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The liberals all said move to the left. Energize your base. Get them to come out in record numbers. Carry them by huge percentages. Speak to your base. Don’t regard the voters in the center, move to the left. And I said — baloney, you’re not going to be able to do that. Your base — they said that’s how Clinton got elected. I said yeah, it’s how he got elected with 42 percent of the vote. Because Ross Perot got 19 percent. You can’t get 51 percent of the vote doing that. There just aren’t that many liberals in the country. It’s like 35 percent.
And Clinton agreed with me, and Gore agreed with me, and they moved to the center. And they got reelected, and welfare reform, and balanced the budget, and all that stuff.
Obama looked like he was moving in that direction, that I call triangulation, when he approved the extension of the Bush tax cuts. Then, he absolutely lost it and moved way over the left — this class warfare insanity, making war on job creators — it makes so much sense in a recession — polarizing the electorate, the Occupy Wall Street stuff. Absolutely went berserk in moving over to the left.
And what he’s trying to do is recreate the electoral base that elected him. And he can’t do it, it won’t work, and he’s going to lose because of it. And my proof is that in the first two quarters of 2011, when he was beginning to move to the center, his job approval was 46 percent, according to Gallup. In the last quarter, it’s 41 percent, since he started to move to the left. Why is he doing it? Oh, the cheers of his fellow Democrats. The hurrahs in the caucus room. The relief that at last we have a spokesman, that at last he’s fighting, at last he’s fighting the good fight. And that’s just how the Democratic Party is.
But they — there’s a wonderful line that Chesterton, I think, said of the French — no, Gouverneur Morris said of the French — they prefer lightning to light. And that’s the Democratic Party for you.
Michael Finch: I’m afraid we’re going to have to make that the last question, Dick, I’m sorry. Thank you.
Dick Morris: Thanks very much.
Tom Dreesen: I’m getting my book signed, and I’ll be auctioning this off in a few minutes.
Dick Morris: My dog does it with pawtographs.
Tom Dreesen: Dick Morris, ladies and gentlemen. Another nice round of applause for Dick Morris.
At this time, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce our host, who has boundless energy and a brain that never seems to rest. If I were to make a list of the five smartest men that I’ve ever met, his name would certainly be on it. However, I would probably add my name to that list, so you might want to ignore that last accolade.
Anyhow, his numerous books that he’s authored — from “Radical Son,” “Uncivil Wars,” “The Professor,” “The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America,” “Indoctrination,” “Party of Defeat,” “One Party Classroom,” “Reforming Our Universities,” and “A Point in Time.” In 1988, he created the Center for the Study of Popular Culture. And in 2006, it was renamed the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
He’s spoken at over 300 colleges, and he continues — this brilliant man, and our host. Will you welcome, please, David Horowitz?
David Horowitz: Thank you. Thank you.
I have a confession to make. That wasn’t really Dick Morris, that was his other brother. Because no single human being could write all those bestsellers, do all those TV shows, tweet all those tweets, and self-publish children’s book in the same lifetime.
And I’m sorry we had to close down the questions. We’re way over. You guys have a lot of stamina, and that’s going to tested this whole weekend.
But I need to talk a little bit about the Center, and what we’re about here. The Center is not a think tank; it’s a battle tank. That’s basic — we are a permanent campaign. And we’re in a war. And actually the main part of our message is to teach conservatives — even conservatives, but especially Republicans who don’t understand this — that we are in a war.
And in a war, the weapons are words. And the Democrats have a huge training facility, called the American university system, to train their warriors, who are very good at what they do. Democrats, leftists — they have no answers to anything. They have no programs that work, no policies that make sense. But they’re terrific at politics and about the art of political warfare.
And the first thing I want to say this evening — I want to introduce you to a battalion that we have put together this year at the Center, thanks to Dr. Bob Shillman, who is one of our board members, who donated the money to allow us to create the Shillman Fellows. And they’re all here tonight. And you’ve probably either heard them on a panel or met them. So I would like them to stand up and just be recognized.
Raymond Ibrahim —
— who is our specialist in the Muslim persecution of Christians, and wrote a really important book called “The Al Qaeda Reader.” It’s so amazing to me. I mean, I understood why it was so hard for people to understand, you know, who the communists were. Because, you know, they were all talking about peace, jobs, democracy. These Muslims — our Muslim enemies, the jihadists — you know, want to kill you. I mean, they say it, it’s all — and Raymond has put together that text.
