Steamboat Springs Calling the collection of early American founders “heroes” may seem like an outdated label, Lynne Cheney said, but for the former second lady of the United States and current author, heroes are the foundation of her writing inspiration.
For the second year, a member of the Republican Cheney family headlined the annual Freedom Conference in Steamboat Springs, an event put on by The Steamboat Institute. The conference — now in its sixth year of bringing conservative thinkers together — was headlined by Lynne’s husband and former Vice President Dick Cheney as well as their daughter Liz Cheney last year.
Lynne Cheney — a New York Times best-selling author — kicked off the two-day conference Friday afternoon with a half-hour book signing from her latest piece, the biography “James Madison: A Life Reconsidered.”
Dozens of fans and future readers of the author’s latest book lined up outside The Steamboat Grand Ballroom for a meet and greet with Cheney, yielding brand-new copies of the 576-page hardcover that Cheney sees as a tribute to the primary author of the Bill of Rights.
“To be in a place where people are actually talking about heroes is a wonderful thing,” Cheney said. “We don’t do it enough. We don’t do it in our schools or our colleges and universities. We no longer talk about heroes.”
Following the James Madison biography book signing, the crowded ballroom rallied together for Cheney’s kick-off luncheon, where she discussed her experience studying Madison, which included several hours logged in travel and about five years of writing.
Cheney said her husband often would razz her about how long it took to detail Madison’s journey and meaningful life, digging up stories of the founding father’s personal and political struggles and successes along the way.
The half-decade wait was worth it, she explained to those in attendance for the opening conference ceremony.
“There is no hero who has left a greater impression than" Madison, Cheney said.
Cheney has spent the greater part of her life writing about and teaching history, especially to children, Steamboat Institute Chairman Jennifer Schubert-Akin said. Cheney has published six children’s books so far.
“She believes that knowing about American history tells us how precious and fragile our freedom is,” Schubert-Akin said in her opening address Friday.
The Freedom Conference opening events drew a host of conservative minds from across the country, attracting parties from all corners of the United States, including Alabama, Pennsylvania, California and Texas, to name a few.
San Antonio’s John Brazil, who is spending part of the summer in his newly bought Steamboat home, said he heard about Lynne Cheney’s visit through some family friends in town. A longtime supporter of the Republican family, Brazil said he couldn’t pass up a chance to meet the former second lady as well as snag a copy of her new book.
“I’m a big James Madison fan and a big Bill of Rights fan,” Brazil said. “She’s a brilliant writer. This conference should be fun.”
To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll