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How can we make Republicans explain their policy choices? Don’t let them speak and dash

For a decade, I ran RedState, one of the most notable center-right blogs for conservatives. Back in 2009, I started a conference where I would invite center-right politicians to interact with conservative activists. It devolved into the usual campaign style events.

Politicians would come, they would give a great big speech, which was often the same speech they gave everywhere. They would then run out the door before having to be questioned. That is, in fact, what the conservative movement has mostly become. The grifters, politicians and the crowd get together for red meat festivals without ever challenging each other or asking questions.

In 2016, I left RedState and started a new website called The Resurgent. The long term plan had always been to tie it into my radio show as the show expanded. But after much pestering and badgering from other people, I decided to do a new conference. Last year was our first. We had it in Austin, Texas.

I did not, however, want to do the same format. This time, I make the politicians sit on stage with me and have a conversation. I want to talk about what I want to talk about, not just hear a politicians speak. I want to know why Republicans campaign for limited government, but have ballooned the national debt. I want to know why Republicans controlled everything for as long as they did and did not actually fix the border situation or reform health care. I also want to know what they plan to do in the future.

This year, Gov. Brian Kemp is going to speak, as will Sen. David Perdue. I hope to get Sen. Johnny Isakson there, too, to talk about his Herculean efforts to reform VA hospitals. Sen. Tom Cotton, of Arkansas, is coming and Sen. Tim Scott, of South Carolina, will be there as well. Rep. Chip Roy, of Texas, who just last week forced the House of Representatives to stay open till 4 o’clock in the morning voting, will be there. Rep Doug Collins, of Georgia, will be there to talk about his House Judiciary Committee work.

Congressmen Jody Hice, of Georgia, and Mark Meadows, of North Carolina, will join me to talk about the House Freedom Caucus’s work and how they see their role in holding their own side accountable. Some great candidates for office across the nation will be there, too. We will even have a pretty major speaker from Washington whose name I cannot release yet, but may or may not be coming on a nice airplane.

Republicans need to be more than just a party rallying behind one politician. They need to be a party about ideas. They need to be challenged on those ideas. They need to think about and explore how to best advocate for liberty and also reduce the size and scope of the federal government.

We are doing this conference in Atlanta on Aug. 1-4 at the Grand Hyatt in Buckhead. Aug. 2-3 will be all-day affairs starting in the morning. Breakfast and lunch will be included. If you would like to come to the conference and participate, the attendees can submit questions for me to ask on stage. Just text ATLANTA to 345345. You will get back a link you can click to register.

Conservatives need to not just seal clap their politicians. We have $22 trillion in debt. We need to ask questions. I intend to and invite you to join me.

Erick Erickson is host of Atlanta’s Evening News on WSB Radio.