Looking to George Washington for Inspiration by Craig Fuller

Our uniquely American July 4th holiday provides an opportunity to reflect on our freedoms and liberties. However, I must confess that this year I feel kind of a bittersweet sensation as families and friends take time to celebrate the freedoms secured by individuals who left their native countries to find a better life here in America. It is appropriate to commemorate those who saw the courage to pursue their dreams that became America, yet how ironic we celebrate while policies of our government separate children from families and detain them for mustering that same kind of courage in pursuit of a dream for a better life.

While no easy answer is likely to present itself, perhaps the words of American children to those being held that “we are a better country” and “you are not alone” will be sufficient to move our elected officials to find a more compassionate and, yes, a more American approach to immigration than what we have in place today.

Thinking about this Fourth of July, I searched for an inspiring topic and found one in an unusual place, The Washington Post.

Now, I don’t mean to be critical of the newspaper, but it’s just not a place where a lot of inspiring ideas come from these days. However, a piece caught my eye about how our first President had lived by 110 Rules of Civility and Decency. It caused me to pause and wonder what better way to reflect on our freedoms and liberties this July 4th than to turn to one of our founding fathers for inspiration.

Rather than just use the Rules selected by the Post’s writer, I decided to look at the entire list and check out the story…kind of a “trust but verify” moment.

It turns out that a young George Washington actually wrote out all 110 Rules as a handwriting lesson. The rules he copied were based on a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595.

“Fake News,” you say….well, maybe. But, a close reading of the story doesn’t say Washington composed the rules, only that he wrote them down and lived by them. Hard to fact check that one.

Regardless, I think the fact that people thought enough about civility and decency in the late 1500s to write out 110 Rules might be something to pay attention to today.

So, as we celebrate our freedom and liberty this week, let’s reflect on how we might all benefit from a good deal more civility and decency in the world today….and, let’s hope our first President might inspire other leaders just a bit!

You will find the list of 110 Rules in their entirety by clicking on RULES. The list is provided by the Foundations Magazine.

The following is a sampling offered in modern day English:

Treat everyone with respect.

Be considerate of others. Do not embarrass others.

Don’t draw attention to yourself.

When you speak, be concise.

Do not argue with your superior. Submit your ideas with humility.

When a person does their best and fails, do not criticize him.

When you must give advice or criticism, consider the timing, whether it should be given in public or private, the manner and above all be gentle.

If you are corrected, take it without argument. If you were wrongly judged, correct it later.

Do not make fun of anything important to others.

If you criticize someone else of something, make sure you are not guilty of it yourself.

Actions speak louder than words.

Wishing you a very safe and happy July 4th!

Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.

Senior Nation: The Very Best Senior Moment by Craig Fuller

Returning from California where my younger brother – by two years – was married this past weekend, I reflected on the remarkable experience and emotions discovered in a “senior wedding.”

Truthfully, I have not been to many senior weddings in the past, yet each one I attended provided a wonderful spirit of love and commitment. While part of all weddings, the commitment of people in their 60s who elect to get married brings with it…well, more maturity.

Professional reputation has been built. The children have been raised and released into the world. Friendships have been built and nourished over decades. Then, added to all of that comes a strong and intentional passion to marry, again.

I shared with my brother and his beautiful wife a comment I’ve never forgotten from the woman my father married a few years after our mother passed. His new wife, who had survived two previous husbands, shared with me that marriage to our father was wonderfully different because they spent all of their time together.

The “senior marriage” is decidedly not about building a family, it’s about embracing two families. It’s not about building a career or two; it’s about enjoying the fruits of hard work over many years. It’s not about a process of finding yourself; it’s about a process of finding a new future with another.

For two days, my brother and his new wife brought together friends and family. We spoke of how we knew the bride or groom (or, in my case, both…but that is another story). We told stories about their past lives and laughed at experiences familiar to all of us. We truly celebrated a union of two fine people who know themselves and know they are happier, better and more fulfilled together.

Honestly, it was a weekend of pure joy and a sense of wishing the bride, the groom, along with their families and friends nothing but the best in the years they have together….where they really will be together.

This is one senior moment I hope can be shared by every couple finding perfect companionship in their later years.

Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.

