Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Conservative Activists Energize the N.J. Faithful

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Conservative Activists Energize the N.J. Faithful

Article excerpt

PARSIPPANY-TROY HILLS -- Political activists from the tri-state area gathered Saturday for a daylong summit and rally that championed the conservative themes of economic freedom and limited government.

An estimated 1,000 people attended the fifth annual "Defending the American Dream Summit" at the Sheraton Parsippany Hotel, convened by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation less than a month before the presidential election.

"The goal is to educate people on the value of free markets and to push the country towards preserving individual liberty," said Steve Lonegan, state director of the group. "It gives frustrated New Jerseyans a place to go and find out they're not alone."

Earlier Saturday, participants, including Tea Party and libertarian activists, attended sessions with a focus on the role of women in the conservative movement, opposition research and becoming a citizen journalist.

Organized by AFP's state chapter, the three-hour afternoon rally presented a who's who of conservatives including Michelle Malkin, a syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor; Jonah Goldberg, editor of the National Review Online; U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett, R- Wantage; and James O'Keefe III, a controversial filmmaker known for using hidden video cameras to expose among other things voter and election fraud. Before the luminaries took the stage, an energized crowd clapped along with patriotic songs performed by bagpipers. Boos echoed throughout the ballroom when clips of President Obama were shown.

Goldberg said liberals wrongly perceive government as something that everyone belongs to. "This gets the American political tradition backwards," he said. "Government belongs to us; we don't belong to government. We the people are sovereign and cede certain authorities to government."

Picking up on that theme, state Sen. Mike Doherty, R-Warren, cited the controversial red-light-camera program as an example of government infringing on citizens' rights to privacy and to confront their accusers. …

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