Barbara Olson characterized everything that is great in America. She represented patriotism, dignity, and truth. Mrs. Olson’s colleagues and adversaries equally respected her system of political and legal beliefs. In the arenas of media and politics, Mrs. Olson was a force to be reckoned with. While I was not fortunate enough to embrace an opportunity to meet Barbara Olson during her time here on earth, like so many Americans, I feel like part of our country died with her nonetheless.
I remember Barbara as the woman I shared an intellectual connection with on CNN during the Clinton impeachment hearings. My respect and intellectual affinity for Barbara grew with every page I read of her first book, “Hell To Pay.” ‘When I think of Barbara, I think of a woman with strength, intellect, and conviction; in short, the epitome of Republican virtue.
Barbara’s life exemplified the ideals of freedom and opportunity that exists in this country – a country she loved so much. Barbara shattered the societal restraints of mainstream America as she transitioned from a professional ballet dancer to one of the most powerful and influential women in American politics – so much for the so-called “glass ceiling.” Barbara graduated from Benjamin Cardozo Law School at Yeshiva University in 1989. Thereafter, she dedicated three years to the Washington firm of Wilmer, Cutler, & Pickering. She then served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, prosecuting drug offenses. In 1995, she was appointed Chief Investigative Counsel for the House Committee on Government and Oversight, investigating improprieties in the Clinton White House and uncovering numerous instances of Clinton’s deceit. The following year, she served as General Counsel to Senate Assistant Majority Leader, Senator Don Nickles, working on campaign finance reform. Subsequently, she appeared as a conservative pundit on numerous talk shows and wrote 2 books, 1999’s “Hell To Pay” and the forthcoming, “The Final Days.” Amid her demanding schedule, Barbara always found time to give back to the Federalist Society, often hosting large gatherings at her home.
I am certain that Mrs. Olson’s dedication to conservative causes helped shape the success of various organizations like The Federalist Society, as well as playing an instrumental part in shaping the American political and legal landscape. Barbara’s life was tragically taken from us on September 11th, 2001. However grim the circumstances may have been, she did not die in vain. The principles that she stood for are alive and thriving. I’m sure she would have wanted it this way. Barbara was a warrior for the cause of Conservative beliefs; she fought hard until the end, the only way she knew how. As the moment of darkness drew near, she was on her cell phone asking her husband, Solicitor General, Ted Olson, “What do I tell the pilot to do?” Amidst the chaos and the terror, Barbara stood strong attempting to do whatever she could to stop the madness.
We will all miss Barbara – her humor, audacity, and courage. She stood at the forefront of the Conservative movement, a shining beacon and an inspiration to us all. As I look at my daughter, I can only hope and pray that my little girl grows up to be like Barbara. That is the ultimate tribute that I can give.
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