This year’s Conservative Leadership Conference (CLC) was a resounding success that has inspired the Civitas Institute as it looks ahead to next year.
“CLC 2016 was again the must-attend conservative event of the year,” Civitas President Francis De Luca said. “There was a real sense of excitement from beginning to end. Participants learned a lot, and were energized for this crucial political year. We thank all who took part – and we’re already planning for an even better CLC in 2017.”
CLC also received high praise in this excellent piece by Emmitt Tyrrell in The American Spectator.
CLC brought together hundreds of conservatives from across North Carolina to learn from leading authors, experts and political figures March 4 and 5 at the Embassy Suites Cary. CLC is the largest annual gathering of conservatives in North Carolina. A sample of the highlights could include:
- A Friday keynote address by author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, who talked how much of today’s politics is like crime. “So what’s the most valuable thing the world has ever produced? The United States of America,” he said. “The big argument in American politics is — who gets to control that?” That explains what progressives’ real goal is, he said, “It is to steal your wealth.”
- Out on the campaign trail, it’s plain Americans are fed up, reported Heidi Cruz, wife of Texas Sen. Ted. Cruz. “This is a race where voters are angry, voters recognize that our country is in crisis, voters recognize that this economy has not been working for them, that this country is not following the laws on the books and it’s putting them at an unfair disadvantage – and they’re standing up,” she said.
- Asked about the Mideast, Lt. Col. Allen West said, “It will go down as one of the biggest strategic military blunders in the history of the world that Barack Obama withdrew all of our military troops out of Iraq and allowed the reconstitution of Islamic terrorism.”
- Explaining the appeal of Donald Trump, writer and attorney David Limbaugh told CLC, “When people are dehydrated, Trump looks like Gatorade.” But, he added, “Trump would be a blind crap shoot.”
- Pat McCrory spoke about the fight to bring the state’s unemployment insurance costs down. Opposition to the reforms went all the way up to the White House, including a conference at which “the president had the labor secretary sit next to me and basically threaten us,” the governor said. But after North Carolina brought benefits in line with those of neighboring states, the unemployment rate showed one of the biggest drops in the country. Plus, “Seven months ago, we paid off the $2.6 billion we owed the federal government,” McCrory said.
- “As conservatives, it is time for us to offer a principled model of education,” Lt. Gov. Dan Forest said. But it can’t be based on a 19th century model, but on a modern one. Consider what telephones used to be, and what cellphones do now. “That’s kind of what we are talking about with education,” he said.
Among the other speakers were filmmaker Ann McElhinny; Bob Woodson, founder and president of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise; Brandon Darby, managing director of Breitbart Texas; Dr. Mark Harris, senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Charlotte; Hans von Spakovsky, author and elections expert; Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity; Stanley Kurtz of the Ethics and Public Policy Center; author Tim Daughtry; and many other leading commentators and experts.
Capping off the weekend was a Council of State Candidate Forum with 18 candidates from both parties who accepted our invitation to give summaries of why they think they are the best choices for their respective campaigns.