Restoration Report

I am en route home from the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s Restoration Weekend in Palm Beach, Florida. This was my first Restoration Weekend, but it won’t be my last. It was an intense three days; I can’t begin to do it justice in a post but will try to touch on a few highlights that may be of interest to our readers.

* David Horowitz, at age 80, remains a national treasure. This morning there was a touching memorial tribute to Peter Collier, David’s long-time friend and collaborator. It is good to see that David is still going strong.

* Victor Davis Hanson spoke at the opening dinner Thursday night. He put aside his prepared remarks to talk about the impeachment fiasco now taking place in Washington. We had a chance to chat briefly after the event.

* Donald Trump, Jr. spoke at Friday’s breakfast. He was excellent–in my view, a top-notch surrogate who pulls no punches. Those who attended Restoration Weekend got a copy of his new book, Triggered. I am only a few chapters into it, but it is surprisingly good–one of the most fiery books I have ever read. It tells the story of the last three years from an insider’s perspective, and Donald Jr. is brutal in his evaluations of figures like Robert Mueller. Scott sometimes talks about needing help with his anger management therapy. Trust me: Triggered is therapeutic.

* I was on the first panel of the weekend, on the role of the press in the 2020 election, along with Ned Ryun, Joe Concha and Chris Buskirk. I expressed views that are probably already familiar to Power Line readers. A fundamental question, I think, is whether the legacy media can still sway many votes, now that most people understand that they are an arm of the Democratic Party. Which has been true for a long time, but has become blindingly obvious due to the hate that Donald Trump has engendered.

* Friday evening’s dinner featured an extensive lineup that included impressionist Rich Little. He began his act by saying, “Yes, I am still alive!” Not only is he alive, he is performing four nights a week in Las Vegas. Little is still funny, and what’s more, he is a solid conservative.

* Candace Owens was the main Friday evening speaker. She arrived in Palm Beach shortly before the dinner, coming from England where she had debated the impeachment of President Trump at the Oxford Union. I am pretty sure she won, although the Oxford students voted narrowly in favor of impeachment. Candace was even better than usual at our event, and characteristically remained for an hour after the event was over, chatting with attendees and posing for pictures.

* Pretty much every session, of which there were many, was excellent. I can’t summarize them all, so will highlight just a few, starting with a panel on K-12 indoctrination in the public schools that included two Minnesotans, Amy “Valentine” and Lynn McHale. It was terrific, and I was struck by the audience response. The depth to which our public schools have sunk surprises even a lot of well-informed conservatives.

* For me, the most eye-opening presentation was Caroline Glick’s. In recent years, I have been puzzled by Israeli politics, with its endless accusations of “corruption” and seeming inability to maintain a functioning government. Caroline explained it all: Israel is in the hands of its own Deep State. Unelected bureaucrats, led by a rogue Supreme Court that is not restricted to deciding actual cases, as in the U.S., but can issue orders more or less willy-nilly and somehow has gotten the power to name its own successors, dominate over the country’s elected officials. What is happening in Israel, which seemingly can be countered only by mass political action, should be a warning to Americans as well as Europeans. After her speech, we chatted briefly and she told me that she enjoys Power Line–high praise, in my book.

* James O’Keefe put on a bravura video presentation about Project Veritas. O’Keefe is a natural showman, and PV’s achievements over the last ten years are impressive. He brought out the CNN whistleblower to a thunderous round of applause from the audience.

* We have gotten to know some young black conservatives due to our participation in Turning Point’s Black Leadership Summits in Washington. This year, my organization collaborated with Turning Point USA and the Horowitz Freedom Center to bring some of these young conservatives to Restoration Weekend, all expenses paid. They are fine young people and visibly enjoyed the experience. Here we are with a couple of them:

* Restoration Weekend is held at The Breakers, one of America’s truly great resorts. We played hooky a couple of times to sit by a pool or walk on the beach. One couldn’t find a better venue for a conference, or a vacation.

* After dinner on Friday, my wife and I went into the wonderful Seafood Bar for a drink. After a few minutes a young man who was sitting by himself at the next table got up and approached us. “Are you John Hinderaker?” he asked. I confessed, and he, describing himself as a daily Power Line reader, joined us. A little later his wife arrived, having worked late. They ate dinner while Loree and I commandeered some of their oysters. They are a delightful couple, and we talked with them until 1:00 a.m. They spent the weekend at The Breakers celebrating the wife’s birthday; I hope she has forgiven us!

* Saturday evening’s dinner featured, among others, Diamond and Silk. I had never seen them perform, except in the briefest video snippets. They are hilarious, and their political comedy is smart and up to the minute. I sometimes say that unless you have hung out with black conservatives, you haven’t hung out with conservatives. Diamond and Silk illustrate the point, as does former football star Burgess Owens, another of Saturday’s speakers.

Diamond and Silk

* There was much more, uniformly worthwhile and inspiring. Kudos to David Horowitz, Michael Finch, Lonny Leitner and those behind the scenes at the Horowitz Freedom Center. This was my first time at Restoration Weekend, but next year, I wouldn’t miss it. If you can make it next year, I highly recommend it.

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