Did you hear? Harvard, Princeton, and Yale are now open in Colorado. Columbia and Oxford will open soon. But we’re talking higher elevation, not higher education.
All are summits nearly three miles high in the Collegiate Peaks, along the Continental Divide southwest of Denver. And “open” just means that hikers have begun scrambling up them as a snowy late spring finally gives way to summer in the Rockies.
Those climbs are a hobby for lots of Coloradans, but since 2010 many have gotten into a different kind of peak experience – the biggest annual rally on the right outside Washington, DC. It’s called the Western Conservative Summit, and the 2015 edition is coming up June 26-28.
Four thousand delegates from 40 states are expected at the Colorado Convention Center for a weekend of speeches, debates, panels, grassroots training workshops, freedom exhibits, and a right-minded film fest.
Six presidential contenders, aspirants to a 2016 degree from the Electoral College, will speak and submit to media grilling. But the Ivy League representation will be lighter than Americans have been used to with a string of Harvard or Yale grads in the White House since 1988.
In fact, the Republican leading most polls, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, didn’t even finish college. However that’s okay with the president of feisty little Colorado Christian University, which hosts the Western Conservative Summit, former Sen. Bill Armstrong (R-CO), because he didn’t either.
Walker and another high-polling 2016 hopeful, neurosurgeon Ben Carson, will speak Saturday night at the Summit. Hillary Clinton’s nemesis, Carly Fiorina, will speak earlier Saturday, as will Mike Huckabee and Rick Perry, both making their second try for the GOP nomination. Rick Santorum, runner-up in the primaries last time, speaks Friday night.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who won the Summit straw poll in 2013 and spoke again in 2014, can’t make it this year – but he’s sending his father, Rafael Cruz, a Cuban immigrant and fiery, patriotic pastor. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul have also declined, but invitations are pending with Jeb Bush and newly-declared candidates Lindsay Graham and George Pataki.
For fun and fairness, the CCU sponsors have even invited Democratic contenders Hillary Clinton (Yale Law, 1973), Martin O’Malley, and Bernie Sanders. The latter took a pass, but no word yet from the others. As conference chairman John Andrews told the Denver Post, for Clinton or O’Malley to brave this righty lions’ den would be the opposite of Mitt Romney’s 47% gaffe in 2012. We’re appealing to everyone, it would signal.
Western Conservative Summit 2015 will also feature a debate on gun rights, a debate on race and poverty, an Obamacare panel, and a Breitbart-sponsored panel on the decline of the mainstream media.
Breakout sessions will include such star attractions as Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) on why he ran against Speaker John Boehner, Virginia’s Ken Cuccinelli on goals of the Senate Conservatives Fund, and investigative journalist John Fund on Eric Holder’s misrule at the Justice Department.
It would be fitting to have John Denver kick off the conference with his famed “Rocky Mountain High,” if he hadn’t already gone to the big summit in the sky. Folkie icon Michael Martin Murphey will be there performing his classic, “Wildfire,” though – and if that helps spark a conservative conflagration going into next year, Summit organizers won’t mind at all.
Sponsored by Western Conservative Summit