Wow! I had a great time at the Americans for Prosperity Defending the American Dream summit
|At the Tennessee delegates reception. From left to right: Derick Adams,|
Peter Vorsey, Rod Williams (me), Greg Halvorson, Gene Wisdom, Dan Sifuentes,
and Kasondra Watkins
I left home Thursday 11:30 in the morning and went to Legislative Plaza where I caught the bus, joining other people who had gotten on the bus in Brentwood. A second bus left Brentwood and stopped in Hendersonville. We then went to Cleveland where we registered at the convention center and then got to our hotel about 9PM. From 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM all day Friday and Saturday we attended the conference then left Cleveland about 6PM and got back home about 12:30AM Sunday morning.
Next to Ohio, Tennessee had the largest delegation at the convention, with almost 400 people from Tennessee attending. We all wore matching tee shirts; neon light green the first day and bright red the second day and we were highly visible.
The mornings were taken up by breakout session that covered a range of topics from school choice, to right to work and prevailing wage, health care reform, how regulatory overreach is taking our freedom, energy policy, how to talk to millennials about freedom, how to be an effective advocate for your position and lots more. The panelist at the breakout session were all experts in their field and accomplished.
We heard from five of the presidential candidates: Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rick Perry. Among this crowd, the least favorite by far was Jeb Bush and the most favored was Ted Cruz. The audience was polite to Bush. He was not heckled or booed and people did not walk out but the applause was not as loud and his remarks got fewer standing ovations than that for any of the other candidates.
For Ted Cruz, the applause and cheering was deafening, and the standing ovations made the audience look like pop corn: up and down, up and down. For some periods of his speech, the audience stayed standing. Cruz threw out the red meat and the crowd ate it up. Ted Cruz was not my favorite, however. For one thing, I think Cruz is a little too bombastic. I want someone who will bring me to my feet and get me to cheer, but who will also reason and persuade me. I feel he has too much the touch of a televangelist. Also, I had just seen Cruz speak in Franklin a couple weeks before and he gave the exact same speech. It was a rerun for me. I was more impressed the first time I heard the speech.
issue and gain the respective senators some attention.
Several people I spoke to claim Jindal's claim of accomplishments as governor are inflated resulting from a ending of Federal flow-through Katrina relive funding and other factors that only make it appear he cut government. I'll be paying close attention to see how true that is. Marco Rubio also gave a great performance. I have seen him speak a couple times before but not in a while and his speech did not seem like a rerun. At this point in time, my top tier candidates are Jindal, Rubio and Walker.
I had never seen Rich Perry speak before and somehow, I had low expectations but ended up being really impressed. He did not keep people on their feet cheering, but talked about the serious issues facing out country and he modulated his tone from rousing crescendos to low confiding conversational tones, and at one time had the 3,600 absolutely silent.
|Part of the 400 Tennessee attendees|
In addition to to presidential candidates there were speeches by APR officials and war heroes and
others. There were also protesters outside the hall and a bomb scare. In addition to the events in the big hall and breakout session, one of the most enjoyable parts of the trip was spending time with people I know and making new friends. On Friday night after we all checked in to the hotel, about ten people, including a couple state legislators, and some local activist went to a nearby bar and talked for a couple hours and on Saturday night, I had dinner with some people I know, but got to know better, and some new friends. It was a great event. Sometimes you need a revival to keep motivated to fight the fight.
For press coverage of the event: Ted Cruz gets enthusiastic greeting at Americans for Prosperity event