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?
Now is the time
Morton Blackwell
September 4, 2012
Now is the time
Now is the time for you to work hard for the candidates of your choice. Roll up your sleeves and get to work.Here are some of the advantages to you of campaign work right now. You may be crucial to a win for a good candidate in a close race. Win or lose, you will gain valuable experience. No matter what your future activity in the public policy process, campaign work is a durable credential. It's a surefire way for you to make useful contacts.It's often a lot of fun. Be careful what you commit to do; then do it well. Under-promise and over-perform. In short, if you're not active in a campaign now, find and contact a candidate whom you like. Volunteer and follow through. This short piece was first published in a September 18, 1992 mailing to Leadership Institute graduates. >
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.
How to stop them from stomping out the grassroots
Morton C. Blackwell
August 17, 2012
How to stop them from stomping out the grassroots
Morton Blackwell delivered this speech at the Second Annual Conservative Leadership Conference, in Washington, D.C. on November 10, 1990. Knowledgeable conservatives, in moments of candor, will admit our grassroots activity is far less today than a dozen years ago. Several causes come initially to mind:• We do not have a Ronald Reagan, persuasively reliable on all our issues, around whom to rally.• The success of conservative economic policies has brought an unprecedented period of economic prosperity, lessening our fears for the survival of the free enterprise system.• The success of conservative policies of peace through strength has helped engender the utter extinction of the Brezhnev Doctrine and hastened the collapse of much of the Soviet empire.• Our ancient liberal enemies have ceased to trumpet much of their old ideology and seem to be doing all they can to sound as if they are conservatives on many issues. Most of these causes are the natural results of successful policies of a newly formed, governing majority coalition, signs of the cyclical process familiar in a healthy, two party system. When the threat perception declines, activists tend to lose much of their old enthusiasm. Coalition members tend to start bickering. But these reasons are not sufficient to explain the extent of the current decline in grassroots activism. New governing coalitions in the United States tend to last for a generation or two. Other factors are at work. Today I intend to discuss two other factors, the increasing domination of political consultants and growing failure of conservatives to run candidates. These are factors which affect our opponents as well. But the extent of the damage done to us by these two factors is largely in our power to correct. First let us consider the career path of a successful political consultant. Here is what happens: A smart campaign staffer helps win a high visibility election and decides to become a consultant. The new consultant is soon involved in another win or two and is suddenly able to sell his services to many campaigns. While able to give his few, early clients a great deal of personal time, working through many levels of their campaign organizations, the consultant quickly finds it impossible to give the same type of service to half a dozen candidates simultaneously. Unable now to supervise detailed operations involving many layers of people in many campaigns at once, the consultant directs his client campaigns toward media-intensive, rather than people-intensive activity. Media decisions are few in number. They require skill but little time. The consultant also realizes it is very much in his own financial interest to have as much as possible of his clients' budgets spent on media. Most consultants take a 15% commission (over and above client-paid production costs and his retainer) from media vendors for all placements. The consultant knows he gets no commission for campaign funds spent on people-intensive activity, such as:• Precinct organization• Voter ID phone banks• Voter registration drives• Youth effort• The election day process to get out the vote With their budgets warped towards media spending, candidates and their in-state organizations are led to measure the progress of their campaigns only in terms of dollars raised and tracking polls. (When I ask a candidate in a close race how he is doing and he answers by first describing his fundraising progress, I know he is in trouble.) In defense of his practices, the consultant develops an outspoken contempt for any proposal, significant campaign expenditures except for paid media. Many of his clients lose due to their failure to organize large numbers of people in their campaigns. But some of his clients do win. These winners are the ones the consultant talks about as he recruits clients in the next election cycle. Having helped several candidates, the consultant is likely to be hired again to run their reelection campaigns. The incumbents have the ability to amass huge campaign funds, often from local donors. Even in the closing days of a reelection campaign where an incumbent is virtually unopposed, the consultant has a strong incentive to urge their incumbent on to raise more and more money. Never mind that conservative candidates in other contests in the area might actually win close contests but for the incumbent's having vacuumed up so much money from available donors. After all, for every additional $100,000 spent on broadcast media, the consultant will pocket a cool $15,000 plus his fees for creating any new commercials. The consultant, now prosperous and enjoying a changed lifestyle, has ready access to and influence with some incumbent officeholders. He decided to branch out into lobbying, where his influence enables him to pull down some really fat fees from major corporations, trade associations, and even foreign governments which have major financial interests in the decision of elected and appointed government officials. By now, most of the consultant's income does not come from election campaigns. But he continues to take some candidates as clients, partly to keep his valuable ties with incumbents and partly because there are in each election cycle some rich candidates and others able to raise big war chests, which will be spent largely on campaign media, still a fine source of income for the consultant. Every experienced conservative campaign activist has seen outrageous examples of this behavior. My luncheon for conservative campaign activists has met bi-weekly, without exception, since 1974. I keep close touch with the election process. I'm not raising this as a theoretical problem. Not all successful consultants behave this way. A great many do. But others, particularly those who specialize in one or more aspects of campaign technology such as direct mail, telephone canvassing, coalition building and youth efforts, do not. This growing problem with consultants has many bad effects:• The unnecessary losses of many conservative candidates each year• The looting of millions of dollars misspent on media• The suckering of many right candidates who are falsely led by consultants to believe they can win• The increasing perception that campaigning is mostly mudslinging TV commercials• Worst of all, the general decline of citizen participation as activists and, often, even as voters in the political process Historically, volunteer participation in elections is the greatest preparation for competent campaign management and good candidates in future elections. That source of new activists and candidates is drying up. Can grassroots activists do anything to limit the damage done by the increasing dominance of campaign consultants? Certainly. One big reason for reliance on campaign consultants is the increasing complexity of modern election technology. But in the years leading up to the election of 1980 conservative organizations ran massive political education and training efforts. Activists were prepared by the thousands. That grassroots infrastructure building should be vigorously resumed. If you are a donor to a conservative organization you should demand that a substantial portion of its budget should be spent on increasing the number and the effectiveness of its activists. If a group fails to do this, give to other groups instead. If you are a donor to a party organization, demand that it spends your money, in part, on a serious program of political education and training. There is hardly any area of political technology which cannot be mastered by a willing local activist. The Republican party was spending a much higher percentage of its revenue on political education and training twenty years ago than it is today. The GOP is giving only peanuts to its volunteer base. Be careful that the training programs actually teach useful skills. Many seminars which purport to teach local activists are taught by consultants not interested in preparing volunteer competitors. Such programs serve only to teach the participants that the consultant knows his topic and is worthy of hire. If you contribute to a candidate, you have the right to demand that his campaign give a healthy budget to people-oriented programs: precinct organizations, women's activities, youth efforts, etc. These activities build grassroots infrastructure like no others. Let us now turn to the problem of the growing failure of conservatives to run candidates. More and more it is proving impossible to recruit conservative candidates against incumbents or even for open seats. Challengers for even local incumbents often cannot be found. The next Congress will have only four Republicans among the ten congressman from my home state of Virginia. But ten years ago we elected nine of the ten. And the lone Democratic congressman was more was more conservative than some of the Republicans. And all six of the Virginia Democratic congressmen are quite liberal by Virginia standards. And, what is worse, far worse, is the dreadful fact that we did not run Republican challengers against any of the five incumbent Democrats. They got