Sutton’s Place: Obama sounds midterm alarms for Democrats
Steven Sutton
May 13, 2014
Sutton’s Place: Obama sounds midterm alarms for Democrats
Many graduates of LI political training have asked if the Institute provides follow up to the sessions on strategy and messaging. To provide for a way to continue your education in this important area, LI will provide a new feature and service --- an occasional commentary called "Sutton's Place," written by LI's Vice President of Development Steven Sutton, on current campaign messaging and strategy. Here's another Washington Post article (this one from March 12, 2014) which details the left's strategic plans for 2014: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-warns-democrats-beware-another-midterm-election-defeat-like-2010/2014/03/11/88eb3348-a94a-11e3-8599-ce7295b6851c_story.html It should come as no surprise to anyone exactly what the left will be doing this year, both politically and legislatively (which is the same thing to the left …remember, as far as the left is concerned, governing is simply politics by other means). The left understands that to have an impact on a large enough scale to matter, they need to announce their strategies far and wide. So if you keep your eyes and ears open (or continue to read these commentaries) you will know exactly what they are doing, when they are doing it, and why they are doing it. According to the Post article, “A White House official said Obama will do whatever he can to maximize turnout – working to get the Democratic base out.” With that as the backdrop for the president's actions this year, what do you think the chances are for the Keystone Pipeline, for example, to be approved this year? The merits of the project are irrelevant. There is simply zero chance that the president will risk upsetting his base by approving Keystone this year. Doing what is best for the country, economy, and for energy independence (especially if it goes against a core constituency in your political base) requires leadership. Yet for a president who always puts politics ahead of policy, this decision is a no-brainer. This president puts his political party's interests ahead of America's interests time and time again. More from the article: “White House officials say his (Obama's) most important role will be drawing clear contrasts between the parties on the minimum wage, college affordability, pay parity and other bread-and-butter Democratic issues.” One official was quoted as saying, “The president can set the terms of the electoral debate and lay out a unifying economic message for Democrats.” That is why you have seen (and will continue to see) votes in the Senate on the minimum wage, pay parity, “income inequality” and other issues designed exclusively and cynically to promote a political message. It is not a policy agenda so much as it is a political agenda (once again, to the left, those two are the same thing). Note the final paragraph of this article. Congressman Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) says, “If you're a Democrat who cares about our future, the stakes are high – whether it's raising the minimum wage or making sure that women earn equal pay for equal work…” Right on message (and repeated by a willing mainstream media reporter on page three of the Washington Post…gotta make sure everyone in the left's coalition knows what the message is, after all). If you want to stay most up-to-date on the left's 2014 messaging and political agenda, you may want to simply go to Congressman Steve Israel's website (or that of the DCCC). You can be sure that their message, and the issues they will use to advance that message, will be prominently displayed there. Prior to joining the Leadership Institute, Steven Sutton was a chief of staff in the House of Representatives for more than 14 years, where he specialized in setting up Congressional offices for four different incoming freshmen Members. He has also managed numerous political campaigns from city council to U.S. Congress, specializing in challenger campaigns. As a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Steve has a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering with many interesting stories to boot! As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, the Leadership Institute does not oppose or endorse any faculty opinions such as Steve's thoughts above, or any legislation, candidate, or elected official. LI offers more than 41 types of training programs, works with more than 1,589 conservative campus groups on colleges across the country, and helps employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, more than 146,000 conservative activists, students, and leaders have been trained. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit: www.LeadershipInstitute.org
SUTTON'S PLACE: A place for current trends in campaign messaging and strategy
Steven Sutton
May 1, 2014
SUTTON'S PLACE: A place for current trends in campaign messaging and strategy
Many graduates of Leadership Institute (LI) political training have asked if LI provides any follow up to the sessions on strategy and messaging. To provide for a way to continue your education in this important area, LI will provide a new feature and service --- an occasional commentary called "Sutton's Place," written by LI's Vice President of Development Steven Sutton, on current campaign messaging and strategy. Welcome to Sutton's Place...a small slice of campaign strategy and messaging heaven. The purpose of Sutton's Place is to continue the education you received at a Leadership Institute training school. Hope you find it interesting, educational, and complimentary to your LI training. We start off the first of these commentaries with an article which appeared recently in the Washington Post entitled, House Democrats plot strategy against long odds to win back chamber. Click here for the full Washington Post article. This article reports on an "annual retreat at a resort on Maryland's Eastern Shore." Both major political parties have these annual retreats, but the Democrats appear to actually discuss strategy and messaging in a disciplined way that results in attempts by their leaders and rank and file members to coordinate and implement a strategic message that they articulate to voters. As the article reports, House Democrats developed and refined the following theme for the 2014 elections: As stated by Congressman Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee...the DCCC, the Dems will champion "building an economy that works for everyone and not just special interests." Other Dem Members state: "The majority is supposed to...move us forward..." There's that word again..."forward." "If Republicans shirk their responsibility...we're ready to lead." "Dem unity will give voters a clear choice...More obstruction...or get something done." You can see the beginning of a clear theme, but there are some big problems with it. It will be very difficult for Dems to make the case that they will "lead" when their political leader (President Obama) has shown himself to be the weakest leader/President since Jimmy Carter (now there's an interesting way for the GOP to message back on this). Another problem is that the very high "wrong track" polling numbers suggest that Americans don't want to be led in the direction suggested by the left. And another problem is that this message is unlikely to sufficiently motivate the left's base to come out to vote this year, and that is the challenge and goal for the left. Negatives (such as fear) are more powerful motivators. The above themes are simply not strong enough to motivate their base. That suggests (once they realize this) that things will get much more confrontational/negative as Election Day nears. This retreat was held earlier this year (in February). I sense a shift in the left's strategy since then (more on that in a future Sutton's Place article). Prior to joining the Leadership Institute, Steven Sutton was a chief of staff in the House of Representatives for more than 14 years, where he specialized in setting up Congressional offices for four different incoming freshmen Members. He has also managed numerous political campaigns from city council to U.S. Congress, specializing in challenger campaigns. As a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Steve has a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering with many interesting stories to boot! As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, the Leadership Institute does not oppose or endorse any faculty opinions such as Steve's thoughts above, or any legislation, candidate, or elected official. LI offers more than 41 types of training programs, works with more than 1,589 conservative campus groups on colleges across the country, and helps employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, more than 146,000 conservative activists, students, and leaders have been trained. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit: www.LeadershipInstitute.org
Ballerina Dances Her Way Into Colorado Politics
Kelly Macfarland
August 26, 2013
Ballerina Dances Her Way Into Colorado Politics
Alexa Van Anne isn't your ordinary 19-year-old. She's a competitive ballerina, a committed conservative activist, and dreaming of running for office herself – but first, she's got to finish college. Alexa got her start in politics working for the reelection of her congressman, Rep. Mike Coffman, in 2012. As area campaign director for Mike Coffman for Congress, Alexa went door-to-door canvassing and phone banking. As November neared, Alexa became more involved in working on projects with the field director for her district. “Every week or so, we would have large groups of college students come in to help make phone calls and canvass, so I helped to train them on our systems,” Alexa said. Alexa also worked to publicize the debate between Congressman Coffman and his opponent, Joe Miklosi – one of the most competitive House races in 2012. She recruited campaign supporters so they made up the majority of the audience – and media coverage. Alexa's experience with the Coffman team didn't end with November elections. After the election results, she felt inspired by the work her Congressman was doing and decided she wanted to apply for an internship with his fundraising firm, The Starboard Group. Through her internship at The Starboard Group, Alexa got involved with other local political opportunities, including Congressman Corey Gardner's campaign, Colorado Secretary Scott Gessler's campaign, and local non-profits. During the legislative session, Alexa interned for State Representative Jerry Sonnenberg; after the session, for Secretary Scott Gessler's campaign. Alexa is very much an advocate for her state, and has big dreams that include running for office. “I would like to run for elected office in my home state of Colorado,” Alexa said. Growing up, Alexa learned the value that small businesses bring to the community and families. Working for her father's store—Blade Runner Services—Alexa gained valuable insight that has made her appreciate the hard work that goes into building and maintaining a business and the people behind them. “Working at a small business founded by my father provided me the opportunity to know what it takes to run a company,” Alexa said. Alongside being a committed activist for liberty, Alexa has spent the last 14 years of her life practicing ballet. During her time performing, Alexa lettered twice and was in a dance company for six years. After hearing about the Leadership Institute's Youth Leadership School from a friend who took the political bootcamp, Alexa decided to attend. Her experience was one that she will never forget. “I had an incredible experience at LI's Youth Leadership School. I learned exactly what it takes to be a conservative leader, and I was left with the tools to be one,” Alexa said. “The speakers were remarkable, and I was humbled by the opportunity to learn from each of them. Being a part of this two-day training alongside like-minded individuals was a great experience, and I met many promising future leaders. Most impressive, however, was the sheer amount of applicable information.” After taking the Youth Leadership School at the Leadership Institute in July with 141 others, she said she was “better informed” for her political future. And this fall, she will be joining 10 other conservatives to intern for the Leadership Institute. “I would recommend the Youth Leadership School to anyone who wants to become involved in politics. Everyone could learn something because the focus is on highlighting the skills of a selfless leader, which is very uncommon,” she said. Sign up now for one of LI's Youth Leadership Schools (YLS). The weekend trainings are hosted all over the country, or you may contact Daryl Ann Dunigan (DDunigan@LeadershipInstitute.org or 703-247-2000) to host a YLS training near you. Please congratulate Alexa Van Anne on receiving the Leadership Institute's Conservative Leader-In-Training Award and please encourage her to continue advancing conservatism in Colorado. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member for the Conservative Leader Award or Conservative Leader-In-Training Award where they will have an article written about them, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Lauren Day, at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org.
