SPN 2009 Conference: Final Day


Publius Forum, November 4, 2009

The Wednesday session began with a breakfast address by James K. Glassman the former Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, U.S. Dept. of State during the George W. Bush administration. He spoke on Internet freedom (as opposed to net neutrality) and expressed his hope that a thousand Internet flowers would bloom without onerous regulation squelching it all. (I’ll add some photos later once I return home. All the camera stuff is packed up for the trip home at his time).

Mr. Glassman is about to begin his new role as the executive director of the forthcoming George W. Bush Institute to be housed in Dallas, Texas at the soon to be built G.W. Bush library.

I asked him if he could keep in mind the danger that state taxation presents to the Internet and urged him not just to focus on the federal threat that the Obama administration is presenting at this time. He agreed and I am hopeful that this subject will form a part of his future strategy.

I have to say, though, that Mr. Glassman was met with a moderately hostile crowd here among we SPNers. One of his comments during his address was how great the prescription drug plan was and another was how the country absolutely needed TARP. That did not meet with favor from our freemarketeers here at the SPN conference. A few scattered boos were heard and every question during the Q & A slammed the Bush administration over these policies. I was expecting a Joe Wilson to jump up and yell “You LIE,” any second.

Glassman certainly found some hostility. I hope he is prepared to face this sort of outrage from our own side of the aisle for years to come in his role at the G.W. Bush Institute. The role the Institute will play in the future, by the way, it’s charge and agenda was not delineated because President Bush is to have an unveiling in a few months, so Glassman could not speak out of turn on the matter.

Next I went to a healthcare session led by the inimitable Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute, who has been indispensable on the mess that is Obamacare. On the dais was Alan Cobb of Americans for Prosperity, Merrill Matthews Director of the Council for Affordable Health Insurance, and John Miall of Miall Consulting. The subject was “what’s next in the healthcare debate?”

After that I went on to a discussion on “harnessing the passion of the real grassroots.” The panel was moderated by Loni Roman of Regular Folks United and on the panel was Dallas Woodhouse of Americans for Prosperity, Eric Odom of the American Liberty Alliance, and Matt Kibbe from Freedomworks.

After that last panel discussion we had a nice lunch and wrapped up the week’s activities.

This SPN conference was the largest conference ever with over 500 participants and with the elections going our way last night the mood was upbeat and energized. I met folks from every state and passed out a ton of my business cards. I am hopeful that my contacts here might lead to some future collaboration with some of these many state policy organizations.

I have to thank Chip Hanlon of RedCounty.com for putting me in touch with Adam Radman of Americans for Tax Reform for hosting my trip out here to beautiful Ashville, North Carolina. I certainly hope I can make SPN2010 in Cleveland, Ohio (of course, I’d rather it be in Cincinnati! But, hey, beggars can’t be choosey.) I found the whole event very worthwhile and recommend to anyone interested in furthering free market, liberty minded state policies.

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as newsbusters.org, RedState.com, Human Events Magazine, AmericanDailyReview.com, townhall.com, New Media Journal, Men’s News Daily and the New Media Alliance among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events and is currently the co-host of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Conservatism” heard on BlogTalkRadio. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of publiusforum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

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