On Friday and Saturday the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) held its third annual Defending the American Dream Summit. (AFP was one of the main corporate-sponsored advocacy groups organizing this summer’s town hall protests.) On Friday, after a morning of “Grassroots Trainings”—which included social media lessons for conservatives and speeches by such notables as Newt Gingrich—participants ventured from the summit’s Arlington Marriot venue into DC for a health care town hall at the Capitol. According to the AFP website thousands of conservatives were expected to come from far and wide to attend the summit, but it looked like only about two or three hundred made it to the rally.
The crowd was old and young, overwhelmingly white, and though the intended theme of the rally was health care, people seemed concerned with a variety of issues on the GOP agenda. One man dressed as Napoleon lamented “the overall loss of American freedom.” After an hour of fist shaking in the direction of the congress, the American dream defenders headed back to the Marriot for the Tribute to Ronald Reagan dinner.