make sure that I wasn't you know Kinda wasn't cutting the corner on her and so she was all for it? Mark was all for it and in the courses widow Helen was was in favor of the ideas well so it kind of took off from there and there was around two thousand nine when I really started to take that idea a little bit more seriously and so here we are close to ten years later and finally completed it yeah so far I mean when I saw I heard about the book through our facebook advertisement and the the way I when I saw it I was like waste the second they spelled Marco Ben Shane wrong because that was let me honestly like that's the only open Shane that really knew about Marco Been Shane was probably one of the first people I ever voted for when he was running for Attorney General Way on your back so I started looking into <hes> you know your your book and everything we're doing and looking more into Dacoven Shane's life I mean this. This was a like he's one of those Republicans that everyone seemed to either love or if they didn't love him they respected him and it's really strange how that works because in Virginia today like Nylon people like us like that's really changed but in a strange sort of way it's like we don't even like each just like each other and it could be for you know any large amount of reasons. Do you think it's kind of odd that this book about very unifying figure. A leader in the conservative movement you know is coming out during a time when we don't even know what's really going on. It's like everyone has their own agenda and the rest of us are Kinda like along for the ride right now yeah and it's really unfortunate to see that and one of the signs I've said after doing this book of of of a great man is somebody who everyone projects them best their best selves onto everyone. I interviewed a lot of these folks who started as Republicans who are now Democrats who supported Dicko Shane back in the seventies. These are folks who are now strongly libertarian type Republicans and others who are a little bit more establishment type Republicans like you said they all respect him and admired him and he. <hes> it was really very similar to <hes> Ronald Reagan and the effect he had as far as being a unifying figure. I relate a lot of that to his personality and to his his personal integrity in this character and you know I think I I think all he everything he did really just kinda pointing the direction that you know he followed the rule that Reagan once said about not talking ill of other Republicans and he supported people he didn't necessarily philosophically agree with but he understood the importance of building the Party and expanding the Party and sometimes you know you might not necessarily agree if that person but but you're Tom will come in your turn will come around as well and you'll get a chance to express your philosophy sophy soon enough. It really was a he really. The book really is coalition building one on one in my opinion yeah I mean it's he's one of those people much like Reagan himself. I think that's why the got along so well but I mean he wasn't just a good face for the Republican brand but he was such a eloquent and effective communicator of just conservative principles. I mean one of my favorite quotes by him is the most important goal in my life is to have some significant Africa impact on preserving and expanding the realm of personal freedom in the life of this country and that's what he did and it's you know it's. It's just such a frigging crying shame that you know he was cut down before he could really you know Oh really get to work because he probably would have won that race exactly and a lot of people like to speculate too and back in nineteen eighty when Ronald Reagan or maybe it was eighty four his widow Helen Obin Shane had attended the National Convention <hes> when they were nominating Ronald Reagan and Senator Orrin Hatch came up to Dicko McCain and I'm sorry Helen Obin Shane and said you know Dick would have been on the ticket so whether that's true or nod or whether it would have happened in the eighties I mean his form of conservatism was still popular in eighty eight and ninety two and and even a ninety six and so I do think that his name would have continued to expand and I think he would've won reelection <hes> and and I do think there's a strong possibility he probably would have ran for president. Probably you know at least in the ninety s it's always I mean it's always a shame so look at these people I mean I a <hes> a lot of you know when you look at political science junkies like ourselves you know the Wannabe Pundit class of Americans you know what one of the biggest speculations when it comes to an individual's feature always sent a go back like Robert F Kennedy Hannity for example Oh what if he had been the nominee in sixty eight oh would he have been Nixon what would he have done about. Vietnam and people like to speculate on that people like to speculate on Al Gore but when you know when when it comes to Dick Opens Shane I mean it's it's one of those but I think the biggest problem that every generation has understanding legacies. It's understanding you know that we we really do stand on the burden of giants especially when it comes to affecting policy and discourse course and Virginia has always been you know I'm not a native Virginia Virginia and I've been here since two thousand eight but I mean there's this there's this understanding that what we do actually does impact the country not just as a bellwether state but just because Savino the unique heritage of the Commonwealth <hes>. Do you think people you think people have really kind of forgotten that type of way of life. Do you think they've kind of forgotten. The