I’m at the Fort Lauderdale airport waiting to catch a plane to go home from the National Review 2014 post-election Caribbean cruise. In the festive afterglow of the midterms, the stops in Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten were but interruptions in the impressive programming. Starring Rich Lowry, Jay Nordlinger, Jonah Goldberg, Kevin Williamson, John Podhoretz, Mona Charen, Andy McCarthy, John Yoo, Allen West, Bing West, Michael Walsh and a cast of thousands, how could the programs be be anything but great? In fact, that is what they were. I am sad that the cruise is over! (Excuse my resort to exclamation points in this point.)
The NR cruisers were especially delightful. To be among so many knowledgeable and like-minded folks talking about matters of mutual interest is a form of group therapy that makes the price of the ticket reasonable. The next NR cruise departs to Alaska from Seattle this July, and many repeat cruisers testified that Alaska was their favorite cruise destination. Let’s save up!
Here are a few brief notes on this one.
I ran into former Arizona Senator Jon Kyl at the airport when I arrived in Fort Lauderdale and kept up with him during the cruise. He could not have been more delightful. NR put him in the spotlight for an interview conducted by Rich Lowry or Jay Nordlinger (I’m writing from memory). Senator Kyl is now practicing law in Washington and commuting to his home in Arizona on weekends, adhering to a schedule similar to the one he must have kept as a Senator.
Senator Kyl represented Arizona in Congress for more than 30 years before he stood down in 2010. He was a model public servant. You could feel the esteem in which he is held by those of us in the audience as he spoke. This is a man!
Last night he stopped by our dinner table to express his encouragement to my daughter Eliana, with whom I was tagging along on the cruise. I snapped the picture of the two of them below.
Most interesting speaker I hadn’t met before: Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity. Tim taught me the secret Koch Brothers handshake! (Just kidding.)
Consensus pick for GOP nomination in 2016: Scott Walker; as between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, the cruisers were pretty much split down the middle.
Most sapient comment, by cruiser Janet C. from Philadelphia, expressing her support for Cruz over my demurral: “I know he’s a phony, but he’s a magnificent phony!”
Consensus pick to stay on the GOP bench in 2016: Jeb Bush.
Thanks: to the many Power Line readers who took up my invitation to say hello on the cruise, and apologies to the one who told Eliana he missed me at the reception last night!