Read before Voting by Craig Fuller

James Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, offers many insights beyond what you may have heard in the news. With over one million copies in print, the sales success of the book is assured; but, there is something far more important at stake – that would be the conversation that the author wants us to have about our leaders.

A good friend of mine likes to say, “elections matter.” I agree. And, what James Comey offers is a singularly unique perspective on leadership in Washington, D.C. as experienced by a non-politician (if that is possible in Washington).

Elections are about sending leaders to office. The type of leadership we want and need certainly may be thought about differently by people; however, we are bound together by certain values in this country – at least I still believe we are – and, A Higher Loyalty presses us to examine the values we expect in our leaders.

The media flurry around the book would have you believe that this is an insider’s account of what it was like dealing with President Trump. There is some of this, but a reader is over two-thirds of the way through the book before the Trump Administration becomes much of a focus.

What the news stories have not shared is that James Comey’s book is one of the most reflective pieces of work I have read by a former high-level official. There is little effort made to defend decisions. There is a good deal of time spent helping the reader understand what was known at the time really difficult decisions were made and what the options appeared to be for Comey and others.

There are acknowledgments that other people might have chosen different courses. As Comey describes it, he hopes that by putting the reader in his shoes with the choices that he faced he can help people better understand the decisions that were made.

Also rare in this kind of book is sufficient introspection to acknowledge in a few places that one might have done something differently.

So, this is a different kind of book by a former high-level official.

It is also the case that James Comey, through training and experience, is a remarkably good observer of all things around him, especially people. The pictures he provides of situations put the reader in the room. And, the descriptions of people – at least those that I know – seem right on the money, even when he is describing someone he is meeting for the first time.

Perhaps his keenest instinct relates to gauging just how people listen. In one of the best remarks in the book, he suggests listening in Washington, D.C. usually means someone sits quietly until they can break into a conversation in order to say exactly what they intended to say without regard to the exchange just witnessed. This is so true!

Comey reminds us in the book how much our past can shape our outlook. Comey was bullied as a youngster. As a young prosecutor, he went after deadly organized crime figures. Who knew this would be such useful preparation for dealing with a White House?

While I found the entire book fascinating, the sections focused on how the FBI approached the questions around Hillary Clinton’s emails were in some ways the most intriguing.

Clearly, the FBI and its director found themselves in uncharted territory with the Clinton email investigation. Also, the timing of events was certainly not of their choosing. Understanding how the decisions around the email investigation – its opening, closing, reopening and reclosing just prior to the election – reads a bit like a thriller.

Personally, I have always thought that this sad development of having to investigate the use of private email and in having the Attorney General and the Justice Department sitting to one side, thus placing far more of the spotlight on the FBI, was the result of two actions. Turns out, there were three.

First, the email system should never have been allowed to exist. The decision to set it up and those who enabled it to be used created a situation that would have serious consequences. Second, the misguided decision by former President Clinton to walk onto the Attorney General’s aircraft for a chat, forcing an able political appointee serving as Attorney General to step aside from the decision making on the investigation, was a fundamental mistake with serious consequences. Finally, not turning over a computer owned by an aide to Secretary Clinton that contained thousands of emails, including emails from early in her tenure that were said not to exist, was a calamitous miscalculation.

As with tragic aircraft accidents, there is almost never just one cause, and investigators usually find that if only one of a few factors had occurred differently, the accident might have been avoided.

I would argue that if anyone of the three items above had not happened, there never would have been an investigation opened or reopened during the election year.

Having had nothing to do with the initial actions to set up a flawed email system and nothing to do with the timing surrounding the investigation, it is hard to place all the blame on the FBI for actions that might have impacted an election. What becomes clear is that in the end there were no good alternatives around the public comments made by Comey concerning the investigation.

So, this is the kind of consideration – whether you agree or disagree – that James Comey wants us to participate in during these months before an election.

And, I believe, if he moves just a small percentage of people to search for more ethical leaders, he will have made an important difference.

The book is worth reading as a means of thinking about the kind of leadership we respect and we want from those we send into public office.

Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.

Remembering Barbara Bush by Craig Fuller

Early in February 1985, when I accepted the position as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush, I had some idea of what I was getting myself into. On the official side, we had the entire second term of the Reagan/Bush Administration to complete. On the political side, we had a presidential campaign organization to build and an election to win in 1988.

