The Fourth Annual Western Conservative Summit proved to be a non-stop tour of memorable moments. From Mia Love’s address on opening night, to Allen West’s comments during Sunday’s lunch, attendees were treated to top conservative thinkers and national politicians. In addition to the networking opportunities, great vendors, and spark to action, the Summit harbored some powerful messages. After Senator Ted Cruz mentioned a petition to defund Obamacare (dontfundit.com) over ten thousand signatures were added within 24 hours. Here are just a few other memorable moments of WCS 2013: Continue reading
After a moving speech by Mia Love, encouraging insights from Governor Mike Huckabee, and a profound expose of the left’s moral bankruptcy by Bill Whittle, Colonel Allen West took the stage to bring the fourth annual Western Conservative Summit to a close. The former Florida U.S. Representative touched on the topics that had been echoed throughout the weekend by such speakers as KT McFarland, Jonah Goldberg, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and others.
“So here we are, on the Lord’s Day, committed to the timeless principles of conservatism that have made us, America, the envy of the world,” West began. His remarks were Continue reading
Director of the Centennial Institute, John Andrews, posed a question to the three person panel that is at the heart of this weekend’s summit. Even with the right message, Andrews asked, “Are we talking to a Country that just doesn’t want what we have to offer?” Are we still a center right nation? The question is at the heart Continue reading
Mixing the funny and the philosophical, columnist Jonah Goldberg’s examination of the loaded phrases and political cliches pervading the current political discourse reveals an ideology, progressivism, “without clothing.” Goldberg described what he called the progressives’ use of Continue reading
American education has strayed drastically from its original goals, ambitions, and purpose. At least that is according to a panel of Education experts at the Western Conservative Summit. Bill Armstrong, the President of Colorado Christian University, highlighted Continue reading
Though Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz received a rockstar welcome, the rising GOP star heaped praise on the attendees on the second day of the Western Conservative Summit. “I am humbled,” Cruz said, by all those “who are standing up to take the country back.” And while Cruz admired Continue reading
Ted Cruz, while addressing the Western Conservative Summit, vowed to defund Obamacare this fall. Cruz explained Continue reading
The Fall of Rome can be interpreted in many ways, and for Victor Davis Hanson the lessons of history resonate more clearly in contemporary circumstances as the parallels between ancient Rome and the modern United States grow.
“More and more people became dependent on redistributive government,” Hanson said, as Rome developed what he described as a “parasitical economy.”
Rome, Hanson said, ignored signals that were present over centuries. The U.S. is facing a much shorter time table.
Hanson, a military historian, pulled no punches.
“It’s hard to screw up a system that’s viable and logical and works in a generation,” Hanson said.
“We’ve become attuned, so accustomed to it that nobody finds it shocking anymore that the President doesn’t just say ‘spread the wealth,’ we’re now up to another level–’you didn’t build that,’” said Hanson.
This way of thinking–that there is something suspect about success–is the perfect setup for what Hanson described as the self-appointed elite technocracy to treat law as “flexible and fluid.” Outcomes based on intentions, in this case, President Barack Obama’s administrative goals, force laws to the sideline, Hanson argued.
How the Roman Republic and later, the Roman Empire and its successor, the Byzantine Empire, ultimately declined, came from inside as much as from outward aggressors.
“The answer is, something changes from within,” said Hanson.
The shift in mood, Hanson argued, could be seen in works by other historians, particularly the left-leaning populist Howard Zinn.
“When society gets into a Howard Zinn mode, and doesn’t believe that the United States is not just not exceptional but is no better than the alternative, then history is unforgiving,” Hanson said.
Other issues like immigration destroy the concept of rule of law, Hanson said. You can not pick and choose which laws to follow and expect good results, he said.
Hanson ended on a positive note, pointing to the “perfect storm of the left” in the 2008 election.
Five years later and even after surviving a reelection challenge, the Obama administration faces sinking polls and a nation in turmoil, Hanson said.
“I think that suggests that America is exceptional,” Hanson said. “If we can withstand this dark period in our country, we’ll be stronger for it.”
A weakness for those on the left, Hanson said, is that “they don’t even believe in the ramifications of their own ideology.”
“It’s contrary to self-interest and human nature,” Hanson said.
Krista Kafer, a senior fellow at the Independence Institute and an expert on education, moderated the one-on-one discussion.
Hanson, a former classics professor, is a contributor for National Review and a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
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.
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.”