A scandal ... and a rare opportunity
Morton Blackwell
July 13, 2013
A scandal ... and a rare opportunity
With smart and effective graduates like you, it's no wonder that the left hates the Leadership Institute. You may have seen your Institute's name in the Wall Street Journal or on Fox News this summer. As a grad, you'll recall LI does not seek media attention as a general rule. But the largest and latest scandal that threatens to derail the Obama administration has LI at the center of it. How could I say no? I refer to the scandal of deliberate IRS targeting and interminable blocking of conservative groups' applications for tax-exempt status -- which has by no means run its course. Instead, it's given way to a second, unfolding scandal. Ordinarily, information about abuses in IRS auditing practices is a deep, dark secret. Targets choose to suffer in silence for fear that an IRS audit will scare away some of their donors or that publicly complaining would cause the IRS to persecute their organizations even more. Those calling the shots at the IRS believed there was no chance at all that they would ever be held accountable for specially targeting conservative groups. But a groundswell of conservative complaints and considerable new information has led Congressmen Darrell Issa and Jim Jordan to ask Treasury Department Inspector General J. Russell George to “conduct an investigation to determine whether groups that possess tax-exempt status were targeted for audits or examinations based on their political beliefs or ideology.” Your Institute is one such targeted group. The timing of the audit of LI coincided with the period for which the IRS stonewalled applications by new conservative groups for tax-exempt status. During this period, the IRS office in Cincinnati asked an applicant, the Hawaii Tea Party, about its relations with LI. The IRS Baltimore office was conducting the audit of LI -- a sign of coordination between the IRS offices, not just a couple of rogue agents in Cincinnati. This should be big news. IRS targeting of existing groups for audits is a second can of worms to be opened. It's one thing to try to kill nascent conservative groups; it's quite another and even more serious thing to persecute existing conservative groups which already have tax-exempt status. No one at the IRS could be sure whether or not a brand new group might be effective, but it's very easy for them to target existing groups which have already proven their effectiveness -- like your Institute. Surely congressional investigators will dig up more facts about these abusive practices. Soon there may be public-spirited whistleblowers inside the executive branch willing to expose abusive conduct, including information about who ordered those abuses and who knew about those abuses but took no steps to stop the illegal practices. Some guilty people may decide to confess and implicate others in order to reduce the criminal charges they know they are about to face. This is certain: if no one at the IRS is fired, fined, or jailed for the persecution of conservatives that has already become public knowledge, the guilty people there will conclude that they can continue their abuses with impunity. You and I must not allow that to happen. Please thank Congressmen Issa and Jordan for continuing their investigations into the IRS scandal. Please contact me or my staff if you or your conservative organization were asked about a relationship to the Leadership Institute. Let's keep building our case. Guilty people may actually be held accountable for abuses of power by the IRS. That's a rare and precious opportunity.
Stand up for free speech with your own campus publication
Morton Blackwell
May 6, 2013
Stand up for free speech with your own campus publication
Why do studies show that college seniors are more liberal than college freshmen? Simply put, campus radicals dominate almost every college campus in America and create a hostile environment for conservatives and libertarians. Leftists claim to support diversity. But “safe spaces,” “trigger warnings,” and political correctness run amok show that liberals in higher education reject diversity of thought and freedom of speech. Conservatives rarely have an outlet for their beliefs. When students get news about their campus, the official student newspaper is often simply a tool for spreading leftist propaganda. Many university administrations blatantly censor conservative ideas and opinions. However, many conservatives and libertarians now fight back and stand up for free speech with newspapers of their own. Papers such as the Harvard Salient, the Notre Dame Irish Rover, and the University of Georgia Arch Conservative now shatter the leftist monopoly of campus debate with hard-hitting editorials and unique reports of liberal abuses. Here are two examples of how one paper fought back against liberals on campus and made national news. Last year, The Minnesota Republic at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities shined a spotlight on the student government's rejection of a campus-wide moment of silence for victims of the 9/11 attacks. Pausing for a moment of recognition to honor the victims would increase racism and Islamophobia on campus, the student government said. “The passing of this resolution might make a space that is unsafe for students on campus even more unsafe,” one student representative said. “Islamophobia and racism fueled through that are alive and well.” The representative went on rhetorically to ask, “when will we start having moments of silence for all of the times white folks have done something terrible?” The resolution that would have honored the 9/11 victims with a moment of recognition was defeated by a 36-23 margin. However, the staff of The Minnesota Republic didn't let go - they fought back and reported on the story. The Republic's story, which was re-published on the Leadership Institute's Campus Reform, gained national media attention and generated public outrage. The university's board of regents rejected the student government's “safe space” argument and announced the university would move forward with a moment of recognition for victims of 9/11 in future years. The Dartmouth Review, the conservative paper at the Dartmouth College, broke national news about liberal bias last November. On November 12, Black Lives Matter protesters stormed the college's library, chanted loudly, screamed curses, and intimidated students who were trying to study. The Dartmouth Review staff, which had recently received training at a Leadership Institute Student Publications Workshop, captured video of the protest and authored a story that exposed the protesters' vicious mob mentality. Both the video and the story went viral, receiving national coverage on Fox News and CNN. The video of the protest now has over one million views on YouTube. The Dartmouth Review was the first campus outlet to write about the intimidation many students experienced that night. Because of their journalistic efforts, the college's president promised that the school would investigate the protesters and vowed to “enforce appropriate sanctions.” Without the Review, the emboldened protesters would have continued their campaign of intimidation. Instead, they found themselves at the center of a national media firestorm, all because the Review took a stand. The Leadership Institute launched its Student Publication Workshop in 1983 to expose leftist bias and abuses just like these. Their purpose is to teach conservative students how to set up and run independent conservative campus publications of their own. This was the second type of training the Institute offered, and it is still going strong today. The papers this workshop produces are often the only strong conservative voice on college campuses dominated by liberals. On dozens of campuses across America, independent campus newspapers published by Leadership Institute graduates now give students a point of view they might otherwise never hear. When you create a conservative paper on your campus, you'll follow an illustrious group of trailblazers. Former staffers of conservative campus publications have gone on to become some of the movement's brightest stars. Luminaries such as documentarian Dinesh D'Souza, radio host Laura Ingraham, and Pulitzer Prize-winning Wall Street Journal columnist Joseph Rago all began their careers with The Dartmouth Review, the flagship of the conservative campus publications. Ann Coulter was a founding member of the aforementioned Cornell Review. National Review Editor-in-Chief Rich Lowry cut his teeth as the editor of a conservative student newspaper at the University of Virginia. Bernadette Malone, a Leadership Institute graduate who became editor of the Manchester Union Leader editorial page, says that her campus conservative student newspaper changed her life. Bernadette realized she was a conservative by reading the Binghamton Review, the conservative newspaper at the State University of New York at Binghamton. She joined the staff of the paper, attended the Leadership Institute's Student Publications Workshop, became the paper's editor, and decided to pursue journalism as a career. Bernadette worked for several years as a political reporter for the late conservative columnist and TV commentator Robert Novak. That's the kind of impact working on a conservative student newspaper can have on your career. Like Bernadette, Amanda Carpenter will tell you that the Student Publications Workshop changed her life. Amanda served as Texas Senator Ted Cruz's Communications Director. You may have seen her during her primetime appearances on Fox News and CNN. Amanda attended LI's Student Publications Workshop while a student at Ball State University. She left the school, in her words, “with a domain name and ideas for 10 stories.” She began writing and publishing on her campus, and she never looked back. Since she graduated, Amanda has written for Human Events as a congressional correspondent, for