Monthly Archives: July 2013

Barone, Benson, and Ham: Who Owns the Future?

Building on Friday night’s message of optimism and looking to the future, the morning panel featuring Michael Barone, Guy Benson, and Mary Katherine Ham handicapped the next few election cycles, including important gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia in 2013, as well as the 2014 midterm elections.

Benson opened the discussion noting the possible bellwether battle for governor in Virginia featuring conservative Ken Cuccinelli and his formidable foe, Terry McAuliffe. He contrasted that with New Jersey’s own race where incumbent Republican governor Chris Christie currently holds a sizable lead in his race.

Benson stressed the importance of Colorado’s September recall elections, and pointed to the strength of Republicans in the House midterm elections as positive points moving forward in the next eighteen months.

Ham pivoted to communication challenges with so-called millenials–the under-30 crowd–and the importance of acknowledging social issues, but in a constructive and meaningful way.

Ham noted the divergent views held by young people, who are moving increasingly toward support for same-sex marriage, but who are now supporting bans on late-term abortion in larger numbers. Technology plays a large part in those trends, she said.

“Thinking about which issues work for them and which do not, and the ones that do not we need to not make a barrier to joining us on other issues,” Ham said.

The “giant machinery” of government impedes the ability of government to work well, Ham said, and bridging the gap between younger voters’ expectations of government services with the reality of those services delivered on the ground, might prove a successful avenue of messaging for this important demographic.

Ham described this as “a simpler and more refined government [that] can do the things it promises it is going to do.”

Barone took a different tack, and pushed back against the notion of ownership of the future.

“No one owns the future, you get a chance to rent it,” Barone said, arguing that opportunities for conservatives still exist.

Barone pointed to pundits who have declared a permanent majority for Democrats following the 2012 elections, just eight years after pundits said that Republican successes in 2004 meant control for the GOP for the foreseeable future.

Some of those conclusions, Barone said, have come from demographic numbers that give mixed signals at best, or have been interpreted to suit one’s own conclusions.

Past voting performance was no guarantee of future voting behavior, Barone said, citing the shift of Baby Boomers’ support for George McGovern in 1972 to support for Mitt Romney 40 years later.

“I don’t think that there is anything inevitable,” Barone said. “There are challenges for Republicans but there are also challenges for Democrats.”

For Barone, opportunities could lie in the increasing libertarianism of younger voters on issues like gun rights.

Republican efforts to make college more affordable, said Ham, also makes sense in light of concerns over greater student debt due to spiraling college costs.

Ham, who is expecting her first child in August, joined the panel via Skype.

KT McFarland: America’s on the Verge of a Renaissance

Kathleen Troia “KT” McFarland, a national security expert and commentator, opened up day two of the Western Conservative Summit, in Denver Colorado. McFarland held national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan Administrations, a regular contributor to Fox News, and received the Defense Department’s highest civilian award. Her expertise and decidedly conservative world views was a welcome opening for Saturday’s line up of speakers. With the slew of recent foreign policy issues that have been circulating in the news, KT had little trouble finding topics to discuss in her opening remarks.

McFarland began her remarks by asking the room whether they thought America was on the decline, or on the verge of a new renaissance. “Many of the other major world players are about to have significant, fundamental, problems,” she explained. McFarland also explained how she believes America has the opportunity to not only stay strong, but grow over coming years.

China was one of the primary examples she gave for her optimistic outlook regarding America’s position in the world. “They have had major economic growth,” she conceded. But that growth, she insisted, is coming at a high price. First and foremost, China’s pollution problem is a growing concern in not only China, but surrounding areas. Secondly, McFarland insists, there is a ticking demographic time bomb. While China’s one child policy gains little traction in discussions regarding foreign policy, McFarland highlighted the deteriorating female population in China. By some accounts, said McFarland, in years to come China will see 50 million less women due to China’s one child policy, and their cultural preference for sons.

After discussing the perpetual war between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in the Middle East, McFarland turned her attention to what is benefiting America. “We elect our leaders,” she pointed out while discussing the inherent values in America’s transitional government. “In fact, part of the Arab awakening is because they didn’t have a system” for changing government, McFarland pointed out.

Most unique in world history, according to McFarland, is America’s Civilian control of the Military. “When, or where, in world history has there been a military as powerful as ours that has not tried to run things?”

In addition to our democratic republic’s transitional government, civilian military, and natural borders, McFarland mentioned demographics and social progress. “Women in the workforce adds anywhere from 15 to 20 percent to GDP.”

But most beneficial to America’s future, according to the National Security expert, is our natural resources. The potential for American oil and natural gas is the “golden opportunity of this generation,” according to McFarland. “We have at least 100 years of oil, and maybe even more natural gas” under America. Such exploitation of our natural resources would create jobs; but most importantly, McFarland says, “cheaper energy would repatriate American manufacturing.”

