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26th February
2009
written by Sean Noble

Sometimes the greatest men are those least known among us.  Tonight, CPAC honored one of its founders, long-time Human Events Editor-in-Chief, Tom Winter.

 

Tom Winter is probably one of the most influential figures in the conservative movement that you have never heard of, or if you have heard of him, know very little about.  He likes it that way. He is one of the most humble activists in the movement, and a towering figure.

 

Winter grew up under humble circumstances in Teaneck, NJ. He earned a spot at Harvard, getting both an undergraduate degree and a Masters in Business.

 

He caught the political bug and at the age of 24 went to D.C. seeking a job on Capitol Hill. However, 1961 was not a good year for Republicans on the Hill and there were painfully few jobs available.  A friend told him about an opening at Human Events and he got the job as assistant editor and has been there ever since.

 

He didn’t just mark time, however.  In 1964 he became the editor, leading the effort to support Goldwater’s candidacy in the press.  Two years later, he and a friend, Alan Ryskind, bought Human Events and continued to report on the issues of the day from a distinctly conservative viewpoint.

 

Shortly after getting to D.C. he met a young lady and they started dating. And dating. And dating.  She worked for Senator James Buckley (brother to William F. Buckley) and then, in 1976 for Senator Orrin Hatch.  Finally, in 1978, Tom married her, ending what is to believed to have been one of the longest courtships in the history of D.C.

 

As award presenter M. Stanton Evans reminded the CPAC crowd tonight, Tom Winter was the Founder of Conservative Victory Fund, the brainchild of the independent expenditure campaign that American Conservative Union ran on behalf of Reagan’s presidential bid in 1976, and co-founder of both ACU and CPAC.

 

It is believed that the personal highlight of his professional career was when President Ronald Reagan hosted an event at the White House for Human Events. Human Events was a must-read for Reagan, starting in the 60’s and through his years in the White House.  Reagan paid a special tribute to Human Events in this video.

 

Tom has always persevered.  Even after his stroke in 2003, he barely missed a beat, never failing to be a force for the conservative cause.  He continues to put up the fight, a fight that he says he will wage until he dies at his desk. 

 

He is, as M. Stanton Evans said, one of towering leaders of the modern conservative movement and the greatest unsung heroes for the cause.

 

Most of all, Tom Winter is a husband and a father.  He cherished his family and he held sacred the summer weekends the family would share in Rehoboth Beach, DE.  There was no event – no wedding, no funeral, no reception, no dinner – that Winter would attend on any weekend between May and September.

 

He was obviously touched and humbled tonight as he received his award, and there was even a hint of well-earned pride.  But he was never more proud than when he walked his daughter, Abby, down the aisle a few weeks ago as she married her sweetheart in a ceremony that was presided over by the same priest who had married Tom and his sweetheart nearly 33 years earlier in the same beautiful St. Peters on Capitol Hill.

 

That sums up Tom Winter the man. Quiet diligence to a cause greater than himself, and absolute devotion to the greatest cause of all, his family.  Well done, sir. Well done.

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