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FreedomWorks was fortunate to meet so many of the citizen activists who believe in lower taxes, less government and more freedom at this weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). We also welcomed the opportunity to interact with other individuals concerned about the growth of the federal government and we found that this past year—in which we saw the passage of ObamaCare in complete disregard of what the American people wanted—has created many more like-minded defenders of liberty.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour declared to the crowd that 2010 was "the greatest repudiation of a president and a party in history.”
There was a spirited debate on how to defeat the White House’s radical agenda, but all prominent speakers agreed on the fundamentals of the moment: government spending is an out of control threat and we cannot tax our way out of this fiscal crisis.
"We cannot deter it. We cannot negotiate with it any more than an iceburg or a great white," said Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. "I refer to the debt - the new red menace, this time consisting of ink." Daniel implored more reforms, including the expansion of school vouchers, and suggested bold cuts to reduce the federal debt, such as establishing a flat tax or chopping through the "regulatory rainforest" inhibiting business. "Today's EPA should be renamed the 'Employment Prevent Agency," Daniels said.
We found this passion for a return to conservative principles represented in the audience as well. During a panel on the need for a constitutional balanced budget amendment, FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe asked the audience to raise their hands if they considered themselves to be part of the Tea Party. A slight majority raised their hands. “How many of you are concerned about the size of government?” he asked. Everyone in the room raised their hands. “Then you’re all part of the Tea Party,” he said.
FreedomWorks and members of the Tea Party were speakers on numerous panels this year at CPAC, as the establishment GOP paid homage to the importance of the Tea Party movement and grassroots activists in the 2010 midterm elections.
After the first night of CPAC, FreedomWorks hosted 200 of America’s top conservative bloggers at our office—where we screened the premiere trailer and several scenes from the upcoming Atlas Shrugged film release.
In 1957 when Ayn Rand published Atlas Shrugged, a dystopian novel about a world in which the burden of government over the producers of society grew too great, it quickly became one of the most influential works in literary history.
It is our hope, that bringing Atlas Shrugged to the silver screen will help educate and inspire millions of Americans to reject government tyranny and embrace individual liberty. The blogger event was well-attended by candidates like Herman Cain, Ted Cruz and Michael Williams and bloggers like Melissa Clouthier, Ed Morrissey and our Blogger of the Year Javier Manjarres.
We screened Atlas Shrugged again on Friday at CPAC to a standing room only crowd of over one hundred eager viewers. The screening was followed by a discussion panel featuring Atlas Shrugged Producer Harmon Kaslow, FreedomWorks Vice President of Public Affairs Max Pappas, Associate Editor of Reason Magazine Peter Suderman and FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe.
After the film screening, we debuted FreedomConnector (http://connect.freedomworks.org), our online grassroots activism platform, which will define the future of the Tea Party movement. As a result of this presentation and our interaction with other members of the movement, we were able to significantly increase the number of activists who will use the site to advance their efforts. But this was only the beginning.
FreedomConnector received another boost from Glenn Beck, who has generously used his television and radio forum to promote our website and encourage his viewers to get connected. As a result, during the past week, we have seen the number of citizens connected to FreedomConnector grow exponentially, with over 30,000 activists now on the system.
“Community organizing is going to change the world,” said Beck. “And last week I said to you, before I found out about the FreedomConnector, if you’re not organized, you lose.”
We will continue our campaign to promote this new website which promotes the cause of liberty and bring further cohesion to a group of concerned Americans who reject leader-oriented politics. We look forward to the next two years and hope that you will join us.