State Policy Network Conference Update

-By Warner Todd Huston

I have been ensconced in meetings on grassroots organizing, fundraising, tech and all sorts of things here at the SPN 17th annual conference in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina organized by the State Policy Network. I have to thank my host Adam Radman, Programs and Communications Manager of Americans for Tax Reform, for giving me this great opportunity to network with state policy organizations from every state of the Union.

The opening speech was given by Robert Levy, Chairman of the CATO Institute. He spoke on Libertarian-conservative perspectives on federalism, the enumerated powers in the Constitution and the possibilities of tort reform. Annoyingly a fellow in the audience asked of Levy why we should favor federalism over liberty. Levy patiently explained that the talk he gave was narrowly constrained on the topic and wasn’t in any way meant to posit that federalism was more important than freedom and liberty. There’s always one in the crowd, isn’t there?

During the day I attended several panels and talks and helped Eric Odom of the American Liberty Alliance run a Blogging 101 tech class.

At had dinner last night we had an address by Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard and Fox News. Barnes spoke on the virulent anti-business philosophy of President Obama and how it seems that his chief philosophy about the US economy is that he can take as much away from it as he likes yet it will be like the magical golden goose that continues to lay the golden egg no matter what happens. Naturally, Obama is wrong and he’s poised to kill the U.S. economy.

I spoke to Barnes for a while after dinner and he was a very nice fellow.

I also met at the cigar reception that night the notorious James O’Keffe, he of the ACORN expose videos. I couldn’t resist standing with him for a photo. There we are looking haughty and self-important puffing on our cigars and drinking expensive imported beers. Aren’t we the very picture of the hoi polloi?

As I mentioned in my previous post on the conference, we are staying at the beautiful Grove Inn here in Asheville. The surrounding hills are beautifully drenched in fall colors. Here is the scene off one of the many balconies of this monumental complex.

So, while I am missing most of the news of the day because of being here at the conference, I hope that the contacts I make here will improve the level of information that you’ll find here on the blog in the years to come.
Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as,,,,, Human Events Magazine,, and the New Media Journal, among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events and is currently the co-host of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Conservatism” heard on BlogTalkRadio. Warner is also the editor of the Cook County Page for

He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on He is also the owner and operator of Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

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