Kemp Forum

The Kemp Forum is a debate and discussion series providing a platform for the civil competition of ideas. Based on the premise that ideas, like athletes, become sharper in competition, the Kemp Forum examines cutting edge public policy questions through the kind of restless, spirited debate that Jack Kemp practiced from the heart.

The Future of the American Idea: A Conversation at Lincoln Cottage

The American Idea is the radical belief that the Declaration of Independence applies to every individual; everyone should have the same opportunity to rise as high as their talents and efforts can carry them; and while people move ahead, we should endeavor to leave no one behind. From this premise, the Kemp Forum on the Future of the American Idea examines the core themes and compelling policy decisions that will define America’s future.

The inaugural meeting occurred on May 16, 2014 at Lincoln Cottage* in Washington DC, where President Lincoln first penned the Emancipation Proclamation. The day featured opening remarks by Rich Lowry, (editor, National Review and author of Lincoln Unbound)  a luncheon address by Russian pro-democracy leader Garry Kasparov, three panel discussions, and closing remarks by Mort Kondracke. (co-author of a forthcoming political biography of Jack Kemp)


Opening Remarks

Rich Lowry

Session I – Leadership for the American Idea

Discussion Leader William Kristol (Weekly Standard) plus Peggy Noonan (Wall Street Journal), Garry Kasparov (United Civil Front), Bob Schoultz (Fifth Factor Leadership)

Keynote Address

Garry Kasparov


Session II – Growth, Growth, Growth!

Discussion Leader Fred Barnes (Weekly Standard) plus George Gilder (Discovery Institute), Deborah Wince-Smith (Council on Competitiveness), Amity Shlaes (Journalist/Author)

Session III – Freedom, Dignity, Opportunity

Discussion Leader Juan Williams (Fox News) plus  Arthur Brooks (American Enterprise Institute), Wayne Frederick (Howard University), Ron Christie (Christie Strategies)

Closing Remarks

Mort Kondracke

As with all Kemp Forum events, the objective is to engender ideas and inspire action by

  • Speaking to the things that unite us, rather than divide us: freedom, opportunity, growth, compassion, dignity, and hope;
  • Embracing the politics of reaching for our better angels, shouldering our civic responsibilities, empowering America to be a moral force for good;
  • Promoting and defending the virtues necessary to make freedom work and our citizens flourish; and
  • Enabling every American to rise as high as his or her God-given talents will allow.


*A National Historic Landmark on the site of the Old Soldiers Home, President Lincoln’s summer retreat atop one of Washington DC’s highest hills was a place of quiet contemplation for the President and his family. Website

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