Michael J. Kerrigan

Bill Bulger

I have had a blessed life. I am the beneficiary of my loving wife of 45 years. We now transition to our “next chapter” by having the gratification of watching our three children carefully, raise their families in the faith of our fathers. Not having spoiled our three, we can have the joy of spoiling our twelve grandchildren.

While I am well aware of these blessings, reading Sirach reminds me not to take so many friends for granted. Many of my friends have demonstrated the excellence of their moral character by contributing not only to our country but also by finding the time to support The Character Building Project.

Several of the “characters with character” profiled on Politics with Principle, have actively supported our mission to improve character in our country. Charlie Black when accepting a ”Lobbyists of the Year” award speaks of the virtue of humility. Bill Bulger counsels… Continue reading

This afternoon, you will be briefed about the virtues needed to be an ethical leader, the temptations and struggles of several of the characters in Politics with Principle and several lessons I learned from them.My character-building quest took to most of the 50 states and halls of congress… ten characters with character were identified as ethical leaders. Two of the four Catholic characters will be profiled today and some lessons learned from all ten will be shared with you. Continue reading

What story will be written in your obituary? Will it consist only of the facts, where you lived, worked and died, or will your story be something more meaningful? Will your life story peak at our career success or will it encompass true character growth honed by ethical life choices made under pressure?  Continue reading


In the next 15 minutes, I will discuss my book and the virtues needed to be an honest politician. Then I will profile two of the four Catholic characters and share some lessons learned. Continue reading

One’s political career need not be modeled after great politicians, even though it is wise to study those of exemplary character. Politics is about principles, not rules.  A rule says around here we do it this way. A principle says this approach is mandatory and fundamental to humanity working at its finest. Principles practiced in ancient Greeks will apply today and for many generations after today. Your own campaign, to be successful, must stem from within you, from the principles that have shaped your life. It must be authentic and genuinely you.  Continue reading

Of my ten characters, oftentimes there was some inciting incident that launched them on their quest for public office. Some began their pursuit in a purposeful way. For example seven of the ten characters began their careers as lawyers. Others pursuit began in the military or in less structured paths. Most all faced progressive complication along the way. Continue reading

The idealism held by the characters in Politics with Principle when they entered public life was not lost after winning high public office or their acquisition of power in their profession.  The measure of their success was not just winning or gaining power. A few were defeated or retired prematurely. Their successes were in the virtuous way they participated in public life. Continue reading

The character of each of the characters in Politics with Principle is made up of various parts. There are the inherited tendencies, which each naturally possess. There are the habits each acquired which form their “second natures.” There is the environment, which each character was raised. Continue reading

The current attitude toward the American political community is less than positive. Over the last 40 years, cynicism toward political life has grown. Today, few believe there are men and women of good character serving our Republic.

I believe we must work hard to cure this cynicism; such a view threatens the very Republic that brought us the liberties we uniquely enjoy in America.  To counter this cynicism,  it is important to note public servants who stood fast in a time of crisis, to honor those who maintained their responsibility and duty when tempted by the allure of power and notoriety.  Continue reading

In your book you question the cast of characters on the impact religion has played in their life. What answer did you expect and what answer did you get by and large?

I expected they would say religion played a dominant role in the formation of their character. The general response from the remaining characters was to follow the Golden Rule. Continue reading

Life is full of ironies.  Take Bill Bulger, trained in the Classics, University of Massachusetts Chancellor, longstanding Senate President of the Commonwealth, an able lawyer who was never defeated at the polls. Throughout his career, Bill dealt with the whole “business of accusation.”  Bill treated honor as a code of personal and professional conduct, while the media elites, in his case the Boston Globe, the New York Times, and the likes of talk master Howie Carr, constantly attempted to savage Bill’s reputation. Their accusations were largely based upon an accident of birth. Bill suffered having his reputation become subject to a self-selecting group of media elites who spread unsubstantiated gossip.  Not intimidated by a press without character, Bill’s defended his South Boston community against court-ordered busing and wielded power as the Senate President, for example, to defend the right to life of the unborn. Continue reading

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