SALEM - Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin delivered the same message to Columbiana County Republicans that she said the GOP needs to deliver to America: the message of opportunity.
"The American Dream is not just a cliche," she said during a pre-Lincoln Day Dinner reception at the home of Bob and Linda Sebo Friday night.
The daughter of immigrants who came from the Philippines, legal immigrants she pointed out, she said that's what attracted her parents to this country, the fact that this was the land of opportunity. There were no guarantees.
Former major leaguer Andy Kosco and his wife Cathy secure an autograph from nationally acclaimed conservative columnist Michelle Malkin during a gathering at the home of Bob and Linda Sebo of Salem prior to the Columbiana County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner at the Salem Community Center Friday night. In his days in the outfield, the Poland resident played for the Reds, the Dodgers, the Yankees and the Twins. (Salem News photo by J.D. Creer)
"It's not the government's job to protect you from failure," she said, noting her parents taught her that "we're not entitled to a single thing."
"There's nothing appealing about a nanny state and eternal dependence," she said.
Malkin writes a syndicated column which appears in newspapers all over the country, serves as a weekly Fox News contributor and appears on "The Sean Hannity Show" and "Fox & Friends." She's also an active blogger, tweeter and the author of four best-selling books, including "Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies."
"She speaks out strongly on conservative values," U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson said, noting this was the first time he met her in person.
Columbiana County Republican Party Chairman David Johnson said he tries to bring a national figure to the area for the Lincoln Day Dinner each year to get the people involved in the Party and in the government. He quipped to Malkin that they hadn't attracted this big of a crowd since G. Gordon Liddy spoke. He estimated more than 500 in attendance at the Salem Community Center.
He credited Sebo with the idea of asking Malkin to speak, with Sebo paying the cost of the honorarium.
"We're thrilled to have somebody of Michelle Malkin's stature to come here to Columbiana County," he said.
He commented that she always offers a "peppery, conservative opinion" in her newspaper columns. Sebo added later that "you can believe everything she writes. She backs it up with statistics."
In a brief interview at Sebo's home, Malkin said the Republican Party is "dispirited" after this last election and there's been "a lot of teeth gnashing" and people wondering what to do to fix the party.
She said she's always been conservative and she's found that "when the Party sticks to its basic core principles, it's at its strongest."
When people sense hypocrisy and a lack of caring, she said they're going to seek imperfect solutions. When asked about the next presidential election and who she thinks will be in the running, she said she honestly has no idea at this point.
Some are looking for a repeat of Romney, someone closer to center to left, but she said "when something fails, try something else."
As for Marco Rubio, she said he's young and dynamic, but she thinks he needs more experience.
Malkin was asked to describe what she felt was the biggest issue facing America and replied that "without a sense of law, order and security, everything pales in comparison."
To the people attending the pre-dinner fundraiser, she called this past week hellish with everything that happened in Boston and in Texas, but also pointed out "whenever America is faced with adversity, we show our best face."
She said the Republican Party needs the courage of its conviction and to stop being defensive.
"I've seen it all. I've been smeared by it all and I still get up every day, inspired by models like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher," she said.
"There's always an opportunity to rebound...we have to sell the message of freedom and liberty," she said.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org