Ben Shapiro, who I first met when he was a college student some years ago — now he’s a lawyer. He is the — I think Ben is the lawyer for the Andrew Breitbart division, and has written a book called “Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of the Left’s Takeover of Your TV.” Ben? Where’s Ben? There’s Ben.
Daniel Greenfield, who has written two pamphlets for us. One is in your bags, called the “Muslim Hate Groups on Campus.” This will tell you how bad the situation is. On every campus, there’s a Muslim Students Association, and a Students for Justice in Palestine. These are organizations of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. They are incredibly protected by university administrations. They hold Hate Weeks, attacking Jews. And if you mention this, you’re an Islamophobe. So — I try — I actually came up with this title, because hate groups is something that the liberals — I hate calling them liberals, because they’re bigots — but liberals claim to abhor. So if we could identify the Muslim Students Associations and SJPs — SJP is a creation of Hamas, but Hamas is a creation of the Brotherhood — maybe we could sort of beat them back.
Anyway, where’s Daniel? And he also wrote this wonderful pamphlet called “Ten Reasons to Abolish the UN.” Where’s Daniel? Is he here?
And the fourth Shillman Fellow is Mark Tapson, who was a screenwriter on two of the most important films of our time — one, “The Path to 9/11,” which appeared on ABC and has been suppressed by the Clintons — literally, you can’t get the CD, although 27 million people saw this program — and “The Stoning of Soraya M.” Where’s Mark? Hey, Mark?
And I want Bob Shillman to stand up. He is what all donors should be. I mean, he is fearless. He’s always pushing my envelope. I love Bob.
And he’s a good toastmaster.
Do we have the film cued up? Yeah. This is a film we made. It’s a short video, but it tells what the Center — what we actually do.
Well, I want to introduce my board. These are very brave people who sit on my board and support me, and keep this army going. Marion, just stand up and —
We have people supporting us who can write six-figure checks, and we have 100,000 people who write $25 and $50 checks who support us. So we’re not the 1 percent or the 99 percent; we’re the 100 percent.
We’re going to show you one more film here, to begin the — I do this every year, our Annie Taylor Awards. We have to introduce you to Annie Taylor, whom I discovered when I took my wife to Niagara Falls. And I’m an addict for these flea museums they have, like in Dealey Plaza in Dallas and at Niagara Falls. And they have all the devices people use to go over those falls.
And they had a film about this woman, Annie Taylor, after whom we’ve named the award, which is the perfect award for conservatives, since Annie Taylor was the first woman to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and survive.
Monica Crowley: If America is going to travel a different road than has Europe in the challenge of confronting Islamism, we will need to learn from the mistakes that have been made in Europe. And the woman that I am privileged tonight to honor is supremely qualified to help teach us those lessons and share the experiences which will cause us to hopefully, if we are understanding, choose a different course.
In the crucible of every civilized crisis, people are given exceptional leaders that possess the passion and the powers of persuasion to direct the culture away from destruction. The English tradition has given us both Winston Churchill and Lady Margaret Thatcher. While not as well known, but every bit as principled and valiant, Great Britain now gives us the Baroness Caroline Cox.
What is most remarkable about this woman is that she goes far beyond being a brilliant thinker and commentator. She is a conscientious and lifelong doer. Caroline Cox has ridden 32-ton trucks into Poland during the days of solidarity to bring humanitarian relief. For this she was awarded Poland’s highest award to a foreigner, the Commander Cross of the Order of Merit.
She routinely goes behind the no-go lines into Armenia and the savaged regions of Africa to support Christian communities who are oppressed by Muslim regimes. In recognition of her courageous and selfless work, Charles Colson’s Prison Fellowship presented her the prestigious William Wilberforce Award for Humanitarianism. She was fittingly the director of the Andrei Sakharov Foundation. She cofounded the Committee for a Free Britain and is considered a euro-skeptic, even before being a euro-skeptic was cool.
She is one of the 18 cofounders of the One Jerusalem organization. Caroline Cox has been shot at with more than just guns — with RPGs. She has lived under the harshest of conditions and survived the most violent of threats, but she considers this opportunity a privilege. When tempted to feel fear, she finds courage in a verse she was given at her Anglican confirmation — “Have I not commanded you to be of good courage? Be not afraid, neither be dismayed. For I, the Lord your God, am with you where ever you go” — Joshua 1:9.