off scot free. But don't for a moment think the Democrats gave our five incumbent Republicans a free ride. No, there were Democratic challengers to all five of our congressmen. And the challenger who beat Congressman Stan Parris reportedly raised more money than any other challenger against a Republican incumbent in the United States this year. This problem in my state is typical of the situation in many parts of the country. In fact, there is a fundamental misconception which is shared by many conservatives and many Republican leaders. This political error is not unique to Virginia. It is, I believe, a misunderstanding of how best to build grassroots strength through running candidates. Too many of us think we should run a candidate only when we think there is a good chance we can win the election. And, since nobody believed we could beat any of the five incumbent Virginia Democratic congressmen, nobody ran against any of them. I submit that, in the case of these ten congressional races, the Democrats acted smarter than the Republicans. But not running a candidate often sounds so reasonable, doesn't it? Why spend the time and money it takes to run and almost surely losing race? Why ask a candidate to take on an almost surely losing candidacy? Why embarrass the party or the conservative cause by losing badly? Why take the chance of diverting resources from our candidates elsewhere who have a chance to win? Why anger a safe incumbent opponent? All these sound like pretty good reasons not to challenge apparently safe liberal incumbents, don't they? Many Republican incumbents, in particular, don't want to rile many of their Democratic colleagues by challenging them. And most of those arguments sound just as good as reasons not to run a candidate in an open district where the liberals seem virtually certain to win. Yet those are arguments which ultimately lead to slow growth, no growth and eventual decline of a movement or a political party. If conservatives in Virginia had operated in this fashion for the past 25 years, Republicans would not have won our first U.S. Senate race, the party would not today hold even four congressional districts and the party would not have the record strength it enjoys today in Virginia's General Assembly and in local offices. Take for example my own congressional district, the Tenth. Conservative Republican Frank Wolf was an unknown in 1976 when he first announced against the incumbent liberal Democratic Congressman Joe Fisher. Frank Wolf campaigned hard but lost the nomination to a state legislator, who was then beaten by Congressman Fisher in November. Frank Wolf again took on this seemingly hopeless task in 1978. He was nominated and did better than the state legislator had two years earlier. But Wolf lost again in 1978. Finally, in 1980, frank Wolf won both the nomination and, narrowly, the general election defeating the incumbent who very few people thought was vulnerable four years earlier. The two earlier races had so weakened the liberal Democratic congressman and so strengthened our organization that we were able to take the district. We have been winning it by convincing margins ever since. Think about this seriously. Everyone who knows much about politics knows of many cases where races against supposedly entrenched incumbents weakened the incumbents so they could be defeated in subsequent elections. Isn't that a fair situation? Isn't that a strong, solid reason to run candidates, almost an obligation to run candidates, even when there is thought to be no chance to win in the current election year? The best know political consultants, by the way, usually advise against running candidates who are very unlikely to win. But such candidates provide the big consultants with no revenue, except in case of rich, hopeless candidates. In this latter case, consultants are often willing to take them as clients. Often to "take" them in both senses of the word. Conservatives who know how important it is to build for the future also know how a losing race can soften up an opponent for future defeat, build credibility for our challengers and build strength of our own organizations. These are powerful reasons not to leave vacant places on the ballot. While we know of losing races which made possible later victories, there is another situation which often occurs. Some conservative activists can remember our Virginia United States Senate race in 1972. An unusual congressman from the Eighth District, Bill Scott, made what most so-called "experts" thought was a hopeless race against the supposedly invulnerable incumbent, U.S. Senator Bill Spong. Now not everyone thought the Scott for Senate cause was hopeless. A conservative Republican leader, Richard Obenshain, thought this so-called "impossible" race was actually winnable. So he set out to win with Scott, certainly one of the most difficult candidates our party has fielded in our lifetimes. But Dick Obenshain was a political genius who saw opportunities where others saw only problems. Bill Scott won. Six years later he turned his U.S. Senate seat over to another Republican whom many of us hoped would have been Dick Obenshain. Senator John Warner won very narrowly in 1978, winning again in 1984 by a big margin. This year Democrats did not challenge Sen. Warner, which is great for Republicans and, in my opinion, bad news or Democrats. But we should remember that almost everyone at first thought Bill Scott could not win this seat when he ran for it 13 years ago. Please think about it. How many times have you, yourself, been pleasantly surprised when a race supposedly hopeless for us has resulted in a thrilling conservative victory? Most of our best conservative members of both houses of the Congress first won in just such circumstances. Sometimes the liberal nominee self-destructs unexpectedly. Sometimes our candidate and his campaigns turn out to be much better than we expected. Surely all of us can think of predicted losers who instead became glorious winners. It that not therefore another good reason to run candidates whom we really don't expect to win? Frankly, looking at the ten congressional districts in Virginia today, how the Democrats treated us and how we treated them, it's a scandal that we have left all their incumbents unchallenged. At the congressional level, Virginia has only a one and a half party system in 1990. How about your state? This situation I call a scandal is not to be blamed on any particular party leaders at the local or state levels. The general idea of not challenging supposedly invulnerable incumbents is common almost everywhere in our country. In my home county of Arlington, our party has very often in recent years failed to run candidates against many of the worst liberals in Virginia. There is plenty of blame to go around. And I'll accept my share. What I am proposing today is not recriminations but a badly needed change of policy, a change of our behavior. Let me put it clearly. Not running candidates is almost worse than putting up losing candidates. Sometimes we produce upset victories. Sometimes we build up candidates for future victories. Always we involve new people who can later help us win future victories. Always we force the opposition incumbents to gather and spend for themselves some resources which might otherwise be spent against our conservative candidateselsewhere. Not running candidates is no way to build a movement or party. If one chooses to be active in a party structure, one necessarily must support that party's incumbents except in extraordinary circumstances. But conservatives primarily active outside a party structure are free of most such constraints. In sum, conservatives should run candidates against liberal incumbents and for open seats regardless of whether or not the potential candidates appear to be possible winners. The only two tests should be these: 1. Will the person act responsibly in the campaign? 2. If elected, would the person be a credit to our cause? If a potential candidate passes these two tests, then encourage him or her to run. Do this regardless of whether or not there appears to be a real chance to win the election.You may not happen to find or be able to recruit to run any independently wealthy, thirty-five year old conservative business leaders with degrees in both economics and political science. If not, you might recruit a politically savvy mother; we have a lot of them across America who would make good candidates. Or run a distinguished retiree. Or even a dedicated and intelligent young person. Each new candidate brings to your cause not only his own time and effort but also the resources and enthusiasm of his own circle of family, friends and supporters. And many people who don't like the liberals are happy we have given them a choice. Of course I don't advocate misleading a potential candidate to think you can provide money or manpower which aren't actually available. Already this happens too often. Give a realistic estimate of this chances of winning. Say what the limits of likely movement resources and party support. The national and state party resources will be and should be focused in the main on candidates with some prospect of election. Curiously, you will find that some people don't mind being run as sacrificial lambs in a good cause. To fill out a Republican ballot, I ran for the state legislature in Louisiana 22 years ago. I was duly sacrificed, but with no lasting ill effects. You will find that some potential candidates will respond to your less than optimistic assessment of their chances by declaring candidacy despite the long odds. Many will convince themselves that they do have a chance. And some may surprise you by actually winning. Look at this from your own experience. Aren't most of the conservative winners you know and almost all of the key workers for conservative winners you know, aren't these people experienced in prior, but losing campaigns? We are trying to build a stable governing majority. Winning today isn't everything. Losing today may open doors to victories tomorrow. Let's fill the ballot where we can.>
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.
