Conservatism’s Rising Stars Spark Students at Young America’s Foundation Conference
America’s young people face harsh realities resulting from the Obama administration’s policies. Youth unemployment has reached a 30-year high at 17.3%, and The Huffington Post reports that 85% of college grads are moving back in with their parents.
Student loan debt is soaring to record heights, and the national debt—which is already damaging the economy—threatens to make Generation “Y” fiscal servants to the government.
Young people are ready to rebel against the Left. The Obama administration’s approval rating among 18- to 29-year-olds continues to plunge, and America’s youth are eager for alternative ideas.
To provide such ideas, Young America’s Foundation (YAF) hosted the rising leaders in the Conservative Movement—including Senators Marco Rubio and Mike Lee, Congressmen Allen West and Jim Jordan, and best-selling author Ann Coulter—at the 33rd annual National Conservative Student Conference (NCSC).
The conference, held at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., from Aug. 1 to 6, had 350 participants from 25 states and six countries, and was a part of Young America’s Foundation’s Reagan 100 celebration, a yearlong initiative honoring the 100th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s birth. C-SPAN was on hand to cover several events live.
Sen. Marco Rubio headlined the Reagan 100 banquet on the first full day of conference activities. Students connected to Rubio’s message embracing the American Dream for the next generation.
“I encourage you to remain involved, because the decisions we are making will be permanent,” Rubio said to a packed and excited banquet hall.
Foundation student activist Jiesi Zhao noted, “Marco Rubio is so energetic and fresh, and he just gets it.”
Rubio wasn’t the only young leader firing up the crowds. Speeches from HUMAN EVENTS editor Jason Mattera, Fox News panelist Stephen Hayes, CNN contributor Dana Loecsh and National Review’s Jonah Goldberg excited students with edgy messages that directly related to the conference’s college-age audience.
Mattera even busted out a few jokes. “Sarah Palin does love animals—the way most Americans do: killed, fried and ready to eat!”
Beyond his speech, Mattera was also a part of an investigative journalism panel with Project Veritas’ James O’Keefe, who is known for his video stings exposing the corruption of ACORN and NPR.
O’Keefe and Mattera, both masters of online video stings, conveyed how students can use new media to forward the cause of freedom. Mattera suggested that students can learn more by interning with Young America’s Foundation’s National Journalism Center, which has a special program dedicated to investigative journalism.
While students loved hearing from people in the media, they particularly appreciated the remarks from the public policy leaders who spoke to the conference. Conservatives including Sen. Mike Lee, Rep. Allen West, and Rep. Jim Jordan addressed issues ranging from the debt ceiling to the weakening of America’s national defense.
These officials, three of whom are freshmen in Congress, inspired the conference attendees to care about what’s happening in government. Whether the subject was the debt burden being passed to America’s youth or the terrible job situation, these leaders conveyed that only more conservative activism can solve this generation’s challenges.
Stephen K. Bannon, director of new film about Sarah Palin’s rise as governor of Alaska—The Undefeated— echoed this message and roused students with his anti-establishment theme, warning that liberalism is endangering future generations. Bannon also shared insights he had learned about Palin during the filming of his movie.
Foundation mainstays Bay Buchanan, Joseph Phillips, Rich Lowry, KT McFarland, Marc Thiessen, Pat Coyle and Kate Obenshain armed students with the ammunition they’ll need to fight the activism battles on their campuses. “The Campus Conservative Battleplan,” YAF’s guide to activism filled with monthly activities, was also distributed to all the students. To fight the Left with sufficient intellectual firepower, CPAC director Chris Maligisi, National Review Online editor Kathryn Lopez and Fund for American Studies President Roger Ream participated in a book panel recommending classic conservative literature.
And despite what liberals say, the Conservative Movement has modern intellectuals. Princeton’s Robert George, New York Times best-seller list authors Burt Folsom and Larry Schweikart, and the Wall Street Journal’s Steve Moore dazzled students with their vast, knowledge-filled speeches on history and economics.
The second-to-last speaker, HUMAN EVENTS’ own legal analyst Ann Coulter, ignited the crowd with her witty one-liners attacking liberal hypocrisy. She left students ready to counter the Left without moderation and without fear.
The Conservative Movement’s rising stars jolted these students into wanting to engage their peers on campus, and the activism during this coming school year will demonstrate the efficacy and success of this conference.