Her country and the world community of liberty-loving Western nations are fortunate that Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher recognized this woman’s commitment to leadership by example and offered her a peerage giving her the deservedly noble title of the Baroness Cox of Queensbury.
Baroness Cox is now a member of the British House of Lords and was Deputy Speaker for 20 years in this capacity. In February 2009, Baroness Cox and Lord Pearson invited Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders to show his anti-Islam film, “Fitna,” before the House of Lords.
And this is even better. Baroness Cox is currently the sponsor of a bill called British Law for All that will delegitimize the Sharia tribunals in Great Britain.
It is as if the Annie Taylor Award was created for the Right Honourable Baroness Caroline Cox of Queensbury. And it is a true privilege to present the award to her now.
Baroness Caroline Cox: In saying my very heartfelt thank-you for this great privilege awarded me, I do so because it is especially precious. Because it is given by people who are kindred spirits, who have, in the words which we heard from Herman Cain this morning, the courage to tell it how it is, and you who speak the truth in the defense of freedom.
So I’m especially grateful for the opportunity to bring a message to this august gathering this weekend from the United Kingdom, where we now do face many threats to our fundamental freedoms. So I hope you can learn from our experience, our challenges, some successes, and continuing real problems.
But I’d like, if I may, to introduce myself a little more modestly than your very generous and gracious introduction. All I ever say about myself is I’m a nurse and a social scientist by intension — that’s what I thought I was doing with my life — a baroness by astonishment.
And I can tell you it is God’s sense of humor. I was not in the political arena, was not a politician at all. I was so much out of that world that I was actually the first baroness I’d ever met.
It takes a little bit of getting used to. You wake up in the morning and see a baroness looking at you out of the mirror. But then, of course, it is a great privilege. Because being a baroness in the modern day means you’ve been appointed to the British House of Lords, the equivalent of your Senate. And what a privilege to be able to speak in one of the houses of the British Parliament, and particularly to speak on matters of freedom.
Now, I was appointed at the House of Lords, as you mentioned, at the instigation of our wonderful former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. And the reason why, I think, she gave me that freedom or that privilege was because I tried to work as a freedom fighter in the dark days of the 1970s, when we in the United Kingdom were facing real threats from Marxism/Leninism.
For example, I found myself as a head of a department of social sciences in one of our big London colleges. And out of my faculty of 20 staff, 16 were Communist Party or further left. Their agenda was not mine. In higher education, the agenda should be freedom to pursue the truth within the canons of academic rigor. Theirs was hard-line political indoctrination, physical assaults and violence — I myself was physically assaulted — academic blackmail, character assassination. What they stood for was the antithesis of freedom. We saw a little bit on that powerful film.
Well, I couldn’t tolerate what was the antithesis for me or the values of liberal democracy. So I’ve fought that battle for nine tough years.
Eventually, because I knew it wasn’t only happening in that college but throughout the soft underbelly of higher education throughout Britain, I wrote a book with two colleagues who were not from the epicenter of violence in social sciences. They were from the sane areas of physics and mathematics. But we wrote a book together with the incontrovertible title, “The Rape of Reason.” That book became known to Margaret Thatcher — I think was why I was appointed to the House of Lords.
But those tough years were paralleled with experiences behind the Iron Curtain. I experienced that form of Marxism or Leninism in what was still a free society, challenging as it was. But when I went behind the Iron Curtain, I met and felt the terror of totalitarianism in its full reality — in Poland, in Russia, in Romania, in Armenia.
Just one tiny story — on one occasion, I was taking medical aid into Poland with one of the 32-ton trucks. And it was — you could feel the fear in the air; it was tangible. On my last offload, my very experienced truck driver, Tony — delightful cockney guy — was ballistic with rage. I said — what’s the matter, Tony? We’d been together — I’d been living on that truck for a week with Tony. And he said — and I won’t repeat his language here — but he said — blankety-blank, look what we have on this truck, we could be imprisoned for this. I looked at what was on the truck that was causing him such rage — two boxes of blank computer printout paper. I said — what’s the deal, Tony? Two boxes of paper, blank paper? He said — we could blankety-blank be imprisoned. I said — well, shut up, the KGB’s just the other side of the canvas. They can hear us. Shhh. Give me some medical supplies; I will smuggle the blank paper into the seminary. We worked through the church. I ran the gauntlet of KGB twice with the blank paper.
