BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT: Message to young conservatives who are tired of being told that they're the future of the movement -- it's our turn!
Patrick Ruffini has focused on how Republicans on electoral entrepreneurship, and Rebuild the Party was born. Jon Henke has encouraged political and public policy entrepreneurship, and it encouraged me to focus on building a new theme for an agenda that the Right can move forward with: an agenda of equal opportunity. We did these things because we saw the need for a fundamental change for the Right, the Republican Party and conservatives in how we run campaigns, to formulate policy, to communicate principles, etc.
But when it comes to the conservative movement (the people, the organizations, the institutions), it seems as though some of the status quo leaders are still in the wilderness: still wanting to run a 1980s version of an election, still harkening back to Reagan, still valuing old methods of communication, and (most disappointingly) still shunning any intellectualism. Nothing confirmed these feelings more than going to CPAC today: looking at the agenda, attending some panels and speeches, and roaming through the halls of the Omni Shoreham Hotel.
I'm not sure that we're sending the right message about how best to advance conservatism to many of the students and young people attending CPAC. As Daniel Ruwe points out, if and when conservatives do have the White House and Congress again, it's not guaranteed that Republican control of government will lead to less of it. As Daniel asks: is it possible to advance conservatism?
Well, young people now have an opportunity to share their ideas on how to reshape and restructure the conservative movement: the Young Conservatives Coalition ...
In order to educate and articulate conservatism to a new American generation of voters and activists, a representative group of young professional conservatives in the Washington, DC area have formed the Young Conservative Coalition (YCC). They will formally launch their organization during their "Rebuilding the Movement" Brainstorming Session at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this Friday, February 27th from 10-11 AM at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in the Palladian Ballroom in Washington, DC.
"The YCC is an advocacy organization dedicated to leading the next generation of the conservative movement by organizing and mobilizing young professional conservatives across the country," stated YCC President Christopher Malagisi. "It's our turn to step up and start taking a greater leadership role within the movement by harnessing the power and ingenuity of young conservatives, while at the same time dispelling the myth that all voters under the age of 40 are liberals."
I am a charter member of YCC, and was a part of coming up with the Lake Anna Declaration, a platform for young conservatives to look to for 2009. I don't like everything in the platform, and a few things that I would've liked to see in the platform aren't in there. But the fact is that it should serve as a baseline for how the conservative movement can advance our principles in creative ways, and even promote healthy debate over how to formulate sound public policy.
There's one thing in the platform that I think all of us can agree with:
Every challenge facing the American people does not require a federal office and federal funding, especially during times of economic uncertainty.
For those of you at CPAC, please join the launch of the Young Conservative Coalition tomorrow morning, participate in "Rebuilding the Movement" brainstorming session and make your voice heard. Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) will be joining us.
Why did I join the YCC? Simple. I'm tired of being told that I'm the future of the movement. I'm here now. I'm ready now. Yes, this is only the first step towards reshaping the conservative movement, but it will be a great start!