Reclaiming American Liberty in 2010 With Bolton, Steyn and More

Yesterday, I attended the “Reclaim American Liberty Conference” in New York City. Sponsored by conservative stalwarts Human Events newspaper, the Hudson Institute and Family Security Matters, the conference was a winner in re-igniting liberty driven ideas for 2010.

The conference was held quite appropriately at the Union League Club, built in 1863 in support of President Lincoln. A select group of influential conservative folks gathered in Lincoln Hall for the day’s events, including keynote speaker Ambassador John Bolton, author Mark Steyn and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

Much of the conference focused on America’s national security interests and the country’s failure to define an enemy in the War on Terror. An economic panel touched on health care, campaign corruption and China’s role on the world stage in regards to America.

Obama is the “first post-American President,” said John Bolton in his opening remarks. “Not anti-American or un-American — but post-American — he views himself as a citizen of the world.”

Bolton centered his remarks on the opinion that Obama aspires to a European elitist view of America and that the President does not “believe we live in a threatening world.”

“I don’t think the President really cares about foreign policy or national security,” said Bolton. “He’ll deal with it when he has to…[but] it’s more of a distraction than a priority, which is a remarkable development for an American president.”

Bolton touched on the government’s global warming concerns as well, saying efforts in this area have crowded national security concerns. He noted that some of America’s satellite national security cameras would soon be used to monitor global warming concerns.

“I never knew our satellite capabilities ever had any spare time,” Bolton deadpanned.

He criticized the Obama Administration’s 100% reliance on international negotiation to achieve peace, noting that “Iran and North Korea see no incentive to come to the table even after a year of near desperate attempts to get them there.”

Bolton speculated that America is one-fourth of the way through the Obama presidency and criticized the Administration’s actions to decrease American sovereignty by bowing to a system of global governance.

“We see sovereignty not as an abstract concept but as essence of government,” Bolton said. “When someone says the solution of global problems requires that you share sovereignty or give it up, that’s like saying you have too much control over your government and you need to give it a little away.”

A focus on health care dominated the scheduled economic panel. Betsy McCaughey, president of the Committee to Reduce Infectious Deaths, noted at least 10 places in the recently passed Senate health care bill that violate the Constitution. This included Sec. 4105a, which states an “authority to modify or eliminate coverage of certain preventive services.”

But don’t worry, she urged, page 612 of HR 3590 will definitely be covered, McCaughey said. This coverage includes positive self-esteem and relationship reinforcement and ethnic diversity within adolescent development.

“The president should throw out this bill and give us a 20-page bill in clear, honest English that provides tort reform, allows all of us to buy health insurance across state lines and shop for what we really want, “ said McCaughey.

General Richard Myers, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, under President George W. Bush, gave a historical account of acts of lslamic extremism against the United States.

In the face of the biggest threat to our country and our way of life today, Myers said, “The urgent always displaces the important.”

“[The extremists] have a vision and most of all, they are patient and have the will and resolve to carry out their vision,” Myers said, adding that America is not currently organized to combat a war against an enemy we cannot actively identify.

Col. Allen West, U.S. Army, Ret., next took the stage. West, who is running as a Republican for Florida’s 22nd District, riveted the audience while speaking of his experiences in Desert Storm and the most recent war in Iraq.

“When I went to desert storm in ’91, we fought an army that applied [the old rules of battle],” West said. “When I went back to Iraq in 2003, it was a different type of enemy battlefield. We had not become faced with an enemy that took off those human forms.”

West echoed the other panelists, saying we have a problem in clearly defining our enemy in this fight. He criticized rules of engagement that require multiple layers of clearance to fight on the ground and encouraged a bottom up approach to defeating our enemies abroad.

“We are fighting against an Islamic totalitarianism and state-sponsored terrorism,” said West. “We have got to get this user friendly — down to the men and women on the battlefield. Political correctness cannot dictate the Rules of Engagement.”

Rounding off a day of fantastic speakers was author and humorist Mark Steyn, who ripped on the concept of political correctness and multi-culturalism that dominates the American political and cultural scene.

“We’ve decided all six billion people on the planet have to be treated equally,” said Steyn. “The great strength of what we call multiculturalism is that it short circuits the very possibility of argument and puts you by definition on the extremist side.”

Steyn’s politically-laced humor had the audience laughing but his points on the danger of being PC registered soberly.

Regarding the Ft. Hood tragedy, in which 14 people were murdered, Steyn attributes their deaths, essentially, to political correctness.

“People say we didn’t connect the dots…You didn’t need to connect the dots. He had a big neon sign on his head. He had “Soldier of Allah” on his business care,” said Steyn. “To believe in everything is to believe in nothing and to stand for nothing.”

Honestly confronting the economic, national security and liberty-based issues of today is necessary for a lasting and prosperous nation. America’s current hurdles are broad based and difficult but not impossible to overcome. The conference speakers successfully recognized our need to identify an enemy in the War on Terror, eliminate the dangerous game of adhering to political correctness and re-emerge as a confident worldwide leader.

As Conference speaker Gordon Change, author of “The Coming Collapse of China”, noted in his address, “When dominant nations have failed to lead, they have faltered soon afterwards.”

By reclaiming the mantle and meaning of American liberty in an Obama age, this trend can be reversed.

Ericka Andersen

Ericka Andersen is a Mid-Western girl from Indiana who came to DC after falling in love with conservative politics. She currently works for the House Republican Conference.

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