Josh Hawley Is ‘Not Going Wherever.’ How Did He Get Right here?

From the beginning, Mr. Hawley had a deep fascination with politics. When he was 12, he was writing about the 1992 presidential election for his school newspaper, dividing up how many moderators would be present at the debates. Three years later, in pamphlets recently unearthed by The Kansas City Star, he expressed sympathy for militia movements following the Oklahoma City bombing. (“Many of the people who populate these movements are not radical, right-wing gun freaks as originally stereotyped,” he wrote.)

Later in middle school, he dragged friends to movies like “Nixon”. According to Ms. Ruehter-Thompson and another classmate, Andrea Randle, and Tim Crosson, the school’s singing teacher, he also signed their eighth grade yearbooks with variations of “Josh Hawley 2024”. (“Sounds like a revisionist story,” said a Hawley spokeswoman.

Mr. Crosson said he and Mr. Hawley would be in politics. “He would come into my room and announce the number of days left in Bill Clinton’s tenure, and I would shoot back,” Four more years, “” recalled Crosson.

Ms. Randle, a black classmate, was frustrated that Mr. Hawley had not done enough to respond to the police murder of George Floyd last May. After initially expressing his condolences, he later accused an alliance of Democrats and the “bright mob” of dividing the country.

“We played around after school and I remember he pulled my hair after history class. I remember that so it’s so bizarre,” she said. “Me and my friends even talked about it over Christmas. Was he always like that and we didn’t know? “

In Rockhurst, a school for boys, a populist ideology began to develop that neither of the two political parties conformed to. Mr. Hawley seemed most troubled by the reverence for individual freedom and pluralism in American society. In a “Young Voices” column for The Springfield News-Leader, he called “individual rights versus community rights” a “heated debate that so dominates our age”. “The philosophy of radical individualism,” he wrote, “was both the cause and the symptom of the continuing decline of common civic life in America.”

College is often the first encounter with gnarled questions of identity, politics, and belief, but Mr. Hawley walked through Stanford University with unusual conviction. When he wrote for The News-Leader in the summer of 1999, following his freshman year, he cited a recent speech by the Condoleezza Rice School Provost to call for a “new discussion of the First Principles and a fundamental rethinking of the role of government and government.” to enter the goals of freedom. “He was 19 years old.

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