Jay Webber's Reagan Day 2007

Yesterday evening, I had the great pleasure of attending the 4th annual New Jersey Reagan Day, a yearly event to commemorate our 40th President. A great Republican (and fellow Hopkins man) Jay Webber, who is making his 2nd bid for office in NJ District 26, has done a tremendous service to admirers of Ronald Reagan by initiating this excellent tradition.

I attended Reagan Day in 2005, which was a fun yet rather small affair - I was delighted to see yesterday's crowd at the Zeris Inn in Mountain Lakes several times the size of what I witnessed 2 years ago. Jay deserves much credit for this outstanding work, as well as support in his Assembly primary, in which he faces off against Larry Casha, the Kinnelon Council President. I met Casha during the 2004 campaign, as he was tasked with lining up surrogate speakers for President Bush (and later Tom Kean, Jr. in the 2006 Senate race). Casha is a solid Republican and would do the district well, but I believe Webber is a better choice because he is young and articulate, principled, and not afraid to take on the machine. Go Blue Jays! It was also great to see Assemblyman Guy Gregg again, and I will definitely be supporting him in his bid for a State Senate seat in District 24 - more on that later.

Addendum, 2:12 pm - Human Events has linked to this post.

The keynote address yesterday evening was given by Stephen O'Connor, the publisher of Human Events, a landmark conservative journal that was Ronald Reagan's favorite magazine, not to mention his bedtime literature. I tend to like Human Events because it balances the (unfortunately) popular neoconservative viewpoints with paleo critiques from the likes of Pat Buchanan and Paul Craig Roberts, who was an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration.

O'Connor dazzled the crowd with stories of Reagan (for whom his daughter is named), particularly the one related by Richard Reeves which told how Reagan warned Gorbachev, in a private meeting, that he could not back down on Star Wars because he promised the editors of Human Events that he would not do so. O'Connor also related his many experiences in post-communist Central/Eastern Europe, where he hob-nobbed with former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, launched several business magazines, and fought for a Ronald Reagan legacy in the post-Soviet era.

O'Connor's talk was enjoyable, entertaining, and a fitting tribute to President Reagan. He left me with a key impression - how "limousine liberals" just don't get it. O'Connor talked about difficult it was to find qualified journalists in Hungary, Poland, etc. at the time because local writers had little experience expressing their own views independent of communist censors. So, he recruited from Northwestern, the University of Missouri, and Columbia, only to find that the graduates of these reputed journalism schools were more sympathetic to communism than the former communists themselves!

I appreciated this tidbit, because it reinforced 2 other examples of this phenomenon that I have noticed lately, which perhaps I will write about more formally in the near future. The first cropped up in the March issue (not yet online) of Reason magazine, a noted libertarian journal to which I subscribe. Editor Nick Gillespie writes:
"Despite the immiseration (to use an apt Marxist term) of his people, his ruthless censorship, his omnipresent informants, and his prison camps for dissidents, homosexuals, and anyone else who aroused his ire, Castro is still venerated by many on the left. A little free health care, it seems, goes a long way toward excusing all manner of tyranny."
Exactly, let the hypocrites point to Castro as a model for Hillary-style socialized medicine, so long as they don't have to suffer the repercussions of getting on his bad side.

Another example was this recent article talking about the influx of Iraqi refugees into Syria. My friend Rime Allaf discusses this as well. Of course the American left loves to point out the wonders of Syria's immigration policy of admitting any Arab national without a visa, but again - do they have to deal with the out-of-control housing prices or social unrest that results from open borders policies? Of course not!

Finally, I note that on an evening meant to honor Ronald Reagan, a hero to American conservatives, there was little talk of George W. Bush - long gone are the days when Republicans at such events would trip over each other racing to the microphone to proclaim their undying allegiance to "the leader". O'Connor referred to the President only in passing, and I don't believe his name was even used. With an obvious look of contempt, "this guy", O'Connor quipped, "is not a conservative." Amen.