Townhall as a national political reporter, and as a columnist for The Washington Times. This constellation of conservative stars provides great examples of how experience as a student journalist can lead to a career advancing conservative principles and providing balance to the national liberal news media. Young conservatives who set up and run independent conservative student newspapers learn what it's like to battle the liberals every day. They relish it. By starting your own student publication, you will gain skills to make you a valued member of any campaign or organization you join. Successful student editors learn immediate, valuable skills such as: how to write, edit, and design a regularly published, effective publication how to do investigative journalism how to recruit and train a motivated staff of like-minded students how to manage a budget how to fundraise and sell advertising Are you ready to start your career as a conservative student journalist today? The Leadership Institute will help you every step of the way. The first step is scheduling a Student Publications Workshop on your campus. Find a few dedicated, conservative friends and contact Emily Larsen, the Leadership Institute's Student Publications Coordinator, at ELarsen@leadershipinstitute.org. After your workshop, which will be held either in-person with a visit from a journalism professional or remotely online, the Leadership Institute will help you fund your first issue through the Balance in Media grant. That's right -- my Leadership Institute will grant you up to $750 to aid publication of your first issue. Well, what are you waiting for? Contact my Leadership Institute today and let us help you advance the conservative cause on your campus today. Fifty years of personal observation have proved to me that, even if conservative students leave journalism after graduation, those who publish their own campus papers tend to be much more successful in whatever career paths they take. P.S. It's time to stand up for free speech and hold universities accountable for their liberal biases and abuses. The choice is yours. Will you carve your path to success in the conservative movement with a publication of your own? Then contact Emily Larsen, Campus Reform's Student Publications Coordinator, at ELarsen@leadershipinstitute.org today.
Hold liberals accountable with your own campus publication
Morton Blackwell
April 23, 2013
Hold liberals accountable with your own campus publication
Why do studies show that college seniors are more liberal than college freshmen? Simply put, campus radicals dominate almost every college campus in America and create a hostile environment for conservatives and libertarians. Conservatives rarely have an outlet for their beliefs. When students get news about their campus, the official student newspaper is, more often than not, simply a tool for spreading leftist propaganda. However, many conservatives and libertarians now fight back with newspapers of their own. Papers such as the Harvard Salient, the Notre Dame Irish Rover, the University of Georgia Arch Conservative, and the California Patriot now shatter the leftist dominance of campus debate with hard-hitting editorials and unique reports of liberal abuses. Here are two examples of how one paper fought back against liberals on campus and made national news. The Michigan Review, the conservative paper at the University of Michigan, broke national news about liberal bias just this month. The university had planned to show American Sniper, the blockbuster war film that depicts the life of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, but they quietly withdrew the film after a petition tarred the film as “anti-Muslim,” “provocative,” and “unsafe.” The Michigan Review leaked the story to online conservative media outlets. The university reversed its position a few hours later, thanks to withering national criticism from online, broadcast, and print media of its absurd political correctness. When the university finally showed the film, many students turned out to watch. Earlier this year, the staff of the Cornell Review, fresh from training at a Leadership Institute Student Publications Workshop, captured video of a profane lecture on their campus by MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry. Harris-Perry, who was speaking at the university's Martin Luther King Commemorative Lecture, declared that she hoped Trayvon Martin “whooped the shit” out of George Zimmerman before he died. The rest of the lecture, which took place in a chapel, was just as shocking. She declared that Dr. Martin Luther King was “the one great voice, like Beyoncé,” and cracked jokes about the Tea Party and George W. Bush. Members of The Cornell Review attended the lecture and filmed Harris-Perry's outrageous remarks. After the Review published the video, the story quickly went viral and was featured in outlets such as the Leadership Institute's Campus Reform, Mediaite, and The Independent Journal Review. By that evening, the story was trending on Facebook, and the video had received tens of thousands of views. Without the Review, her remarks would have gone unnoticed, the latest entry in a long, silent list of outrages at that prestigious Ivy League school. Instead, Harris-Perry found herself in the center of a national media firestorm, all because the Review did solid journalism. Exposing examples of liberal bias and abuses like these is why the Leadership Institute launched its Student Publications Workshop in 1983. The aim: to teach conservative students how to set up and run independent conservative campus publications of their own. It was the second type of training the Institute offered and is still going strong today. The papers this workshop produces are often the only strong conservative voice on college campuses dominated by liberals. On at least 52 campuses across America, independent campus newspapers published by Leadership Institute graduates now give students a point of view they might otherwise never hear. When you found a conservative paper on your campus, you'll be following an illustrious group of trailblazers. Former staffers of conservative campus publications have gone on to become some of the movement's brightest stars. Luminaries such as documentarian Dinesh D'Souza, radio host Laura Ingraham, and Pulitzer Prize-winning Wall Street Journal columnist Joseph Rago all began their careers with The Dartmouth Review at Dartmouth College, the flagship of the conservative campus publications. Ann Coulter was a founding member of the aforementioned Cornell Review. National Review Editor-in-Chief Rich Lowry cut his teeth as the editor of a conservative student newspaper at the University of Virginia. Bernadette Malone, a Leadership Institute graduate who became editor of the Manchester Leader editorial page, says that her campus conservative student newspaper changed her life. Bernadette realized she was a conservative by reading the Binghamton Review, the conservative newspaper at the State University of New York at Binghamton. She joined the staff of the paper, attended the Leadership Institute's Student Publications Workshop, became the paper's editor, and decided to pursue journalism as a career. Bernadette worked for several years as a political reporter for the late conservative columnist and TV commentator Bob Novak. That's the kind of impact working on a conservative student newspaper can have on your career. Like Bernadette, Amanda Carpenter, Texas Senator Ted Cruz's Communications Director, will tell you that the Student Publications Workshop changed her life. You may have seen Amanda during her primetime appearances on Fox News. Amanda was a student at Ball State University when she attended the workshop. She left the school, in her words, “with a domain name and ideas for 10 stories.” She began writing and publishing on her campus, and she never looked back. Since she graduated, Amanda has written for Human Events as a congressional correspondent, for Townhall as a national political reporter, and as a columnist for The Washington Times. This pantheon of conservative stars provides great examples of how experience as a student journalist can lead to a career advancing conservative principles and providing balance to the national liberal news media. Young conservatives who set up and run independent conservative student newspapers learn what it's like to battle the liberals every day. They relish it. By starting your own student publication, you will gain skills that will make you a valued member of any campaign or organization you join. Successful student editors learn on-the-spot, valuable skills such: how to write, edit, and design a regularly published, effective newspaper how to do investigative journalism how to recruit and train a motivated staff of like-minded students how to manage a budget how to sell advertising Are you ready to start your career as a conservative student journalist today? The Leadership Institute will help you every step of the way. The first step is scheduling a Student Publications Workshop on your campus. Find a few dedicated, conservative friends and contact Sterling Beard, the head of LI's Student Publications Department, at SBeard@leadershipinstitute.org. After your workshop, which will be held either in-person with visit from an expert member of LI's faculty or remotely over the Internet, the Leadership Institute will help you fund your first issue through our Balance in Media grant. That's right: My Leadership Institute will actually provide you with up to $750 to aid publication of your first issue. Well, what are you waiting for? Contact my Leadership Institute today and let us help you advance the conservative cause on your campus today. And one more thing: Fifty years of personal observation have proved to me that, even if they take a career path outside of journalism, conservative students who publish their own campus papers tend to be much more successful later in life.
