Tonight was the fifteenth annual dinner of the Center of the American Experiment, a Minnesota-based think tank that, by universal consent, has exercised considerable influence over Minnesota politics in recent years. The Center was founded by Mitch Pearlstein, a scholar from New York who found a home in Reagan’s Education Department, and later at the University of Minnesota. When Mitch first conceived the idea of founding a conservative think tank in then deep-blue Minnesota, most people thought he was nuts. As it happened, the Center has proved to be a model of philosophical inquiry and intellectual activism that has been replicated, with local variations, around the country.
This year, I had the privilege of serving as the Master of Ceremonies for the event. The featured speaker was General Tommy Franks. He was delightful in person and gave an excellent talk–both inspiring and funny. Mitch and the sergeant who introduced General Franks were also very good.
The Center has started to podcast its events. You can subscribe to podcasts here. My wife says they’re terrific; the ones already available include Professor Larry Schweikart, Steve Hayward, Peter Schweizer, Ward Connerly and Charles Murray. I’m sure the Annual Dinner will be added soon. I subscribed to the CAE podcasts tonight; you might consider doing the same.