Americans for Prosperity Brings Fred Barnes of Fox News to Lake County

April 29, 2009

Americans for Prosperity brought Fox News Commentator Fred Barnes to speaks in Lake County at Austin’s Saloon in Libertyville on Tuesday, April 28th, to provide an “insiders” perspective” on what is happening in Washington, D.C. and what it means for Illinois taxpayers.  Americans for Prosperity is a grassroots government watchdog group of 400,000 members nationwide. Illinois has 20,000 members. Joe Calomino is the AFP-IL State Director.

AFP stands for less taxes and less government and is committed to advancing every individual’s rights to economic freedom and opportunity. For more information visit or

The event was attended by 320 people. In addition to Fred Barnes, other guest speakers included Greg Baise, Economic Freedom Alliance and Chairman of the Illinois Manufacturers Association; Phil Kerpen, National Policy Director, Americans for Prosperity; and Zonia Pino, Legislative Specialist on Energy and the Environment Heartland Institute.

Ron Gitwitz, a gubernatorial candidate in 2006 and former head of Helene Curtis cosmetics, now IL-Chairman of AFP, introduced Fred Barnes. Barnes is best known for his association with Fox News. He joined the Fox team in 1996.

Fred Barnes presented a message that was both hopeful and filled with concern. He believes that all this nation stands for is in jeopardy, but that the situation is not hopeless. While Democrats seek to ram through nationalized health care in their goal to empower government at the expense of the individual, Barnes feels that the importance of grassroots activism cannot be overlooked in its ability to stall or to stop the surge to increase taxes and spending and the power grab taking place in Washington. Barnes noted how Democrats have been pushed back in getting card check enacted. Cap and trade has also been slowed down and possiblity won’t be acted upon until next year.

Barnes spoke of how political events never follow a straight line of projection and how things can change because people can change them. As an explanation, Barnes told how Ronald Reagan spoke of Washington as surrounded on all sides by reality.

Regarding Obama, he was elected in November because he had the dialogue for what was perceived wrong in Washington, D.C. He would be bi-partisan and gave this reason why he should be elected. There was confusion by the voters as to whether Obama was a moderate or had the most liberal voting record of any president. His moderate rhetoric won the day.

It was interesting how Fred Barnes spoke about the Obama administration. There are no business people in Obama’s administration at the higher levels, only lawyers, those in academia and policy advocates. Within Obama’s administration there is only one solution to every problem – a government solution which requires money to be spent. Barnes spoke of Obama’s massive spending as possibly derailing the Obama administration and how liberal Al Hunt likewise expressed concern how such spending might doom Obama. Barnes described Washington, D. C. as a spending machine and how ridiculous it was for Obama to ask his cabinet to cut $100 million from his $3.6 trillion 2010 budget proposal, which according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office calculations would generate deficits averaging almost $1 trillion a year from 2010-2019. Buying supplies in bulk or using teleconferencing were suggested to Obama as ways to achieve the $100 million cut. This is government at its worst! The way business is done in Washington.

The scariest thing to Barnes is how Democrats wish to change our health care system. Everyone will have the choice to come to the public health care system, which in reality will be a government-run health care system. This will result in the rationing of health care and poor quality health care, as can be observed in countires that do have a single-payer system under a nationalized health care program. Democrats want people to believe that they will receive high quailty health care while at the same time will not have to pay as much for it.

Barnes went on to speak about what must be done to foster an economic recovery. Barnes spoke of the economy as being in the tank and that an economic recovery won’t happen soon.

What must be done to change it? We need to cut taxes across the board. People have lost confidence. We must create confidence in the American people that Washington knows what it is doing. Incentives must be given for people to create and to invest. Tax cuts create the conditions for people to make the right investments. There is now fear of inflation with all the borrowing and the printing of money.

In conclusion, Barnes admitted how the odds of stopping Obama’s initiatives seem long, hard and impossible, but how those at the grassroots level can make a difference. We must work to save America from what has never been before — a government that is more important than its people. We must let Washington hear our voices over those of interest groups. Washington must come to fear the power of the people.

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