I realize that you are all wondering right now. The only thing that stands between you and a meal is the talk show host used to working in three-hour increments.
That is a very bad thing, indeed, but I want to assure you I am going to push this down, truncate it.
You had enough of the Salem radio lineup today with Michael and Dennis, my very good friends. And you had Bruce Herschensohn to round out what must have been an amazing panel.
So I am not going to be cerebral. I am not going to be highfalutin. I am not going to do any of the stuff that the smart guys, Dennis and Bruce and Michael do. I am going to talk very practically and very quickly about the 12 things that I think we need to do between now and 2012.
The first thing, which is not on my list, I just want you to know I have seen the movie, "You and Me." I screened it in New York. It is about the UN. It is a magnificent movie. It is going to screen tonight in Pavilion Room 3 after dinner. Take the time to watch it. It is going to be part of what we need to roll out.
All right. The 12 things we need to do between 2010 and 2012? Number one, adopt and continually announce extraordinary confidence in the American system. I am absolutely convinced that we have a system that no matter what strains are put on it, no matter what innovations are attempted, no matter how bad the leadership is or how high the taxes go, it will resolve, as it always has, to the good after a period of testing and trial, and that is how, as Becky mentioned, I was honored to work for former President Reagan, as she was.
I was a very junior briefcase carrier, but his optimism and his enthusiasm for the project that is the American exceptionalism, never flag, never fail, and we cannot allow ourselves as conservatives in the tradition of Reagan to be down about the prospects of the country. It is, as Michael said, God's greatest gift on this green earth, and it remains so, despite bad political times.
Number two, I think -- and I am sure you saw this today with my colleagues -- that we always need to avoid anger and extreme rhetoric. Good humor and optimism define the conservative soul. For the Christians in the room, it is also an obligation of our faith, never to despair and always to be upbeat and to always take on our opponents with a certain pannage and a perfect style, hopefully that is winsome and not which is dreary, cruel, never cruel -- never cruel, though pointed, and when necessary, sharp.
Number three, we have to remain vigilant about the Jihadists, constantly warning and arguing that there are very real threats. It has been a long time since 9/11. People have forgotten.
Friends like Frank Gaffney -- I don't know if Frank is here, but he will be here tomorrow -- Brian Kennedy, and others are at the forefront of the movement to make sure that we do not forget, but there are liberals as well, and we ought to honor those liberals who get this, people like Lawrence Wright who wrote "The Looming Tower," I still think the most important book of the last 10 years, a New Yorker, a man of the left, a writer for The New Yorker, but he is on our side on this most important issue.
Thomas Ricks, I had on the program tonight, Washington Post military correspondent, very critical of Bush, but he understands that the enemy is there, and he wants the world to know.
John Burns, New York Times reporter, been on the show many, many times, he understands that the Jihadists are there; Thomas P.M. Barnett, been on the show many, many times.
These are not our people, but we ought to hold them up as people who are realistic about the world in which we live, and we need them to try and speak sense to this group that does not want to realize what we are.
Number four, we need to defend the church at every turn. It will be under assault in many ways in the future, and by this, I mean the entire world of religious practice, not just Protestant and not just Catholic. The assault on the Mormons after Proposition 8 was a deeply troubling, very, very profoundly disturbing event that is also a foreshadowing of what is ahead.
The Obama budget announced yesterday -- and I spent most of the show talking about this today -- proposes to cut the charitable deduction across the board. That is a threat to every church in America, to every hospital in America, to every not-for-profit institution, to many people in this room who do good works due to the beneficence and grace of people giving out of their substance, and when you cut that, you shrink the private sector that takes care of the lost and the least and the souls of America.
It is very, I believe, deliberate. It is an enormously troubling development, and there will be a coalition that we ought to help bring together of every single pastor and cleric in this country saying, "No, you may not do that. You may not strike at our religious institution," period.
Number five, near and dear to our heart and near and dear to the heart of the Atsingers and the Eppersons here, we need to defend and support conservative media and not just, of course, talk radio. We need to subscribe to The Wall Street Journal. We need to subscribe to the Weekly Standard. We need to subscribe to World Magazine. Every one of you needs to describe to Town Hall Magazine, especially Town Hall Magazine.
We need to give gift subscriptions to these. We need to go out there and support conservative speakers at events. We need to be the infrastructure for the conservative renaissance that is underway and find them venues at which to write, lift up the writers who are there, find young talent and improvement, and I will talk about that. We have to support AEI, and we have to support Heritage. We have to support people like Rebecca and her brand-new book when it comes out. It is going to be out shortly.
Whenever a conservative author comes out there, do your best in your networks to encourage people to get their books and build up their public profile because now, more than ever, we don't have a Buckley. We don't have a pyramid of hierarchy now, but we do have an extraordinary bench, and we need all of them to prosper, so that the movement has voices that can go forth and do.
As I watched tonight, Rich Lowry was on Hannity's panel, and he did a fine job taking on Bob Graham, going right at him, and we need that. We need that in every television station, and the only place to get it is by supporting conservative media and credentialling them.
Number six, establish accountability in the organizations and lives with whom you interact, and make sure that those people whom you are supporting are, in fact, supporting you.
This has never been a very large part of our movement, but to the extent that you can, use the management consultant, use the lawyers, use the accountants, use the people in the PR world who are, in fact, fellow travelers with us in the battle for ideas.
I was out talking to my friend Mark DeMoss tonight. Mark is probably the finest public relations consultant in the United States when it comes to not-for-profit organizations, but there are many others, and there are people, for example, in the world of technology, David All, Patrick Ruffini, Rob Neppell of Kithbridge.com. Take your business to them. Support the people who support the movement, and make it very intentional as how you go about your business doing so.
Number seven, find ways to encourage and credential bright young conservatives. I subsidize a legion of interns who come through my studio, and they are not really worth anything, but I make them props on the show, but you know what, you want them around you when they are young because they have energy, and they soak it up. To the extent that any of you can welcome into your organizations, 18 to 24-year-olds on any terms whatsoever, bring them in and let them take it in because we need those people now more than ever.
We lost a generation of them over the last four years because we were not intentional about this.
I am sure Becky will remember one of the great things about the Reagan administration was the purposeful recruitment into its ranks of young people.
I shared an office in the White House Counsel's Office in the year that I was there with a very bright young lawyer, whom you all know today as the Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts. He is not there by accident. He was credentialed by conservatives who went looking for talent and elevated talent. We need to do that.
Number eight, support our lighthouse organizations, Biola, Pepperdine, Wheaton, Hillsdale. There are conservatives working on campuses which we don't identify as conservatives, like Robby George at Princeton. Find those organizations to the extent that you are going to support them, and build them up.
Number nine, build a new network of independents in your life who might be turned -- who might be turned. I was so frustrated with the statistic. It's a Zogby statistic. So maybe it's a little bit suspect, but I don't think so. Twenty-eight percent of self-identified young Evangelicals voted for Barack Obama, 28 percent.
My own nephew, a product of fine Catholic education who marched in the Right to Life March two years in a row voted for President Obama.
I do not understand how that happened, but I consider it to be partly my fault, not just him but young people generally, and we have to go and find not just those people who did not think through the last election but our peers and even those who are senior to us and say, "Let's sit down and reason together."
After the election, I undertook a project which will be out soon from Town Hall Press called the Good and Faithful Servant. It's a 26-week, small group study on politics. We have got lots of small group studies in the Evangelical world. It is a huge movement. Rarely, if ever, do they talk about politics. Often do they talk about spiritual, and that is important, but we really have to be intentional about our people and about bringing in people who are just not serious about that which they must be serious about.
Number 10, do not quit. In a small group of which I am a part, a man of the church said -- we were talking about the same-sex marriage debate, talking about how weary people are of it already, and he said, "I wonder if this will just be one more thing that we quit on," and we cannot quit on that, and we cannot quit on the life issue.
Robby George, God love him, came on my radio show, the day after or the week of the inauguration and lectured the world that we are not given the opportunity not to care about the unborn. It is not an option for us, and so the left would like us to believe that that debate is over, that the court will not turn, that marriage is lost, that the culture cannot change, and even if we believe that in our heart, we would have to act as though it were not true.
Number 11, we have to -- and there are people in this room who can do it -- lean on the RNC, the NRCC, and the NRSC to get off of the couch, get organized, and present a plan of winning, not just incumbent production. I remain amazed that we do not have a list of the 50 most vulnerable Democrats, of identified challengers to them, of who is going to take on Blanche Lincoln and Max Baucus and other Senators. It is late in the game already. We should have been doing this for four months.
And I like Pete Sessions, and I love John Cornyn. They have both been on the program, and they both will be good, but they are acting as though we have a lot of time, and we don't. We have to be out there in the game doing exactly what we need to do.
And then finally, number 12, and then we can eat. We have to cut out and send around to everyone at least an excerpt, but hopefully all, of Winston Churchill's speech at Harrow in 1941. I will read you the only two paragraphs that I will bore you with tonight, but this was Churchill in the middle of a war that did not look good even at that point.
"You cannot tell from appearances how things will go. Sometimes imagination make things out to be far worse than they are; yet, without imagination, not much can be done. Those people who have imaginative things see many more dangers than perhaps exist, certainly many more than will happen, but they must also pray to be given that extra courage to carry this far-reaching imagination. But for everyone, surely, what we have gone through in this period -- I am now addressing myself to you at this school -- surely from this period of 10 months from the Battle of Britain forward, surely from this period of 10 months, there is this lesson: Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never in nothing, great or small, large or petty, never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense."
A lot of conservatives are quitting, and it is very, very dispiriting to hear them take their ball and go home because their prescription for victory in the fall was not followed.
I watched with dismay when Governor Jindal gave a speech. I thought it was a good speech, but you can never win in that setting. It was after the State of the Union, and a number of conservatives fell on him with knives and criticism, and I am tired of seeing this happen every time anyone comes out and does not live up to some aspect of the conservative creed that doesn't hit a home run every time they come to base, that doesn't somehow meet our expectations. It is far too easy. There are enough targets that we do not have to throw rocks at ourselves, and those who do have to remember that they are helping the other side, every single time they do.
I close with this. We are not in the middle of a war, as Churchill was when he talked to the students. We are not at war with Democrats and liberals. We are at war with their ideas. We wish them good luck, health, prosperity, long lives, happy lives, but we work for their total and complete political repudiation.
We need only take what Churchill said in far, far darker days; that is, we only have to persevere to conquer.
The question I asked a couple of you tonight when I had a chance to chat, what were you doing in February of 1977. Nobody realized in February of 1977 that in a scant four years, Ronald Reagan would have revolutionized the country. It was very dark. I was in college. I remember it well. Ford had lost. The movement was crushed. Reagan was too old. Nothing was going to happen. We couldn't come back for that.
And four years later in law school, he took the Senate, he took 49 States. It was an amazing thing, and it can and it will happen again, thanks to people like you in this room.
Thanks for having me tonight. Let's eat.