Attending a conservative conference, even after a losing political season, encourages people. Liberals even when winning, mope. Conservatives, when losing, drink and have a good time anyway. Well, they usually do. That hasn’t been the case for the last two years. Conservative gatherings have been depressing and sometimes, strife-filled.
Not this Labor Day weekend in Dallas, Texas, though. The Americans for Prosperity leadership picked a weekend after school started in Texas, picked a state that is an instant sweat bath in August, and decided it would be a good idea to ask activists to listen to politics and policy rather than eat dogs and burgers and drink beer and watch football on Labor Day weekend. And still, the people came.
More than 3000 very excited, energized conservative-libertarian activists descended on Dallas and joy abounded. Ronald Reagan would be proud of the happy warriors here.
“…the new message is that preaching to the choir isn’t going to advance the message or persuade those who either disagree or are uninformed and whose hearts and minds we need to win.
In fact, overwhelmingly, the discussion in sessions and speeches is that techniques that work on conservatives are likely to backfire when talking to those who are receptive to conservative principles but are predisposed to reject the buzzwords usually associated with them.”
The happy warriors speaking the language of building bridges to disaffected Obama voters should scare the Democrats. The conservative depression has lifted.
Based on this sold out conference, the right is back.
America’s Next Impact, a Texas youth advocacy group entreats the Texas Congress to do the right thing with the current budget:
The eyes of Texas are on the legislature, but the eyes of the nation are on Texas.
Specifically, young Americans look to this Texas legislature to make decisions that will restore jobs and the opportunity to participate in the American Dream. If it can’t be done in Texas, can it be done anywhere?
At the end of this semester, I will graduate from college. Millions just like me worked hard to be able to secure good jobs and enjoy a standard of living similar to our parents and grandparents. Nevertheless, the current level of government spending undercuts the possibility of good jobs or prosperous futures.
In fact, Texans of all ages are fed up with the status quo.
Hardworking taxpayers and small businesses already feel the burden in this struggling economy right along with recent college graduates who are facing increasingly tight job markets and diminishing prospects. The simple fact is that our legislature cannot continue to kick the can down the road and count on someone else to fix it.
Elected leaders at all levels of government need to act quickly to reduce the debt and control spending. Local governments in Texas are more than $175 billion in debt, including school districts, cities and counties.
And even though Texas is better off than most states, our lawmakers must bridge a revenue shortfall estimated to be more than $15 billion. A state known for fiscal responsibility is in a fiscally tight spot.
Texas lawmakers must make tough decisions about where to cut government spending. Many understand the Lone Star State cannot continue to prosper unless we cut the size and scope of government.
Right now, Texas is at the forefront, shaping the nation’s recovery. Decisions made in this legislative session will affect the state’s economic stability and prosperity for years to come.
How can our legislators keep the economy going without raising taxes or raiding the rainy day fund? How can we remain a beacon for job creation and business relocation without sound fiscal policies passed by our lawmakers?
It comes down to one thing: Spending must be reduced.
FIRST, TRIM THE FAT
The Texas public education system, which constitutes more than 40 percent of the state budget, is ripe for cuts. Texans value education, and education funding is rarely subject to scrutiny – but this budget cycle, we must make cuts that include education.
For the last few years, state spending per student has increased dramatically, yet academic results don’t reflect that investment. More dollars are being spent on administrative pay, hiring non-teaching staff and building Taj Mahal-style facilities. Available education dollars should be spent on priorities, which are teachers and instruction.
Average salaries for professional support staff and administrators in Texas are typically $9,000-$38,000 more than teachers earn, with as many non-teachers as teachers on payrolls at school districts across the state. Sen. Florence Shapiro suggests just cutting administrator salaries by 10 percent would save $2 billion over the next biennium.
That would be a promising start.
Another possibility would be to limit school district superintendents’ salaries to the governor’s pay, which is $150,000 a year. That would save Texas schools $20 million a biennium. Currently, 214 district superintendents earn more than the governor, not including their perks and benefits that range into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Many members of my generation do not want higher taxes and bigger government. We support trimming bureaucracy and saving taxpayers’ money – both in the short and long term – to keep Texas back on track.
History underscores the fact that we cannot tax or spend our way into prosperity.
Elected state leaders’ commitment to the principles of low taxes and limited government is critical to all Texans today, and essential to young Texans like me eager to start a career.
My generation’s message to elected officials is simple: This is no time to waver – now is the time to reduce government spending and debt to protect this great state’s economy for current and future generations. We ask our elected representatives to meet the challenges ahead and stay committed to the difficult choices they need to make today to ensure an economically viable and prosperous tomorrow
Keeping the American dream alive for this and future generations rests squarely on the shoulders of the men and women of the 82nd Texas Legislature.
Christopher Covo is a political science senior at Texas State University and director of America’s Next Impact, a new youth outreach project of Americans for Prosperity.
Here’s the inspiring speeches you missed when you didn’t go to the Defending the American Dream summit:
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at the 2009 Defending the American Dream Summit. Part 1 of 4.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at the 2009 Defending the American Dream Summit. Part 2 of 4.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at the 2009 Defending the American Dream Summit. Part 3 of 4.
Americans for Prosperity Foundation Tim Phillips speaks at the 2009 Defending the American Dream Summit. Part 1 of 2.
Americans for Prosperity Foundation Tim Phillips speaks at the 2009 Defending the American Dream Summit. Part 2 of 2.
Eric Peterkofsky talking about reaching conservative youths through humor and new media. He creates Newsbusted, the humor arm of Newsbusters.
David Almacy speaking about all the ways to reach people with the conservative message through new media. David blogs at CapitalGig and was the internet guy for President Bush.
Soren Dayton teaching about more new media ideas. He’s a bright guy and blogs and edits at TheNEXTRight.
Kathleen McKinley aka RightWingSparkle, Danny Glover of Eyeblast.tv and the Media Research Center, and Dan Gainor, The Boone Pickens Fellow of the Business and Media Institute of the Media Research Center.
Eric Peterkofsky and Kathleen McKinley have lots of fun. Hey, Conservatives know how to party, too! We proved it.
Having a great time. Check out these pictures. Today we’ve heard many awesome speakers including John Fund who gave stats for the reasons why Republicans shouldn’t give up. If liberals controlling every aspect of government isn’t motivating, I don’t know what is.
As an aside, the Kos convention is down the street, here in Austin and earlier this morning Al Gore was being booed and heckled by the true believers. Sigh. It’s amusing when they eat their own. Ha, it’s interesting though, there’s no mention of the hostility over at Kos.