Who's Who on a Campaign
Leadership Institute Staff
August 7, 2012
Who's Who on a Campaign
Whether you're watching the news, volunteering at a local campaign office, or organizing your own run for office, it's helpful to know who's who -- and who's doing what! -- on the campaign trail. So what's the work involved? No matter the size of the campaign, it must focus on 11 key activities, some of which you'll learn about in more detail in the coming weeks: - planning and strategy- day-to-day management- fundraising- communications- research and polling- issues and messaging - voter contact- volunteer coordination- coalitions- scheduling- advance The structure of the campaign and the roles of the staff are based on dividing up responsibility for these 11 key activities. Before the campaign is underway, the leadership team must decide -- and write down in the campaign -- which person is responsible for what activities. What activity is the responsibility of a volunteer or a paid staff member? Will each activity be assigned to a different person or will one person handle multiple campaign activities? On smaller campaigns, people may fill multiple roles and volunteers may take on substantial responsibilities. But on larger campaigns, this is the general breakdown by job title. Campaign Manager The campaign manager is the CEO. He or she is responsible for all campaign activities, including management of the candidate, and making sure that daily operations and programs are completed on time and within the budget. On smaller campaigns, the campaign manager may play multiple roles: political strategist, fundraiser, media contact, and volunteer coordinator. But on larger campaigns, he or she oversees the campaign staff and consultants in their day-to-day work. Finance Director The Finance Director is responsible for the campaign's fundraising programs. He or she develops a fundraising plan and oversees the campaign's fundraising efforts through mail, online, and at in-person events. The Finance Chairman and Finance Committee support the Finance Director. The chairman is ideally a person with strong ties to the local community who can help the campaign reach beyond donors who have a direct relationship with the candidate. The Finance Committee is composed of similar people, whose networks can be tapped to raise funds for the campaign. Communications Director The Communications Director is responsible for the campaign's messaging and communication to internal groups (i.e. donors, volunteers, and supporters) and external groups (i.e. media). He or she is responsible for determining when, how, and in what terms the campaign's message is shared and spread. He or she also responds to inquiries, from the press, the community, or supporters, about the campaign. The Communications Director also is responsible for the prioritization of campaign issues. A campaign is always about the candidate's ideas and issues. The Communications Director helps the candidate determine the most important messages and the most effective way in which to deliver them. On larger campaigns, the Communications Director will work with a Press Secretary, who maintains regular contact with the media. Political Director The Political Director oversees a wide range of areas: voter targeting, outreach, and identification; coalitions; endorsements; and work with surrogates to speak on behalf of the campaign in the media. On larger campaigns, the Political Director will oversee a Field Director, who manages day-to-day voter identification and outreach efforts “in the field,” and a Volunteer Director, who recruits and deploys volunteers to support the campaign's efforts. Consultants Professional consultants may be hired to manage entire campaign activities (e.g. fundraising or research and polling) or to part of a campaign activity (e.g. producing radio or television ads). The role of consultants on the campaign should be clearly delineated in their contracts. In addition to these paid staff, campaigns rely heavily on volunteers – motivated by the candidate or the candidate's issues – to complete their day-to-day work. >
The Real Nature of Politics
Morton C. Blackwell
August 6, 2012
The Real Nature of Politics
Morton Blackwell's piece, The Real Nature of Politics, is at the core of the Voting Is Not Enough project. As he explains, 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. The mission of the Leadership Institute, and this project, increase the number and effectiveness of conservative activists. What I am about to share with you is probably the most important lesson you will learn at any time in your life about success in the public policy process. Conservatives did not understand the real nature of politics for many years and certainly did not begin to teach it systematically until the early 1970s. Many conservatives today haven't learned it yet. Please bear with me as I begin with the important historical background. I'll get to the key concepts soon enough. What was the greatest difference between conservatives who supported Barry Goldwater in 1964 and those who supported Ronald Reagan in 1980? Most people don't know the answer. The majority today aren't old enough to remember the 1964 presidential campaign, but Barry Goldwater's book, The Conscience of a Conservative, is still available and widely read. Fortunately, most people still remember Ronald Reagan and his conservative principles. Anyone who supported Goldwater in 1964 and Reagan in 1980 can tell you that there was no significant difference in philosophy between Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. You can see this for yourself. If you read The Conscience of a Conservative, published in 1960, you will see that Barry Goldwater's positions on public policy issues then were very close to those of Ronald Reagan in 1980. I can tell you from my personal experiences in the 1964 Goldwater campaign and in the 1980 Reagan campaign that there was one great difference between the approach to politics of the Goldwater supporters and the Reagan supporters 16 years later. The difference was that we Goldwater supporters tended to believe that being right, in the sense of being correct, was sufficient to win. We firmly believed that if we could prove we were right, if we could logically demonstrate that our candidate was of higher character and that his policies would be better for our country, somehow victory would fall to our deserving hands like a ripe fruit off of a tree. That's not the real nature of politics. I call that misconception the Sir Galahad theory: "I will win because my heart is pure." Do you know what was the most used slogan of the Goldwater campaign? It was this: "In your heart, you know he's right." Unfortunately the real world doesn't work that way, as we who supported Goldwater found out when Lyndon Johnson trounced us. Johnson got 41 million votes and Goldwater got 27 million votes. To this day I'm convinced Barry Goldwater would have been a better President for the United States than Lyndon Johnson, but Lyndon Johnson won big. Some Goldwater conservatives were so shocked and disappointed that they dropped out of politics and were never seen again. But not all of the Goldwater people left. Many of us stayed involved. Lots of us travelled similar paths and wound up working together. In 1964, I had served as the youngest elected Goldwater Delegate to the Republican National Convention. The next year, 1965, I came to Washington to be executive director of the national College Republicans. Others with solid Goldwater pedigrees moved into the national scene at about the same time. A young Goldwater supporter named Richard Viguerie came to Washington in 1965 and created his direct mail firm. He soon became the nationally dominant consultant in political direct mail and is still a leader in that field today. Another notable young conservative, Ed Feulner, also came to Washington in 1965, to work for a think tank. Then he became a leading conservative congressional staffer. Now he is president of the massive and effective Heritage Foundation. Another young Goldwater supporter, Paul Weyrich, came to Washington the next year, in 1966, to serve as press secretary for a conservative U.S. Senator from Colorado. Weyrich soon became the key conservative expert on politics on Capitol Hill. He later became America's most successful organizer of conservative organizations and institutions, playing a key role for more than 40 years in founding important new groups. All of us had supported Goldwater, but none of us was prominent in his campaign. In fact, none us even knew each other until we got to the D.C. area and began to build our own national reputations as fighters in different ways for conservative principles. But in those days, our past support of the Goldwater campaign was a priceless credential among fellow conservatives. Lee Edwards, a friend of mine who served as Director of Information in the 1964 Goldwater campaign had founded in 1965 what was probably the D.C. area's only conservative public relations firm. Now Dr. Edwards, he has become the nation's foremost historian and biographer of the conservative movement. In May 1972, Edwards introduced me to Richard Viguerie. A week later Viguerie hired me away from the conservative think tank where I then worked in D.C. He said, "Morton, I want you to come help me build a conservative movement." Richard Viguerie meant what he said, and his words were music to my ears because building a conservative movement was exactly what I wanted to do. Soon, with my help as his political assistant, Richard began to gather frequently a small group of experienced, totally reliable conservatives who were serious about trying to figure out how to win for conservative principles. Included in our meetings were those I have named, including Lee Edwards, and others whom we believed shared our conservative principles and our determination eventually to win for those principles in government, politics, and the news media. We were tired of losing. We discussed what had worked well for the political left, why conservatives had lost so many political battles, and what conservatives might do to win in the future. It came down to this: What is the real nature of politics? Here was our first great conclusion: Being right in the sense of being correct is not sufficient to win. You don't win just because your heart is pure, even if you can prove logically that you are right. What, then, does determine victory? In our frequent meetings and discussions, we came to our second great conclusion: 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. That fundamental understanding changed our thinking. It explains why the side that's right doesn't necessarily win. Next we considered the vital question of what determines the number and effectiveness of the activists and leaders on a given side. Clearly, numbers and effectiveness do not depend on which side is right. Our third great conclusion was: The number and effectiveness of the activists and leaders on a given side in a political contest is determined by the political technology used by that side. That explains a lot of political history, including why bad causes, like communism, attracted a lot of activists. The people on the political left used effective political technology. In contrast, most conservatives had relied on proving we are right. Political technology can be roughly divided into communication technology and organization technology, with no neat line of separation between communication and organization. Most political technology is philosophically neutral. Techniques which work for the left can work for conservatives. Techniques which work for Republicans can work for Democrats, and vice versa. Similar techniques can work whether a public policy battle is an election or a legislative battle over tax rates, the right to keep and bear arms, abortion, or any other issue. In the 1970s, when we made what were for us these