We can’t help bragging about IWF’s 10th anniversary party that celebrated valiant women, two in particular, and IWF’s achievements. The event brought more VIPs than you could shake a stick at -including the Vice President of the United States, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Majority Leader Bill Frist, Secretary of labor Elaine Chao, Senator Lindsey Graham, Solicitor General Ted Olson, Rep. Steve King, Rep. Katherine Harris, Rep. Tom Tancredo, Rep. Jennifer Dunn, Rep. Donald Manzullo, Rep. Bill Shuster, Sen. Ben Nelson, former U.N. ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick, and former Sen. Malcolm Wallop, among numerous others. Author Myrna Blyth, numerous corporate heads, and ladies and gentlemen of the press were there as well.
Mrs. Lynne Cheney, the recipient of IWF’s first Woman of Valor Award, named in honor of the late Barbara Olson (who, like Mrs. Cheney, was involved with IWF’s founding), brought along her whole family, including her two daughters, Mary and Liz, and, of course, her husband, the Vice President of the United States.
The Vice President delivered a speech in which he recalled his courtship with the evening’s honoree. He recalled that they had known each other in high school and, “When she was ready to find a husband, I headed the search committee.”
The evening was both fun and moving. Ricky Silberman, IWF’s revered former chairman of the board, passed the baton to Heather Higgins, our new chairman, who introduced Mrs. Cheney. Mrs. Cheney praised IWF for having “opened up a place in the public dialogue for those of us who didn’t want to go along with the conventional wisdom.”
In presenting the Woman of Valor Award, Silberman spoke of Mrs. Cheney and Olson as women who had played major and valiant roles in the culture wars.
The focus of the evening was IWF’s past present, present, and future.
A video celebrated some of the great moments of the past and present — including former president Anita Blair saying that NOW had moved “beyond hypocrisy” and into “schizophrenia” and current president Nancy M. Pfotenhauer emphatically making a point — over the objections of a vocal radical feminist — that feminist whining represents, at best, “only half the story.”
Speaking of our glowing future, IWF announced two new board members, Mary Arnold, who was chairman of the gala, and Lawrence Kudlow, our first male board member.
But there was something else everybody noticed about our anniversary dinner — people had a really, really good time. That’s not always the case at a Washington party, but you could tell from the table-hopping, that everybody was delighted to see everybody else. We were completely sold out and, in fact, had to add tables! All were able to sit down in the ballroom at the Fairmont Hotel and enjoy good food, good company, and the saga of a women’s group that really does speak for mainstream women.