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January 30, 2007

National Review in person

[ UPDATE: Atlas has lots of video and photos from her attendance. Streaming video of John Bolton and Quicktime videos of Newt Gingrich and Jeb Bush at the NRI.]

My friend Susan attended the NRI Summit in Washington DC this weekend. (Hot Air has clips from the weekend here and here, and of course there are a lot of reactions at The Corner - just start at the top and scroll back..) These are Susan's impressions:

Had a great time at the NRI conference, with so many people in attendance and one seminar after another it was difficult keeping track of Debra and Pamela!

John Bolton opened the conference Friday nite with an encouraging speech about moving forward (got to shake his hand); the man has nerves of steel!

Newt Gingrich gave an inspiring speech next morning a breakfast, I can understand why many in the Conservative movement would like to see him run. His ability to express Conservative ideals of individualism and personal responsibility in an understandable, earthy fashion is alluring (though I gather he did some crazy stuff during his time as speaker) He really know history and the flow of American politics. He made an important point that it will be up to the purple States (specifically those semi-red/blue state like Ohio, NM, Arizona, now VA etc) which will determine the national election in 2008. Contrary to popular belief he saw it a disadvantage to jump in the race now when historically early runners never win! Encouraging to hear since Hillary is out of the gate. Honestly he made me feel good about being an American.

Next was a discussion about Small Government with Pat Toomey, Congressman Paul Ryan (he spoke in terms of Collectivism vs Individualism yah baby) and Dr. Martin Olasky. Governments naturally grow into largeness so it is important to stave off the inevitable for as long as possible. As we have seen in over the last six years there is a distinction between Republicans and Conservatives (later in the conference a Libertarian pointed out that Compassionate Conservative is just another word for big government spending which I personally see as a Centrist policy) Centrist policies is what the No Child Left Behind and the drug prescription plan represent, in other words if you vote Centrist you're voting for Big Government. Most people are unwilling to give up their goodies which is why GWB ran as a Compassionate Conservative, in order to draw the moderate voters . The Conservative movement is looking for a true Goldwater Conservative like Reagan.
Next session was a debate the on religious Conservatives importance in building a Republican majority with Ralph Reed vs Ryan Sager. I asked the question regarding my particular sticking point that being the role of conserving our language, words and meaning and where in the world does this hatred towards specifically evangelicals come from when there is a former President (anti-semite in my opinion) who is a Southern Baptist (and once a Sunday school teacher) who gets no vitriol directed towards his religious beliefs! I directed my question towards Ryan Sager, since he implied that those who do not agree with gay marriage are bigots, what does same-sex union between a man and a woman mean. THe only response was that he didn't mean to imply bigotry and I still don't have an answer.
Next was a discussion about Foreign policy with John O'Sullivan, Cliff May and David Rivkin, mostly about fighting the war on Terror though I can recall anything extraordinary (near lunch time so my brain cells were a bit fuzzy)
Next was Jeb Bush. He didn't speak of foreign policy but spoke of his domestic accomplishments. He has been very successful as governor, is an excellent speaker and comes across as genuine however when someone asked about immigration Jeb basically insulted the room by implying that Conservative language on this topic is heard by many to believe Conservatives are xenophobes and nativist. Of course, as with most all politicians he avoided addressing the issue regarding "ILLEGAL". I was in total agreement about his stance on legal immigration as I am assuming most everyone in the room also agreed however he NEVER spoke about the real problem of illegal immigration. Words have meaning and to simply change the meaning of something to accomodate or satisfy a temporary need of the moment is dangerous to preserving Individualism, Liberty and Freedom! He made the point about the role of Conservatives promoting justice as the means to personal liberty yet completley ignored the unjust policy of encouraging illegal immigration (my guess it that when enough Americans personally have had their identities stolen then sold to the slave trade illegal immigration without SS #'s then Americans will get serious about the subject)
Next subject was a debate on the Surge between Lawrence Korb vs. Bill Kristol. Bill Kristol put Lawrence Korb to shame. I loved it when a woman in the audience asked Korb about running from Lebanon in the mid 1980's, he tried to defend his policy but failed.
Trumping the Race Card was discussed by Ward Connerly, Michael Steele and Dr. Abigail Thernstrom. Thernstrom was disappointed in Republican politicians for basically joining with the Dem race baiters. I was very impressed with Steele and his ability to orate the importance if 'content of Character not skin color" someone asked why MLK's economic socialist stance is never discussed. Ward Connerly is very impressive as well, he has devoted his life to ending the injustice of affirmative action. He led the recent Michigan vote however in typical fashion familiar to progressive Leftism, the Collectivists are determined to usurp the Michigan voter by ignoring Democracy instead imposing their own laws.
Mitt Romney did the dinner speech. He said all the right words but lacked any of the passion. To me he didn't come across as genuine but some I spoke to were very excited by the speech. He told a wonderful story about the Boy Scout who sent an american flag aboard the Space shuttle Challenger and how it managed to remain intact after the crash.
The Night Owl Session with Jonah Goldberg, Rob Long, and Mark Steyn offered up some of the best comic relief I have had in a very long time. They should seriously consider a weekly pod cast show or something because their energy together is priceless!
Next morning I decided to skip the immigration discussion since the word "ILLEGAL" seems to disappear every time the issue is discussed. I no longer have the energy to deal with the abuse of language when discussing illegal immigration after dealing with the illiberal Left and their massive language abuse brainwashing the unwashed masses plus dealing with the war against radical Islamic Fascism. Those who born during the last twenty-five years are going to be dealing with the illegal immigration mess our big government allowed to happen. With the collapse of social security, medicaid, and multicultural idiocy of not assimilating the populace no doubt anyone thinking of retiring will find out that retirement means the day you die.
Missed Mike Huckabee's speech and the debate on America's dependence on foreign oil between Jerry Taylor and James Woolsey however I heard it was quite energetic and emotionally charged discussion.
I attended the the discussion about Conservative Agenda on Domestic Policy with Dr. Charles Kesler, Charles Murray, and Ramesh Ponnuru. All spoke about how individualism and personal responsibility will help solve many of our domestic issues like health care and social security. Crafting policies which provide incentives for people will help to create the ownership society whereby inspiring people to rely far less on big government.
Tony Snow ended the conference with a speech mostly about the presidents health insurance plan (I am encouraged by the plan) He spoke of the indomitable American spirit and that we did not lose Vietnam we lost ourselves; Reagan reminded us of who we are. I was disappointed that he used the word 'killers' as those we are fighting against. The insane word play in the war is killing our ability to fight! Someone asked why the administration continue to avoid using Islamic plus Jihad his answer what that it was important not to offend those moderate Muslims. I understand what he means by this since many moderate Muslims are proving vital information in fighting the war yet it still leaves the America public uncertain of what they are fighting against. I mean 'killers' oh pleez! Words have meaning and if there is no definable meaning then how on earth can people understand (not feel) what you mean?

Judith | 01/30/07 at 10:21 AM | Categories: - From Sea to Shining Sea

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Fabulous report, Susan. Thanks for posting it, Judith. Wish I could have joined in on the fun.

pakay [TypeKey Profile Page] | January 30, 2007 07:18 PM

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