Joe Trippi called me last week and asked whether I would cooperate with him in setting up a conference call in which bloggers could talk to Sir Bob Geldof about his Live8 campaign to persuade the industrialized countries to help Africa. I agreed to invite 20 or 25 conservative bloggers to participate in the call, while Joe took care of the left side of the blogosphere. I agreed mostly because I think highly of Joe, and thought it would be nice to participate in a bipartisan activity. On the merits of Geldof’s campaign, I had reservations, given 1) my general preference for individual action over government action, and 2) the sad history of much foreign aid to Africa. But I figured I’d keep an open mind and hear Geldof out.
So this noon, we had a conference call in which a number of bloggers took part–I don’t know the exact count–that went on for over an hour. To say that I was impressed would be an understatement. Geldof is an extraordinarily knowledgable guy. Equally important, he is not soft-headed about Africa’s problems. He emphasizes free markets and the need for political reform, which should be, and according to Geldof will be, a condition of the assistance that he advocates. Another important point, I think, is that he talks eloquently not only about the appalling conditions in some areas of Africa, but also about the striking progress being made in areas where political tyranny or upheaval have made such progress impossible. While I am no expert on Africa, I know that there are a lot of important, under-reported positive stories coming out of that continent.
That’s all I have time for now, but in the days to come we’ll be following up with more information.
UPDATE: Citizen Smash has a good summary of the call and links to reactions from some of the bloggers who participated.
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