discoveries about the real nature of politics, we saw this new understanding as a terrific insight which could lead to victory for conservative principles in the public policy process of government, politics, and the news media. But because most political technology is philosophically neutral, most people who are deeply committed philosophically tend to disdain to study or use political technology. Instinctively, people devoted to their political principles tend to think learning mere skills is beneath their dignity because techniques are philosophically neutral. Such people are, after all, thinking about and proving their wonderful, deeply held views on important public policy questions. Is abortion the murder of tiny babies? What must be done to stop the spread of worldwide communism? What must be done to keep big government from destroying economic liberty and prosperity? "They will take my gun only by prying it from my cold dead fingers. God made man, but Winchester made men equal!" Serious questions. Serious people can get very excited about issues and philosophic differences, but they instinctively tend to think poorly of the study or practice of philosophically neutral skills. Political technology is composed of a universe of specific techniques. Of course, not all political techniques are philosophically neutral. Terror is an evil technique used most commonly by the left. Communists famously and effectively use terror to grab power and keep it. But most political technology has no inherent philosophical content. How you design a piece of political literature, how you raise funds, how you organize a precinct, how you attract a crowd to a political event, how you communicate to a mass audience online -- those techniques can work for anybody. You may wonder now what I mean by techniques. Most of the most useful techniques don't involve complex computer programming. Let me use, for example, the techniques available for something as simple as a nametag. How often have you seen pre-printed nametags which begin, in big letters, with "HELLO, MY NAME IS"? That's a bad technique. The printed message is useless, and it takes space on the nametag which could be used for communication. How many times have you attended meetings where someone has thoughtfully printed nametags for everyone in advance, in letters about the size a typewriter would produce? That's a bad technique because it wastes space which be used for communication. How many times have you had to write your name on a nametag with a thin-line ballpoint pen? That's a bad technique because a name written by a wide-line, felt-tip pen is easier to read. Often people print or write names on nametags in all capital letters. That's a bad technique because capitalizing only the first letters makes the nametag easier to read. The name on a nametag should comfortably fill the entire space available. Where do you place a nametag? Most people instinctively place their nametags on their left shoulders. Wrong. The best place for your nametag is on your right shoulder, where people can most easily read it when you extend your right hand to greet them. Thousands of known techniques work. Very few techniques in politics are as complex as rocket science. Most are as simple as learning the types of print font which are easiest to read or what I have said about nametags. The right techniques can make you more effective in everything you work to achieve. Each good technique you use in politics makes it more likely that you will win. But many philosophically committed conservatives tend to believe that being right, in the sense of being correct, is sufficient to win. Those of us who began to meet in 1972 discovered the real nature of politics: 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, and, The number and the effectiveness of the activists and leaders on a given side is determined by the political technology that side employs. We knew that many of our conservative allies thought otherwise and that we would have to persuade them differently. Here is how we convinced many of them. We shared with them our analysis of the real nature of politics, and then said, "If that is true, you owe it to your philosophy to study how to win. You owe it to your philosophy to study how to win. You have a moral obligation to learn how to win." If you allow your opposition to learn better how to organize and communicate than you do and they implement that technology, they will beat you no matter how right you are -- and you don't deserve to win. That is a persuasive argument. When you talk in terms of a moral obligation, you're talking in terms people can understand if they have a strong philosophical commitment. We began to have success teaching committed conservatives this, the real nature of politics, and it had a remarkable and sudden impact. New groups begin to spring up in a wide range of issue areas. A wide variety of specialized organizations: educational foundations, legal defense foundations, lobbying organizations, and political action committees. Conservatives began to study how to win. Existing conservative organizations also began to grow very rapidly. For example, in 1972, one of the biggest, most effective, most famous, most respected and even most feared organizations on the conservative side was the National Right to Work Committee. In 1972 they had 25,000 members, and they were thought of as really big stuff. Then they began to study and use communication and organization technology. They began to grow throughout the 1970s, from 25,000 members in 1972 to 1.7 million National Right to Work Committee members in 1979. Then they really were big and could affect policy in a major way. At first a handful of new conservative groups started. Then dozens. Then conservatives started hundreds of new national and local groups. Each new or newly large group contributed an increase in the number and the effectiveness of conservative activists and leaders. By 1980 conservatives had the political muscle across the country not only to nominate Ronald Reagan for President but to elect him. That wasn't the first time Reagan had run for President. I was a Reagan alternate Delegate in the presidential campaign of 1968, when he made his first, brief run for President. Again I was a Reagan alternate Delegate in 1976, when he ran against President Ford for the nomination and almost won. By 1980 the conservative movement had grown remarkably. Reagan won nomination convincingly and then won election. And I got to serve three years on the Reagan White House Staff. All of this is of central importance for you because 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 next Congress is likely to be closely 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. 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 at LeadershipInstitute.org. 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 C. Blackwell is the president of the Leadership Institute. Having worked actively in politics for more than forty years, he has probably trained more political activists than any other conservative.>
Serious, and sometimes humorous, advice from a real-life intern
Caleb Parke
July 27, 2012
Serious, and sometimes humorous, advice from a real-life intern
I have reached the inevitable point of no return at which everyone asks, “Are you ready for school?” and “How was your summer?” Both questions cause a flood of emotions for me.I am excited to go back to school, but I'm sad to leave this summer behind.From the sunny day in May when I packed my dorm room into my grandma's convertible, bought a suit at Brooks Brothers, and headed to DC, to living with 11 other interns in one house (think Real World: DC, minus the drama), I have had so many amazing experiences and opportunities.It has been humbling and crazy – a summer like no other. I traded sleep, exercise, and healthy eating to maximize my time in the nation's capital, where there is always an event waiting for an RSVP. There is no such thing as a free lunch, unless you're a DC intern. Just make sure you dress the part.Was it worth the sacrifice? Without a doubt, it was.So, what have I learned this summer?1. Someone is always watching you. So be good for goodness sake! The golden rule should be your guiding principle. Write it on your hand as a constant reminder...or, at least, keep it at the forefront of your mind.2. Step out of your comfort zone. Just like Bristol Palin on Dancing with the Stars, try something new in spite of any criticism you might receive. Haters gonna hate. To keep yourself grounded, you should have some consistencies in your life like breakfast, church, and calls to mom and dad, just to name a few. But you need to challenge yourself, too.3. Ask questions and listen to the answers. Be an active learner. I have learned a lot by just listening to my fellow interns and leaders within the conservative movement. Some of my views have changed, while others are now stronger.4. Be professional. Always carry business cards with you, and keep your resume updated to the gold standard – second only to the Bible and the Constitution. Also, keep in mind that you have an online resume. Use Facebook and Twitter appropriately.5. Dress for success. Get a fashion mentor. This could be a friend, your mom, or even GQ. It doesn't have to be expensive, either. Take your wardrobe in strides. Start with at least one nice suit and then piece the rest together through various consignment shops and occasional steals (and by that I mean really good buys).6. Stay connected and follow up. Keep in contact with friends and leaders you've met during your internship. You never know where they might end up! Possibly the most important question you can ask is, “How can I help you?” Conversely, Benjamin Franklin said, “If you want to make a friend, ask them for a favor.” Helping others and asking them to help you establishes strong connections.7. Surround yourself with people you admire. This includes the influences of the books you read, shows you watch, and music you listen to. Show me your friends, and I'll show you your future.Finally, in all of it, have fun, and don't be afraid to fail. You're an intern, so now is the time to make mistakes. But remember you're not just an intern. You're more than that! Act like it!Shameless plug: The Leadership Institute offers the best internship in Washington, D.C. I am now a walking example. I received free housing, established an instant network of conservatives, attended free LI trainings, got free books, and attended several conferences. I also met great conservative rockstars like Star Parker, James O'Keefe, Lila Rose, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rebecca Kleefisch, and many more! If you want to have an unforgettable experience, I highly recommend you apply for the LI intern program.>
LI’s Largest On-site Training of 149 DC Summer Interns Pack LI for the Conservative Intern Workshop
Braden Goodgame
July 6, 2012
LI’s Largest On-site Training of 149 DC Summer Interns Pack LI for the Conservative Intern Workshop