Additionally, such access to natural resources would greatly reduce America’s military involvement across the globe. “Since WWI, most wars have been fought, at least in part, over industrialized nation’s need for more energy,” she said.

For all those reasons, we have “a golden opportunity,” she promised the crowd. McFarland then pivoted her remarks to what America still needs in order to seize this “opportunity.”

“This [resurgence of America] will only happen if Americans decide that we are willing to take our destiny into our own hands.” McFarland spoke about the need for a youth resurgence within the conservative movement. “This conference is so great, because you’re looking at the next generation of leaders,” she observed while discussing the need for more youth involvement.

Closing her time on stage, McFarland noted, “This is going to be a great time [for America], but it is up to you.”

Self-Reliance and Optimism Mark Mia Love’s WCS Address

Utah Republican Mia Love wowed the crowd of more than 1,500 at the fourth annual Western Conservative Summit with her message of self-reliance and optimism.

“You will give back,” Love said, quoting her father’s admonitions to realize her dreams and reach out with a message of hope and a return to core American principles that prove that the American dream is still within reach.

“What we’re all fighting for, and that is the next generation, that’s our children,” Love said.

“It is us, the people on the ground level, that’s going to build this nation, not Washington,” Love declared.

Love’s immigrant parents instilled a sense of responsibility for working hard and for giving back, she said. Her father’s words resonated as she moved through school and into elected office.

Love contrasted those words of resilience and individual achievement with her opponents, who she described as the intellectual elites who preferred to manage other peoples’ lives.

“Their message is, ‘we are here to make your life easier,'” Love said, but that is only good for the short term.

Love, instead, put forward her message of optimism and hard work, and encouraged attendees to share those values as well.

“We are not interested in making your life easier in the short term. We’re interested in making your life better,” Love said.

This way, Love said, Americans would not despair of the country’s current circumstances.

“Our best days lie ahead of us,” Love said.

Love pointed to the darkest days of the Civil War and President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. She argued that freedom is always fragile, but that the American dream is not dead.

A positive message would help conservatives tell their stories, Love argued.

“That is the America I know, that is the America we know,” she said.

Love, mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, has decided to challenge Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) again in 2014 after falling less than 1000 votes short of unseating the seven-term incumbent in 2012.

Fourth Congressional District Republican Rep. Cory Gardner introduced Love, dubbing the gathering the “epicenter” of political life across the country. If elected, Love would represent the 4th Congressional District of Utah.

Love followed Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker, for Friday night’s keynote address. Walker encouraged the attendees to take leadership at the state level and to continue to pursue education reform in his remarks, calling out the efforts in Douglas County by name. He also urged Colorado conservatives not to give up on their state, noting that Republicans have made significant gains in Wisconsin–the birthplace of the progressive movement.

Scott Walker Addresses the Western Conservative Summit

Ron Packard, CEO and Founder of K¹², introduced Friday Night’s keynote speaker for the Western Conservative Summit, Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker.  Recent education initiatives were just one of many examples Walker would touch on in his remarks. School Vouchers have long been considered a touchy subject, making headlines again throughout Wisconsin as the deadline passed last week for Schools to take part in the program. Along with vouchers, and open enrollment, Walker touted Wisconsin’s recent changes to labor laws, leadership and the American Ideal.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Addresses WCS 2013.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Addresses WCS 2013.

Walker quoted Ronald Reagan as saying “The Federal Government did not create the states, the states created the Federal Government.” Listing his accomplishments in the State of Wisconsin, and highlighting some of their most innovative reforms, the Governor spoke in detail about the importance of State based reform efforts, and conservative involvement in local government.

Scott Walker began his remarks at this year’s Western Conservative Summit with an immediate reference to the now infamous recall attempts made against him. Speaking about his victory in the recall election, Walker credited his success to citizen’s desire for Leadership.  The Governor’s success was a hard won fight, and one that helped propel Walker to the top of certain conservative circles.

As the issue of education reform took center stage in Walker’s remarks, he played to the anxious crowd with a simple phrase that summarized his numerous reform efforts:  “Teachers now can be hired and fired on merit” Walker exclaimed to an explosion of applause.

The meat of Walker’s remarks, and no doubt the best received passages, were focused on American Leadership, and the American Dream. Describing the conservative vision for America and her communities as a belief that “success should be measured by how many people no longer need public assistance.”

Under Walker, the once very blue state of Wisconsin has seem a slew of conservative initiatives gain a foothold. Education reform, including voucher programs and changes to teacher’s tenure requirements, were bitter battles in Madison. The Republican Governor has been highly praised in conservative circles for his ability to connect with average voters, and make inroads in the most unlikely of areas. Walker shared with the attendees his recipe for conservative success when he stressed to the audience that conservative need to overcome their image of insincerity, adding at one point that “compassion is about giving people the tools they need to get back into the game.”

“I don’t remember growing up, hearing anyone say ‘when I grow up, I want to be dependent on the government!’” Walker circled back to the idea that Independence is rooted in an independence from Government; saying at one point that Dependence on the government should be temporary, and rare.

Walker’s remarks were well received in a crowd decidedly right of center. His success with reforms previously thought impossible, highlighted the strong optimism that was already present in the room. The Fourth Annual Western Conservative Summit was called to order as attendees cheered on one of the Republican’s most recent success stories.

Western Conservative Summit Kicks Off

For the fourth straight year, Colorado’s Centennial Institute is prepared to kick off three days of leading conservative thought. With over 2,000 attendees clamoring to hear Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Mia Love, Allen West and others, the event has been widely seen as a grassroots CPAC, in Denver, Colorado.

On Friday evening Mia Love, who originally made her big debut at the Republican National Convention, will be addressing the Keynote Dinner with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Love is the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah. The dinner marks the main event for the first day of the three day summit. Centennial Institute will be providing live coverage of the event.

#WCS13 News Bureau to cover Western Conservative Summit

The 2013 Western Conservative Summit will launch a news bureau, staffed by seasoned journalists Michael Sandoval and Michael Schaus, to cover and report on the event live from Friday, July 26, through Sunday, July 28. Among the speakers to be covered are U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

In addition, Discover Marketing will be the official social media team, working with journalism students and public relations professionals to provide behind-the-scenes access to the event with photos, videos, and news posted live to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The best way to track all the action will be through the Twitter hashtag, #WCS13, which is active now, in addition to the website and social media channels listed below. Stay up-to-date with reliable source material on breaking news and quotes from the Summit’s invited speakers.

The Centennial Blog: http://centennialccublog.com, where primary reporting happens.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CentennialCCU
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Centennial.Institute
Instagram: http://instagram.com/centennialinstitute
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/CentennialInstitute

Michael J. Sandoval was most recently an investigative reporter for the nation’s leading conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation, where he specialized in coverage of green energy issues, government waste and social media strategies. Michael is the former managing editor of People’s Press Collective and a National Review Online contributor, and in 2012 was a political reporter for The Colorado Observer. He also served as an energy policy research analyst for the Independence Institute. An expert in new and social media, Michael’s work has been featured by the Drudge Report, The New York Times, Washington Post, Politico, Fox News, Fox Business News, Townhall and dozens of radio outlets around the country, as well as blogs like MichelleMalkin.com, HotAir.com, and Instapundit.com.

Michael Schaus is the associate editor for Townhall Finance, and the executive producer for Townhall Finance Radio. He is a former talk show host, news director, and political activist. Michael has been featured on “America’s Morning News” as an expert commentator on the 2012 election in Colorado, and featured in a number of national programs for his research on the Affordable Care Act. He serves as a commentator for Townhall while producing content for a leading financial talk show.

The Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University works to enhance public understanding of the most important issues relating to faith, family and freedom. As part of this endeavor, the Institute focuses its efforts on conducting research, analyzing public policy options and sponsoring seminars, conferences, and other activities that involve students, faculty, staff and outside experts. For more information: www.ccu.edu/centennial.

Historical Revisionism in Moldova and the United States

The way we look at the past is often altered when governments change hands. I just returned from Moldova, a Soviet republic until 1991 when the Soviet Union imploded. The Romanian-speaking majority seized control and began changing place names and national memorials. The main boulevard of the capital which had been named after Lenin (founder of the Soviet Union) was now named after Stefan the Great, a 15th century Moldovan king who had fought off invasions by Turks from the south and Slavs from the north. Statues of Lenin were also removed, replaced by statues of Stefan the Great. Their currency, which had pictures of Lenin and Marx on it, now showed Stefan the Great. Continue reading

When the governed stop consenting

(Denver Post, July 14) The recall elections pending for two state senators and the movement for ten rural counties to secede from Colorado, along with the chaos in Egypt, got me to thinking about political legitimacy.

No, it’s not a topic trending on Twitter right now. Stop 20 people on the street, and 19 of them couldn’t define it Continue reading

Mr. Finer goes to Washington

There are many reasons for Americans to be skeptical this summer. With the National Security Agency spying on our daily interactions via phone and Internet records, and the Internal Revenue Service targeting numerous conservative, Tea Party and 9/12 organizations – even as Congressional hearings investigating their conduct were going on – government overreach is baring its ugly teeth. Continue reading