While I read John Fund's Wall Street Journal column on a regular basis, I'd never seen a photo of him or met him in person - until last night. And he's younger than I thought.
He was the guest speaker for Samsphere 2008 in Chicago last night.
Here are some of his 'words of wisdom':
* Conservatives find themselves in a dilemma as we are badly served by some party leaders who have debased the core principles which got them elected and, in doing so, have alienated the conservative base. Each of us who call ourselves conservatives bear the consequences.
* While conservatives should maintain our intellectual independence and philosophical integrity, we must realize that the way to promote corresponding policies is to win elections. That doesn't mean sacrificing core principles but it does mean building coalitions, focusing on the many things we have in common with others rather than the few differences we may have on specific issues. We need 50% plus one if conservative policies are to be put into place.
* Fund believes (as do many) in the concept of American exceptionalism. America - unlike any other country - is founded upon the principles of liberty and, even with all the changes throughout our history, the country and the common sense voter understands this and will lean toward principles of freedom, liberty, individual responsibility and less government intrusion. When voters are given a clear ideological contrast between choices for president, they will choose the conservative principles of freedom.
* The "left" knows this and so engages in a new strategy: to win the election without having one. Fund presents the idea of early voting and 'depressing the voter' as two aspects of that strategy. The constant inundation of polls and foregone conclusions in the election tends to depress the voter into not caring about anything except, perhaps, the personalities of the candidates. By the time the election rolls around, people are so depressed, they either don't vote or vote based upon who offended or annoyed them the least.
The country doesn't naturally vote with the 'left' and they know this. So, the way to win the battle under these circumstances is to not fight it, but to get their enemy to surrender before it even begins.
He also presents the idea that early voting is designed to 'avoid the contest' by getting people to vote prior to the debates on the issues. Since 1944, (that's 64 years!) democrats have won the popular vote in the country only once and that was in 1964. Even President Jimmy Carter won only 50% of the vote, failing to get that 'plus one.' In most of these races, the Democrat was ahead in the polls, but the final debates swung the vote. But if you've already voted prior to those final debates, when most people are just beginning to pay attention???
* Fund also had kind words about Pres. Ronald Reagan who said that Pres. Carter ran as a moderate but would govern as a liberal - because his base won't let him do anything but. And Reagan was right. We've seen a more recent example with the 2006 Congress, many of whom ran as moderates but are voting as the liberals they are.
* He mentioned the economy, too. Since the Reagan tax cuts, the U.S. economy has seen growth in 95% of the last 100 quarters (two and now possibly a third recession being the exceptions). Things have been good and many younger people today have no recollection or teaching about the failed policies of the left that gave us inflation, gas lines, etc.
* Referencing Reagan again, he said the former president's points are as valid today as they were then. The choice is not a horizontal line between left and right, but rather a choice on a vertical line upward to freedom or down to totalitarianism. And in response to a question from the audience about 'modernizing the message' and 'getting away from Reagan,' Fund said that the way we deliver the message can be modernized, but the message of freedom doesn't need to change as it is still the right one - and the one the American people will choose when given a ideological choice.
As for Samsphere, itself, I'm surrounded by bloggers from around the country - many of whom have done terrific things within their communities. (see left-hand column for a complete list and links to all their websites)
This is a "new media forum, hosted by the Sam Adams Alliance, where bloggers and e-activists from across the country can gather together to network and share ideas. Samsphere will be specifically geared toward bloggers and e-activists who focus on local and state-level politics, and who are dedicated to the principles of individual freedom and limited government."
I'm honored to be included in such a prestigious group and will post about today's activities and speakers, including one of my favs, Chuck Muth.