The Nitty Gritty
Director of Publications at the Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies.
How long I’ve been a member of America’s Future Foundation:
What I do, and why I love it:
I work with attorneys, law professor, judges, and elected officials to advance the rule of law and the first principles espoused by the Framers of the U.S. Constitution. I am the editor our scholarly publication, Engage: The Journal of the Federalist Society Practice Groups, as well as our white papers and several other projects. I have the opportunity to work with preeminent conservative and libertarian scholars and lawyers on some of the most important issues of our time.
Invaluable skill I’ve learned:
Everything published by my organization must conform to a certain tone and style. This can be extremely tricky sometimes because our authors are passionate about the subjects of their articles. Learning how to deliver unpleasant news to highly-distinguished individuals has been a challenge, but it has taught me a great deal about communicating.
Most important moment in my career (so far):
It was definitely getting hired at the Federalist Society directly out of law school. I had been a Federalist Society chapter president in Kansas, a Hill intern, and an intern at other organizations such as AEI and ALEC. I also knew that I wanted to do something in law and public policy after taking the bar exam, but didn’t know exactly where I would fit in. Working for the Federalist Society has been one of the most rewarding and beneficial experiences of my life. I have met and worked with some incredible people along the way.
Biggest career lesson I’ve learned:
You never know where a connection could lead. Things as simple as being a good intern, visiting with someone at a reception, or attending a conference can open doors that you never imagined. The D.C. networking game is maligned by many (and rightfully so), but if you are genuine it can be a huge asset.
What attracted me to politics:
I’ve always been a big believer in serving a cause greater than yourself. In 1776, Thomas Paine wrote in Common Sense that “the cause of America . . . is the cause of all mankind” and that “the sun never shined on a cause of greater worth.” Later that same year John Adams remarked, “We should always remember that a free Constitution of civil Government cannot be purchased at too dear a rate as there is nothing, on this side of the New Jerusalem, of equal importance to Mankind.”
I couldn’t agree more. Everyone has their calling and ensuring that America remains the most prosperous nation on earth and the shining city on a hill is mine.
How I formed my political beliefs:
I started paying attention to the news and world events after September 11, 2001 (my freshman year in high school). I was also on the debate team at the time. From there, politics followed naturally. While my right-of-center beliefs were certainly influenced by my conservative family, at that age particularly I was never one to simply accept what I was being told by my parents or teachers (or anyone else for that matter). My views certainly have shifted since then, but I have always believed that America is the greatest country in the world because of our commitment to our Constitution, the rule of law, individual liberty, and free-markets.
Opportunities I see for the movement:
Despite the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., the liberty movement has made enormous strides over the last few years. Both parties have contributed to the infestation of big government in our lives and the movement is already starting to chip away at entrenched interests that support crony capitalism, overregulation, and the federal leviathan. There are some great new leaders out there that truly care about limited constitutional government and are advancing our cause every day. I am excited to be a part of it.
Most important trait to have to be successful in the movement:
So diligence and respect for others are a given in any industry, but in D.C. the most prudent advice I can give is to be genuine. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to advance your career, but there’s also nothing worse in this town than people who clearly only care about themselves and feign interest only so they can get what they want. These people are usually easy to identify. It’s almost comical sometimes: You can be at a reception and catch them staring at your nametag to identify whether you’re important enough to talk to.
If you’re genuine, people will respect you.
Why I think America’s Future Foundation is important:
After the Constitutional Convention ended in 1787, Ben Franklin was asked what type of government the delegates had created. He responded, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” Franklin’s point was that our system of government requires engagement. A recent Pew study found that only 18% of millennials (those born after 1980) consider themselves politically active or engaged. Combine that with the fact that most politically active millennials are left-of-center, and you have a dangerous paradigm. Liberty-minded millennials face an uphill battle to take back our country from the forces of big government. AFF is a great organization that helps us share knowledge and ideas, combine resources, network, and mentor in a way that builds the next generation of liberty-minded leaders.
Any advice for freedom fighters beginning their careers?
Don’t lose faith. We need you. It’s very easy to get caught up in the D.C. rat race and become discouraged by your career prospects or the political climate. I’ve been there. From time to time, take a step back and appreciate how much you’ve accomplished and how lucky we all are to be living in the greatest country in the world.
If I were going on a Netflix binge, it would be …
Friday Night Lights or the West Wing.
Favorite Political Talking Head?
Greg Gutfeld. I find his sarcasm and satire hilarious. He’s the right-wing Jon Stewart.
Favorite British Television Show?
I don’t get British TV, or their sense of the humor. The Office was much funnier with Michael Scott.
Any good commuter stories?
Like the D.C. government itself, the Metro is the epitome of government incompetence. But I think my favorite thing is the looks I get from people when they see my National Rifle Association gym bag. Some look at me with disdain and others with suspicion because they think I might be carrying a firearm (which I’m not, because D.C.’s gun laws are overly restrictive, and, in my view, unconstitutional).
Most underrated movie of all time?
Couples Retreat. I started watching this with my best friends in law school and I can’t get enough of it. It’s Vince Vaughn at his finest (who’s also one of Hollywood’s most outspoken libertarians). Not to mention Jason Bateman, Kristen Bell, and Jon Favreau.
How about the most overrated?
The Big Lebowski. I know, I’ve probably lost all credibility with most of you right now, but I’ve seen it three times and I just don’t get the appeal.
Liz Thatcher is a Marketing Coordinator at Intermarkets, Inc. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Studies from the Master’s College.