- Marco Rubio: U.S. at social, moral crossroads
- ‘We’re coming for you, Barack Obama’: Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL
- White flags baffle NYPD: ‘We’re lucky it wasn’t a bomb’
- N.Y. Gov. Cuomo’s office interfered with, pressured corruption commission: report
- Brit lawmaker: I would fire on Israel if I lived in Gaza
- VA apologizes to forgotten Marine veteran locked in Fla. clinic, forced to call 911
- U.S. social and economic trends on worrisome track, survey finds
- McDonald nomination unanimously referred to full Senate
- Chuck Norris honorary chairman of NRA voter registration campaign
- GOP outraged Obamacare investigators able to get coverage with fake IDs
Colorado summit a conservative magnet
Question of the Day
DENVER | Five years ago, John Andrews was casting about for a signature event to put the newly founded Centennial Institute on the map, when he realized that there is probably no place politicos would rather visit in the summer than Colorado.
The humidity is low, the bugs are scarce and it’s a swing state. Mr. Andrews and former Sen. Bill Armstrong, the president of Colorado Christian University, envisioned a Western version of the Conservative Political Action Conference, with a few tweaks.
“Bill Armstrong and I said to each other, ‘We could do something like that,’ except that it would be different in three ways,” said Mr. Andrews, director of the conservative Centennial Institute think tank. “It would be in the summer, not the winter; it would be in the Rockies, not on the Potomac, and it would have that broader recognition that important as politics and elections are, most important of all is the understanding of the American idea in the hearts and minds of our people.”
Never mind that Mr. Andrews, a former Colorado Senate president, was 66, an age at which most people are putting on the brakes. In 2010, the Centennial Institute launched the first Western Conservative Summit, a gathering of conservative politicos and intellectuals. Its theme: “Right turn, right now.”
Five years later, Mr. Andrews expects as many as 3,000 attendees when the three-day Western Conservative Summit convenes Friday. This year’s theme: “America at Its Best.”
Once again, the summit has outgrown its venue. The Denver Hyatt Regency’s 2,000-seat ballroom isn’t big enough to hold everyone for the biggest draws, so several events will be held across the street at the Colorado Convention Center’s Bellco Theatre.
That includes Friday’s opening night with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Washington Times columnist Ben S. Carson. The program also includes a plethora of other prominent Republicans: former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, former Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, and former Rep. Allen West of Florida.
Tea Party Patriots founder Jenny Beth Martin will be there, but Mr. Andrews said the summit is aimed at all conservatives, whatever their stripe. One summit workshop, “Fight on the Right,” tackles the tension among tea partyers, the Republican establishment, libertarians and social conservatives.
“That’s healthy. You’re not going to have a governing coalition unless you have some disagreement and some constructive tension,” said Mr. Andrews, “but there is a danger that a circular firing squad will deprive the right of opportunities in Colorado and nationally this year.”
Keeping the conference young is a priority for Mr. Andrews, who is 70 but as spry as a shortstop. He invites students from Colorado Christian University to introduce the speakers, and 120 people ages 16 to 20 will be attending this year as part of the just-launched Young Conservatives Leadership Conference.
“Maybe I’m a youthful, energetic 70,” Mr. Andrews said with a grin, “but the fact remains that my generation came of age in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and it’s time for us to hand the torch to Americans who will make or break America in the 21st century.”
Although Barack Obama owned the youth vote in 2008 and 2012, Mr. Andrews said, it’s the conservative message that is suited to the under-30 crowd.
“I think personal choice and personal responsibility and self-reliance and taking hold of your own future to meet your own aspirations, which is a conservative and not a progressive or a liberal approach, has all kinds of possibilities with this next generation,” he said. “We just have to do a better job of getting the message across.”
A highlight of the weekend is the presidential straw poll, which the summit began in its second year. Last year, Mr. Cruz won the poll, and he may be tough to beat this year, given that he’s a featured speaker.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Valerie Richardson covers politics and the West from Denver. She can be reached at email@example.com.
- Conservative groups decry Democrats' 'war on women' tactic
- Act would create tax-free savings accounts for the disabled
- Rep. Jared Polis' anti-fracking crusade riles Colorado
- Carson wins straw poll as conservatives focus on winning battle of ideas
- 'Carson for president' troops converge on Western Conservative Summit
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
The subsidies are a hit with patients who don't exist
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- Democratic Sen. John Walsh plagiarized War College master's thesis: report
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Netanyahu's Wikipedia page replaced with giant Palestinian flag
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- Despite rhetoric, gun prosecutions plummet under Obama
- Hezbollah warring in Syria could join fight against Israel
- HURT: The cost of 'free' water in Detroit
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq