Civitas Institute Conservative Leadership Conference

Today and tomorrow I will be at the Civitas Conservative Leadership Conference, hopefully doing some live blogging. Check out the list of speakers here. Rudy Giuliani will be speaking at the luncheon today and many other excellent speakers, including Fred Barnes, Mark Sanford, and Bob Erlich, will also be speaking at the conference. As an added bonus, I will get to see my long lost cousin, Scott Elliott and catch up a bit. Should be fun.

Update: The Rudy luncheon ended about 15 minutes ago and now I am heading to the panel discussions. The ones I have seen so far are set up with chairs only, no tables, so I will probably not be doing any live blogging, but will report at the end. Just about anybody who is anybody in NC politics is here so it should be interesting. The Rudy speech was good and was well received. More later.

Update II: I listened in on a wonderful panel in which Angela McGlowan spoke. She is even prettier in person than on television and is smart as whip. I will be doing an interview with her sometime in the near future about her book Bamboozled.

Update III: I attended a Reagan Legacy program at the conference that included Frank Gaffney. After an interesting discussion of personal stories from the panel members about Reagan, Gaffney got into the topic of the PBS movie he and others made about Islamofascism and moderate Muslims that PBS is refusing to air or to release. He said the best way readers could pressure PBS to air or release the movie was through emails/correspondence to PBS, but even more important, to readers’ individual members of congress. Gaffney reminded us over and over that this was our money that was used to make this movie and our money supporting PBS. I will have more on this later.

Bob Erlich spoke at the evening meal. He is an amazing speaker. Everyone I spoke to about the speech was surprised he was so good. He spoke in very explicit terms about how responsible Republicans and conservatives are for the 2006 losses and how those losses should be used to motivate us for the next election.

Some thoughts about the Rudy speech…people were talking about it all day and everyone I talked to liked it, even if they don’t like him as a nominee. One thing that seemed to impress, and I heard this independently from at least four different people, was the fact that at no time did Rudy try to pander to the conservative audience by trying to wiggle out of any position or explain any of them away. He explained it this way, if you agree with a candidate on 80 percent of the issues, then for the 20 percent you don’t agree you have to decide how significant your differences are and how important those issues are to you overall. He said straight up that some people will find his positions on some issues will make it unable for them to vote for him. He said he would tell those people they should vote for someone else. In response to one question about gun control he asked the questioner “what do you think my position is?” making the point that some of the things people believed about his positions on gun control, abortion, gay rights, etc., are not the same as his positions. On gay rights he said he believed marriage should be between a man and woman and that he had performed over 200 marriages in his career and that all of them were between a man and a woman — at least as far as he knew.

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