What I did not fully comprehend was that I was also being invited into a family lead by Barbara Bush.

The opportunity to serve the Vice President was a high honor. The privilege of being invited to be so close to the Bush family would be an extraordinary life-long experience.

While sad to see her leave us, it is remarkable to hear so many people from around the world express their profound affection for Barbara Bush. She touched many lives in exceptionally positive ways during her 92 years.

While I had a close-up view for only a fraction of those years, the impact certainly never left me. She was honest, frank, funny and never for a loss when asked her opinion. These are traits extraordinarily valuable when you are trying to get through a presidential campaign.

Soon after accepting the position as her husband’s chief of staff, I asked if we could have lunch. While I didn’t know her well, I knew there was no way to go through the next four years without a strong bond.

We had a delightful lunch, and she said she had two requests. First, she knew that she would have to do events and travel during the course of the four years; but, she said, she really wanted to be able to end her day with her husband if at all possible. Second, she suggested she probably would do anything asked of her, but she did want to understand why.

Pretty remarkable!

I told her I had two requests. First, having been around the White House for four years, I knew how people liked to present themselves as carrying an important message from someone. I asked that if she ever had anything she wanted to share or communicate that she do it directly and indicated I would try to do the same. We both agreed that “messengers” usually get it wrong anyway. We were together a great deal, and I think we both lived up to this commitment without exception which was extraordinarily valuable.

My second request was that she help me understand who the really close friends were since I was being bombarded by calls wishing me well from people explaining that they were the closest of friends to the Bush family. She said she would help and offered to share their private Christmas card list which she suggested would give me a good place to start. A couple of days later the list arrived and I realized the extent of the challenge….there were hundreds of names on the list.

We traveled throughout the world and the country together. I observed how beloved she was wherever we landed. There truly were close friendships everywhere we went in the world. While she never had the formal title of Ambassador, I know of no finer Ambassador our nation has ever had whether she was greeting people at a residence or traveling to world capitals.

My last opportunity to spend time with her occurred a few months ago in Kennebunkport when, with Karen, I attended a small event for the Bush Library. For a few moments we sat alone with the President and Mrs. Bush in their home, and I shared how enjoyable it was to be with them in a place that had so many wonderful memories. Without missing a beat, she said, “and some that were not so wonderful as well!” She still got that last word!

I know her family wants us to celebrate her life and what a life it was!

I count myself fortunate to have been a part of it for a time.

Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.

A New Boat and a Fine Wine by Craig Fuller

Among the personal passions accompanying me from the West to Washington nearly 40 years ago were boating and wine (not necessarily together). Perhaps it’s the elongated winter (as Howard Freedlander elegantly described here recently; but, it most certainly is due to a new boat in our family that I’ve had an increased focus on the beginning of a new boating season. Recently it struck me that my focus reminds me of what happens in the wine country with the harvesting of grapes for fine wine.

As with the harvesting of grapes, one works for weeks and months preparing for a moment that turns out largely dependent upon the weather. Is it too cold, too windy, too wet are all questions asked about placing boats in the water as well as picking grapes from the vine. Then, in both cases, once a decision is made all sorts of things are set in motion.

Ranger Tug Tranquility

The added focus this year, for me, around a new boating season on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, is a new boat. And, it really is not just a new boat, it is a new chapter in my boating life. From early on in California, I sailed. First with my uncle and cousins in Newport Beach followed by sailing in San Francisco Bay during high school, and later as crew for Wednesday night racing out of Marina del Rey while I was in college. It wasn’t long after arriving in the Washington, D.C. area in 1981 that I was sailing on the Chesapeake Bay, a magnificent and magical body of water.

Late last year, as I looked ahead to a new boating season, I knew it was time for something different and the idea of a small trawler entered my head only to develop into a full-blown notion that it was time for more creature comfort on the water while moving at about the same speed. Upon landing on a bold, if not fully developed, plan to find a vessel that met a standard my neighbor described as room for six at cocktail time, four for dinner and sleeps two, I discovered the world of Ranger Tugs.