Last Thursday the Leadership Institute hosted its largest ever on-site training: 149 DC summer interns from 60 organizations, including 16 Capitol Hill offices, from around DC came for the free, day-long Conservative Intern Workshop. From 9 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. conservative interns from various organizations around the DC area took part in thorough training encompassing many areas from networking to proper professional attire. Eight faculty spoke throughout the day. The first was LI's Vice President of Development Steve Sutton, a former chief of staff in the U.S. House of Representatives for more than 14 years. Steve spoke about how to find job opportunities in public policy, and railed against a popular trend he often sees. “So many people come to DC wanting to work on the Hill,” Steve said. “They end up waiting tables, and then go home. Don't go home! There are so many opportunities off of the Hill!”Among the many Conservative Intern Workshop speakers, Conservative Leadership PAC Executive Director Lance Wheeler stood out in his commentary about making a positive first impression.“A good first impression is a good lasting impression,” Lance said. “An internship is just an extended interview. Always be putting your best effort forward.”Liberty Consulting, Inc. Intern Anna Shoffner described the workshop as, “Extremely beneficial! They really rolled out the red carpet for us interns to equip us as activists, and I feel like I learned from wonderful people--both other interns and Leadership Institute staff!”After attending the workshop, Campaign for Liberty Intern Sarah Harvard said: “After completing the LI Intern workshop, I feel more confident than ever to follow my political ambitions. It is such an honor and privilege to have prominent individuals to enlighten my knowledge of careers in politics. From resumes to first impressions, from dressing for interviews to networking, and from the principles of excellence to the nature of politics, I was able to understand the world of politics. I encourage all interns to take the intern workshop -- it may change the way you see DC for the better!”Additional training opportunities with LI were detailed. LI reinforced its leading role as the go to place for conservative career advice. Interns were given tours of LI's facilities including LI Studios, given comprehensive Program Catalogs of all LI's course offerings, introduced to LI's Employment Placement Service, given resume advice, and taught how to become an indispensable asset as an intern and beyond.Workshop organizer Heather Homan, LI's political training coordinator, said: "I am pleased 149 interns took advantage of the opportunity to network with other liberty-minded conservatives in the DC area at our Conservative Intern Workshop. We brought in seasoned political veterans to share their tips and secrets on how to survive DC and stand out as an intern. The information these interns learned such as networking effectively and understanding the REAL nature of politics are lessons I hope they continue to use well past their current internships."LI also offers internships each fall, spring, and summer. Go here for more information. >
Aspiring Activists Learn Public Relations Techniques
Danielle Saul
June 29, 2012
Aspiring Activists Learn Public Relations Techniques
Earlier this week, more than 30 students attended the Leadership Institute's Public Relations School where they learned branding, mass communications, media relations, one-on-one communication, and pitching.Advantage, Inc. Vice President of Operations Jim Eltringham kicked off the training by teaching message development and hammered home the importance of emotion in crafting messages. “There has to be emotion,” Jim said. “It has to tug on your heart strings. You don't win elections on ideas and politics alone.”He emphasized the need for politicians to identify with the voters: “People don't want labels. They want leaders. They want solutions. The audience wants to know what you are going to do to solve their problems.”Leadership Institute Director of Digital Communications Abby Alger spoke about how to promote messages through social media. “We expect people to be relatable and real,” she said.Scott Hogenson, senior vice president for Dezenhall Resources, began the second night of training with a lecture on public relation strategies.“The world of journalism is changing, and it is changing fast,” Scott told attendees.He emphasized the importance of learning how to handle negative information correctly. If you can't get around releasing the negative information, then you need to make sure you have a plan ready and in place.Lindsey Mask, founder of Ladies America & Ladies International, closed the second night off by telling attendees her personal experience with branding an organization.Lindsey expressed that being passionate about your job and the work you do is the key to success. In addition, there is also a strong need for focus. She encouraged the students to write down their biographies and reflect on their goals.“Know thyself,” Lindsey encouraged attendees. “Accept your strengths and weaknesses.”Leading the final night of the school, Mark Pfeifle, communication and outreach strategist with S4 Inc., spoke on crisis management.Mark taught how to deal with crises in a live-action role play where students were divided into two groups, Democratic leaders versus Republican leaders, and had to craft messages for their side assuming Obamacare was ruled unconstitutional.David Daum, who portrayed Speaker of the House John Boehner, found this activity very insightful.“By competing and acting out the crisis strategy of President Obama and Mitt Romney, I felt like I had privileged insight into the minds of their respective public relations teams,” He explained.Garrett Kamp, acting as President Obama, also found value in the activity. “By role-playing as the president, I learned not only how to manage a crisis, but I learned how to predict and respond to my opponent's behavior.”The final speaker, Ian Ivey, senior management advisor at the General Services Administration, taught about one-on-one communication styles.After having the class figure out their own personality style, he had the students partner up and analyze each other's personality style. He then compared the different communication methods used within each group, and taught attendees how to relate to people who are completely opposite.Many students enjoyed this activity and felt their future interactions would greatly benefit from learning these communication techniques. Summer intern for Susan B. Anthony List Santina Scarcella said, “Now I realize there are ways to approach people and I feel more comfortable doing so.”LI's next Public Relations School will be held September 24-26. Go here to register.>
LI's CampusReform.org Exposes 'Anti-White' University Campaign
Lauren Hart
June 22, 2012
LI's CampusReform.org Exposes 'Anti-White' University Campaign
Wednesday the Leadership Institute's Campus Reform exposed a “racial justice” ad campaign at the University of Minnesota – Duluth, funded by the administration, to combat “white privilege.”After LI's Campus Reform Regional Field Coordinator Oliver Darcy published the “Unfair” campaign story Wednesday, the story brought more than a quarter of a million unique web visitors in one day to the site and was the topic of many news sites, including: Drudge, theWall Street Journal, The BLAZE, Fox News' O'Reilly Factor, and others.To read the full story and watch the ad video, please go here. >
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.
Leadership Memo: Spotlight on Justin Pulliam
Abigail Alger
March 20, 2012
Leadership Memo: Spotlight on Justin Pulliam
At 19, Justin Pulliam was named the "most dangerous man on campus" by the New York Times."I thought it was clever," Justin, now 22, said. He paused for a beat and grinned. "But true."Justin entered Texas A&M University as an 18-year-old freshman in fall 2008. A Texas native from north of Dallas, he intended to be an Animal Science major, maybe show cattle like he'd done in high school, and be involved in some campus groups.He had no idea that one year later he'd have a profile in the New York Times, a live interview on MSNBC, and a reputation as a tough, principled conservative activist and student leader.In his orientation week at A&M, Justin met up with Tony Listi, a senior, a graduate of four Leadership Institute trainings, and a future LI staff member. Tony had founded a campus conservative group, later known as the Texas Aggie Conservatives, and he wanted Justin to be involved. The two reviewed Tony's plan for the year and, in less than two weeks, Justin was the group's Technology Director, responsible for video footage and the website.At the group's first activism event in September 2008, Justin was “really timid,” as he explained. It was a counter-protest to the Brazos Valley Coalition Against the War, and he spent the time holding a camera -- not a sign.But that afternoon was the first time Justin saw the benefits of activism. "Everyone was honking at us and rolling down their windows," he said. "I got the sense that what we were doing was important."In October, Justin suggested the Texas Aggie Conservatives present a birthday cake to a Democratic congressman visiting campus. The congressman voted with Nancy Pelosi, then Speaker of the House, 96% of the time.The cake was frosted with a photo of the congressman with Speaker Pelosi, and a pretty pink heart next to “96%” written in icing. At the congressman's event, Justin manned the camera, Tony presented the cake, and the rest of the group gave a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday.”“It was the craziest thing we've ever done,” Justin said.He was hooked.By his sophomore year, Justin was chairman of the Texas Aggie Conservatives, and the group was ready for its biggest year yet.Justin had attended LI's Student Activism Conference in Austin the previous year. He met with student leaders from across Texas and Oklahoma, and worked with Institute staff to get how-to lessons and create an activism plan for his campus. To finish the 2008-2009 school year, the Texas Aggie Conservatives hosted a tea party, celebrated Ronald Reagan's birthday, had conservative speaker events, and passed out flyers showing Aggie professors' endorsements of domestic terrorist Bill Ayers.Justin was not uncertain about being a campus activist anymore. He relished it.“I came to the realization that it's either me or no one,” Justin said. “No one else is going to stand up for the conservative philosophy on campus. No one else is going to stand up for our values. No one else is going to do it for us. I had tons of friends and allies, but if I hadn't been an organizer, all that potential would have been lost.”In August 2009, Justin's group members protested their Congressman at a health care town hall, earning media coverage in the liberal Huffington Post. In September, the group hosted a 9/11 Never Forget Memorial, planting flags for each victim of the terrorist attacks; celebrated Constitution Day by handing out pocket Constitutions; and entertained more than 200 students at “Laugh at the Left,” a comedy night with conservative talk radio host Michael Graham.But October was the best of all.On October 16, President Obama came to campus amidst the heated national debate on healthcare – and the Texas Aggie Conservatives were ready. With conservative students and activists from across the state, the Aggies held a rally of hundreds united against the national healthcare draft.Protesters held signs and chanted while group members dressed up in costume – as President Obama, as the Grim Reaper, and even as Uncle Sam – and collected petition signatures. The media was there to cover it, thanks in part to Justin's work with LI's CampusReform.org staff to publicize the event.Justin emerged as the student leader of the movement, which was covered by local, state, and national media. He was profiled in the New York Times as the "most dangerous man on campus," and even did a live MSNBC interview from the protest. The interview was supposed to be on-camera, but -- as Justin recalled -- an administrator wouldn't allow him past a security checkpoint to MSNBC's cameras, so he finished it by phone.“Activism, especially controversial activism, might seem intense at first,” Justin said. “But if you're professional and have a good message, your activism will rally the troops and get media attention for the conservative movement.”The protest was only one part of Justin's plans for the weekend, though. The next day, he hosted LI's Youth Leadership School on campus, training 48 students. His group sponsored a movie screening on Sunday and a talk with Lord Monckton, a conservative speaker against radical environmentalists, on Monday.“That's like a snapshot of four days in the life of a student activist,” Justin said. “It's intense.”But still Justin took on more.His writing for The Anthem, an independent conservative student publication which LI field staff helped students establish, piqued his interest in student government. Justin ran for, and won, one-year terms in the Student Senate in spring 2009 and 2010.“I don't think I stood up and talked at all in the entire first semester,” Justin said. “I didn't ask questions, I didn't debate, and I certainly didn't write any legislation.”Halfway through his first term, Justin asked a question in a Senate meeting. At the next meeting he debated. Before he knew it, he was writing bills, influencing the agenda, and providing live video and recordings for A&M students and for official recordkeeping. Before that, administrators would come to the Student Senate to request student fee increases – and none of the requests were on the record.Justin spent his first year in Student Senate working with friends and allies to build a conservative caucus. Together, they identified and recruited conservative students, and trained them to run winning campaigns, hosting LI's Campus Election Workshop at A&M.After his own reelection in spring 2010, Justin turned his attention to a big issue, soon to become another national story: in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.Since 2001, as Justin first explained in a CampusReform.org blog post, Texas had allowed illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition benefits. Out-of-state residents paid more than $15,000 each year to attend A&M while Texan taxpayers subsidized 12,138 illegal students in the 2009-2010 school year.Justin introduced a bill to end the practice at A&M with more than 40 other Aggies. His group collected more than 500 student signatures in support of the bill, and grew a Facebook group – Aggies Against In-State Tuition for Illegal Aliens – to more than 1,500 members in less than a week.The story was picked up by local, state, and national media, including a clip with the Associated Press and an interview with Fox News.“Because we worked with LI's Campus Leadership Program and CampusReform.org, we were able to be very successful,” Justin said frankly. “If not for that, we would have just been some college kids messing around, introducing bills in a Student Senate meeting. Our message would not have gotten any further than the 75 people in the Senate room.”The Student Senate passed the bill with a majority, but the student body president vetoed it. Conservatives in the Student Senate couldn't find the votes to override the veto. But the fight didn't end there.Thanks to the media attention for A&M's bill, Justin said, six bills were introduced in the Texas state legislature to end taxpayer-subsidized tuition for illegal immigrants.The bill was contentious on campus – and Justin felt the ire of the campus left personally.“It's ridiculous how much people can hate,” Justin said bluntly. He recalled reams of insulting emails and even an A&M professor who told him “go f--- yourself, Pulliam” as he collected petition signatures for the measure in November.But for Justin, the fight was worth it.“We kept the pressure on, and we kept dragging it out, bringing it up, and getting more and more press for the issue,” Justin explained. “In doing so, we advanced the conservative agenda.”Justin graduated from Texas A&M in December 2011 with a degree in Animal Science, a Senator of the Year Award from the Student Senate officers, and a lifelong commitment to conservative activism.Last month, Justin received the Weyrich Award for Youth Leader of the Year. The award, part of the Weyrich Awards Dinner, honors the legacy of leadership of the late Paul Weyrich, one of the foremost thinkers and organizers of the modern conservative movement and who was the first president of the Heritage Foundation, a founder and past director of the American Legislative Exchange Council, the founder and Chairman of the Free Congress Foundation, and the National Chairman of Coalitions for America.“I was shocked to receive the award,” Justin said. He paused for a moment and then added, “I would love to train next year's Weyrich Youth Leader of the Year. That would mean so much to me. The best success for the conservative leader is to train someone to do better.”Justin may be uniquely positioned to complete his goal.In mid-February this year, he started work at the Leadership Institute as a Regional Field Coordinator for LI's Campus Leadership Program. His job is to give conservative student leaders the support, guidance, and advice he once counted on from LI staff.“The Leadership Institute can arm you with the knowledge, tactics, tools, and training to be able to advance the conservative movement and defeat the left on campus,” Justin explained. “There's a lot to fight against, and all the resources are here under LI's roof: great people, great resources, great training, and great tools.”Whether you are a young conservative or you know a young conservative eager to do more for his or her principles, contact the Leadership Institute's Campus Leadership Program right now.“Anyone with a motivation can do what I did,” Justin said. “By utilizing the resources available at LI, even a busy college student – a student concerned about getting a job or keeping a high GPA – can be an effective conservative student leader, can advance their cause, can build a coalition, and can even appear on national media.”There's no better endorsement than that.Please contact LI's Campus Leadership Program for you or a young conservative you know.This piece was published in the spring 2012 issue of the Leadership Institute's Leadership Memo.>
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.
Meet LI’s Spring Interns
Lauren Levy
February 16, 2012
Meet LI’s Spring Interns
Please welcome the Leadership Institute's spring interns. This is their fifth week on the job.Patrick Bailey: Georgia Institute of Technology • Arlington, VA • Development Patrick comes to LI with extensive experience in database management and design. After graduating from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008, Patrick worked as a database engineer at Capital IQ in New York City. While an undergraduate, Patrick constructed a 3D virtual campus for the Universitat Oberta de Cataluña in Barcelona, Spain. Last fall Patrick brought his technical skills to Young Americans for Liberty, where he served as an intern in the development department. Patrick also volunteered on the ground with the Ron Paul campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire in the weeks leading up to the 2012 primaries. What are your job duties within your department and what projects will you be working on this semester?As a Development intern I assist the Development Department staff in their routine duties regarding donor relations. I have already been given several important assignments such as drafting personal thank-you letters and mailing letters written from students of our training programs. I'm looking forward to using my technology skills to make the team more effective with development tools such as Raiser's Edge.What are you most excited about in this internship?The most exciting thing about the Leadership Institute's internship program is the opportunity to meet with and learn from great conservative leaders. This spring, I'm going to meet several influential people doing great things for the conservative movement. The Development Department here at LI is also hugely successful, and I hope to learn as much as possible about donor relations, direct mail, and foundation giving. I have some ideas about how I might be able to apply my background in data analysis to more effectively target our prospects and cultivate our donors, and I hope to get valuable feedback from the staff.What are your future plans?I left a budding career in finance to create technology tools for conservative grassroots and campaigns. With my degree and prior work experience, I already have the programming skills necessary to accomplish this goal. With the help of the Leadership Institute, I will gain an understanding of the public policy process to create truly effective technology that will give conservative activists the tools necessary for the battles we face ahead.Luis Silva-Ball:Universidad Metropolitana • Caracas, Venezuela • President's Office Luis is currently pursuing a degree in Liberal Studies from the Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas. In conjunction with his studies at the university, Luis is also enrolled in courses through the Mises Academy. He is the president of Estudiantes por la Libertad, a Student's For Liberty affiliated organization on his campus. Luis has volunteered with many political events in Venezuela, both at the student level as well as the national level and in 2011 he attended the Mount Pelerin Society's regional meeting in Buenos Aires as a guest scholar. In addition to his political involvement, Luis taught guitar and juggling at a youth camp in Maine and is a member of the Thespis Unimet theater troupe. What are your job duties within your department and what projects will you be working on this semester?As an intern to the President's Office, I mostly help out with daily tasks that Morton and his assistant, Cathy, bestow upon me. I sort Morton's mail, help out with the Adam Smith Attire orders and ensure their delivery, organize brochures and information packets, and occasionally attend events with Morton.2. What are you most excited about in this internship?Making acquaintances with principled conservatives, attending the Leadership Institute's numerous training schools, and most of all learning how to manage a nonprofit organization.What are your future plans?My immediate plans are to graduate and grow my organization on campus, Estudiantes por la Libertad, http://www.eslibertad.org. Later on, I'd like to get into banking and finance the liberty movement.David Bell: Rutgers University • Toms River, NJ • Grassroots David graduated from Rutgers in 2010 with a degree in Criminal Justice/Political Science. In 2009 David was selected to participate in Rutgers' Capital City Internship Program, where he was placed with the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce as a Government Relations intern. He then interned with his local congressman in New Jersey's 3rd district, where he later was offered a position as Congressional Liaison. In 2011 David volunteered on a number of successful local campaigns, including a mayoral race that unseated a 12-year incumbent. In addition to his political experience, David served for four years as manager of Citricos Mediterranean Italian Cuisine and as an events coordinator for Evesham Township, NJ. What are your job duties within your department and what projects will you be working on this semester? My tasks and projects as a Grassroots Intern are to maintain the Leadership Institute Database (LID) and aid in the establishment of relations with individuals and conservative-based organizations across the United States. Furthermore, I will be researching candidates and organizations to facilitate the Leadership Institute's movement throughout the United States.What are you most excited about in this internship? I am excited to be surrounded by a group of individuals that exemplify leadership and dedication. Moreover, I am energized to be associated with an organization that will allow me to hone my professional skills and develop new skills that will catapult me into the professional environment.What are your future plans? Some of my career goals include working as a consultant or lobbyist. I am contemplating running for public office in the future.Brittany Bezick: University of West Florida • Pensacola, FL • Youth Leadership School In December 2011 Brittany graduated from the University of West Florida (Pensacola) with a degree in political science. Brittany's passion for the political process began in high school when