WASHINGTON, D.C. — As the Republican primaries heat up and the conservative grassroots battles the Obama administration’s dictates from Common Core to immigration reform, conservatives gathered for one of the biggest awards ceremony of the year on Wednesday night at the Kennedy Center — the Bradley Prizes.
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation presented four 2014 Bradley Prizes to prominent conservatives who “set the standard in their respective fields,” according to President and Chief Executive Officer Michael W. Grebe.
The recipients included Goldwater Institute President Darcy Olsen, Georgetown University Law Professor Randy E. Barnett, and two writers from the Wall Street Journal: columnist Kimberley A. Strassel and drama critic (and Commentary Critic-at-Large) Terry Teachout.
Washington Post columnist George Will served as the master of ceremonies, introducing each award winner with a summary of their intellectual contribution to the conservative movement.
Will praised Strassel as the “fourth branch of government” who was a “student of [its] opaque gears, levers, and pulleys.” Former White House press secretary Dana Perino lauded Strassel as “one of President [George W.] Bush’s favorite columnists to talk to.” Barnett was honored as a “Roman candle of ideas” and a hugely prolific author. Teachout, who boasted a formidable output himself, authored The Skeptic: A Life of H.L. Mencken, and edited A Second Mencken Chrestomathy after discovering the journalist’s manuscripts and private papers.
Olsen earned high praise from Barry Goldwater, Jr., who recounted how the Goldwater Institute eventually got its current CEO — after listening to conversations about the direction of the institute from older members, Olsen handed in a 29-page report detailing different directions they could take. Clint Bolick, director of the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation in Phoenix, called her “our Margaret Thatcher.”
Olsen advocated using the powers entrusted to the state governments to loosen the federal government’s grip on the nation.
“The reality of history is that even Ronald Reagan was not able to turn the tide in Washington,” she said. “What if the solution to the problem of Washington isn’t in Washington? … The framers understood that rival of power is power… The framers didn’t give us one Constitution — they gave us 51.”
Each prize touted a $250,000 stipend. The American Military Spouses’ Choir provided entertainment for the event.