Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Limbaugh, Ryan, and "33 Minutes" Highlight Heritage Foundation's President's Club Events in Washington

Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending my 11th Heritage Foundation President's Club Meeting at the Ronald Reagan Building (where else?) in Washington. Here are some of the highlights from yesterday's events and my perspectives:

  • Attended the Young President's Club (YPC) luncheon with about 200 YPC members in attendance, about double the total who showed up to the November 2008 luncheon. Heritage announced that it is starting a new YPC membership drive to attract even greater numbers. The lunch talk featured Rob Bluey, Director of Online Strategy at Heritage, and Katherine Jean Lopez, National Review Online Editor. Kudos to John Fogarty, Director of Donor Relations, and his staff at Heritage for really trying to make a dent in the youth movement at Heritage. This has been an observed "gap" of Heritage's for many years and is an issue that I have written to Heritage senior executives about in the past. Glad to see they are finally going after the 18-25 demographic.

  • After lunch and back in the main hall, Heritage Foundation President Dr. Ed Feulner discussed the current state of Conservatism in Washington and what activities are underway and planned at Heritage. He noted that Heritage has been working very hard over the past year to ramp up its Internet 2.0 efforts, which includes social networking on Facebook and Twitter. He was especially proud to announce that Heritage has added more than 110,000 new members to its rolls in the past year. In addition, the conference dinner would be attended by more than 1,000 members, the largest attended Heritage President's Club dinner ever. Of that total, about 250 YPC members would be attending.

  • Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin was most definitely the highlight of the early afternoon session as he provided his thoughts and ideas on Jack Kemp (whom he worked for...), the Obama Administration, and the Federal Reserve's monetary policy, to name a few. He is extremely articulate, has a solid game plan for addressing the Obama spending and tax plans, and looks like the "real deal" as a future national player in the Conservative Party. He received a standing ovation from the packed ballroom following his no-notes, no-teleprompter speech.

  • In the late afternoon, Heritage members were treated to a viewing of the 60-minute version of "33 Minutes -- Protecting America in the New Missile Age", a documentary highlighting the need for a missile defense system. This is one of the most intense and convincing political documentaries of all time and should be seen by all Americans. If you have not seen the film, please visit the site (link above) and watch the trailer on-line. Better yet, sign up to get information about local showings in your area of the country. Heritage is in negotiations with several networks regarding on-air viewings. Great job by Heritage on this important issue!

  • Before the dinner reception, I had the opportunity to purchase a signed copy of Heritage's Senior Communications Fellow Rebecca Hagelin's new book, "30 Ways in 30 Day to Save Your Family". Rebecca has been an invaluable asset to Heritage over the past several years as its VP for Communications. Most recently, she served as Executive Producer of "33 Minutes" and now has written her second book on pro-family issues.

  • The nightcap of the day's events, as always, is the dinner and keynote speech. Before a packed atrium at the Reagan Building, Dr. Feulner welcomed the group and made special mention of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' attendance, which drew a standing ovation from the audience. Unfortunately, Rush Limbaugh was running late for the event, but did get there after the dinner and dessert and hit a home run with an hour-long speech. The message of his speech is that the Conservative Party/Reagan Revolution is not dead and that the party needs to be a leader and teacher for Americans about First Principles and why much of the Obama plan will not work. He stressed that we cannot simply go out and ask Americans what they want and build a party platform around those responses. I will try and post portions of Rush's speech as they become available on the Net.
This year's Heritage Foundation President's Club Spring Meeting provided a tremendous boost to Conservatives who might be depressed over what has transpired in Washington since January 20. Although Conservatives are down right now, it was stressed throughout the day that the political tides can change VERY quickly in Washington depending on which way the wind (and economy...) are blowing. As always, Dr. Feulner and his entire staff at Heritage put on a fantastic show. I'm already looking forward to the November meeting!

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