Western Conservative Summit: Reflections and Ruminations

Joshua has a great rundown of this past weekend’s Western Conservative Summit. I was there for most of the day on Saturday, but unfortunately not able to catch the festivities of Friday evening or Sunday morning. Judging especially by the descriptions of the Michelle Bachmann and Arthur Brooks presentations, I regret missing them most of all.

The personal highlight for the lovely Mrs. Virtus and I was the opportunity to hear Dennis Prager’s enlightening and insightful address. He brings a lot of well-stated wisdom to the table, along with a genuine self-deprecating humor that endears him to the crowd. Even having heard his American Trinity discussed before, the speech never lost my attention. It was an excellent evening.

A very special thank-you goes out to John Andrews of the Centennial Institute for including the Rocky Mountain Alliance as an event co-sponsor and for inviting our participation. I didn’t expect to be summoned onto the stage before the Prager speech — along with the new media crew of Joshua, El Presidente, Kelly Maher (her site recently had a makeover) and Amanda Teresi — but the additional blog exposure is always appreciated. And it added to the evening’s enjoyment.

El Presidente of People’s Press Collective deserves a major tip of the hat for working to get nearly all of the proceedings on video. While the long hard work of getting the videos processed and edited means footage gradually will be posted over the coming weeks, the Q & A session from Bachmann’s Friday evening address is posted as earnest.

I can’t dispute Joshua’s assessment. By most measures, the Western Conservative Summit was a success. One measure Joshua didn’t focus on was the great fellowship of fellow attendees. Yes, there were plenty of the same people you see at many conservative or Republican events. But also there were plenty of new faces, and an opportunity to further expand the circle of friends and fellow patriots.

The Summit featured many top-notch speeches, all marked by a thematic consistency. The flow of the conference appeared to feed off the broader energy and enthusiasm among the Tea Party crowd for downsizing Washington and embracing fiscal responsibility and Constitutional government. National security and immigration also were key themes — and largely geared less for a libertarian audience. Judging by the enthusiastic reactions, the hundreds who attended got what they wanted to hear: including many stirring, motivating, ennobling words.

Yet some presentations clearly lacked in depth. I suspect the same demand for mature, focused. solution-oriented governance that will come once the conservatives have seized the castle also more closely will inform the tenor of future Western Conservative Summits. Keeping the coalition from splintering on hot-button issues and keeping elected officials from going native will be a time- and energy-consuming endeavor. (Just in case you thought electoral victory in 2010 means you can rest on your laurels in 2011.)

The audience received this year’s message remarkably well. Here’s guessing most already are looking forward to the sequel. And that means getting down to business.


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