These days, there are online forums for any fascination, and so I became a full-fledged member of TugNuts, the online forum for those with an interest in Ranger Tugs and Cutwater boats. I learned just how much people enjoyed these boats whether they were aboard for a day, a week, a month or, for some, living aboard.

The quest for a vessel did not take me far. A dealer that specializes in these boats is in nearby Grasonville, Maryland. After looking at the previously owned boats and envying the brand new ones, I found the perfect answer in a briefly owned 2017 Ranger Tug.

Tranquility, as I named her, entered the water on March 30th. After a superb orientation – the Garmin system rivals any aircraft avionics package I’ve used – she and I headed out on a windy and occasionally rainy day for Trippe Creek and her new home. Yes, for me the 2018 boating season has begun. But, on that cold and wet day, I was warm, dry and comfortable at the helm. Foul weather gear was onboard but not a consideration during my four-hour cruise.

So, a new chapter has begun. In our climate on and around the Chesapeake Bay, being in a warm, dry place makes for a longer boating season than I would otherwise enjoy while sailing. Of course, sailing is where I started and I no doubt will always enjoy it; but, this new experience is one I am going to savor. It is like harvesting grapes from a new vineyard where you know what you’ve enjoyed in the past is still available, but the anticipation of what lies ahead is very exciting.

So, if you see the Ranger Tug Tranquility on the water or at a marina, stop and visit. And, for guests and for the captain in the evening, there will always be some wine onboard in the refrigerator…did I mention it comes with a refrigerator?

Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.

Is article is also a podcast. Listen to it here.

Tyranny of the Un-Truth by Craig Fuller

Mark Twain got it exactly right when he said, “When in doubt, tell the truth.”

Events of the past month give many pause because of their salacious quality. For me, the worst part is the reality that people in high office are simply not heading Mark Twain’s call for truth telling. Failing to tell the truth has become the order of the day and the un-truths come with consequences.

A weekend commentator posited a theory that we have undergone some major cultural change when a porn star and a Playboy model have more credibility than the President of the United States. A stunning statement that was speculative until polling just days later suggested only about 20% of the population believes the President is telling the truth about his own behavior.

What really hit me around the same time was a question posed by a serious fellow who inquired as to whether or not I was asked to lie during my years in public office.

The answer is a definite “no.” I was never asked to lie while in office. Was I expected to put the best face on difficult circumstances, yes. But, we did that by providing an interpretation of facts not by presenting an un-truth! Or, we stated that we could not comment. But, at no time was I asked or would I have damaged my credibility by stating something I knew not to be true.

Pondering the question and my memory of a seemingly bygone era, I felt a sadness for those serving in the White House today. Many of them now must realize that they have been directed to make statements that are simply not true. Just how does one deal with this? How do they make statements on matters related to official business and have their words believed?

In a world that offers challenges and real dangers, officials of the United States need to have their words believed. We need for America to be trusted and that trust must be earned by our leaders and a reputation for telling the truth.

The damage done during the past few weeks extends well beyond what some believe to be diminished moral standards. Damage has been done to our ability to lead. Damage has been done to those who came into the White House to serve who simply cannot be counted upon to be honest.

In the past few days, a phrase is now being used in the White House briefing that I suspect we will hear a lot more often. The phrase, “….the President believes.” This is an obvious way for a spokesperson to state what they know the President to have said, whether or not they believe it to be true.

The bar is being set way too low for a great nation.

Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.

How Do You Serve at the Pleasure of the President When the President takes Little Pleasure about Those Who Serve? By Craig Fuller

We seem to be witnessing further upheaval in President Trump’s Administration. While all appointed to over two thousand positions by a sitting President serve at the pleasure of the President, our current President’s criteria of “pleasing” differs substantially from prior administrations. The path to pleasing is firmly fixed in delivering strong and effective statements of public support of the President.

Larry Kudlow’s recruitment into the White House staff brings a seasoned and experienced economic policy professional to the table. I know because I served with him. He holds well considered and carefully developed views, some at odds with where the President stands, at least today, on trade. But, I suspect the strongest of the Kudlow credentials is his television persona. He can be counted upon to energetically deliver the Trump message. Time will tell just how well Larry Kudlow can differ in private with someone whose threshold for contrarian thought seems historically low.

