Notes from the National Review Summit

By January 27, 2007General

The good folks over at the National Review were kind enough to invite us — as bloggers — to attend their summit this weekend, so the blogger-in-chief attended part of today’s session and Carter Wood is there for the duration, will add his two cents later.

Today opened with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich opining on just about everything. Newt is a controversial guy but he is very bright and is an engaging speaker, termed “a one-man think tank” by National Review Editor Rich Lowry. Newt was talking about the growing duration of the Presidential campaign season, with candidates announcing now almost two years before the election. By comparison, he noted that JFK announced on January 2 of 1960, while Ronald Reagan announced on November 13 of 1979, just short of a year before Election Day. Of course, he sees this all as consultant driven. It was clear that he had a minimum of high regard for consultants.

One is never in doubt about where Newt stands on just about anything. He talked about his new book, “The Art of Transformation” and its principles. Quoting Margaret Thatcher, he said, “First you win the argument, then you win the vote.” He is clearly a guy of ideas — some might say a machine — and all were on display at the summit.

A panel on Foreign Policy brought some information relevant to manufacturers from National Review editor-at-large and former Thatcher aide John O’Sullivan who lamented the rise of the “Trans-National Progressives” ( or “Transies” in his parlance). He was talking about the rise of international groups and non-governmental organizations rushing to set international standards that leave the US out in the cold. He pointed to groups pushing for reg-setting by the EU and to Kyoto as two examples. These are groups, he said, “with a hazy democratic accountability” but that are setting global policy in ways that may be damaging to US interests. On the issue of global economic growth, he noted that in 25 years, the US, India and China are projected to each have 25% of the world GDP, while the EU will have fallen to about 10%.

On an earlier panel on “Small Government,” Marvin Olasky said, “The best way to fight poverty is to grow the economy.’ We agree. Lots of free market folks in the room today.