Today in Washington, D.C., there is a meeting of the vast right wing conspiracy. Big surprise, The Family Foundation is in the midst. Although the left might prefer we were the only ones in the room, we are not. The Values Voter Summit hosted by the Family Research Council Action has drawn more than 2,000 people to the historic Washington Hilton. Speaking to this energized crowd is quite a line up of thinkers and doers including CNN host Lou Dobbs, Joe Gibbs, Newt Gingrich, Michael Medved, Stephen Baldwin, Alveda King, Michael Steele, Star Parker, Dr. Bill Bennett, Laura Ingram, Ben Stein, Chuck Colson and many more.
Casual conversations with folks indicate that they really wish Governor Sarah Palin was joining us but they respect the fact that she is in Alaska deploying her son and since she just drew 23,000 people in Farfax this week, they'll cut her some slack. Michael Steele told us what he has told the media this past week, "I know Sarah Palin and you don't want to mess with Sarah Palin. She shoots moose, what do you think she is going to do to a donkey?"
The leadership of all of the family policy councils around the country have been here much of the week pow-wowing about marriage amendments on the ballots in Ariz., Calif., and Fla., and much more. A smaller segment of the group is discussing not just issues, but tactics. In particular, a conclusion has been reached by those of us that aren't 50+ year old white men (no offense to those that are) that our movement has not yet grabbed the tools and terminology needed to reach the ever important 18-29 year old voting block. While we don't have all the solutions, I've heard that the first step is acknolwledging the problem.
Lou Dobbs encouraged conservatives in the room to diversity our issues. Although his comments were aimed at the fiscal issues, closed door meetings have discussed not allowing the left to claim the issues of poverty and social justice. Indeed the greatest efforts toward giving every citizen a shot at the American dream are those that go straight to the root problem — solutions that secure and stablize a nuclear family. A bunch of brainiacs shared some embargoed research with a small group of us yesterday and it continues to be clear that if we want men, women and children to succeed in any way (financial, education, etc.), we must stop the out of wedlock births, cohabitation and divorce. If we want our young men to grow up and not end up on the street or in our prison system, they need their dads! That's not a moral opinion, its a social science fact. Clearly, we need to be a part of making sure we love our neighbor by making sure they know where their next meal comes from, but working to solve poverty runs so much deeper than a bunch of government programs.
Interestingly, Dobbs acknowledged that FRC President Tony Perkins has been instrumental in his "conversation" to believing that values voters matter and need to have a voice in the public square. Dobbs hasn't always believed that way and said he was used to pursuading people to his point of view, but Tony turned the tables on him.
One thing is for sure, the energy level among values voters has received a monumental shot of adreneline with Sarah Palin joining the Republican ticket. These people are ready to go home across the nation and go to work. That impact will no doubt be felt election day.