Freedom Conference kicks off Friday |

Freedom Conference kicks off Friday

Jack Weinstein

— As keynote speaker for this year's Freedom Conference, Jonah Goldberg will describe how the country got to where it is today in "Cheer Up, for the Worst is Yet to Come!" But the conservative pundit said he wouldn't deny the audience what it wants.

Goldberg, editor at large and weekly columnist for conservative website National Review Online, said he would discuss last week's Iowa Straw Poll, the pool of Republican candidates who could oppose President Barack Obama and the GOP's chances in 2012.

"I think (Obama is) the weakest incumbent since Jimmy Carter," he said. "The numbers already speak to that. The only way he can win right now, if you talk to the political consultants, is going hellaciously negative against the Republican nominee. He can't run against his record. He can't run against that hope and change stuff. He'll have to say, 'I'm far less scarier than the Republican nominee.'"

Goldberg will deliver the keynote address at 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Thunderhead atop the Steamboat Ski Area during dinner at The Steamboat Institute's Freedom Conference.

The conference begins with registration at 10 a.m. Friday at The Steamboat Grand, followed by speaker sessions from noon to 5 p.m. and a VIP reception at 6:30 p.m. before dinner.

The conference will continue Saturday morning at The Grand with speaker sessions from 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

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A margarita party and barbecue to benefit Rocky Mountain USO is at 5:30 p.m. Saturday and will conclude the conference.

With topics including the economy, health care and energy, The Steamboat Institute co-founder Rick Akin said the conference couldn't be timelier.

Akin said tickets will be available through Wednesday. The cost is $250, or $175 for young professionals or students younger than 30, for the entire conference. Special rates are available for Friday's and Saturday's sessions only, $95 each day. Both days' speaker sessions are $25 for young professionals or students. Dinner-only tickets for Friday are $100.

Akin said the purpose of the conference is to provide attendees an understanding of the issues so they can have an impact.

"It is up to all of us to make things go well," he said. "I want people to be inspired to go out and do what it takes to get the results for the country we need."

To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email

Freedom Conference schedule

■ Friday

All events at The Steamboat Grand unless otherwise noted

10 a.m. Registration

11:45 a.m. to noon. Welcome and opening remarks by Jennifer Schubert-Akin, chairwoman of The Steamboat Institute

Noon to 1 p.m. Kickoff luncheon speaker: James K. Glassman, head of George W. Bush Institute, host of “Ideas in Action,” will deliver “The Power of Freedom: Unleashing Human Potential.”

1:15 to 2:45 p.m. Attorney general panel, Alan Wilson, of South Carolina, John Suthers, of Colorado, and Greg Zoeller, of Indiana, will discuss the effects of the new health care system and right-to-work issues on the states.

3 to 4 p.m. Kate Obenshain, vice president of Young America’s Foundation, will deliver “Troublesome Young Men and Women: The Courage of Today’s Young Conservatives.”

4 to 5 p.m. “The Oppressed View,” featuring Amy Oliver and Jason Mattera.

5 to 5:15 p.m. Moderator Tony Blankley wrap-up

6:30 to 7:30 p.m. VIP reception at Thunderhead Lodge’s outdoor deck overlooking the Yampa Valley. All guests will ride the gondola to the reception, followed by dinner. The reception will include photo opportunity with keynote speaker Jonah Goldberg

7:30 to 10 p.m. Dinner in Thunderhead Lodge with keynote speaker Jonah Goldberg, who will deliver “Cheer Up, for the Worst is Yet to Come!”

■ Saturday

8 to 9 a.m. “Fresh from the Debt Ceiling Debate” breakfast with freshmen Congressmen Todd Rokita, of Indiana, and Joe Walsh, of Illinois.

9:10 to 10:30 a.m. “Fixing Medicare and Strengthening America: A Health Care Reform Toolkit” with Robert M. Goldberg, Ph.D., Grace-Marie Turner and Hal Scherz, M.D.

10:30 to 11:30 a.m. “Energy and Free Markets: How Free Markets in Energy are Vital to Our Standard of Living” with Bob Beauprez, John Harpole and former Wyoming Governor Jim Geringer.

11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steve Russell, author of “We Got him — The Hunt for Saddam Hussein.”

12:30 to 2 p.m. Closing luncheon with Steve Moore, senior economics writer for The Wall Street Journal.

5:30 p.m. Margarita party and barbecue fundraiser for Rocky Mountain USO, featuring special guests Peter Brookes, senior fellow for national security affairs at The Heritage Foundation, and Lt. Col. Joe Aldaz, director of Rocky Mountain USO.

For more

■ Tickets are available through today. The cost is $250, or $175 for young professionals or students younger than 30, for the entire conference. Special rate of $95 is available for Friday’s and Saturday’s speaker sessions only. Both days’ speaker sessions are $25 for young professionals or students. Dinner-only Friday tickets are $100. There also are sponsorship rates. Go to to buy tickets.

■ For more information about the third annual Steamboat Institute Freedom Conference, visit

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