That night, I stayed with a Polish doctor. I said — I don’t understand. Tony, my experienced trucker, said two boxes of blank paper, we could be imprisoned? She said — of course you could be imprisoned. Don’t you understand, in a totalitarian society, blank paper is dangerous — you can write ideas on it? What price freedom? And I was going back to an academic department in London with 16 out of 20 staff wanting to change our liberal democracy into that kind of totalitarian alternative.
Well, mercifully, the Soviet Union imploded, and the Soviet threat dissipated a little bit. We’re still reaping the whirlwind of it with those who came through those days in the United Kingdom and are now in key positions in the politics, in the media, in many influential positions in our society, with a deep cynicism about anything that is precious in our heritage. And of course, cynicism in a vacuum leaves the situation wide open for alternative ideologies.
And as that situation imploded in the Soviet Union, I began my concern about freedom, working with other people on the frontiers of faith and freedom in countries such as Indonesia, Sudan, Nigeria. And I began to see a very disturbing pattern of strategic Islam around the world.
And I studied Islam. And I started looking at what was happening in United Kingdom. And what I saw has given me grave, grave concern. I’ve written about it. And the more I read, the more I study, the more I look around, the more concerned I am. So I’m here to share those concerns with you.
In the aftermath of the Soviet communism, the way it swept away for many people a commitment to the fundamental appreciation of freedom, has left that vacuum. Into that vacuum has moved political Islam.
And I’m now able to discern what I will call nine strategies of political Islam designed to take over our freedoms, or nine forms of jihad — political jihad, attempts to use the freedoms of democracy to destroy democracy and the freedoms it enshrines, particularly freedoms of freedom of speech.
There was a bill — and I won’t talk about that tonight, there isn’t time — but which would, if it’d not gone through [amended] in the House of Lords, have made it a criminal offense, subject to seven years in prison, to say anything critical about Islam, anything positive about another faith; or to make jokes about Islam. Mercifully — and it’s a story for tomorrow, not for today — but we put amendments on in the House of Lords to protect those fundamental freedoms.
Tony Blair’s administration, under the influence of Muslim Council of Britain, were determined to remove those freedom amendments. Our freedom hung on a thread the day the House of Commons was going to vote out those freedom amendments. Those amendments were preserved by the failure of the freedom of the vote to destroy them by one vote. Our freedom hung on a thread that day. I would’ve been imprisoned, but I’d probably be imprisoned in good company. That’s the political jihad.
Economic jihad, Sharia finance — designed to undermine, destroy, Western economic systems. Legal jihad — we already have Sharia courts in the United Kingdom — over 60 Sharia courts. They are fundamentally antithetical to every value of liberal democracy. And that is why I’m moving a private member’s bill in the House of Lords to try to address that issue.
Cultural jihad — we heard a little bit about it. Massive jihad, massive investment in our symbolic and our strategic institutions, our universities, our schools; the building of mosques in significant places — one of our many successes, means that if you come to the Olympic games, you will not now be greeted, as the first thing you see on the Olympic site, by a mega-mosque, which would’ve been a place of worship for 70,000 Muslims on the Olympic site. One little victory we had — not won yet, but won for the Olympic games. What happens after will be a continuing battle.
Demographic jihad — we allow polygamy in our country, thanks to Sharia law. It’s been said that the most popular name for newborn boys in the United Kingdom now is Mohammad.
And abroad, we have other jihads — military jihad. I’m still working in Sudan and Nigeria. Already this year, so many deaths through military jihad. Humanitarian jihad — in Africa, many countries, wherever you go now, you’ll see mosques growing, clinics growing. Islamic aid is conditional — you have to convert to get it.
I talked to Christian mothers who say — I will not go and get aid for my baby, because I have to convert to Islam. I will let my baby die. I’m a grandmother, with 10 grandchildren. I cannot imagine the anguish, letting your child die for your faith. That’s happening in our world today.
Now, no time to go into that now. Tomorrow afternoon, I will have the privilege of going into more detail about these particular threats to our freedoms in our home countries — United States, United Kingdom, and abroad.
But as I finish — what to do about it? Well, first of all, as I have said, Sharia law is fundamentally incompatible with anything that’s precious in our legal systems, our heritage of democracy. We already have it in United Kingdom. I think you have it in United States. What are you doing about it? I’m doing what I can. I’m trying to introduce a bill to raise these issues, and particularly gender discrimination. Many women are really suffering. Because of that in United Kingdom today, I cannot sit on the red benches of the House of Lords and let that happen.
