Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Land of 10,000 Ideas
Last week I attended the Annual Dinner of Minnesota's conservative think tank, Center of the American Experiment, ("Center") http://www.amexp.org, with General Tommy Franks who led the invasion of Iraq.
The event itself was probably deemed a success by most guests since the ballroom at the RiverCentre in St. Paul was nearly filled though I did spot some empty tables in the back of the room among my fellow groundlings :) and because General Franks served large helpings of "pro-Iraq War red meat" for this conservative crowd. For a guy that was dismissed from college for bad grades General Franks has accomplished more than most college graduates do in their lifetimes. From my perspective General Franks' speech was too dominated by defending Secretary of War (okay, "Defense", I am an aspiring historian) Donald Rumsfeld amid a downpour of Oklahoma/Texas local language phrases -- perhaps English really should be declared our official language!!! :)
Like any consumer when I write a check ($125.00 per ticket in this case) I do it with an expectation -- since this event was hosted by a MINNESOTA think tank I wanted to leave the event with some ideas on what we could do in the public policy and business community to better the State of Minnesota. According to most rankings Minnesota is the 4th highest taxed state in the USA so I really expect entities who declare themselves Minnesota-focused entities like the Center to advance some policy solutions such as the adoption of a flat income tax. I have enjoyed attending the Center's events over the years but after reviewing their literature table (their "Quarterly" publication looks just like academic journals found in universities which I assure you will NOT be made by the vast majority of politicians or media contacts the Center might want to influence) at this dinner I am convinced they need some re-engineering, re-focus, and re-branding as either the Minnesota-focused entity we need OR to tell the world they are a "conservative think tank based in Minnesota.........."
What is needed?
Minnesota needs a public policy think tank solely focused on reforming Minnesota's socialist thought process and restrictions on free markets -- perhaps called the "Minnesota Institute" -- to guide a future generation of decision makers.
The North Star is tarnished,