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.”
Some 5,000 grassroots activists are gathered today at the Duke Energy Center in Cincinnati, Ohio for FreePAC, a one-day event hosted by FreedomWorks geared towards strategy and training for the upcoming election.
This is, I believe, the second event of its kind. The first being held in July in Dallas, Texas, just a few days before Ted Cruz won the runoff for United States Senate. Cruz was endorsed by FreedomWorks PAC, and the event was to help light a fire under activists before voters headed to the polls.
With Ohio again serving as an all important swing state in this year’s election and Sen. Sherrod Brown, perhaps one of the most liberal members in the Congress, up for re-election. FreedomWorks is hoping that they can ignite energy in the Buckeye State for Josh Mandel, who is running against Brown.
The program for today will get underway around 1:45pm with grassroots training kicking off the day. A Call to Action Rally will begin at 4pm and will close out the day. Speakers will include Glenn Beck, Matt Kibbe, Deneen Borelli, C.L. Bryant, Katie Pavlich, and Josh Mandel.
If you weren’t able to attend, you can still catch the action live by clicking here.
Just a few moments ago, I got a chance to chat with Matt Kibbe, President of FreedomWorks, about the Republican National Convention, efforts by pro-establishment GOPers to curtail grassroots activists, libertarian involvement in the Tea Party movement, and what to expect from a Romney-Ryan administration.
Here is Part 1 of Max Pappas’ interview with Congressman Tom McClintock of California. The Congressman talks about his inspiration for getting into politics, and how he has fought against the big-government policies of both parties for his entire career.
It looks like FreedomWorks’ video team had a lot of fun with the introduction animation. If he can develop the mid-Atlantic accent, Max would certainly make a fine replacement host for William F. Buckley’s Firing Line:
Ahead of delegates gathering in Tampa next week for the Republican National Convention, some GOP delegates are busy this week putting together the party’s platform. To many this process can be uninteresting, but many Tea Party activists saw it as an opportunity to make the Republican Party more friendly to its ideas. And, according to Kristina Ribali of FreedomWorks notes, it looks like they were successful.
FreedomWorks put together 12 economic/limited government issues to be considered for the GOP platform, ranging from repealing ObamaCare and preventing tax hikes to energy independence, opposition to cap-and-trade, and auditing the Federal Reserve. Dean Clancy, Vice President of Health Policy at FreedomWorks, explained (via Ribali) that the only the plank calling for the elimination of the Department of Education was rejected:
We did not secure approval for ‘Eliminate the Department of Education’ – which, to be honest, was always the plank we regarded as most difficult to achieve. But the document’s education section does contain good language on the need for local control and a very strong endorsement of school choice, including vouchers. So we rate this section as a partial victory.
Ribali also notes that the plank calling for a “flat tax” wasn’t fully achieved, though the Republican platform will call for a “flatter tax.” That’s an opportunity missed, unfortunately, since the need for tax reform is so great.
Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown has been a busy statist.
First, he attacked his Republican opponent, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel for promoting his Tea Party credentials.
What was Josh’s sin? It certainly wasn’t a lack of conservatism. Mandel, a rising conservative leader, is Endorsed by FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth. Josh once represented a portion of Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s district in the Ohio House of Representatives while standing firmly to the right of the Republican caucus.
Josh’s fault was noting in a television ad an endorsement from a dubious conservative group. Brown’s crack team of communications wizards must have spent hours digging through Archive.org’s snapshots of my now-defunct Ohio blog before sending my 2010 commentary to the Talking Points Memo.
Then, Team Brown attacked Mandel for dropping his vowels and sounding “southern” at a Romney rally.
While I’m flattered by the attention brought to MY TWO YEAR OLD BLOG POST during a competitive U.S. Senate race, it is sad to watch an incumbent Senator be so desperate. After spending his entire adult life in elected office, Sherrod must have serious issues to discuss, right?
Wrong! As the Senate’s most liberal member, Sherrod knows his rigid ideology and environmental radicalism put him so far out of Ohio’s mainstream, voters would toss him out of office if they find out the truth.
Voters in Wisconsin headed to the polls yesterday to cast their ballots in party primaries. Among the races on the Republican ballot was the nomination for United States Senate. This race hasn’t receive a lot of attention, despite its interesting dynamics.
Former Gov. Tommy Thompson was considered the strong favorite early on, but thanks to his support of ObamaCare and other less-than-conservative economic views, two other candidates, Eric Hovde and former Rep. Mark Neumann, were able to gain support from grassroots conservative and Tea Party groups.
Despite most recent polls showing Hovde with a slight advantage, Thompson managed to pull off a win last night:
Wisconsin Republicans bucked Tea Party forces to pick 70-year-old former Gov. Tommy Thompson, a pillar of the GOP establishment, as their Senate standard-bearer Tuesday in a contest that could determine control of the upper chamber.
Thompson, who served four terms as governor, beat back a pair of well-funded, stubborn challengers in a closely contested race, setting up a marquee match-up with liberal Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin this fall.The ex-governor and former Health and Human Services Department Secretary finished ahead of hedge fund manager Eric Hovde, 34 percent to 31 percent. Former Rep. Mark Neumann was far behind at 23 percent. State Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald won 12 percent of the vote.
The attacks on issues like Thompson’s past support for a health care mandate damaged him but the anti-Thompson vote was splintered between his three credible challengers.
Since announcing Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney has seen a surge of support from many of the same people who have been skeptical of his campaign. Some are still many who are not happy with the selection, perhaps best explained by Corie Whalen this morning. But writing at Newsmax, Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, is encouraging grassroots activists to get behind the Republican ticket:
Romney made a good choice — a great choice in fact. It was a real indication to grassroots America that the Romney camp is willing to finally engage on the big issues that matter most in this election. It’s not quite enough to say that Obama has failed, we know that. Incumbent presidents should not win reelection with persistent unemployment over 8 percent and a staggering $16 trillion in debt. Clearly Obama needs to be fired. But what are you, the Republicans, actually for?
Paul Ryan understands that progressivism is a fundamental threat to the American system based on bottom-up individual freedom and opportunity. He understands that economic growth comes from start-up entrepreneurs who struggle for success — who did, in fact, “build that.”
He understands the threat of the entitlement state, how it will bankrupt the country and lock future generations into a system that taxes more and more, but returns less and less. He understands economic opportunity and the need for a tax system that is low, flat, fair and honest.
He even understands sound money, and how the Federal Reserve is destroying our currency, and the economic consequences of its destruction.
Paul Ryan is one of us.
Has the Tea Party movement taken over the Republican Party? It’s a loaded question, perhaps one that was definitively answered on Saturday when Mitt Romney chose Rep. Paul Ryan, a conservative favorite, to run along side him this fall.
Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks and author of Hostile Takeover: Resisting Centralized Government’s Stranglehold on America, joined Chris Matthews on Hardball last week to discuss the Tea Party movement and its influence on the Republican Party (note that the video below takes a moment to load):