And finally, freedom of speech. We still have our freedoms. We have the freedom of speech. We must use it to speak out. I know that many people in Britain are deeply worried. But they don’t know how to articulate. They intuit; they don’t know how to articulate. When we do speak, they do respond. We must use our freedoms to speak while we can.
And as I conclude, two challenges from our friends in the same world, on another continent, in Africa. One of our friends, an Anglican bishop in Nigeria — and already, many of his people are being killed this year — has said to us — if we have a faith worth living for, it’s a faith worth dying for. But don’t you compromise the faith we are living and dying for. We still have our freedoms. We must not compromise them or the faith others are living and dying for. And finally, he also said — if you don’t resist now, your grandchildren are going to have to fight the battles you have not had the courage to fight yourselves.
And a bishop in Sudan — a peaceable, loving man, not aggressive at all — said — if you don’t fight this battle now, your grandchildren are going to have to fight the battles you don’t have the courage to fight, and they’re going to have to fight with guns.
My friends, we have our freedoms now. We have the freedom of speech. And I thank you, David Horowitz, and all you stand for, for giving this arena for freedom of speech. May we use it well. Thank you.
Monica Crowley: It is truly a moment of historic significance to have Phyllis Schlafly in the same room as Caroline Cox.
Meeting each of these women has changed my life in a very dramatic way. Phyllis Schlafly — I was telling her this morning — it was decades ago — but I pray that these women have many, many daughters in the cause of faith and freedom.
Now I would like to call up John Fund, our friend — and those of us who attempt to [write, our muse]. And he is going to present the next award.
John Fund: Hang in there. This awardee is worth it.
David Horowitz, and also Peter Collier, spent their entire careers fighting for civil rights, in the classical sense of that term. Therefore, it is very fitting that this next award goes to someone who’s been fighting for civil rights in the area of voting.
When it comes to voting rights, there are two fundamental ones. One is the right not to be prevented from voting, not to have intimidation exercised, not to have someone block the polling place door, not to have arbitrary restrictions such as poll taxes thrown up to vote. We fought a great civil rights struggle in the 1960s to guarantee that right. A Voting Rights Act was passed in Congress in 1965. It’s forgotten, but it was bipartisan in support. Seventy-three percent of Democrats voted for it, and 93 percent of Republicans. We’ve forgotten that history.
There’s a second civil right, though. Each and every one of you have the right not to have your vote canceled out by someone who shouldn’t be voting, someone who’s voting twice, someone who’s dead, someone who’s an illegal alien, someone who’s a felon who’s been disenfranchised, stripped of their voting rights because of their crime; or simply doesn’t exist at all. You have a right not to have your vote canceled out.
Our awardee, Catherine Engelbrecht, of True The Vote, has been fighting for both civil rights. She wants to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat. Now, her group is nonpartisan. But I can’t resist in telling you that Engelbrecht in German means “angel of the right.”
So it’s highly appropriate for this audience.
Now, the Left is going to fight her, and fight her group, and fight anyone who stands up for voter integrity. After all, if you have 9 percent unemployment, you may pull every trick you can out of the book. And if you don’t think that will happen in 2012, I would remind you — Barack Obama’s first job in politics was head of Project Vote, the ACORN registration affiliate. He did such a great job for them they made him their top trainer in Chicago. He did such a good job in that position, he became ACORN’s lawyer. And now he is President of the United States, running a Justice Department that ignores anything, anything, having to do with voter fraud.
Now, the Left has two arguments against voter fraud. First is — it doesn’t exist. Well, in 2008, there was a Senate race between Al Franken and Norm Coleman. You might remember it. It was very close. It took six months of court battles to decide. And the final margin was 312 very disputed votes. If you don’t think that election had consequences, I would remind you that when Al Franken was finally seated as the 60th Democratic senator, that provided exactly the number needed to overcome filibusters and objections, and to pass Obamacare, on Christmas Eve in the dead of night. And Obamacare would not have passed without Al Franken’s vote. And Al Franken’s Senate seat was probably illegitimate.
We now know how illegitimate. I have here a list from the district attorneys in Minnesota of 144 people who have been convicted of voting illegally, with foreknowledge of the fact, in that same election. One hundred forty-four people. There are over 200 cases in the pipeline of people who are being prosecuted for this. That number already exceeds the margin of victory in that race. We now know over 1,200 felons illegally voted in that race.
