Conservative Group Launches Summer School for Political Activists

By Matt Cover | August 2, 2010 | 6:45 AM EDT

Michael Fell of Culver City, Calif., holds up a sign reading ‘STOP SPENDING MONEY’ as he speaks at a tea party rally in Irvine, Calif., Thursday, April 15, 2010. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

( – A conservative group has unveiled a series of online tutorials designed to train conservative and Tea Party activists ahead of the summer Congressional recess and November elections.
Liberty Central -- founded by Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas – is partnering with the Leadership Institute (LI), the organization founded by long-time conservative activist Morton Blackwell, to produce the training videos and accompanying Web site,
In a memo obtained by, Liberty Central told its members that August, when Congress is in recess, is  “accountability month.” The group is urging conservatives to lobby their elected representatives in a repeat of last summer’s contentious town hall meetings, where legislators faced an unexpected surge of voter displeasure.
“August has arrived, which means that we are about to kick off our first annual “August is Accountability Month” project,” the memo read. “Members of Congress are about to leave Washington, D.C., for their home districts, and it’s important that we let them know what we’re thinking and make sure they face another tough August recess.
“We must hold our Senators and Representatives accountable and asking them questions, and holding events during August to make them defend their votes is a great way to do this!”
The Web site’s opening video, narrated by conservative author Herman Cain, offers viewers a stark choice.
“Will American be self governed according to the truth of a document that begins with three simple words; ‘We the people,’ or will we be ruled by a robust, elitist government our founders would never recognize? Self-governed or ruled? That’s what we as ordinary citizens must decide,” Cain says in the video.
The Web site offers training videos, narrated by conservative leaders and academics and provided by the Leadership Institute. Those videos seek to help passionate activists articulate their conservative beliefs.
Some of the videos offer two to three minute primers on conservative positions on issues such as national defense, limited government, free enterprise, and personal responsibility.
Others offer longer, more detailed courses on such topics as building grassroots organizations, political coalitions, and organizing a political event. One video featuring California GOP Chairman Ron Nehring offers advice to activists seeking to run for office themselves.
The videos, which are designed to be shared among Liberty Central’s network of activists, serve as a kind of political activism correspondence course.
“To keep Washington politicians accountable and elect a more constitutionally-inclined Congress, we all must have these tools in our activism tool belt,” the Liberty Central memo says. “It’s important that we pass these videos along to our friends, family, and activist networks.  We cannot afford to take “second place” to the Left’s ground-game when it comes to getting people active, and doing so effectively.”
The group also plans to issue political endorsements so that its members know which candidates align most closely with the group’s values. Liberty Central already has released a letter grade for senators and representatives to give its members an idea of which lawmakers should be priorities for summer lobbying.
“More than just cap and trade or ObamaCare; these scorecards help you understand how your Members voted on everything from the federal student loan takeover to the failed border fence. It’s time to keep them accountable, and using the Scorecards is a great tool to do just that,” the memo reads.
Finally, the group plans to set up another Web site – – that will serve as a forum for Liberty Central activists to share their experiences and discuss which tactics worked and which ones did not.