Others on the cabinet now being identified at risk all have in common a poor performance on television or negative news stories about their practices in office. One has the feeling that the President and a small focus group of White House aides is grading the public performance of the Cabinet and seeking new cast members when ratings fall.

Compelling communications skills are, to be sure, important to successful service at the highest levels of government. But, there are other important factors. Experience, judgement and discipline to name three. People in trouble seem to be those who have a worldview shaped by experience quite different than the President’s. Or, they are trying to bring discipline to the White House staff…or both.

Those not listed as “at risk,” could be described as doing their jobs while keeping their heads down. Time will tell whether anything short of cheerleading will suffice.

What the President seems not to understand is that those he appoints to the highest most complex jobs in the land, are there to serve him; however, they have a higher calling captured in the oath they take when they assume the office when they state:  I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.

If we have entered an era where strong television appearances become the coin of the realm for high appointed office, we have put ourselves on a slippery slope where a sound bite can make or break a public career. The price we pay is that good people won’t survive and stronger people will decline to serve.

Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.

No Clearance / No Security by Craig Fuller

Consider how challenging it is to know at this moment just what the intentions of leaders in the government of the United States are across a range of issues from national security and defense to health care, trade, and energy. What do leaders intend to do about these issues? What is likely to happen that will affect us?

Hard to know, right? And, yet, we live in the most open and transparent country on the planet.

So, when we ask the intelligence community to understand the motivations and probable actions of our adversaries and our allies, always in less open and sometimes hostile environments, in order to accurately inform our US decision makers, shouldn’t we understand that this is an extremely difficult mission.

It’s not like there is no information. But, we don’t call it the “information community.” We call it the intelligence community because we require thousands of people to assess information from many sources, often clandestine, for the purpose of presenting carefully considered intelligence.

One of the most interesting aspects of my job many years ago in the White House was to read and receive the President’s Daily Intelligence Briefing from a senior CIA official. I cannot imagine a more enlightening daily dose of reality than this document and the accompanying oral briefing. Knowledge built over time is invaluable to staff and decision makers who take an oath to make choices that will protect the nation.

Much is being made of security clearances these days. While some high profile people now lack the highest clearances, the problem goes far beyond those in the headlines. It has been suggested that over 100 people inside the White House lack full clearances.

Here is the reality: developing the very best and most useful intelligence requires that those at the highest levels of government can be trusted with secrets. And, not only the actual intelligence provided; but, also the fact that we have it along with any knowledge of the means by which we gained it. The failure to act with discretion and in accordance with very strict laws, puts our own highly trained and vulnerable people at risk. The failure also discourages the very sources we rely upon from sharing information.

So, back to the people without full clearances….

There are several levels of security clearance, but the information flowing into the President and his top staff requires the highest clearances.

When someone lacks a clearance, people with the sensitive information do not know why. Thus, a clearance problem is within a range of issues that could mean placing into the hands of a non-cleared individual something they might inappropriately disclose.

For this reason, someone in possession of classified information in not supposed to knowingly provide it to an individual without proper clearances because being trusted with such information requires that you protect it.

It’s a very important principle.

Think about the phrase, “….now, don’t let anyone know that I know this, but…..”

If our nation’s leaders are going to benefit from having the most sophisticated intelligence gathering capabilities available to them for the purpose of making the best decisions possible, then they need 100% compliance with the laws designed to protect the secrets – no exceptions.

Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.

The Danger of Distraction by Craig Fuller

During a drive across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge earlier this week, I listened to a good portion of the hearing held by the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence with the leaders of our Intelligence Community. Held to focus on the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment of the United States Intelligence Community, it provided one of the few public looks into what are seen as major threats facing our nation. The director of National Intelligence provided an initial statement and the 28-page document is available here [ http://bit.ly/SenIntellCoatsStatement ]. His opening points are below.

After listening to the broadcast, my thoughts turned to the dilemma we face. In a world with real and serious issues, we have a White House in turmoil focused on the latest inside intrigue that, while important in many ways, distracts the leadership of our nation from the important work requiring their full attention.

When it comes to security threats, those who lead the dastardly efforts outlined below DO NOT: tweet; get driven by the news story of the day; turn over their top staff; tolerate people who can’t get security clearances…just to name a few differences.

