Freedom Club 2013: An After-Action Report

Tonight was the Freedom Club’s annual dinner. It was, as always, a delightful event. The Freedom Club is the principal organization of conservative donors in Minnesota. (Actually, it is probably the only organization of conservative donors in Minnesota.) For nearly 20 years, it has been almost the only counterbalance to the teachers’ unions, rich out of state liberals, and others who support the Democrats. For most of its history the club kept a low profile, but that is no longer true. If you follow the link to the club’s web site, you can learn about the club and contribute to help support its activities. The Freedom Club, while tiny compared to the vast apparatus on the other side, has been highly effective. When the Republicans took control of both houses of Minnesota’s legislature in 2010, it was due to the club’s efforts.

Of course, 2012 was another story. So tonight’s dinner provided a welcome dose of optimism. The keynote speaker was Steve Forbes. He did an excellent job: his style was grandfatherly, he was funny, and his themes were positive and optimistic. Forbes is adept at communicating economic concepts in a way that is simple and persuasive. Before the dinner, he posed for this photo with my wife and youngest daughter:

The crowd was, I believe, the biggest ever for a Freedom Club annual dinner. In addition to our own guests, we caught up with lots of friends and allies. Michele Bachmann was there; she is currently being attacked by Nancy Pelosi. The Democrats have spent $30 million so far, in a vain attempt to drive her out of office. Now they have cooked up a bogus “ethics” claim which, under Pelosi’s direction, is ostensibly being investigated by the House Ethics Committee. Every few days the Democrats on the committee leak some factoid from the purported investigation, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which has been trying desperately to defeat Michele ever since she entered public life, highlights it on the front page. After a year and a half or so of “investigation,” the ethics complaint will most likely be dismissed, but in the meantime, the political game is being played.

The same rich liberal who opposed Michele last year, and came close to beating her, has said he will run again in 2014. Once again, the Democrats will raise millions to try to defeat Michele. She can really use your support. You can go here to contribute to her campaign. And, no, it’s not too early. The Democrats are already raising their war chest to try to unseat one of the House’s most effective conservatives.

After dinner, we chatted with Michele and her husband for a while, and my wife took this photo:

We also bumped into Jason Lewis, a local radio talk show host–not only local, as he sometimes fills in for Rush Limbaugh. Jason is thinking about challenging Al Franken next year. He might very possibly get the nomination, as none of our House Republicans–Michele Bachmann, John Kline and Erik Paulsen, who was also at tonight’s dinner–has thrown his or her hat into the ring. I am not sure that in general, a radio personality makes the best political candidate, but who knows? In a race against a former comedian, he might be just the ticket.

So it was an excellent night for the Freedom Club and for Minnesota conservatives. Everyone left the event, I think, feeling better about the future.


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