Monday, September 1, 2014

Ted Cruz, the Koch Brothers and Americans for Prosperity

I spent Friday August 29 and Saturday August 30 at Americans for Prosperity.  I did not know anything about Americans for Prosperity when I signed up to attend the conference.  I went because for the past four months since moving to Dallas I have been wanting to hear Ted Cruz speak in person.  I had wanted to attend a conference in Fort Worth at the beginning of August where Ted Cruz and Gov. Rick Perry were scheduled to speak but I was not able to do it.  So when I saw on Twitter that both would be speaking at the Omni Hotel at the AFP conference at the end of the month, I saw it as my second chance.

I have to say, this was an amazing weekend.  AFP is 10 years old and has had eight conferences.  The first six were held in Washington D.C.; last year's was in Orlando, Florida.  Promptly after that conference ended, Rick Perry called Tim Phillips, President of AFP, and asked him to hold the next one in Texas.  As Phillips joked in his introduction of Perry, Perry's motto is that if there is a job or an event anywhere in the country he goes after that job or event to bring it to Texas.  (The jam packed freeways and bumper to bumper traffic on I-35 speak loudly to his success.  Texas added 50,000 jobs in the month of July, and the city of Dallas is stretching to keep up with the expansive growth, not only from major players like Toyota who are moving here, but also the 50 other companies that are bringing jobs to the Dallas metroplex).

The line up of speakers was terrific--Rick Perry, Rand Paul, Marsha Blackburn, Carly Fiorina, Dr. Ben Carson, and Bill Whittle. All gave inspiring speeches.  But the best speech, by far, was Ted Cruz, who spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of 3000 chanting "Run Ted, Run."  It is no coincidence that the AP chose to highlight Cruz's speech by asking rhetorically whether Cruz is announcing his run for president.  After hearing his speech and seeing the audience reaction, I would say the answer is most definitely "yes."

Cruz assures us that we will repeal Obamacare--every word of it--in 2017 in the White House Rose Garden.  And he says that with such passion and conviction that we can believe that he CAN do this, and WILL do it.  Perhaps more importantly, he makes us believe that WE can do this.  And believing that WE can do it inspires us to work hard TO accomplish it.

Americans for Prosperity is a very effective grassroots organization.  The much maligned Charles and David Koch founded the organization.  (David Koch spoke at the conference.)  During the conference we saw videos of Harry Reid sneering at the Koch brothers, and we saw a speech by Obama calling out "organizations with innocent sounding names" like AFP.  And yet, the power of AFP is not the Koch brothers or their money.  The power of AFP is the 3000 Americans who traveled from Alaska, Colorado, Florida and Wisconsin to attend this conference.  The power of AFP can be seen in the 14 year old young man who has knocked on thousands of doors spreading the message that freedom is better than big government.  The power of the AFP can be seen in the one million door knocks completed across the nation in ten years as friends and neighbors explain the benefits of freedom and prosperity to each other.  The power of Americans for Prosperity is seen in the 70 + year old volunteer who survived a massive heart attack and went back to her volunteer work of hosting parties in her community to explain the value of prosperity.

Ted Cruz's speech reminded us that we have a voice and we the people still have the power to effect change in our country.   At the end of his speech, he asked each of us to vote 10 times.  ("No," he teased, "we are not Democrats; I do not want you to cast 10 votes.  What I want you to do is to go out and get 10 people to vote who would not normally vote and take them to the polls.")  I'm in, Senator Cruz.  I hope everyone reading this is in also.

Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her novel, The Planner, about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at

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