The second objection that the Left has against people who raise the issue of voter integrity is that it’s racist. It’s the return of Jim Crow. Bill Clinton himself raised the specter that photo ID laws were the return of Jim Crow. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Chairmonster — I’m sorry, the Chairwoman of the Democratic —
— National Committee, said the same thing. But you know, it’s interesting. Three days after Clinton made those remarks comparing photo ID with Jim Crow, the legislature in Rhode Island, which is five-to-one Democratic, passed a photo ID bill at the behest of minority voters who were tired of seeing the local political machines run over reform minority community members and constantly losing elections. It was signed into law by Lincoln Chafee, that wonderful new conservative you know about — not.
The bill was carried in the State House by Gordon Fox, the first African American Speaker in Rhode Island’s history. It was carried in the Senate by Harold Mets, the first African American state senator in the state’s history. And it was supported by the head of the Latino Caucus. Despite that, Democrats all over the country heaped a program in vitriol against those Democrats who passed photo ID.
Well, we now know what that was all about. And I’ll close with this. A few weeks ago, Artur Davis, a former African American Democratic member of Congress from Selma, Alabama — and Selma, Alabama has significance to the voting rights struggle — this is a man who worked at the Southern Poverty Law Center. He was a civil rights lawyer. He was the first congressman outside of Chicago to endorse Barack Obama for President in 2007. In 2008, Barack Obama personally selected Artur Davis of Alabama to second his nomination for President at the Denver convention.
But Artur Davis is an honest man. He ran for governor in 2010 on a platform of economic development and school choice. And the Teachers Union mugged him, and he lost. He’s now out of office, but he is now speaking out, speaking truth to power.
This is what he said recently — When I was a congressman, I took the path of least resistance on the issue of voter fraud. I lapsed into the rhetoric of partisans and activists who contend that requiring photo identification to vote is a suppression tactic aimed at thwarting black votes. The truth is the most aggressive contemporary voter suppression in the African American community is the wholesale stealing of ballots in parts of the black South. Voting the names of the dead, and the nonexistent, and the too-mentally impaired to function, cancels out the votes of citizens exercising their rights. If you doubt this happens — I don’t — I’ve heard the peddlers of these ballots brag about it, I’ve been asked to provide the funds for it, I’ve sat in the rooms where the schemes were hatched, and I am confident it has changed many election results. I was disappointed to see Bill Clinton compare voter ID to Jim Crow. It is chilling to see the intimidation tactics brought to bear on African American Democratic legislators in Rhode Island who had the nerve to support a photo ID in that very liberal state.
We have truth on our side here. Artur Davis has called them out. The battle, the smear against photo ID, voter integrity efforts, is a big lie. Why in the world are they doing this? Maybe they know an awful lot more about what happens behind the closed doors in elections than we do. All I know is we need citizens to stand up and fight for voter integrity.
Catherine Engelbrecht and True The Vote — they have three goals. And she’s going to tell you her story tonight. The first goal is — every poll that can possibly have an observer and someone watching what’s going on should have one. Every voter registration list possible should be scrubbed to get rid of the dead, the deadwood, and the people or illegal aliens that are not eligible to vote. And every American citizen should be alerted to the fact that voting is only their first responsibility. They also have a responsibility, if they can, to make sure the election process is clean, fair and honest, so all of us can have confidence in the results. None of us want to see a repeat of Florida 2000 again.
I am pleased and honored to present this award to Catherine Engelbrecht.
Catherine Engelbrecht: Thank you. Thank you, David. This is a tremendous honor.
I accept this on behalf of everyone back home who is studiously working on a new project that we’ve got going on, looking at a database that compares the nation’s voter registry — not only what’s happening back home, but people across the nation, that have recognized the importance of an issue like this.
I’d like to tell you my story, tell you a little bit about how we started. You may have read in my bio that I’m the president of an oilfield services company. Surprise. I don’t have a huge political background. I have always considered myself more of a life activist. My husband and I started our company 17 years ago. We’ve founded a church, we’ve been very involved in our children’s school. And I always thought that if you elected the right guy, you didn’t have to worry about it. Right? You just made sure that you were hiring the right guy on that ballot, and they would go and do their job, and I would be left in peace.
And it was in about mid-2008 that, for the first time for me, the scales fell away. And I recognized that I was bringing up children in a country that I thought was beginning to stand in stark contrast to what I had grown up in, to the dreams that I felt like I had the privilege of living. I was concerned that my children might not have that same opportunity.