she was invited to attend Florida's Girls State. Since then, she interned for Rep. Clay Ingram's Pensacola office where she assisted with building databases, researching policy issues and contacting area businesses and residents. This past fall, Brittany attended Florida's Presidency 5, serving as a delegate for Escambia County, Florida. While president of UWF's College Republicans, Brittany planned a 9/11 memorial service and invited local veterans to speak to students and area residents. What are your job duties within your department and what projects will you be working on this semester? My duties consist of compiling the folders and packets for each Youth Leadership School (YLS) class, uploading information onto the Leadership Institute Database about each student and class per YLS, and assisting in recruitment for each YLS.What are you most excited about in this internship? I am most excited about the working environment and the networking opportunities I will encounter during this internship, along with expanding my knowledge of the working environment and the strategic planning, development, and workings within a large nonprofit organization.What are your future plans? I plan on working as a campaign manager for local, state, and national campaigns.Taylor Bricker: Clarion University • Karns City, PA • Campus Leadership Program Taylor graduated this December from Clarion University with degrees in Political Science and Business Administration. While at Clarion, Taylor was an active member of the Clarion College Conservatives and served as Vice Chair of Elections. He was also elected to serve as Alumni Relations Officer for the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity. In both positions, Taylor planned campus activities for fellow students, including arranging events with local candidates. In addition to his campus activities, Taylor frequently volunteered on area campaigns, and he has interned for the Social Security Administration and the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development. Most recently, Taylor interned with Americans For Prosperity Foundation in their Marketing Department. What are your job duties within your department and what projects will you be working on this semester?My duties as a member of the Campus Leadership Programs department are to assist in the outreach to conservative/libertarian student organizations on college campuses, the provision and coordination of grassroots organizational/activism training, and in part providing content for the Campus Reform website.What are you most excited about in this internship?I am most excited to be a part of LI's efforts to help conservative and libertarian groups fight leftwing bias on campuses and to help counter liberal attempts to indoctrinate students.What are your future plans?In the future, I hope to work with the Leadership Institute or a similar group to help educate Americans of all ages on the importance of fulfilling their responsibilities as citizens to play a role in their government and to promote freedom and liberty to keep our country strong.Kelly Cassara: University of California, Los Angeles • Glendale, CA • Employment Placement Services A California native, Kelly graduated from UCLA in 2011 with a degree in Political Science. As the co-founder and president of the Glendale Community College Conservative Club, Kelly arranged numerous campus events and film screenings for her fellow students. She also served as Internal Vice President for Live Action UCLA, a youth-led, pro-life activist organization. After graduation, Kelly worked as the media/field intern for Concerned Women for America where she developed marketing materials for CWA's new Young Women for America initiative. In addition to her political activities, Kelly spent a semester abroad studying Italian in Florence, Italy. What are your job duties within your department and what projects will you be working on this semester? I am responsible for making sure new jobs and internships are posted every day on ConservativeJobs.com. I always look for a variety of jobs that will appeal to different interests and work-experience levels. I also use Twitter and Facebook to promote the website and spread awareness about the latest job listings. My other duties include providing jobseekers with feedback on their résumés and cover letters. I also helped with the Job Fair at CPAC that LI hosted.What are you most excited about in this internship? I am most excited to be learning the ins-and-outs of job hunting, especially because it will help me in my own pursuit of employment following this internship. I am now aware of all these new job search sites, and it's amazing to discover what's out there. It's also very rewarding to help people find the jobs!What are your future plans? My plans are to return to California and seek a full-time job there. Ideally, I would like to remain working on behalf of the conservative cause, particularly the pro-life movement.Mike Fincher: University of California, Merced • Atwater, CA • Campus Reform Online Mike will formally graduate from UC Merced with a degree in Political Science and a minor in History in 2012. While at UC Merced, Mike has been extensively involved with the campus community. He served as both a senator and associate justice for ASUCM, UC Merced's student governing body; as a student trustee for the Collegiate Alumni Foundation; and as an events staffer for the university's Recreation and Athletics department. Mike was the co-founder of the College Republicans at UC Merced and The Right Side publication, where he also served as executive editor. Mike achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in 2008. What are your job duties within your department and what projects will you be working on this semester? I work within Campus Reform Online (CRO). I write blogs, interact with students online, and help spread our message and programs through social media outlets. I also help with production of videos in our department, which we use to promote and report on student activism. As CRO and the Campus Leadership Programs (CLP) work closely together, my duties also include traveling with Regional Field Coordinators, and compilation of information for Conservatism101 and other CLP programs. What are you most excited about in this internship?What drew me to this internship was not just the fact that most expenses were covered, but also that LI stresses networking and gives interns the opportunity to attend trainings and events, as well as meet influential speakers at our dinners. I am also excited to work with CRO, which is more of a hobby for me and less of a job, making each day enjoyable. What are your future plans?I plan on attending law school in the fall. I would like to serve as a legal counsel for non-profits/foundations within the conservative movement after law school and to stay involved in politics. Meghan Gray: Columbia College Chicago • Beach Park, IL • Events Meghan is currently working toward degrees in Journalism and Public Relations at Columbia College Chicago. She is a dedicated member of the Lake County Republican Federation, where she has supported numerous fundraising efforts. Meghan organized several golf outings for the Federation, securing sponsorships for the event and prizes for a silent auction held in conjunction with the tournament. Meghan has also written news articles and developed content for Chicago area publications. In addition to her political and journalistic involvement, Meghan is a member of the Delta Zeta National Sorority and has actively volunteered her time with area non-profits. What are your job duties within your department and what projects will you be working on this semester? I will work to prepare Leadership Institute staff and guests for the Wednesday Wake-Up Club Breakfasts, happy hours, upcoming trainings and schools, and the Fourth of July Soirée. The most exciting aspect of my position is being able to collaborate on CPAC 2012, which is the largest conservative gathering in the nation. What are you most excited about in this internship?I am most enthusiastic about growing as a professional within the conservative movement. I feel fortunate to have been granted an internship that provides invaluable networking opportunities and hands-on experience, while furthering my passion and understanding of the public policy process. What are your future plans?I am currently a senior at Columbia College Chicago, pursuing a degree in journalism and public relations. Ultimately, I aspire to work on Capitol Hill or in the nonprofit sector. I look forward to establishing a name for myself in D.C., and am confident the knowledge and life lessons acquired from the Leadership Institute will follow me in the years to come. Lauren Levy: University of Florida, Gainesville • Miami, FL • Recruitment Lauren holds degrees in Journalism and Jewish Studies from the University of Florida, Gainesville, where she graduated in 2011. An active writer, Lauren's work has been published on Townhall, GOPRockstars.com, and UF's publication The Independent Florida Alligator. Lauren interned with The Real Proposal magazine from 2006 to 2011 where she served as a research assistant, co-editor and social media administrator. Most recently, Lauren interned with Concerned Women for America under Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse. Lauren wrote biweekly blog posts, prepared presentations, and edited copy for Dr. Crouse's upcoming book. Lauren is an active member of the DC Young Republicans, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and has studied abroad in Jerusalem. What are your job duties within your department and what projects will you be working on this semester? Essentially, our department is the communications branch for the Leadership Institute. I am responsible for writing stories about faculty, events, trainings, schools and workshops that promote LI to the general public. I also keep track of events in the area hosted by conservative organizations and post them to our intranet calendar to encourage networking on behalf of LI. I will also be keeping track of conservative organizations and our congressional advisory board, which consists of members of the House and Senate who support LI's mission and conservative ideals. Finally, throughout the course of my internship, I will be participating in Capitol Hill walks to visit congressional offices, distribute marketing materials, and network on behalf of LI. What are you most excited about in this internship? I am excited to have the opportunity to network with current and future movers and shakers in the conservative movement who are positioning themselves for careers in politics, media and public policy. I am also excited to participate in several of the schools, trainings and workshops, all of which are free of charge for LI interns. What are your future plans? Through this internship, I hope to gain the tools I need to launch a career path advancing the conservative movement. I want to be involved with a public policy organization that is actively engaged in topical sociopolitical and legislative debates and initiatives that reinforce conservative values. I am also interested in opportunities that lead to writing syndicated columns and other works that explore my personal philosophy on sociopolitical and cultural issues at a national and international scale. Elizabeth Morrison: Regent University • Hollywood Beach, MD • Online Programs Elizabeth is currently studying Communications and American Government and Politics at Regent University. She has actively campaigned for multiple Virginia races, including Scott Rigell's congressional campaign and Ron Villenueva's campaign for Virginia House of Delegates. Elizabeth's campus involvement includes serving as the Secretary and Undergraduate Republican Liaison of Regent's College Republicans. For the past three years Elizabeth has participated in Young America's Foundation seminars and conferences, in addition to attending a Journalism Camp at Patrick Henry College. What are your job duties within your department and what projects will you be working on this semester? My job duties as the Online Programs intern are to help get ready for our webinars that occur every other Wednesday. This includes many different tasks from running errands to writing scripts. Tasks can vary from simple to difficult. One of the main projects I'll be working on is finishing up and polishing any writing that has to be done for our webinar videos in addition to assisting in the production of the videos. What are you most excited about in this internship? I am most excited for the people I'll get to meet and the experiences I'll get to have with them. Arlington is full of opportunities and things to see and do. I try to live life so that I will never be short on experiences to share. At the Leadership Institute, I know I am being given the very best internship available in a place that simply cannot be beat. I am also excited that I am advancing my career in politics and setting myself up for success by participating in the intern program. What are your future plans? My future plans change often as I understand myself and my interests more. However, as of now, I plan to graduate college and then get a master's degree, possibly in business. After that I would like to be a lobbyist and work to advance conservative ideas or do public relations for a large corporation. Eventually, I would like to run for office and take everything I've learned here and put it to good use. Marta Ponikowska: University of Warsaw • Lukow, Poland • LI Studios/TechnologyMarta is a fifth-year student of law at the Univeristy of Warsaw. She holds MA in Political Sciences (University of Warsaw, University of Maastricht- Erasmus Scholarship). During her studies, Marta interned at the Polish Ministry of Justice and the European Parliament (Brussels). Marta was involved in many projects at the Center for Citizenship Education and the ‘Everyday law' project of the Polish Human Rights Defender Office. She is also a legal assistant at an international law firm. What are your job duties within your department and what projects will you be working on this semester?I assist the LI Studios with day-to-day work. The studio is a television studio, post production house and media agency all in one, so interning here is something really exciting as I can learn a lot about all the phases of media production. This semester I will write scripts, assist with production of webinars, edit and produce videos, work on web development and learn about new media. My intern project is to produce an advocacy video. What are you most excited about in this internship?The Leadership Institute internship is a great opportunity to learn about the American political system, society and management. It is also probably the best place in the Washington, DC, area to gain successful leadership skills. The Institute organizes weekly informal meetings with professionals from the fields of politics and law, so all the interns have a chance to speak with influential conservatives who share their personal experiences. What are your future plans?After completing my internship, I will travel to France to attend the European Advocacy Academy. Later on, I will most likely start studying for the Warsaw Bar entrance exam. I will definitely try to utilize everything that I have learned over the course of the internship. Harmony Shields: Patrick Henry College • Palmer, AK • Department of Political Training Harmony Shields completed a certificate in Constitutional Law through Patrick Henry College in 2011. She is a dedicated pro-life advocate, and has served in many capacities at HeartReach Pregnancy Center in Wasilla, Alaska. Harmony is active in her local Republican organization and has served as treasurer for the Valley Republican Women's Club. Harmony volunteered extensively on a number of Alaskan campaigns, including Joe Miller's Senate race where she worked as candidate scheduler and event coordinator. Most recently, Harmony was the Alaska state director for Herman Cain's presidential campaign. What are your job duties within your department and what projects will you be working on this semester?Most recently, my project has been to sort and update contact lists, and prepare for CPAC trainings. Some of my responsibilities will also be to help assist in the political trainings, such as the Campaign Management School. What are you most excited about in this internship?I am so excited to be involved in an organization like LI that helps make such an impact in conservative politics. What are your future plans?In the future, I would like to help better the conservative cause in any way that I can. Some of my tentative plans include working on campaigns for principled conservative candidates, possibly running for office, and training other young people to get involved in the movement. I think that it is very important that every person gets a taste of working in politics sometime in his or her life. For years, politics has had a very negative connation, and I want to help change the tide and make it positive again. Chris Vari: Thomas Edison State College, Regent University • Perry Hall, MD • DevelopmentChris received his JD from Regent University School of Law in 2011 after completing an undergraduate degree in History at Thomas Edison State College. While a student at Regent, Chris was the staff editor for the Regent Journal of Law and Public Policy and also served as president of Regent College Republicans. Chris has interned with Ohio State Representative Diana Fessler, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and served as treasurer for Ron Hood's 2008 congressional campaign. In 2010 Chris also completed an externship with the American Center for Law and Justice where he performed legal research for ACLJ attorneys. What are your job duties within your department and what projects will you be working on this semester?I am responsible for assisting Development Department staff as they raise the money necessary to fund LI training. Typical tasks include data entry and donor research. As far as major projects, I am hoping to help turn LI's Planned Giving newsletter into a quarterly publication. What are you most excited about in this internship?I am really excited about being close to DC networking opportunities and having access to LI's training opportunities and connections within the conservative movement. What are your future plans?I would eventually like to work as a legislative staff member on Capitol Hill or as a policy/legislative analyst or lobbyist for a conservative political organization. >
Come Say Hello at CPAC
Lauren Hart
February 8, 2012
Come Say Hello at CPAC
Leadership Institute staff and interns will be working the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Thursday—Saturday at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel in Washington, D.C.As a CPAC sponsor the Leadership Institute has two booths—on the mezzanine level and in the exhibit hall—where you can stop by to:- Take a picture with a friend or two with a CPAC picture frame of you and your buddies inside- Sign up for our emails- Buy an Adam Smith tie or scarf- Chat with LI staffLI will also offer seven trainings throughout CPAC in Wilson AB room:- How to Raise Money…the Easy Way—Thursday, Feb. 9 from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.- Getting Your Message Heard—Thursday, Feb. 9 from 12 – 2 p.m.- Landing a Conservative Job—Thursday, Feb. 9 from 2:30—4:30 p.m.- Rules for Radicals—Friday, Feb. 10 from 10—11 a.m.- Public Speaking Workshop—Friday, Feb. 10 from 12—2 p.m.- Video Activism: Tips of the Trade—Friday, Feb. 10 from 2:30—4:30 p.m.- GOTV: Creating a Winning Ground Game—Saturday, Feb. 11 from 12-2 p.m. LI's ConservativeJobs.com is hosting the CPAC Job and Internship Fair Saturday, Feb. 11 from 10 a.m. until noon in the Maryland Ballroom. More than 25 organizations will be recruiting for full-time staff and intern positions, so make sure to bring copies of your resume. For more information about LI's events and locations during CPAC, please go here.>
100 People Learn About Conservative Careers at LI’s Workshop This Week
Lauren Hart
November 18, 2011
100 People Learn About Conservative Careers at LI’s Workshop This Week
One hundred people attended the Conservative Career Workshop Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at LI's Steven P.J. Wood Building in Arlington, VA.“This was some of the best advice I've received for my job search. I learned about the interview process and negotiating a salary. I had no idea how to negotiate salary prior to this! I feel more confident about tweaking my resume and going into an interview now," said Heritage Foundation Coalition Relations Intern Dixie Cline.The Conservative Career Workshop helps those looking to sharpen their professional skills and for those searching for their next career move. Attendees learned about different paths in the conservative movement from working on the Hill, in a think-tank, or for a non-profit.“I learned how to take my private sector experience toward perspective job opportunities in the conservative movement," said Robert Towner, a Government Technical Coordinator for Verizon Wireless.LI had a great lineup of expert faculty, including:-American Conservative Union Director of CPAC Chris Malagisi-Americans for Prosperity Foundation Recruiter Andrea McCarthy-Foreign Policy Initiative Director of Government Relations & Outreach Rachel Hoff-FreedomWorks Federal and State Campaigns Director Brendan Steinhauser-Global Vision Communications Principal and Founder/CEO of Ladies America Lindsey Mask-Heritage Foundation Recruiter Kristine Bramsen-Leadership Institute Vice President Steven Sutton-Leadership Institute Director of ConservativeJobs.com Emily Miller-Republican Study Committee Executive Director Paul Teller“At the conservative Career Workshop I learned to be more confident in networking and utilizing the contacts I have. It's a great workshop that will provide insider tips to finding a job in D.C.” said Kelly Cassara, the media/field department intern for Concerned Women for America.Family Research Council intern Terri Hufschmid said, “The information about propriety in networking and resume formats was extremely helpful. I will be using this for the rest of my life!”Americans for Limited Government Senior Research Analyst Richard McCarty, another attendee, said: “I have attended several LI schools, and I've always found them interesting and insightful, as well as good places to network.”During the two evenings, attendees learned to: find career paths in the conservative movement; successfully get a job on the Hill; negotiate salary; enhance resume and interview skills; and have an effective personal brand.Avant Garde Information Solutions Financial Controller Patrick Fabian said: “The Leadership Institute provides the must-have tools necessary for a conservative activist to transition to a full-time career related to public policy.”LI offers training year-around. Come get trained to be effective in public policy. >
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.
Meet LI’s Fall Interns On Video
Mikayla Hall
October 28, 2011
Meet LI’s Fall Interns On Video
Want to know what it's like to be an intern at the Leadership Institute?Eight of the current interns created profile videos to tell you a bit more about their background and what they do in their department.Click their picture to watch the video.Thomas Cloud: Office of the President Intern Mikayla Hall: Recruitment Intern Laci Lawrence: Employment Placement Service Intern Charlie Creitz: LI Studios/Online Programs Intern Angela Mitchell: Events Intern Frank Manning: Donor Relations Intern Obed Bazikian: Youth Leadership Schools Intern For more on the LI intern program please click here.>
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