things that you know Dick Open Shane did to bring back a Republican resurgence the Commonwealth take it for granted. No absolutely I think we're seeing that now in the General Assembly the General Assembly Virginia used to be a place of just the Virginia Gentlemen I mean that's not a myth. Yes I mean that was a very powerful. I heritage that we have and I do think that's getting lost in a no offense but I think a lot of that has to do Virginia being so transient now because Washington D._C.. I meant I meant Fairfax. I'm in the People's Republic public. I'm suffering because of this Okay Virginia technically in the People's Republic. It's you know it's Southern D._C.. Right yeah and and going back to what you were saying about <hes> people not understanding legacies and and and that's why I wanted to tell the story will hey. I want there to be a story that was focused solely on Dicko Shane as you know sort of the main character if you will but but also people born after the year two thousand a as I was talking to him like you said they're familiar with mark and Shane not really familiar with Dicko Shane and I think there was a lot of lessons and a lot of information in his story that people can take with them today and apply not just politics but also to their own personal personalized <hes> how to conduct themselves and and also to business as well. I mean there's give us an example of that. Yeah absolutely savings account like cat stuck out to you. I think the thing that stuck out to me the most is going to his personal. Integrity was not lying <hes> he had no tolerance for not telling the truth then there was a story of his daughter Kay Tobin Shane. I can't remember what television show was but she was watching something on T._v.. And she said they weren't allowed to watch too many shows but this one particular <hes> they said you know the more of the story was. It's okay to tell a white lie every once in a while if it's going to prevent you from hurting someone's feelings and she said Dicko chain happened to be walking walking across the room at that time and race over to the television screen turned it off and said you'll never watch that show ever again. He just did not have any any tolerance for for that sort of thing. That's really surprising I mean I'm not I want to discredit him but like you know politics isn't necessarily a career path for saints right exactly and many of the folks I interview. That's why a lot of them tended to think that dacoven Shane wouldn't be involved in politics politics today whether or not that's true or not that's just how highly many people thought of him and and there's so many stories as far as you know a lot of times young folks Kinda get brushed aside and aren't really paid attention to and he really made an an effort to mentor them and to give them time to grab lunch with them and to really help cultivate their careers and stuff and one of the stories I remember from the book was Stan Mop and who was his driver. <hes> they arrived at a event. I think they were speaking of some donors. It was at a hotel and Dick had forgotten his luggage in the car and he asked his driver feed go back and get it for him and so the driver came back and brought him his suitcase recent luggage and he was in the middle of talking to these very wealthy financiers and pause in the middle of it looked at Stan and said you know I shouldn't have asked you to grab that. I think it was long. The nature of you know. I'm a big boy. Essentially I can go get these things myself. The next time Tom Stand you need something you ask me and I'll get it for you and he he said he was just so thrown back by the level of courtesy that Dicko unchain you know displayed and and that was just one example I mean there were so many folks that I interviewed who had so many stories that were like that and a lot of them were very small and they were they weren't really worth putting in the book just because they were they were so small in nature but I did include several of them and and there really was a running theme here from all the people I've talked to and he was a very considerate individual and I think we do kind of lack then politics today yeah I mean especially like you know when you mentioned his treatment of young people like you know I I wouldn't necessarily call myself like the most you know I would not call myself a big defender of the G._O._p.. Brand because as a millennial and as a as a Latino I always felt like growing up like you know my my purpose was to be there for photo shoots and then to be told to go make phone calls and knock doors and just you know be seen but not heard I know that's how it is for a lot of young Republicans especially when they go on the Internet me staffer certain people. I mean a lot out of them. Have you know really great experiences but you know sometimes you know more often than not. We've all heard those stories of you know. The the interns are being yelled out or they're just you're there being used as you know basically maids and stuff. I mean it's just I wish like you know the these are supposed to be the leaders of tomorrow. They're getting involved in party politics now because they're supposed to be trained and like you know we don't necessarily set the best presidents for themselves and we you wonder why they act the way they do. Later like the Republican Party you know for the most part has taken young people for granted in that matter they have and I think based on my own experiences you know I've seen that as well and a lot of them get get bitter and they get jaded and that shouldn't be the case and most of the ones that Dick and Jane head mentor or or who had worked for him during his campaigns. They're still involved today and I think that says a lot too to they haven't lost haven't really lost their way and a lot of ways and some of them. I think the nine hundred eighty s were a little bit tumultuous. <hes> the Republicans lost a lot in the eighties and the the open chain factions actually split shortly after he passed away which I think also goes to show that he was the glue that was holding it all together at that time and so I think some of them kind of went separate ways around that time but they still reflect back on Dick and Jane in the person that really inspired but then again involved in the first place and we really don't at least from not what I'm seeing. I'm not really seeing a whole lot of politicians Virginia who are really inspiring that that degree of enthusiasm or excitement right now yeah like I'm not like us and this is not six some people off but I have been known to kind of sit out and election here and there because sometimes I look at some of these people and I feel like especially in northern Virginia like it's a killing ground. It's it's absolutely a killing ground and I feel bad for like the rest of the Commonwealth. I worked in the fifth Congressional district for you know a former congressman. Tom Garrett at the time and I worked allow local city council level stuff but you know like in the southern part Virginia and you even for statewide candidates they feel like they're just kind of taken for granted and pushed aside so that way they can you know they can go in a piece of the transient population of Northern Virginia. I mean it's true. I see it U._C._l._A.. You have a lot of state. Why can't come up here and they spent a majority of their time here and usually it's northern Virginia that gets a majority of the attention and it's it's? It's a strange time to be a Republican because I'm not even really convinced that we're really a battleground state anymore. Are we might be a giant red state. When you look at the map overall it's northern Virginia just kind of dictates things yeah and it's really scary to see it? You know it almost seems like bird machine two point oh just around the corner and in you know people talk about voter fraud. There's actually a <hes> incidents in the book in which Dick Actually took a break from his campaign to go represent some precinct captains over over in. I think they call them something different back then I think they call them precinct directors or something like that anymore official. We need some back. I had I had to do a double. Take on it just to see if I was understanding outstanding representing but they basically refused to count certain ballots that they knew were coming from they call it the blacks lateral case and it happened in Dickinson County and actually we're finding balance that were coming from Tennessee. Let's see there was voter fraud happening and how the hell does that happen I I don't know the exact ins and outs of it but I <hes> Dick Basically went to represent the Republicans over there for free and took a break from his campaign just to do that. In the great thing in the story is how that comes full circle later on in his Senate race in Dickenson County you know was Houghton territory and during the seventy eight race and so when Holt and dropped out those folks remembered what he did for them back then and so they ended up throwing their support behind Dick at that convention oh wow but but you know people forget that Virginia was <music> pre dominantly in the hands of Democrats at the local level until the nineteen ninety s really before that they were having statewide success and they were having winning at the presidential level and U._S.. A Senate level but at the local level at the courthouse level and at the General Assembly in a little is still very much in control of Democrats for the longest of times. It's it's Kinda weird because that's you know if you think about us like the same way. It is now now like I mean it blew my mind. I think it was like a week ago two weeks ago. When Charlottesville like destroyed the idea of Thomas Jefferson Day or whatever like it's gotten to the point where you know as someone that's managed Multiple City Council races in Lynchburg of all places like you look at that place has more churches than anywhere in the world are then like Alan the Vatican for example but it's almost all entirely run by a Democrats and we look at La local seats throughout the Commonwealth whether it's Dogcatcher soil and water whatever like you know Republicans don't really run for those positions anymore? I think a lot of them just like out Wanna say either demoralized but there's just a greater sense of apathy and I feel like as years have gone by since really twenty. I'll say like two thousand ten like you know the past nine years it's like they don't really want to fight anymore unnecessarily. It's because of a lack of belief in themselves or that. They don't have a leader really Kinda do that because you know as much as we all like to say Oh were strong individualists like you know it's sometimes it takes men like Dicko been chained to kind of give us a kick in the butts to keep us going keep us in the fight exactly and I think that's what the Republican Party is sort of lacking today and and you know we certainly have a lot of very tremendous public servants that are active right now and but but you're right there really is no central figure who is sort of the guy that's pulling all these different factions together in excuse me and you know it's sort of being the peacemaker between them. It seems like everyone has their own camp and they're they're staying in that camp and they're not really seeing the forest from the trees. If you will so it would be nice if someone like that I mean there