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Michael Ostrolenk blogs on Conservatives and Dialogue

The day after the conference (October 6th), Michael Ostrolenk added a post to his blog about his experiences at the conference.  Michael was one of four panelists in our “conservatives panel” sub-plenary on Saturday – unquestionably one of the best-received programs at the conference.  Here’s an excerpt from his post…

I was invited to the October 2008 NCDD Annual Conference in Austin Texas to participate on a panel entitled “Walking Out Talk: What Our Field Can Learn From Conservatives.”  I joined Grover Norquist (President of Americans for Tax Reform), Pete Peterson (Executive Director of Common Sense California) and Joseph McCormick (Director, Transpartisan Alliance) We spoke about conservatism, conservatives and the various reasons why conservatives may be hesitant to participate in dialogues.  I spoke about various philosophical, psychological, political and social issues related to the topic at hand.  It was a good dialogue and expertly moderated by Dave Joseph (Program Director, Public Conversations Project).  According to the feedback I got and was told to me via others, our panel was a hit, educational and thanks to Grover entertaining and very useful to grist for the dialogue mil.

I know Grover from various center-right activities in DC and Joseph who I worked with at Reuniting America for a few years but got a chance to get to know Pete and Dave while at the conference.  Pete is a communitarian conservative, which I find to be interesting and I will need to learn more about his orientation.  From what I gathered in our brief conversations and the panel itself, I probably would not have too much disagreement with him except for the greater role he would seem to allow for the state in community life.  I have a communitarian streak as long as it voluntary and does not subsume the individual.

We’ll be posting more about this eye-opening panel soon, I promise!

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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