FreePAC Ohio was a hit
After hearing rave reviews from friends who attended FreePAC in July, I expressed optimism that there would be a place for libertarians after we had been all but pushed aside by conservatives. They frequently say they need us and we should go along, but having a prominent role or voice seems is a prospect in which they don’t seem to have much of an interest.
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend FreePAC Ohio, the latest of these FreedomWorks’ sponsored events. The day started with strategy and training sessions for activists, this was, as David Spielman put it, a chance for the some 7,000 attendees — a completely packed house — to become “freedom ninjas.”
Speakers touched on every aspect of activism and campaigning, from where to place signs to how to engage independent voters, an important bloc that will decide the outcome of the election in November. Jackie Bodnar and Kristina Ribali, both staffers at FreedomWorks, explained old and new media angles.
Nearly every speaker acknowledged that Republicans are just as much to blame as Democrats for the budget and entitlement crisis that face the United States. One comment was heard a few times throughout the day, both from speakers and on a couple of t-shirts I saw: “Sometimes you have to beat the Republicans before you can beat the Democrats.”
Those words, spoken by Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, could not be anymore true, which is why the organization’s PAC has frequently targeted establishment-backed candidates in primary races. In front a massive screen with the words, “The Hostile Takeover,” Kibbe told attendees, “We as the shareholders of this great enterprise are fixing to fire senior management.”
Going to through every speaker would bring a very long post, but there are several of note that need to be mentioned and praised.
During her fiery speech, Deneen Borelli, who can often be heard on Sean Hannity’s radio show, explained, “Ironically, the first black president wants to put us all on the government plantation.” Borelli provided one of the best speeches of the day.
Another great speech — perhaps even the best of the day — came from Rev. C.L. Bryant. Bryant recently released a documentary, Runaway Slave, outlining his journey from liberalism to conservatism. Bryant’s passionate speech, in which he expressed his hope to watch Fox News on election night to see that Ohio in the column for Mitt Romney, received several standing ovations, bringing even more energy to an already excited and pumped up crowd.
Attendees also had a sneak peek at Atlas Shrugged Part II, which was incredibly well received. Harmon Kaslow, producer of the series, noted that he plans to donate $25,000 of the films profits to further the efforts of FreedomWorks.
Josh Mandel, who is running against Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) this fall, also spoke to the crowd. Mandel explained the importance of his race and how his opponent has been a consistant supporter of President Obama’s economic agenda. Mandel explained how his candidacy has been dismissed as token GOP opposition, but as each poll had come out, he was catching up to Brown and pundits started taking him more seriously. He explained that he is now tied with Brown, who is trying to attack Mandel at every turn rather than confront his own record of failure.
And Glenn Beck, who announced a new “action centers” project with FreedomWorks and his website, The Blaze, emphasized the important that Ohio will play in the presidential race. As he explained, “If we lose Ohio, then we lose the country and the election.” Beck, who was perhaps the most anticipated speaker of the day, explained his frustrations with the media, which was a frequent target for derision from speakers and attendees.
There are more FreePACs coming in the next couple of months. Keep checking FreedomWorks website, and If you live close by, I encourage you to go. The training that activists receive is valuble and the speakers are excellent, even you may not agree with everything they say. With an heavy emphasis on the economy and free markets, FreePAC is a place where libertarians can feel welcome.
As an aside, thanks to the FreedomWorks staff, especially Kristina Ribali, for their hospitality this week and continued hard work in advancing the Liberty Movement and their focus on free markets.