A Rollicking Evening With Bill Bennett

The Center of the American Experiment hosted its annual Fall Briefing tonight, with Bill Bennett as the featured speaker. My wife and I bought a row, as we always do, and because we had a few vacancies at the last minute, I offered three seats to Power Line readers last night. The Fall Briefing is usually at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, which is being renovated at the moment. So this year’s event was at the Woman’s Club, a relatively intimate venue which was packed to the gills by a sell-out crowd of conservatives that included more old friends than we were able to greet through the crush of people.

Bill Bennett and the Center’s Founder/President for life, Mitch Pearlstein, are old friends who worked together in the Reagan administration. Tonight was Bill’s third appearance at a Center event, beginning with the Center’s very first annual dinner in 1992, which Bennett keynoted. Mitch and Bill both have academic backgrounds and share an interest in cultural issues, especially education. And a presidential election is coming up in less than two weeks.

All of the above made for an extraordinarily fun evening. The crowd was energized to the point of near-rowdiness at times. Bennett was terrific, not least because he was very funny. His store of anecdotes is seemingly endless, and he leavened a serious talk with many moments of laugh-out-loud humor. Bill, like me, is reasonably confident that Mitt Romney will be our next president. He talked about the impending election, and then went on to review the broader cultural battles that will need to be fought if we are to truly restore America–like, to name just one, reclaiming American history.

Suffice it to say that we have our work cut out for us. But tonight the Center’s crowd was fired up and ready to rumble. All of that energy and more will be needed over the months and years to come.


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