There are some characters we’ve all watched from a distance for years, if we’ve paid attention to politics. Ralph Reed, the leader of the Christian Coalition, is one of those people. Anyone so ideological and pure gives me a little shiver. [Side bar: Also partly why Barack Obama freaks me out.] I was a little shocked, then, to find him standing next to me while I listened to Meg Whitman and Tim Pawlenty give their speeches last night. He spoke to me and whispered about Pawlenty,”That was a good line.” I thought to myself,”I think Ralph Reed just spoke to me.”
Turns out that Ralph Reed delivers kick ass speeches. I can imagine him being the general rousing the activist troops to action. I can imagine not wanting him working for the other side.
Reed came impeccably dressed: snappy, perfectly pressed suit cut to fit his small, tight frame, blue tie, slicked down hair. He could easily be a preacher or televangelist. He exudes the aura of someone utterly convinced of his own rightness. He was not smug or condescending. Rather, he was self-possessed and driven. Wound tight. Still springing into action after all these years.
He gave a rousing speech which I’ll include in the podcast this coming week. He also gave a quick interview after the event. He’s started the Faith and Freedom Coalition a new organization that will have “volunteers calling, knocking and going door to door” to increase voting for conservatives.
“You can’t just run in 18 states, we have to be in all 50 states. I think Barack Obama demonstrated that. I think he went to places Democrats hadn’t gone in a long time. What it showed is you could spread the field. So yeah, we’ll be in all 50 states.”
His organization will be reaching out to all minority communities. He delivered the abysmal statistics from rote. He stated that his organization would go everywhere to find voters.
“We need candidates and campaign strategists who get that you don’t win elections by raising money and running on TV, you win by knocking on doors, meeting people.”
Reed praised Barack Obama’s organizing skills. He also was encouraged by the Tea Party movement–and that it was grassroots and from the bottom up. He urged direct action:
“After you leave the protest, go home, log in to our website and call 50 voters, go knock on 50 doors.”
He says that he’s not worried about the grassroots going against the GOP establishment. He pointed out the MoveOn.org types and how they pushed the Democrat party and changed the party.
The CPAC attendees loved Reed’s speech. The people seem to be hungering for conservative perspectives. Both Reed and Chuck DeVore received significant positive feedback. And though Tim Pawlenty gave a great speech, he didn’t seem to rouse and inspire like the more conservative gentlemen. But, it should be noted, that Pawlenty did talk about God and is tacking right. It seems the 2012 election has already begun.