Report on National Centrist Meeting
As promised, I've finally secured a few minutes to write up a brief summary of Saturday's very productive meeting of the Centrist Coalition. After quite a nice brunch at Pete's Tavern, twelve of us convened - most appropriately, we thought - in a conference room at the Theodore Roosevelt birthplace in Manhattan to discuss the need for strong centrist leadership and how the Centrist Coalition can serve to, as we agreed "Unite the Middle and Give Power to Their Voice."
Annie, Michael, Alan and Rick have all posted already on the meeting (I am definitely behind the times) - Michael's post includes some pictures and Rick is working on a webcast of the audio from the meeting which should be available within a week or so. We all enjoyed meeting with each other and with the rest of the gang, including John Avlon, the author of Independent Nation and New York Sun columnist who has recently (in fact I think today, officially) rejoined the staff of Rudy Giuliani.
We spoke by BlackBerry speakphone (remarkably effectively) with Hamilton Jordan, who was involved with the Carter campaigns in '76 and '80 and also Ross Perot's in '92. He is very concerned (as we are all) about the current polarizing trends in American politics, and believes the time is ripe for a force to bring the country together around centrist principles and changing the current paradigm. He was excited about what we're doing and I'm sure we'll continue to be in touch with him as we move forward.
This meeting was mainly a way for us to focus efforts and discuss ways in which we can be effective through the next few years, whether by raising money or support for candidates, providing assistance to various reform movements (including my constant refrain, redistricting), etc. It was a good start - of course we'll need to keep at it, but this was a good way to begin. It was also excellent to be able to put faces with the names and voices of the folks from around the country who are involved with this movement - we were a remarkably disparate group, with folks attending from Boston, New York, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, California, Texas, etc. (and as Rick has pointed out, not a single person from DC, thereby burnishing our "outside-the-beltway" credentials).
Make sure you read the other posts to get a more comprehensive feel for the meeting, and I'll pass along the link to the webcast once it goes live. Also be sure to congratulate Alan Stewart Carl for his accession (as of 4 July) to the executive directorship of the Centrist Coalition; it will, I have no doubt, flourish in his able hands, and I look forward to working further with him and the rest of the group.