Leadership Institute Employee of the Quarter: 
Lauren Day
Morton Blackwell
April 17, 2013
Leadership Institute Employee of the Quarter: Lauren Day
Early this year, Lauren Day sought out the responsibility of overseeing LI's role at the Conservative Political Action Conference 2013 -- no small task and one she did not have to assume. And was CPAC ever a success for the Institute. The trainings, job fair, and happy hour were all well-attended. The booth was stocked with eye-catching marketing materials and trained staff. Lauren worked tirelessly to promote LI's events at CPAC, supply training coordinators with needed materials, and -- behind the scenes -- negotiate the very best deals for LI with ACU staff. Many staff join me in remarking on how well run CPAC was this year. I suspect all will join me in commending Lauren's enthusiasm and dedication to the Institute. Naming her employee of the quarter today recognizes her work on CPAC, but also the dozens of good projects she has accomplished for LI -- often without credit or praise. Lauren is an invaluable part of LI's team, and I am pleased to name her employee of the quarter.
An open letter to conservatives
Morton C. Blackwell
November 15, 2012
An open letter to conservatives
I had a very exciting time at the Republican National Convention. My conservative allies and I all worked very hard in the presidential election. When I woke up the day after the election, everything I had worked for appeared to be in ruins. An extreme leftist had been reelected president of the United States. Some liberal Republicans immediately began to blame newly activated conservatives for the presidential defeat. I knew they were wrong. It was clear to me that these newly active conservatives would be the key to major future victories for conservative principles. The day was Wednesday, November 4, 1964. The Republican nominee, Barry Goldwater, had suffered a crushing defeat. He won just six states and 52 votes in the Electoral College. But from the ashes of that loss sprang a vigorous conservative movement. The conservative movement grew from modest beginnings to become a major force capable of nominating and electing candidates at the local, state, and national level, including Ronald Reagan. Waves of newly activated conservatives elected Ronald Reagan, broke the Democratic monopoly in the Congress, and were decisive in the thrilling 2010 elections. The influx of new conservatives greatly benefited the Republican Party then, as it has again in recent years. It would be foolish for conservatives, defeated for now, to form a circular firing squad and start shooting at each other. Each element of our coalition — limited government, free enterprise, strong national defense, and traditional values — has a long and strong background of working together. These principles will lead to victories in the future as they have in the past, as recently as two years ago. For those disappointed by the results of this year's presidential election, remember that it is a long ball game. Politics has a natural ebb and flow. Now is the time to study the lessons of this election and to chart a course for conservatives to win in the future. The stakes could not be higher. The margins of victory in the public policy process may be smaller now than at any other time in American history. Conservatives must reach out and identify philosophically compatible individuals among the types of people with whom leftist organizers have had the most success. Seek out the reasonably conservative people, the younger the better, who happen to be in categories long-targeted for organization by the left, people who share our American view of individual rights rather than group rights. Help them deepen their understanding of public policy issues. Many have strong opinions they already share with us. Then undertake systematic, persistent actions to recruit them into the public policy process, teach them political skills, and place them where they can be effective. Work hard and wisely to increase the number and effectiveness of conservative activists in all categories of people. Do all you can to advance and to protect them. Their success will break the leftist organizers' near monopolies among people like them. In closing, let me share with you the most important lesson you will learn at any time in your life about success in the public policy process. Being right in the sense of being correct is not sufficient to win. The winner in a political contest over time is determined by the number and the effectiveness of the activists and leaders on the respective sides. You owe it to your philosophy to study how to win. You have a moral obligation to learn how to win. That was the clinching argument Goldwater conservatives used to revive the power of conservative principles in America in 1964. I know you will find it helpful today. Conservatives can and will win big again in presidential elections. But first we must learn from our experience, do what must be done, and study diligently to become ever more effective. You have fought for good causes before. I pray you'll continue your fight for good causes now. Victories may be just around the corner.
LI President Thanks Attendees of the Values Voter Summit's gala
Morton Blackwell
October 3, 2012
LI President Thanks Attendees of the Values Voter Summit's gala
Thank you for your support as I accepted the 2012 James C. Dobson Vision and Leadership Award. Your attendance at the Family Research Council's Faith, Family and Freedom Gala was a tangible display of your commitment to defend traditional values against those leftists who seek to fundamentally transform (i.e., ruin) our country. In the late 1960s and 1970s, left-wing efforts to undermine traditional values prompted social conservatives to get involved in politics. Like many of you, I took action. The subsequent formation of ad hoc coalitions grew into oday's conservative movement. Despite numerous conservative victories since then, the assault on family values and religious faith continues. Here are just a few chilling examples of leftist bias and abuse my staff exposed this year through the Leadership Institute's campus website, www.CampusReform.org: ·Professor wants to reduce human population by ‘controlling human fertility' ·Lutheran university announces opposition to traditional marriage amendment ·University of Southern Mississippi professor: ‘Anti-gay' Chick-fil-A needs to be removed from campus ·College professor: 'Jesus was a Muslim' ·Obama's DOJ Forces University to Allow 38 Year Old Male to Access Women's Restrooms ·Same-Sex "Marriage" Supporters Assault, Spit on Pro-Marriage Students The left is relentless, but so is my faith in the Almighty to use our powerful movement to fundamentally save America. That's why your support of the Family Research Council, my Leadership Institute, and other conservative organizations means so much to me. There is truly a crisis in America today. However, I am encouraged by good people like you who actively fight for faith, family, and freedom. On behalf of the Leadership Institute staff (photo enclosed), I thank you for the honor to fight alongside you in this battle. Cordially, Morton C. Blackwell President Leadership Institute
Webinar replay: effective door-to-door
Patricia Simpson
September 27, 2012
Webinar replay: effective door-to-door
The key to winning an election is much more than simply turning out more voters than your opponent. You must learn the techniques that successful campaigns have been using for years, and then adapt them to fit your winning formula.A successful door-to-door effort could be the difference you need to win!
A Movement Conservative Perspective
Morton C. Blackwell
September 17, 2012
A Movement Conservative Perspective
Morton Blackwell delivered this speech at the Faith, Family, and Freedom Dinner of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, September 15, 2012. Thank you for the great and undeserved honor you pay me tonight. Previously you have given this annual award to people who deserve recognition far more than I do. The honor is increased for me because I have such a deep admiration for the great achievements of the Family Research Council and your president, Tony Perkins. Tony and I are both from Baton Rouge. We both are conservative movement activists. Tony and I both now find ourselves leading conservative non-profit organizations officed in the D.C. area. And both of us understand that we depend on generous donors for everything we accomplish. Unlike me, however, Tony is famous. And he deserves his fame. His frequent and eloquent appearances in national print, broadcast, and online media directly reach millions of people, encouraging them and guiding them to take principled actions on public policy questions. In my line of work, I seek out people who are reasonably conservative, persuade them that they owe it to their philosophy to study how to win, and then help them learn how to succeed in government, politics, and the news media. Generous donors have also enabled my Leadership Institute to build a national network of more than 1,350 active, independent, local conservative student groups to fight leftist abuses and bias on college campuses in every state. My Leadership Institute staff deserve more praise than they get for their remarkable skills and dedicated work for conservative principles. I aim to build a movement, not an empire. Increasing the number and effectiveness of conservative activists and leaders by teaching them how to win is not inherently newsworthy, and news coverage of political training programs sometimes is less than helpful. Primarily for that reason, a complete file of the news releases I have generated regarding my work would fit into a slim folder. When conservative graduates of my training win elections, I counsel them that the way to continue successfully in politics is to keep their principles, keep their word, keep their pants on, and keep their fingers out of other people's wallets. Tonight I intend to speak briefly about three matters: 1. The rise of social issue conservatives in politics 2. The creation of a powerful conservative movement from ad hoc coalitions 3. The 2012 elections and what happens afterward. When I first became active politically, in the national groundswell of support for Sen. Barry Goldwater in the late 1950s and early 1960s, what we now call social issues were not political issues. In his entire presidential campaign, I believe Sen. Goldwater was never asked if he favored making abortion legal. Neither was he asked if he favored making bank robbery legal. Abortion and monogamous marriage between one man and one woman were among the many settled legal and moral issues in American culture, and most theologically conservative religious leaders thought political participation was no part of their calling. But then the political left began to bring into politics its hostility to traditional moral principles, and growing government power became the enemy of family values across America. The left continues its efforts to undermine family values and religious faith, most recently evidenced by the Democratic Party's initially forgetting even to mention God in its 2012 party platform. God was an afterthought, inserted because of much criticism. In the 1970s, the left invalidated in every state all laws which protected unborn babies. They began attacking the traditional institution of marriage. And among many other assaults on our culture, they tried to close down conservative Christian schools. Fed up, many conservative pastors decided in the 1970s to defend their beliefs through the public policy process. Dr. Jerry Falwell organized 100,000 pastors who led at least two million un-involved Christians in their congregations to register to vote in 1980. Noting that lightning did not strike down Dr. Falwell, other Christian leaders also formed large and powerful political organizations. In a few years, whole denominations switched parties. Southern Baptists, who had been overwhelmingly Democrats, became overwhelmingly Republicans. The surge of theologically conservative Americans into politics changed the composition of the electorate and contributed mightily to the nomination and election of President Ronald Reagan in 1980. As they do whenever large numbers of conservatives newly decide to become political participants, the leftist politicians, content-free Republicans, and so-called "mainstream" news media warned that what they called "the Religious Right" was a danger to the Republic -- dimwitted, uncouth, and savage people who would destroy the Republican Party. It didn't work out that way, did it? Social conservatives began to organize coalitions for specific purposes. As conservative intellectual Richard Weaver, author of the famous book Ideas Have Consequences, put it, "Organization always makes imperative counter-organization. A force in being is a threat to the unorganized, who must answer by becoming organized themselves." A pioneer conservative coalition builder was Phyllis Schlafly. In her spectacularly successful fight to defeat the so-called "Equal Rights Amendment," she gathered together Evangelicals, Catholics, Mormons, and anyone else willing to fight against the ERA. These allies distrusted each other and had intense differences in theology. They had never worked together before. Phyllis pulled together her coalition by saying, "We must be broad-minded enough to allow anyone to oppose the ERA for the reasons of their choice." The decision points in the public policy process are mostly elections and legislative battles. In specific elections and legislative battles, a wise conservative will seek allies without respect to disagreements on other issues. The object is to win a majority in that election or that legislative battle. Some of us were particularly inspired to participate in coalitions by the wisdom of Whittaker Chambers, the former American Communist who became a hero of anti-Communists everywhere. Chambers wrote, "I do not ask of the man who lets me slip into his foxhole whether he believes in the ontological proof of God, whether he likes me personally, or even whether, in another part of the forest, at another time, he lobbed a grenade at me. I am interested only that, for the duration of the war, he keep his rifle clean and his trigger finger nerveless against a common enemy. I understand that that is all he wants of me." Sometimes social conservatives found themselves working together in coalitions which were very wide-ranging indeed. In 1994, my wife, Helen, and I participated in the United Nations Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt. The leftist celebrity Jane Fonda and former Congresswoman Bella Abzug, who had been a Stalinist in the 1930s and never repudiated her support of Stalin, were appointed to the official U.S. delegation by President Bill Clinton. The left thought the Cairo conference was a golden opportunity to put official United Nations pressure on smaller countries to legalize the killing of unborn babies through abortions. At the last minute, pro-life Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey got himself appointed to the U.S. delegation. A small number of conservative Americans got themselves credentialed at the Cairo conference as representatives of non-governmental organizations. I went there as a temporarily credentialed reporter for the conservative weekly Human Events, but really to help the pro-life forces with procedural advice and with communications. The U.N. conference operated under strange procedural rules. Decisions weren't made by majority votes of the national delegations. Decisions could be made only through a weird sort of consensus, so a substantial, determined opposition could block the leftist attempt to force small countries to legalize abortion. Congressman Chris Smith found himself a minority of one on the U.S. delegation. Supported logistically by our handful of private U.S. conservatives, he formed an ad hoc alliance of socially conservative delegates from Latin American countries, the Holy See, and (Listen to this.) a number of delegations from Muslim countries who strongly oppose abortion. Consensus wasn't achieved at the conference. No pro-abortion mandate was passed. U.S. Delegates Jane Fonda and Bella Abzug went home badly disappointed, and a lot of babies weren't aborted. Starting in the 1970s, U.S. conservatives grew some existing conservative organizations dramatically and created many large new ones. Time and again, they formed coalitions in election contests and legislative battles where conservative principles of limited government, free enterprise, strong national defense, and traditional family values were at stake. Time and again, the same conservative leaders sat around the same tables to fight on the same side against their common enemies on the left. Over the years, the diverse coalition of allies coordinated their activities so often that they became rather comfortable with each other. Each element of the coalition frequently worked with the others while maintaining its own institutional independence. For the first time there arose what could fairly be called an effective conservative movement. The realization spread, for example, that there could not be political victory for economic conservatives without a working alliance with social conservatives -- and that, to win public policy battles, social conservatives must work often with economic conservatives and libertarian conservatives. Let me turn now to a brief consideration of where we are now and where we should go from here. Everything is on the line this year. Personally, I am strongly supporting Mitt Romney, both financially and otherwise. In the last few decades, I have recruited and trained many thousands of conservative activists and leaders who also now support Mitt Romney and are working hard for his election. I am happy and perhaps a little proud about that. President Barack Obama is the personification of leftist ideology. The fundamental changes he is making in America are all fundamentally ruinous for our country. He must be replaced if we can do it. With hardly any exceptions, the entire conservative movement agrees with me and wants Gov. Mitt Romney to win. Good. The presidential election still could go either way, but I believe it's more likely that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will the next President and Vice President of the United States. If so, what happens then? Next would come close to three months of a transition period while the President-elect puts together his new Administration. In late 1980 and early 1981, I worked full-time in the Presidential Personnel Office of President-elect Ronald Reagan. Then I worked for three years on President Reagan's White House Staff. The greatest lesson conservatives learned in that period is that personnel is policy. Where the right people are given responsibility, good things tend to happen. As we staffed up his new Administration, President-elect Reagan gave us an explicit instruction that, among their other qualifications, he wanted to hire people who were principled conservatives. Many such people were in fact hired, and they helped make the Reagan Administration productive in many ways for conservative principles. Not all those hired were actually conservative, of course. In part, this was because some of the decision-makers in our Presidential Personnel Office were primarily head-hunters who had no clear idea what conservative principles are. I could discuss at some length many who were good choices and some who were not. But this is neither the time nor the place for that. Suffice it to say that Ronald Reagan's mandate to hire solid conservatives made possible the many excellent policy achievements which made him a successful President. There are, of course, other ways to staff a new President's Administration. I believe that the most important factor for hiring during the transition for President-elect George H.W. Bush was loyalty. He was and is a very nice man, but if you hadn't proved your long-term loyalty to that President-elect, you were probably wasting your time to apply. Thus it was no coincidence that, if you had supported Ronald Reagan for the nomination in 1980 and were serving in the Reagan Administration in 1988, you were not hired by George H.W. Bush. You might as well have been marked with a black spot. You had virtually no chance for a job in the new Bush Administration. For conservatives in the late Reagan Administration, it was "Prove you were never for anyone but Bush, or you're out." Loyalty as a hiring requirement can have at least two meanings. It could mean loyalty in the sense of commitment to principles, or it could mean loyalty in the sense of willingness to do exactly what you are told to do. Every Presidential political appointee has some power to make things happen. A principled appointee will look for ways to implement his or her principles. Those without principles will tend to do nothing unless they are told to do it. A too centralized organization cannot achieve as much as an intelligently de-centralized one. As my grandmother, who lived to age 95, wisely put it, "Why keep a dog if you're going to bark yourself?" If Mitt Romney wins the presidency, there will be no shortage of unattached sycophants seeking jobs and ready to do whatever they are told to do. Gov. Romney is running on a solidly conservative platform. He has staked out conservative positions on almost every relevant policy issue. This may, and I hope will, result in his victory in November. But I pray that he will see to it that his new Administration, if it comes to pass, will hire many, many people who have distinguished themselves by long and effective endeavors for the conservative principles he now espouses. This reminds me of something that happened in the Bush 41 White House. After the President broke his "no new taxes" campaign promise, I asked for and was granted a meeting with his White House Political Director, Ron Kaufman of Massachusetts. I had served earlier for three years as President Reagan's White House liaison to all U.S. conservative organizations. I was then in my first term as Virginia's Republican National Committeeman. And I was the current executive director of the Council for National Policy, an organization whose membership includes the heads of most of the major conservative movement organizations. In his office I told Ron Kaufman that the President's conservative base was eroding away and that he was in great danger of losing the 1992 elections. I urged that by hirings and policy initiatives the Administration should take immediate steps to restore the confidence of the conservative grassroots in the President's commitment to conservative principles. Mr. Kaufman replied, "We have carefully studied this, and we know that the Republican Party has a lock on the White House." It didn't work out that way in 1992. I'll close these remarks by returning to the presidential campaign now in progress. Here's a question which should stir up the enthusiasm of every American conservative. Barack Obama. Barack Obama? What did you expect from an ACORN organizer?
Webinar replay: voter registration
Patricia Simpson
August 23, 2012
Webinar replay: voter registration
Voter registration is as important as volunteers and fundraising for a campaign. You can't win if you don't have the votes. Learn how to find unregistered voters and why a successful voter registration drive can lead to victory.
Webinar replay: Voter goals
Patricia Simpson
August 16, 2012
Webinar replay: Voter goals
Missed last night's webinar? No problem -- watch it whenever you have time today or this weekend. (Click "Read the full story" to get started!) You'll hear from Bryan Bernys on voter goals. Bryan is LI's Vice President for the Campus Leadership Program. Bryan came to the Institute with a wealth of campaign experience: New Hampshire Field Director for the McCain 2008 campaign, Field Director for the Tarrant for Senate campaign in Vermont, Campaign Manager for Robinson for Delegate in Virginia, consultant for the Ball for Delegate special election in Virginia, and field staff for the Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign in Michigan.>
Webinar replay: Campaign structure and organization
Leadership Institute Staff
August 10, 2012
Webinar replay: Campaign structure and organization
Missed last night's webinar? No problem -- watch it whenever you have time today or this weekend.You'll hear from Linwood Bragan on campaign structure and organization. Linwood began his political life in 1972. His campaign experience covers management, operations, finance, and grassroots. Twice he has been a candidate himself. He has lectured in 20 states on political activism, finance, organization and elections from New England to the Rockies and the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast.You can register right now for next week's webinar: determining voter goals, which will be held live on Wednesday, August 15 at 7pm EST.
Get paid to fight the left and launch your career
Morton Blackwell
June 21, 2012
Get paid to fight the left and launch your career
It has often and probably correctly been said that there are today more convinced Marxists on American college faculties than there are in the former Soviet empire. Any conservative college student you know who is now enrolled at any but the tiny handful of explicitly conservative colleges could curl your hair with stories of leftist bias and abuses on his or her own campus. And the professors, the college officials, and the national leftist groups which pour resources into student organizations know very well what they're doing: undermining the political, cultural, and moral foundations of America under the cover of "academic freedom." The left does not take kindly to any expression of conservative principles on their campus strongholds. Over the years, the left has wiped out and excluded from many colleges and universities anything supportive of limited government, free enterprise, strong national defense, or traditional values. But our Campus Leadership Program (CLP) is over the moat and cracking their walls. Today the Leadership Institute works with 1,379 conservative student groups and publications on 658 campuses in all 50 states. In August, I will send 25 field representatives to college campuses across the country to identify and recruit conservative students and help them organize independent conservative groups and publications. Perhaps you -- or a bright, young conservative you know -- will be one of them. Employment as a field rep is resumé gold. Field reps use the experience and connections they gain to launch rewarding careers in grassroots activism, campaigns, legislative work on Capitol Hill, lobbying, and even long-term employment with the Leadership Institute or other fine conservative organizations. The positions fill very rapidly. The pay is generous; the experience is priceless. Potential field reps made 1,200 inquiries about the program last year. LI hired 20 of the best. Opportunities for full-time, paid jobs fighting for your beliefs do not come along very often. You, or a young conservative you know, can apply online right now: http://www.conservativejobs.com/fieldrep Last year, LI's 20 field reps newly identified 15,377 conservative students and helped form 205 student groups and publications. LI field reps are an essential element of conservatives' long-term struggle against the campus left across America. Independent conservative student groups and publications fight back against the radical leftists who dominate the faculty, administration, and campus life at the majority of American colleges. In many cases, CLP groups are the only manifestations of any conservative presence on their campuses. Local student leaders are often the only people promoting conservative principles at their schools. Just knowing they are not alone on campus, that other people around them on campus openly espouse conservative principles, encourages conservative students to resist the indoctrination, propaganda, and actual oppression which the left so often systematically imposes on American college campuses. With Institute training and support, young conservatives learn how to: fight political correctness and classroom bias host conservative speakers and events on campus start conservative newspapers win student government elections Thousands of them will become more effective conservative leaders and activists and stay active politically all their lives. I had thought about helping conservative students create their own campus groups for many years. Let me share with you my thinking as I designed LI's Campus Leadership Program. While College Republican clubs tend to be conservative, not all of them are. And partisan political clubs often focus on election-campaign activities to the exclusion of explicitly promoting their political principles. It happens that none of the other non-partisan conservative organizations which work largely with college students had any program to organize significant numbers of student groups on campus. The field was wide open for some conservative educational organization to take up the important task of organizing local student groups. I saw the need, and I wanted to do this for years. After much thinking and planning, I began the Leadership Institute's Campus Leadership Program in 1997 as a pilot program with only one staffer responsible for organizing and working with conservative student groups at campuses in the D.C. area. With the generous help of Leadership Institute donors, I then gradually expanded the program to cover the nation. By 2007, after 10 years' work, 1,015 student groups were affiliated with CLP. Today that number is 1,379 active conservative student groups, a 35% increase in five years. I intended the Campus Leadership Program as a "rescue mission" for conservative students subjected to leftist indoctrination and persecution. It's working. Absent moral reinforcement, more students would be sucked into the flow and come to believe that what their families and the healthy aspects of American culture taught them is old-fashioned and perhaps evil -- that it is doomed and not worth fighting for. The last thing the leftists want is for conservatives to promote conservative principles effectively on college campuses. This August, LI will fly 25 selected field representatives to LI's headquarters in Arlington, VA for a week of intensive training. They will learn the tools and tactics necessary for their success in identifying, organizing, and activating conservative college students in their regions. They will understand how to teach conservative college students to promote their principles on their campuses. Let me share with you what I may say to this group of field representatives in the address I give to every class: You are now important parts of a project which will have significant impact on our country. You will change many lives, and some of your recruits may become your lifelong friends. You'll be able to see much of the good which will come from your activities this semester. But much more good will be done than you will ever be able to measure because when you launch people in the right direction they will do good things you may never see or hear about. Make no mistake about it: Some of the people you find, recruit, activate, and train will be fighting for conservative principles for the rest of your life. Some will outlast you and do good things for our country which you will never see, things which will make America better for your children and your grandchildren. Years from now you will look back on this period of your life as one of your most interesting and valuable experiences. Good luck. And God bless you. Please apply for the Leadership Institute's field representative program online (http://www.conservativejobs.com/fieldrep), or share this exciting job opportunity with a bright, young conservative you know. Opportunities for full-time, paid jobs fighting for your beliefs do not come along very often. The positions will fill quickly; apply right now.
Blackwell Briefing: America's Biggest Political Problem since 1860
Morton C. Blackwell
March 20, 2012
Blackwell Briefing: America's Biggest Political Problem since 1860
National recovery depends on rolling back previous leftist victories. That means giving no more gains to the left through compromises, cutting government outlays on “entitlements” and “discretionary” spending, and cutting back both regulations and the legal authority for bureaucrats to impose more regulations. That's the only way to save the economy, promote growth, and create more jobs. The pendulum of public policy must be swung back. If that is not achieved, our country is headed straight for something much worse than the similarly-caused financial crisis today in European countries. It would be worse because, unlike for Europe now, there is no source on Earth capable of bailing out a bankrupt United States. Rolling back big government is the greatest political problem in the United States since 1860. Every expenditure of government funds has a constituency to support it fiercely. And the anti-reform constituency includes more than the direct recipients of government checks. Lobbyists are a major part of the problem. Most of them make most of their money by seeking financial advantages from government for their clients. They will use their contacts and skills to prevent any reduction in government power to make decisions to favor special interests. Similarly, trial lawyers are always and everywhere the most active foes of tort reform, even though tort reform certainly increases general prosperity. Lobbyists and trial lawyers will fight conservatives in the political process, but the ideological left doesn't limit itself to peaceful, civilized activity. Let us suppose that the conservatives newly activated in politics succeed in electing a determined conservative President and a Congress with determined conservative majorities in both Houses. What would the left do? They would take to the streets, initiate violence, blame conservatives for provoking the violence, and count on their supporters in the media to raise a public clamor against the leaders responsible for each and every proposed or enacted cut in the cost or power of government. What happened in Madison, Wisconsin, in 2011 was mild compared to the national disruption which would ensue. Through violence and disruption, the left would do all they could to make the country ungovernable. And I'm not certain they wouldn't succeed. Nevertheless, conservatives can do much to prevent America from continuing down the path to disaster. For me, that means doing all I can to increase the number and effectiveness of conservative activists and leaders in government, politics, and the news media. Fortunately, thousands of Americans generously contribute to my efforts to identify, recruit, train, and place a new generation of conservative leaders and activists. In 2010, my Leadership Institute trained more than 9,600 people, a new record, and in 2011 my staff and I trained more than 11,800 people and set a new record. Since 1979, my institute has taught more than 104,000 conservatives how to win in the public policy process, including more than 13,000 who live in Virginia. Although I am quite certain that the fundamental purpose of the left is to gain power for themselves over others, I believe that conservatives should be prepared to counter the left's claim to be motivated by a noble desire to provide equally for the needs and prosperity of all humanity. There is no compatibility between financial equality and either liberty or general prosperity. For wealth to be created, some people hire other people. Where in all history has there been financial equality except where all people were equally poor? How did it hurt Americans for Steve Jobs to have, say, seven billion dollars? Would it have hurt us more if he had a fortune of $20 billion or $50 billion? As long as he did not force us to buy his products, he was entitled to the profits from his sales to willing customers. The legitimate role of government is to protect people from abuse, not to make them financially equal. That would amount to political plunder. I spent many years fighting Nelson Rockefeller's people within the Republican Party, but I never thought it would be right for government to take away his money. And conservatives like me regularly defeated the better-financed Rockefeller Republicans in College Republicans, Young Republicans, and the senior party. Unfortunately, envy is a common and strong human characteristic. Wise people eschew envy, but many others are attracted by people who promise them something for nothing, particularly when they are encouraged to believe that receiving for nothing the wealth of others is somehow achieving “justice.” None of the Occupiers understand the old story about killing the goose that laid the golden egg. Perhaps their parents never read it to them. What does the gap between the richest and poorest in any country signify? Despite familiar claims to contrary, in any prosperous country, the poor don't get poorer as the rich get richer. The poorest of the poor, and there are always many of them, are flat broke and can't get any poorer. A good definition of the American Dream is when poor people manage through their legitimate efforts to become rich. With economic liberty, that happens often, but it serves the left's purposes to have many people believe that economic success is somehow immoral. The rich getting richer inevitably provides more jobs for the poor, unless the poor loot the rich and destroy the ability of job creators to create more wealth in the country. While hate and envy aren't virtues, hiring people and making charitable gifts are. Rich people notoriously redistribute some of their wealth by hiring other people who are willing to work for them. Most rich people share some of their wealth by contributing, often very generously, sometimes anonymously, to help poor people or to improve society in other ways they think are important. In contrast, when government gets involved in matters done more efficiently by private, voluntary transactions, everything is politicized. Who gets what becomes a political decision. That's a guarantee of inefficiency, waste, fraud, corporate welfare, and favoritism based on political alliances. Government never creates wealth. Government employment and government-provided “benefits” necessarily require compulsory taxation of private wealth or borrowing and leaving the bill to be paid, if it can be paid, by future taxpayers. Politicians motivated by the desire to get power or stay in power well understand, as the saying goes, “If you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can count on Paul's vote.” And since Paul always wants more and more of Peter's money, many politicians spend their careers promising almost everyone something for nothing. The most effective ploy of the Occupiers has proved to be their adoption of the claim that they represent 99% of the people against the richest 1% percent. That's a modern adaptation of “Workers of the world, unite!” And it has the advantage of continued applicability. Even if all the wealth of the current top 1% were taken from them, there would still be others left to loot, those comprising the new 1%. Note that the vilification of the top 1% is pure class warfare. It makes no distinction for those who earned their money legitimately. A more relevant division would be between the Occupiers and a vastly larger group, those who aspire to be among the top 1% and work hard to provide the goods and services others want to pay for. The left cannot accept the increasingly obvious fact that big government is destroying jobs and bankrupting our country and its people. With that deliberate blindness comes a political vulnerability. The American people are waking up to the certainty of disastrous consequences for our country if big government isn't drastically trimmed. Whether or not enough Americans will wake up in time to make their weight felt in the coming November elections is an open question. But I have noticed that audiences get the point and respond enthusiastically when I ask if they've seen the new travel brochure. Its headline reads: “Visit Greece. See our brand new ruins.” This piece was published in the spring 2012 issue of the Leadership Institute's Leadership Memo.
Leadership Memo: Village Idiots At Large
Morton C. Blackwell
November 3, 2011
Leadership Memo: Village Idiots At Large
The American left is still shaken by the success of spontaneous conservative grassroots participation in tea party activities leading up to the 2010 elections. In desperation, leftists now hope to profit from the Occupy Wall Street gatherings which have spread to many other locations. Haven't the mainstream print and broadcast media, overwhelmingly liberal, given massive and sympathetic coverage to the Occupiers? Isn't this a good way to build enthusiasm among the base the left needs to win the 2012 elections? Probably not, even though Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, many extremist labor unions, the Socialist Party USA, the Communist Party USA, and others on the left are singing praises of the current demonstrators. So many want to lead the Occupiers. One week after the Occupy Wall Street protesters first gathered, the New York Times ran an opinion piece by Michael Kazin, “Whatever Happened to the American Left?,” offering his guidance in left-wing movement building. He urged the demonstrators to focus on “demanding millions of new jobs that pay a livable wage.” A fat lot of good that demand would do. Creating new jobs requires creation of new wealth, something that government has never been able to do. Government can and frequently does destroy jobs by interfering with wealth creation. At best, government can facilitate the creation of wealth (and jobs) by restricting its activity to protecting property rights, enforcing contracts, punishing fraud, and deterring violence. The idea of leftists “demanding millions of new jobs that pay a livable wage” reminds one of the famous “cargo cults” which sprang up in the South Pacific after World War II. Allied forces visited many remote islands during that war, built air strips, and flew in large quantities of goods needed in the war effort. Native islanders, unfamiliar with modern civilization, received some of those goods from Allied forces who wanted friendly relations with them. After the war, the planes stopped coming. Some primitive islanders created cargo cults. They built crude replicas of airplanes and prayed to the replicas, hoping to receive additional free goods from the sky. As evidence of the persistence of human folly, a handful of the cargo cults still survive, but most have faded away after generations of disappointment. Leftists demanding from government millions of new jobs will be similarly disappointed. For better or worse, though, the Occupiers are too diverse to unite on a single demand. What attracts their current supporters, from top government officials to the avowed Marxists and Leninists, is their potential usefulness in promoting class warfare, an ancient and common thread which runs through the entire left. Maybe, somehow, the Occupiers will build a great surge of hate, invigorate class warfare, and help the left to maintain and increase its power, despite the growing public disapproval of President Obama and his allies. And maybe not. We'll see. Right now, the protesters don't seem to be winning public approval, despite sympathetic news coverage stressing their “idealism.” My late father often said, “Anyone can get his name in the newspapers if he's willing to take his pants off in public.” Many of the Occupiers have done that and worse, which generates for them more contempt than admiration. The TV interviews with randomly selected Occupiers are suitable to run only on comedy shows. Before the current age of easy communication, every community had its village idiot, someone everyone knew couldn't think straight. The local village idiot was pretty isolated and usually tolerated well, often with affection because of his affliction. “Poor fellow.” Today, village idiots can find each other easily online, and sometimes they can gather in large numbers. Such gatherings are ugly, but they attract media attention, which attracts more idiots. Their idiocy, when it is directed toward leftist politics, may be ignored or soft-pedaled by the major news media, but the mainstream media has lost its former monopoly on mass communications. Most Americans have easy access to conservative media's broadcast, print, and online communications which widely expose the idiots' wackiness and bad behavior. Who but the willfully blind still approve of the Occupiers' protests and flights of fancy? Political linkage to these demonstrators will hurt, not help candidates in the 2012 elections. But this doesn't occur to the left, who are stuck in a rut with an outmoded world-view just when millions of conservative Americans have become newly activated as responsible political participants. The left cannot accept the increasingly obvious fact that big government is destroying jobs and bankrupting our country and its people. Leftists are fascinated by the Occupy Wall Street protesters because, for generations, their organizing principle hasn't changed. It was best stated in 1901 by future Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin in his newspaper Iskra (The Spark). Lenin wrote, “Our task is to utilize every manifestation of discontent, and to gather and turn to the best account every protest, however small … Concentrate all droplets of popular resentment. Combine all these streamlets into a single gigantic torrent.” More recently, Saul Alinsky taught much the same thing to many who now cannot resist applauding the Occupiers. That old strategy won't work in America today. Most experienced political analysts predict that President Obama cannot be re-elected unless our national economy improves dramatically before November 2012. More government can't generate the growth necessary to save the left in next year's election. And even if it could, the current Congress would defeat any major attempts to increase government spending and government control of the economy. The ironic fact is that the Occupy Wall Street protesters will, to the extent that they vilify profits and shame and frighten employers and prospective employers, discourage private investment in new activity which alone can create new jobs. By linking himself and his allies to these protests, President Obama is scaring off job creators and damaging his chance of re-election, not building his base of support. Fortunately, there aren't enough idiots out there.
