Friday, November 7, 2014

I Went to Rand Paul’s Liberty School and Got Kicked Out

Christina Bellantoni a columnist for Roll Call  writes:
“You Owe It to Yourself to Learn How to Win,” Sen. Rand Paul told me in an email on Tax Day.

The message came with an invitation to attend a one-day political leadership school, led by an instructor with “years of experience running and winning campaigns and legislative projects in multiple state legislatures.” The course would teach how to pressure lawmakers and how to “work effectively” in the Capitol by getting sponsors for legislation.

I am fascinated by both the senator’s political ambition and his seemingly inherited ability to excite young people. And anyone who has listened to me speculate about the 2016 presidential campaign knows I believe the Kentucky Republican will appeal especially to Iowa caucus-goers, in addition to the voters up north who proudly “Live Free or Die.”

Critical to that happening is a grass-roots organization, a network of believers who can, as Paul put it in the email, “advance the cause of liberty.” Could the people attending this May 10 training in tiny Arbutus, Md., be activated to pound the pavement for Paul? What kind of person would devote an entire Saturday to the Foundation for Applied Conservative Leadership?...

I wish I could tell you more, but I got kicked out before my coffee even had the chance to cool off.

DeMott begins his presentation with a slide outlining his three rules: turn phones off, no texting and do not record.

When it comes time to introduce ourselves, I tell them I am Christina from Washington, D.C., and I am studying organizing techniques. Then I sit down.

That’s when the commotion starts. Two of the staffers planning the session whisper furiously at the back of the room. One leaves the room in a hurry, probably to do a quick Google search on the library computers.

An organizer returns with a piece of paper, and interrupts DeMott, who is just on a roll talking about local opposition to the Real ID Act. She announces she wants to see me and another attendee outside.

I had figured I would never make it in the door, so I actually was a little surprised, especially since someone else also was being called into detention. As I stood up, the organizer orders us, “Collect your things.”

It turns out the foundation had already refunded my $35 at 9:56 a.m., before the organizers even hauled us from the room.

Read the full report here.

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