(Story by Lynn Bartels from DenverPost.com, June 30) Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a potential candidate for president in 2012, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Western Conservative Summit. Another presidential contender, Herman Cain, and Fox News Commentator Juan Williams also are the who’s who speaking list.
Rick Perry at a recent Republican event (AP Photo, Gregory Bull)
The event begins July 29 at the downtown Denver Marriott, which means, alas, not another replay of last year’s hilarious Lone Tree branding controversy. (More on that later.)
Among the questions that will be explored at the conference: Can Republicans and the Tea Party work together?
The theme for this year’s summit is “Fulfilling America’s Promise,” said John Andrews, president of the Centennial Institute, which is co-hosting the event. He drew comparisons between the late President Reagan and President Obama.
“Our president says America needs to be fundamentally transformed. Reagan, the hero of conservatives, said ‘We’re that shining city on the hill, our best days are yet to come,’” Andrews said. “The summit explores this crossroads.”
Perry will speak Friday night on July 29, with speakers and workshops scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, ending with a straw poll on the presidential race.
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, now a presidential candidate, was the keynote speaker at last year’s first-ever summit. Andrews said he believes her appearance in Colorado helped shine her star.
Last year’s event was held at the Marriott South on Park Meadows Drive, which has a Littleton mailing address. But conference organizers continually used a Lone Tree dateline, and also asked summit participants to sign a Lone Tree Declaration, affirming “six tenets of who we are and what we stand for.”
The city of Lone Tree was not amused after the Denver Post printed the six tenets and it received complaints from citizens. The city pointed out the conference wasn’t even in Lone Tree, which inspired a great Andrews one-liner.
“Technically it’s not, but to quote Tina Fey, ‘We can see Lone Tree from the hotel,”‘ he said at the time.
Andrews said the conference this year was moved to Denver in part because of the size: They expected 300 attendees last year and got about 900.
But he also wasn’t happy with the “get lost” feeling he said he got from Lone Tree officials. “It just kind of wounded us. We said, ‘OK, we’ll go somewhere else,” he said.
And just a warning to Lone Tree city officials: The Lone Tree Declaration is back, although it will be slightly revised.
“We’re prepared that the chicken-little politicians of Lone Tree may feel the sky is falling but it’s a risk we’re willing to take,” Andrew said.
The new Lone Tree Declaration is still being tweaked. Here’s some of what was in last year’s:
- In our adherence to the self-evident truths of the American Founding, we are conservatives.
- In our debt to the civilizational heritage of Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, and Philadelphia, we are Westerners.
- In our concern for the mounting threat to liberty, seeing freedom in the balance, we convene with solemn purpose at this Summit.
- We seek a conservative renewal for our country through civic action that puts principle above party, resists the corruption of power, bridges intramural disagreements or rivalries, and protects an open public square centered on the nation’s Judeo-Christian core.
- We commit ourselves unswervingly to a political and social order that upholds individual freedom and personal responsibility, limited government and the rule of law, free enterprise and private property, traditional family values and sanctity of life, compassion for the poor and voluntarism in service to others, natural law and morality, strong defense and secure borders, all in keeping with the original intent of the Constitution.
- We reject, and will resist, the socialist temptation, transnational progressivism, secular utopian illusions, appeasement, disarmament, or capitulation to jihad and sharia.
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