Saturday, April 13, 2013, U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) gave the keynote speech following Fullerton Mayor Bruce Whitaker and other political leaders and organizers at the Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) California State Convention. YAL chapters and individuals from at least five states came together to network and glean from the knowledge and experience of political leaders. For the strongly Ron Paul favoring audience however, the grand excitement came right at 9am with a videoconference address from Dr. Ron Paul himself.
Dr. Paul was in great spirits and commented on how glad he was to see such a youthful group of attendees, noting the importance of the next generation of leaders in the U.S. Paul went on to report on a recent meeting with Congressman ‘Jimmy’ Duncan, their votes against the Iraq war and their new project, the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. Recently Paul has been visiting a number of college campuses to introduce and garner enthusiasm for the project with more campus visits scheduled. On Wednesday, April 17, Paul addressed the public in a press conference announcing the new project. The project will largely address issues relating to education and foreign affairs. A recent Ron Paul Facebook post stated, “The Ron Paul Institute will provide the tools and the education to chart a new course with the understanding that only through a peaceful foreign policy can we hope for a prosperous tomorrow.”
Dr. Ron Paul subsequently discussed one of his latest projects, set to launch in August, the Ron Paul Curriculum for homeschoolers, designed for families that choose to educate their children at home rather than government schools. Dr. Gina Loudon recently commented on her interest in the curriculum on her weekday radio program The Dr. Gina Show and is looking forward to reviewing and possibly using the program herself upon its release to the public.
AJ Spiker, new State Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, addressed the group after Dr. Paul. He spent some time explaining his quick rise to become Chairman in a narrow 9-8 vote victory over the interim Chairman Bill Schickel in February 2012. Upon his election, Spiker stepped down from his position as co-chair of the Ron Paul presidential campaign in Iowa. In speaking to the importance of principles, Spiker commented, “that’s how we win elections is by standing on principle.” And in regards to the the RNC’s actions toward Ron Paul, Spiker said, “one of the biggest important pieces in leadership . . . having people in power in the party that don’t want anything . . . in Iowa in 2012 I remember . . . the party chairman . . . said Ron Paul’s great, but he’s dangerous on foreign policy.” After that statement Spiker recalled the swift drop in Paul’s Iowa poll numbers. There was clear frustration in the room over the circumstances surrounding treatment of Paul and Paul supporters both during the course of the election and thereafter.
Featured speaker John Tate, President of Campaign for Liberty, has an extensive background in politics including campaigns, legislation and lobbying. His experience in these areas ranges from political strategy and direct mail to activism and state and federal legislation. He has had varying levels of involvement in each of Ron Paul’s three presidential campaigns, serving as Campaign Manager in the most recent 2012 campaign. Tate commented on contradictory U.S. foreign policy when he said, “While we’re bombing Libya we’re loaning them money. I don’t know how that makes any sense to anybody.” In reference to RNC’s treatment of the liberty movement Tate stated, “they (the RNC) are concerned . . . they don’t get it . . . they think by passing a resolution saying Ron Paul’s a good guy we’re all gonna be happy and go home? No! Make some changes.” Tate went on to refer to a favorite phrase he and Paul say often, “Freedom brings people together.”
Fullerton Mayor Bruce Whitaker, featured speaker, impressed upon the young activists particularly, to not lower themselves to the heinous tactics of Saul Alinsky and his ruthless ‘rules for radicals’.
Representative Dana Rohrabacher was the final speaker of the day. In Rohrabacher’s Q&A, he responded to a Middle Eastern student who asked the Representative’s perspective in regards to the Arab Spring, dictator overthrows and U.S. involvement.
“It was a time,” the student said, “when a lot of middle eastern citizens like myself really believed that we would actually have an opportunity to embrace western oriented ideals (clarified by Rohrabacher as freedom) . . . that wasn’t the case. As we can see in Egypt and Libya, the Muslim Brotherhood is now in control of government and that might even happen in Syria.”
Rohrabacher’s response included, “Radical Islam is one of the two great threats to the security and well being of people in the United States.” The Middle Eastern student said, “I agree with you.” Rohrabacher continued saying, “The other enemy is by the way communist China and we have been building the economy of and people force . . . the world’s worst human rights abuser. We have been building their economy and we have had our capitalists going over there.” Rohrabacher added, “My motto is free trade between free people.”
The topics of Dr. Ron Paul, foreign policy, auditing/ending the Fed, education and training, methods of outreach for college campus YAL groups, working with other activist groups that share common principles and standing on Constitutional principles were common themes throughout the day.
Attendees of the conference, despite being heavily, but not exclusively, young males, were a fairly diverse group. They came from many different backgrounds ranging in educational, ethnic, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Also present at the event were a few leaders from the state and local Libertarian Party, including two party Chairpersons.