How about an octogenarian for SecState?
While the Trump transition team is working on selections for various cabinet posts, and while the names of Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton have been bandied about as being on the short list for secretary of state, I'd like to make my own suggestion, for a person I've felt would be excellent in that role since long before Donald Trump's presidential ambitions even peeked over the horizon.
Those who have followed the pieces I've written for American Thinker may know that Barry Farber is first on the list of my "personal pantheon of heroes and role models."
If ever there were a person who fits the description of "elder statesman," it's Barry, with unavoidable emphasis on "elder" – Barry was born in 1930, and so is 86 years old! But he's by no means your average octogenarian. Shaking hands with him is a reminder that he hasn't yet lost the wiry strength of the competitive wrestler he was in college.
With Barry as secretary of state, we would never have to endure the embarrassment we suffered over Hillary's botched attempt to translate the notion of a "reset button" to the Russians. Among the 26 languages in which Barry can converse (with characteristic modesty, he still considers himself a "student" of those languages), Russian is near the top of the list. In fact, Barry served as a Russian translator for U.S. Army Intelligence during the Korean War.
He was also an interpreter for the Chinese Nationalist Navy and sailed with the Norwegian Merchant Marine (and learned to speak passable Norwegian), all before graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina!
When Barry ran (on the Conservative ticket) for mayor of NYC in 1976, his campaign poster (with a black and white photo of Barry looking very Edward R. Murrow-esque in a Burberry trenchcoat and smoking a cigarette) featured the slogan "He Speaks Your Language!" followed by the same phrase in a dozen or more of the languages in his repertoire. Whoever of our international allies or adversaries Barry might have to talk to in the course of his duties as secretary of state, odds are, he could give a good account of himself in their native language.
This is a guy who truly has "been there and done that." So wherever he might have to travel as secretary of state, it's likely that he's been there before. In fact, Barry and his wife, reporter and broadcaster Sara Pentz, recently returned from Hungary, where Barry was feted by the Hungarian government for his service during and after the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. In 1959, on hearing of the fall of Fulgencio Batista, Barry rushed to Havana and beat Fidel Castro there by five days! And when Joe Biden, in his 2008 vice presidential debate against Sarah Palin, tried to impress us with his knowledge of Bosnia, Barry Farber quipped (with the characteristic North Carolina folksiness he's retained even after half a century in NYC), "I've been more places in Bosnia naked than Joe Biden has been with his clothes on!"
Barry was the first freelance journalist to enter the Soviet Union after Stalin, and actually had cocktails with Stalin protégé Vyacheslav Molotov. That fascinating memoir is just one included in Barry's 2012 book, Cocktails with Molotov, which I had the honor and pleasure of helping him edit.
My own acquaintance with Barry goes back to my teenage years in NYC, when (as with my other radio heroes, Jean Shepherd and Long John Nebel) I listened to Barry's late-night radio program on a transistor radio under my pillow. I used to love how he would introduce his guest as "my partner for the expedition," and I fantasized about one day appearing on his show and being introduced thusly. Many years later, I got to meet him, and we've become friends. Barry (who in 2014 was inducted – at long last! – into the Radio Hall of Fame, and whom Talkers magazine rated one of the Top 10 radio talk show hosts of all time) still does a nightly radio show broadcast on CRN, and when I visited NYC in 2009, I was not only Barry's and Sara's houseguest, but I was Barry's "partner for the expedition" for every show that week! I've been his radio guest (via telephone) quite a few times since, and I also have the privilege of helping him edit his weekly World Net Daily column.
In addition to his qualifications and experience, Barry's conservative credentials are unassailable. He's not only an icon of talk radio, but an icon of conservative talk radio.
I hope our president-elect (or someone on his team) reads this. There are certainly prospects younger than Barry Farber and as qualified as Barry Farber, but I doubt there's anyone better qualified to be our new secretary of state. Besides, look at how low the bar has been lowered by Hillary Clinton and John F. Kerry!
Stu Tarlowe has contributed well over 100 pieces to American Thinker. His personal pantheon of heroes and role models includes Barry Farber, Jean Shepherd, Long John Nebel, Aristide Bruant, Col. Jeff Cooper, Rabbi Meir Kahane, and G. Gordon Liddy.