And that was about when the Tea Party sort of birthed itself spontaneously onto the scene. And I thought — I can be a part of that. That sounds like a big gathering of people that know very, very little. And so that’s what I can do. And after the rallies, those first few months, a group of us recognized that, you know, this is all well and fun, the rallies are wonderful. But we need to actually do something to make a sustainable, positive difference.
And so we formed an organization. And from that organization — which is called King Street Patriots, from King Street — we had heard that there was a need for people to go and work at the polls. And we thought — we can do that. We’ll just check that off our civic duty, you know, good citizen list. We’ll go work at the polls. I had visions of being the person at the end of the table that handed out the “I Voted” sticker. That was going to be my big job, my contribution.
What happened, though, on that day, is why I’m here. Because what happened the day that we went and worked — there were not many of us; there were probably 20 folks — we saw people who would come into the polls and not show any identification whatsoever, and just be passed right through to vote.
Now, in Texas — in some states, I know — and some of you are listening and thinking — you have to show identification to vote? In some of your states, you don’t. But in Texas, you did. You had to show one of 11 kinds. You could show your water bill, you could show your Blockbuster card, but you had to show something. And people were being passed right through.
More disturbing — and we saw this repeatedly — we would see people come into the polls and say, sheepishly — I don’t remember who to vote for. And then the election judge would pop up and say — I can help you with that. And to the voting booth they would go.
And then you would hear the vote be stolen right out from underneath that voter, as they would say — well, let me just — here’s how you vote. I’m going to make it real easy. Here’s how you vote straight party. Or — well, you know, if you just vote for this person, it fills in the rest of the ballot automatically, so don’t worry about it. Or — why don’t you just let me handle it. You click three to the left, and four to the right. Hit the green button, and you’re all done. It was very, very evident that the voters that were coming had, for years, experienced that type of a voting experience. Well, their job just was to get to the poll. The rest of it was taken care of for them.
At the time, when you see something like that — first of all, you’ve certainly not been trained to expect it. But when you see it, and you try to call it out, what we were told — and we were told this to a person — is, what are you going to do about it? It’s my word against yours.
At that point, you have a decision to make, don’t you? Because you’ve seen it. And in the way I look at things, once you’ve seen something like that, if you choose to turn a blind eye to it, if you choose to do nothing, then you are complicit. You are no greater than an accessory to the crime.
And so we decided, in our infinite wisdom, we were just going to solve the whole thing. We were going to — we started the effort called True The Vote. And our idea was to deconstruct the whole election process soup-to-nuts. We were going to fix it. We had thought that this would start locally and stay local. Certainly thought that there would be a possibility that nationally it would have merit. But you know, we wanted just to really focus on it in our own back yard first.
And so the first thing, first step that we made, was in looking at how names get added into the registry. Now, I’ll step back and I’ll tell you that our system currently looks at not only how names get into the registry but the registry itself. We recruit and train people to work at the polls, and then we collect data all along the way, so that at the end of the cycle, we have empirical evidence that we can use to then advocate for comprehensive election code reforms. And so the cycle begins to correct itself end-over-end. But our first foray was to see how names were getting put into the registry.
Now, I’ll make this quick, but it’s just too good to — you know, I’ve got you captive. I’ve got to tell you the story, because you’re not going to believe it. I still don’t, as I recount it even now.
We submitted, through a series of open records requests, certain very specific questions that we wanted to see whether or not applications that were being turned in met certain criteria. Because we had been told that there was a group that had rolled into town, and they had claimed they were going to get over 100,000 new signatures in the matter of a month or so. If any of you have ever registered voters, you know that that would be a herculean task.
So we were curious to find out where they were going to find these 100,000 people so readily available to register. Through open records requests, we began to develop patterns of inconsistencies. We took those patterns, in our full-color bar charts, to the county. And we said — Harris County — it’s the third-largest voting bloc in the nation — we said — you’re getting rolled.
The county said — we’re going to check this out. They pulled aside a very brief period of time. They just looked at a slice of the registrations — 24,000 registrations. And out of those 24,000 registrations, provided by one group — this one group that had said they were going to get 100,000 registrations — they had submitted the 24,000 — the county went through those with a fine-tooth comb and found out that only 7,000 new voters were added to the roles, and the remainder were, as the county termed, problematic.
Okay, now here’s where the train really starts to leave the station. Because the county calls a press conference and makes this announcement. And they are very proud to say that this citizen-led group has stood beside them to help them find this evidence and bring this to the public attention. And they said — not on our watch we’re going to let this happen in Harris County. That happened on a Tuesday.