will never be another Dicko Shane and just like they will never be another Ronald Reagan but <hes> Virginia the Republican Party of Virginia definitely needs somebody who is respected on all the various factions who can sort of understand them mm-hmm and be able to pull them together and say okay. Here's you know here's the direction we need to go over to win again and I definitely think it's sad that we don't have that right now. And it just goes to show you know how rare it is to have Adecco Enchaine <hes> you know in any generation and which I think makes his story a little bit more. <hes> you know special and interesting in that way so we're about to wrap up the show I this is a question. I always ask authors who write biographies biographies because I think it's you know it's a unique question for this specific John or but you know as you were researching him as you were writing his his life. Did you change at all you know did your outlook on everything changed positively negatively what have Baco. It did and not to sound strange but it was almost as if I was taking on is almost as if I felt like I was taking on taking on Dicko chains perspective on things <hes> just I almost I don't WanNa to horn almost felt like I was starting to get a grasp on okay. How would he respond to this? How would he respond to that? Almost kind of like what what would dick and Jane do mentality and it's really kind of allowed me. I mean I haven't been as involved in politics in recent years but it's really allowed me to not get overly heated. I guess with anything that's going on right now and just hoping that a lot of these sides can can come together and can really start to listen to each other and realize that the Republican party can be a big tent and it can be open to a lot of people just you know we can't be excluding the people for the silliest MINU reasons and so I guess it Sorta changed me in that way it kind of reaffirmed a lot of my own philosophy my own beliefs as I almost feel like I could kind of trace his <hes> his philosophical legacy going back to Australia Economics and and folks that I admire to and so the question a lot of times who adecco chance support today and that's something I I don't really like to answer. I hate it when people ask that type of question because you know like as as biographers in the way like we are in a in a strange sense kind of gatekeepers to a legacy because like for example like I I wrote a book about someone that's is not necessarily what most people would consider you know a water cooler conversation so like you know I very much love you know frees up positions about George Wallace for example like the realm of the civil rights movement like like you know the one thing I tell people at the end is like you know I don't. I don't hate the man if anything I feel bad for him. Yeah and you know as as I wrote about him like I could see his humanity and certain things because like everyone else like you know we all make mistakes. He made some bad add mistakes but you know what we also don't talk about is the latter end of his life where you know he really did. Try to fix things like he tried to atone for that like he was a born again Christian and he died trying to bring together southern whites and southern black so like in that that sense it's like you know you you end up really respecting the people that you write about but you don't ever feel like you can speak on their behalf because you know better than that exactly yeah exactly and a lot of people today trying to they were almost trying to like I said project themselves onto Dicko Shane and and I'm aware that folks are doing that but I'm also aware that they're doing that because he was a great figure in so I try to stay away from that but his historian historian for all it was a hero's art story <hes> he really had a hero's journey and he started with the dream in childhood of he wanted to be a U._S.. Senator and his goal in life of course that you mentioned was has to have some significant impact in expanding the realm of personal freedom in the United States and in the book I mentioned he didn't succeed in obtaining his dream he fell short of that but he did succeed in his goal and I think he definitely had an impact on <hes> expanding liberty in this country just from all the people that he inspired and in paving the way for the Reagan Revolution absolutely what would dictate open chain. Do that's a question that I think we should all ask ourselves more often Joel. If anyone wants to learn more about the book get a copy I mean I think everyone should copy. I I WANNA get an autograph copy so let's talk about this after the show but how can people learn more about your book sure so you can get it on Amazon but we've been directing people people to W._W._w.. Dot Dicko Shane Dot Com and you can order a copy through there. It's available as e edition kindle and also in paperback right now and <hes> so albeit the some of the various events coming up in the this next year and some of the local Republican Committee meetings or having me come to speak there so people can order books directly from from me at these places as well so but yeah W._W._w.. We W W DOT GIGA DOT COM perfect Joel Hensley everybody Richard Elvin Shane a spirit of fire <hes> that's about it folks go ahead and grab his coffee and you know this is this is an interesting time and I think it's always important to remember her. I values first cornerstone every everything should be expanding personal liberty as always be enjoyed this conversation go ahead and share this podcast with a friend. Let them know about the REVSON. Martinez experience on Itunes Google play and anchored dot F._M.. As always ace w Martinez America tonight yeah.