From Morton Blackwell: Waves of Grassroots Conservatives
Lauren Hart
January 26, 2011
From Morton Blackwell: Waves of Grassroots Conservatives
The potential for growth of conservative political strength still exists. The rapid, spontaneous growth of grassroots conservative activity in 2009 and 2010 proves that. It turns out that the more groups you have and the greater the number of people you activate and teach how to be effective, the more power that you have to impact on the public policy process. I don't have to tell you how often Supreme Court decisions on liberal versus conservative issues are now decided on a five to four basis. The Congress is divided between conservatives and the left, with many congressional elections decided by only a handful of votes. The next presidential election is likely to be very close. Conservatives may once again be able to unite behind a conservative to win a presidential nomination and the 2012 presidential election. The margins of victory in the American public policy process may be smaller now than at any other time in American history. You can make a difference, now and in the future. The number of American conservative activists and leaders is certainly growing. To grow in effectiveness, they must study how to win. My Leadership Institute now offers 40 types of training schools in the public policy process. You can review those 40 types of schools online. For the first time, political training for conservatives is available online, on demand, and free 24 hours a day. Other conservative organizations also offer worthwhile training you should consider. Nothing would be more disappointing politically than for conservatives to lose because of avoidable mistakes. So I urge you, remember the real nature of politics and the clinching argument which has revived the power of conservative principles in America: You owe it to your philosophy to study how to win. You have a moral obligation to learn how to win. Morton Blackwell is the president of the Leadership Institute. This post is excerpted from "Another Large Influx of Grassroots Conservatives."
10 Points for Principled Conservatives' Success Within a Party
Lauren Hart
January 11, 2011
10 Points for Principled Conservatives' Success Within a Party
A principled conservative who wishes to succeed within a party should heed the following ten points: 1. Make yourself useful to the party's candidates and the activities of party organizations. Choose carefully what you agree to do, and then do it well. 2. Rise slowly. Don't put yourself forward for every available position of leadership. If you display competence in your party or campaign activities, other people will soon enough be ready to ask you, even urge you, to seek higher posts. Remember, there is always a big turnover. People without persistence drop out. Many vacancies open up. Even those party activists who have no particular political philosophy still like to win. If you become valuable to the party and a reliable asset to its candidates, even political opportunists will come to tolerate you and your commitment to principles. 3. Build a secure home base. It is not necessary that you and your allies now control the local or state party for you to become effective in the long run. What is necessary is that you cultivate allies who will reliably work together for your conservative principles. The Lone Ranger was never a successful politician. 4. Don't try to solve all the problems you see in a party committee or in a campaign organization. People resent a know-it-all. Pick and choose the matters in which you become involved. Sometimes it is better to let others learn by their own experience than by your advice. 5. Politics is of the heart as well as of the mind. Many people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. It is possible often to say unpleasant things pleasantly. Too often our politically wounded are left to bleed to death. Be compassionate and show it. 6. Study how to win. Being right in the sense of being correct is not sufficient to win. Political technology determines political success. Learn how to organize and how to communicate. Most political technology is philosophically neutral. You owe it to your philosophy to study how to win. 7. Expand the leadership. Do your best to locate, recruit, train and place other conservatives in the political process. Attrition of leadership is more severe in party organizations than in almost any other activity. Phyllis Schlafly says, with some justice, that county party chairman is the worst job in politics. Many people burn out quickly. As you build the size of your base of effective activists, it is natural that your own position within the party will gradually improve. 8. Study the rules of procedure. Or find someone of like mind who is or will become expert on the rules. One of the reasons for conservative successes within the Republican Party is that many conservatives in that party have taken the time to master the rules of procedure. Beyond a mastery of the rules comes an understanding of meeting dynamics. Meeting dynamics are best learned by long experience at political meetings. 9. In volunteer politics, a builder can build faster than a destroyer can destroy. If you achieve anything in politics, you will have enemies, some of whom will delight in attacking your every flaw, real or imagined. Do not spend much time replying to such criticism. On the average, it takes less time for you to recruit a new activist than it does for your enemies to persuade one of your recruits that you are a bad person. Over time, you get stronger and your enemies do not. 10. Don't make the perfect the enemy of the good. I'm not perfect. You're not perfect. No candidate is perfect. No party committee is perfect. If you can't cope with anything less than perfection, you will never achieve anything worthwhile. You would be like the pastor who was so concerned with heavenly things that he was no earthly good. Perfection is unattainable on this earth, but it is a useful guide to the direction we should go. One can use a good compass for a lifetime without expecting ever to get to the North Pole. About the Author Morton Blackwell is the president of the Leadership Institute. This post is excerpted from his writing "People, Parties, and Power."
LI President Defines Criterion For Being A Conservative
Lauren Hart
December 14, 2010
LI President Defines Criterion For Being A Conservative
December 14, 2010, Arlington, VA—With the recent elections behind us, how should conservatives move forward? Who should lead this movement? LI President Morton Blackwell answers these questions in his recent blog post. Mr. Blackwell's RedState blog post entitled, A Better Definition of Who is a Conservative, begins, “The most important political development of the just-concluded election cycle is the enormously effective, new, political involvement of grassroots conservatives through the Tea Party groups and other, major, analogous organizations.” “My Leadership Institute has trained newly active conservatives in partnership with every one of these major groups. My staff and I therefore probably understand all these groups as well or better than anyone else.” “If these groups continue active and growing, the 2012 elections will go much as the 2010 elections did.” Mr. Blackwell's ponders what makes a person a conservative. “In this era when claiming to be a conservative can be a pathway to power for opportunists, we must better define who is truly a conservative.” “I suggest this criterion: Conservatives are people who do more for conservative principles than they think they absolutely have to do. Only meeting such a standard will sustain the enthusiasm of the millions of grassroots conservatives who emerged politically in 2010.” To read the full blog post, please click here. The Leadership Institute is an educational foundation whose mission is to increase the number and effectiveness of conservative activists and leaders in the public policy process. To accomplish this, LI identifies, recruits, trains, and places conservatives in government, politics, and the media. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, more than 90,000 people have been trained (with half of those being in the last six years) in one or more of the 40 current programs offered in all 50 states and across the globe. For more information, please visit: http://www.leadershipinstitute.org -30-
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