On a Wednesday, our little group went to Washington, to the Glenn Beck rally, 8/28. We were gone Wednesday. Thursday, the group that had been called out by the county to begin with, called a counter-press conference for Friday morning. We were in Washington; we had to call a counter-counter-press conference. It was that Friday morning that all of our election equipment burnt to the ground. Ten thousand voting machines, $30 million worth of equipment.
So, we’re now in Washington. And I’ve taken our children out of school. We’re at this rally. And we’re trying to do as all good parents do — we’re trying to see every last DC landmark in the space of about an afternoon. And so I’m dragging my children up and down the stairs to go to the different monuments. And my daughter is racing up the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial. And I see a number come across my phone. And I don’t recognize it; I let it go to voicemail, and I check it. It was the editor of the Huffington Post. And I thought — this probably isn’t going to go well.
So before I called back, I went ahead and wanted to see what was already been written about us. And surprise, they had written an article and never even asked for a quote from us. Shocking. They had linked us to the arson and called us — and I quote — the largest voter suppression effort ever in the history of the country.
What? How does this happen? But it was like a starter’s pistol had gone off. Because all of a sudden, it was [Game Day] in the far-left blogosphere. And it still remains that way for us to this day, as I saw an article come across just prior to coming out here — a new article that’s come up now that calls us the fifth column.
But in any case, one thing led to the next. We were being harassed and harangued on an endless basis by the Left. We then get to looking through the registry. That engenders a whole other series of events. Then we get to train people to go and work at the polls. And it was in that period of time that the Black Panthers decided to get involved, and made it very, very clear publicly in our community that if we were to show up, they would push back. And we showed up, and they pushed back.
It was by this point that Christian Adams, last year’s Annie Taylor Award winner, was with us on Election Day, helping us try to manage our way through this eye of the storm that we found ourselves in. Suddenly, we were on Fox News, people from across the nation were finding out about us. And the curious thing was they would hit our website and say — that’s what you’re seeing? That’s what we saw, too! And all of a sudden, it wasn’t a dirty little secret anymore.
There is a problem. There is a problem. But people didn’t quite know how to wrap their heads around it. And when they did wrap their heads around it, what do you do with that information?
It begs the question — what — and John addressed it earlier — what could we be so close to that they cannot stand the thought that we would actually turn citizens out to go and work at the polls? It’s a very curious question.
And John laid it out masterfully when he talked about the history of our President, who has now consolidated his reelection campaign headquarters in Chicago, headquartered there with Operation Vote. It’s quite something seeing what’s unfolding.
Make no mistake — they are very, very organized, they are methodical, and there are strategies that are there to exploit our system — ACORN, the unions, George Soros and Open Society — they are more than willing to sidestep legality if it means that they will retain power. Don’t think otherwise.
It’s always curious to me that in events like this, where we talk about all the woes of our nation — but when we get back to the election, somehow in our mind, we still hold that sacrosanct, like — no one would ever, no one would ever subvert the process of an election to hold onto power. That’s not the case. That’s not the case. And when we think about 2008 and the Presidential election, and we think about the huge gulf that existed in the final analysis between those two Presidential candidates, right — over 10 million votes — well, we have over 200,000 polling places in this nation. Fast math — that’s fewer than 50 votes per polling place.
Every single vote counts. And it is critical, it is critical that as citizens we stand up and get involved in this process. We face real challenges. But we can stem the tide.
And we can stem the tide by people like yourselves, people like the people that we’re working with now, as we have trained thousands all across the nation. We’re currently working in 30 states. We’ve got concentrated efforts in battleground states, people that have said — you know what? I don’t really get maybe working for a party right now, and I’m not so keen on backing a candidate. But I will stand and protect and defend the integrity of the vote.
And that is something that as citizens we can all do. We must all vote, but we must also do a little bit more in making sure that that vote counts and is counted. If our elections are not truly fair, then we are not truly free.
And so True The Vote is making its mark by encouraging people to get involved at every level of the election process. It is unfortunate that we are catching the grief for it. That seems to be part of the territory. But as Baroness Cox said earlier — what price freedom?
So, I thank you again very much for this distinguished honor, David.
May God bless each and every one of you, and God bless America.
Tom Dreesen: Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. That concludes our program this evening. We’ll see you all tomorrow, and we want to wish Justin Bieber a happy 75th birthday.
See you all tomorrow. Thank you very much.
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