Posted by Brad @ 12:15 am on February 10th 2007

Who We Are, Part 1 (Brad)

Now that we’ve actually started posting, we should get around to at least sketching a little bit of who we are. And since I’ll be writing a lot about the political landscape, I should get some of my own latent or explicit affiliations and history on the table just so nobody is left wondering about where I’m coming from.

Obligatory bio-post after the jump.

Update 10/05/08: My life changes quite a lot from year to year, so I’m going to post a less “in the moment” bio than I did originally, and be a bit more generic.

My name is Bradley A. Porter.

I was born in North Carolina in 1978 and have lived a little bit of everywhere (notably upstate New York, Maine, Virginia, Iowa), but my ties are deepest in Kansas, where I grew up and graduated high school. I come from an old school Republican family there, mostly consisting of attorneys, and one that has pretty deep roots in Kansas politics. I grew up Catholic, and still consider myself as such, though I keep it (for the most part) to myself. What religion I do have I consider of a personal, contemplative nature.

Since graduating from high school in Topeka, I spent my 20s moving around quite a bit, sampling a lot of fields of work, and existing as a perpetual on-again off-again student. Over the years I’ve had jobs that ran the gambit from preschool teacher to ranch hand, and pretty much everything in between. After sowing my oats, I settled in Pittsburgh for a time to complete my degrees. I studied creative writing and cognitive psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, from whence I (finally) graduated in 2008. During that time, I worked in a cognitive development lab (as a psychological experimenter of young children), and as a Coro Fellow in Civics and Local Democracy doing deliberative polling work.

Upon graduation, I settled into my normative career as a freelance and development writer. However, I’ll be putting all that on hold for a few years as I jet off to Moscow, where I’ll be working as an EFL teacher for a few years (a bit of background on that here).

Politically:

I’ve been a registered Republican since the day I turned 18, and have always considered myself a Goldwater conservative. I came of age at the time of the Republican Revolution in 1994, in a Republican state and as part of a Republican family, so naturally I started my political consciousness as a dyed-in-the-wool old school conservative, what might now be called a paleocon. I would have then described myself as a “moderate” conservative, meaning a Goldwater conservative with a pretty liberal streak on social issues. Despite the latter, my first in-the-foxhole political involvement was as a volunteer for Sam Brownback’s House race in 1994 (I vividly remember watching the election returns in a hotel ballroom that night, surrounded by trench Republicans).

I was in the press section of the Topeka Expo Center when Bob Dole was there giving his first official speech announcing he was running for president in 1996. Bob Dole was always a conservative hero in my household, and I was (and remain) an ardent fan. So, Dole was my man in 1996.

In the years following, my social liberalism became increasingly important to me and a source of distance between me and the GOP, and I began voting and identifying as a Libertarian, despite keeping my Republican registration. I was pulled back to the party in 2000 by John McCain, and supported him to his last days in that Republican primary. By the time the general election rolled around I ended up voting Harry Browne, not thrilled with either major party candidate (and used to, by then, pulling the lever for Libertarians more often than not, and Harry Browne in particular was a lion of the party).

Following 911 I was in favor of action in Afghanistan but ultimately couldn’t sign on to the War in Iraq because I felt the post-war planning and implications weren’t being given enough consideration, and I just couldn’t get onboard with the claim of Iraq-as-imminent-threat. Leading up to 2004, I felt that the Republican party had lost its way. Everything that had initially attracted me to it in the first place—small government principles, federalism, civil liberties, personal responsibility, skepticism and reticence towards the use of government power at home and abroad—was being thrown under the bus, and all the things that I never had much time for in the first place—social conservatism, Christianist intolerance, tendency to overstep on matters relating to criminal justice and demagogue against civil liberties, alarmism and hysteria in matters relating to foreign policy and national security, and an increasing tendency to compromise core conservative ideologies for cheap political gains—was not just ascendant but crushingly dominant, to such a stark degree that it seemed to me the fundamental character of the party had changed. I became a Kerry supporter by default, and argued vehemently that the Republican party needed a good spanking to force it to wake up to the fact that it had lost its way. I still remained a registered Republican, but I became convinced by then that the party wasn’t going to change itself from within. I volunteered a bit for some progressive organizations (the now-defunct ACT, primarily), and eagerly pulled the lever for Kerry (the first Democrat I’d ever voted for above House races).

By 2006, I was voting Democrat straight-ticket. As much out of spite as anything, I suppose. I found myself increasingly throwing in with civil libertarians on all sides, particularly left-libertarians who were proving themselves to be the most lucid critics of the 2001-2008 years.

I had gone from Bob Dole to Harry Browne to John Kerry, and the damned thing about it was I felt like I’d made that progression by basically standing still. I remain a small-government libertarian-leaning paleocon, and though I’ve perhaps become more domestically liberal and internationally non-interventionist than I was 12 years ago, I felt as if it was the ideological landscape, not me, that had dramatically shifted. It was that desire to push back against the cooption of conservatism for the new, decidedly un-conservative Republicanism of the first decade of the 21st century that led me, with Adam and Rojas, towards founding this blog.

Turned off to no small degree by Bush Republicanism, I found myself lured back to the party by the longshot candidacy of Ron Paul, a congressman I’d long admired. I—and by extension this blog—were early and ardent supporters of Dr. Paul, and I wound up doing a fair bit of organizing for his campaign and traveling around the country in that capacity, having a great .

Ultimately, this led me to spin off and, with a partner, found a political 527, the now-mostly-defunct Free Assembly for Constitutional Thought. In my capacity of executive director, I sponsored 250 constitutional advocates from all over the country and moved them into New Hampshire for the month leading up to that state’s primaries. I became a de facto coordinator for out-of-state volunteers for the constitutionalist movement. I wound up on the speaking circuit for a short time arguing for a return to a new constitutionalism, and ultimately authored a few articles and a book chapter to that end. After the New Hampshire primary ended, I mostly retired from organizing work and went back to finish my degree.

I, personally, supported Dr. Paul until the bitter(sweet) end of his candidacy, and at the conclusion of the primaries, roundabout made my way into Barack Obama’s camp.

The name of the blog, to me, doesn’t just refer to Adam’s ocean skipping (or, for that matter, now mine), but to my own sailing from one side to the other and back again as well.

So, that’s me. Brad Porter. Nice to meet you.

2 Comments »

  1. […] Brad. Adam. Rojas posted in: About […]

    Pingback by The Crossed Pond » About The Crossed Pond — 6/16/2007 @ 3:39 am

  2. Added/edited a bunch of stuff here, 11/12/07

    Comment by Brad — 11/12/2007 @ 3:06 pm

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