The truth is that we have a very resilient system of government and things do get done. But, leadership really does count and it is required hourly, daily, every 24 hours. Someone needs to be driving the system and we have very distracted driver!

You can bet our nation’s Intelligence Community is looking for leadership on how to cope with the very daunting list below, as outlined by DNI Coats.

From Dan Coats opening statement:

Competition among countries will increase in the coming year as major powers and regional aggressors exploit complex global trends while adjusting to new priorities in US foreign policy. The risk of interstate conflict, including among great powers, is higher than at any time since the end of the Cold War. The most immediate threats of regional interstate conflict in the next year come from North Korea and from Saudi- Iranian use of proxies in their rivalry. At the same time, the threat of state and nonstate use of weapons of mass destruction will continue to grow.


  • Adversaries and malign actors will use all instruments of national power—including information and cyber means—to shape societies and markets, international rules and institutions, and international hot spots to their advantage.
  • China and Russia will seek spheres of influence and to check US appeal and influence in their regions. Meanwhile, US allies’ and partners’ uncertainty about the willingness and capability of the United States to maintain its international commitments may drive them to consider reorienting their policies, particularly regarding trade, away from Washington.
  • Forces for geopolitical order and stability will continue to fray, as will the rules-based international order. New alignments and informal networks—outside traditional power blocs and national governments—will increasingly strain international cooperation.


Tension within many countries will rise, and the threat from Sunni violent extremist groups will evolve as they recoup after battlefield losses in the Middle East.


  • Slow economic growth and technology-induced disruptions in job markets are fueling populism within advanced industrial countries and the very nationalism that contributes to tension among countries.
  • Developing countries in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa face economic challenges, and many states struggle with reforms to tamp down corruption. Terrorists and criminal groups will continue to exploit weak state capacity in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
  •  Challenges from urbanization and migration will persist, while the effects of air pollution, inadequate water, and climate change on human health and livelihood will become more noticeable. Domestic policy responses to such issues will become more difficult—especially for democracies—as publics become less trusting of authoritative information sources.


We can only hope this and the full testimony going into further detail can bring greater focus to the important mission of meeting the national security challenges facing the nation.

Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.

Crazy Things Can Come True by Craig Fuller

“Crazy Things Can Come True.” – Elon Musk

When asked what had been learned from the successful launch of the Falcon Heavy from the Kennedy Space Center earlier this week, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said, “Crazy things can come true.”

I confess to having been a space enthusiast since the beginning of the manned space program. And, it has been sad to see us lose some of our edge in space exploration, especially in one critically important area, that of having the lift capability to make exploration even possible.

So, we should all take a moment to watch and celebrate just what, SpaceX, a private company has accomplished. To appreciate the magnitude of what was done only takes a few minutes of viewing a YouTube video that, as of this moment, is approaching 20 million views. That so many took the time to watch what is now the most powerful rocket in the world by a factor of two, suggests interest in a vibrant space program exists.

The launch was spectacular, as was the eight minutes that followed when the two sixteen story tall side boosters separated, turned around and returned to their Kennedy Center landing pads is some of the most exciting video you will ever see. Elon Musk, who has seen a thing or two, says it is absolutely the most exciting thing he has ever seen!

Needing to demonstrate lift capability requires a certain amount of weight be placed in the payload areas. Not one to settle for cement blocks, Musk provided a $200,000 Tesla automobile complete with a spacesuit attired “driver.” Again, all of this captured live and broadcast to a worldwide audience.

The press briefing by Elon Musk was also something rather remarkable. He was clearly amazed by what he and his team had accomplished. He addressed a room of reporters that seemed almost hushed as Musk’s slow and careful description of events was shared.

All that needed to be accomplished had been accomplished with only one glitch. Musk shared with the group that the center booster simply ran low on fuel and could not slow enough to land on a floating landing site in the ocean. He broke the news that it actually hit the water at 300 miles an hour, adding it should make for some amazing pictures if cameras survived!

Throughout the broadcast, hundreds of SpaceX employees who witnessed the launch and booster recovery are cheering and exhibiting unrestrained euphoria. They were witness to a launch and showed all who watched a large and important part of the space program’s future.

Without a doubt, those who accomplished what many considered impossible are people who, in their celebration, deserve our appreciation.


Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.