Conservative Energy Returns At The Americans For Prosperity Summit

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

Rand Paul And Rick Perry Address Defending American Dream Summit
[Getty Images]

Attending a conservative conference, even after a losing political season, encourages people. Liberals even when winning, mope. Conservatives, when losing, drink and have a good time anyway. Well, they usually do. That hasn’t been the case for the last two years. Conservative gatherings have been depressing and sometimes, strife-filled.

Not this Labor Day weekend in Dallas, Texas, though. The Americans for Prosperity leadership picked a weekend after school started in Texas, picked a state that is an instant sweat bath in August, and decided it would be a good idea to ask activists to listen to politics and policy rather than eat dogs and burgers and drink beer and watch football on Labor Day weekend. And still, the people came.

More than 3000 very excited, energized conservative-libertarian activists descended on Dallas and joy abounded. Ronald Reagan would be proud of the happy warriors here.

Maggie Thurber says this about the weekend:

“…the new message is that preaching to the choir isn’t going to advance the message or persuade those who either disagree or are uninformed and whose hearts and minds we need to win.

In fact, overwhelmingly, the discussion in sessions and speeches is that techniques that work on conservatives are likely to backfire when talking to those who are receptive to conservative principles but are predisposed to reject the buzzwords usually associated with them.”

The happy warriors speaking the language of building bridges to disaffected Obama voters should scare the Democrats. The conservative depression has lifted.

Based on this sold out conference, the right is back.



Ted Cruz: Cruising To Victory? FreePAC, Teaparty, and Sarah Palin Help

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Ted Cruz looks good going into the run-off election with Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst to be the Republican nominee for the United States Senate. How did this happen?

Well, Ted is a great candidate first of all: smart, principled, and hard working. He has been working the grassroots circuit for years. I first met Ted maybe three or four years ago when he was speaking at an Americans for Prosperity event in Austin. Since then, he’s faithfully attended Teaparty after Teaparty event. Ted knows every significant grassroots activist in Texas personally.

Ted’s hard work gave him name recognition among the around 30% of the most faithful, devoted conservative leaning political faithful in Texas. They came through and voted for him in the primary but Dewhurst still beat him with his higher name recognition and money, but I knew pretty assuredly that if Ted got into the run-off, Team Dewhurst was in big trouble.

Why? A couple reasons:

1. Most Republican voters have already voted and won’t come back out to vote.
2. The most dedicated will vote.
3. In a head-to-head, Cruz’s name recognition will increase.

The Dewhurst camp made a bad decision when they went so negative on Ted Cruz: The criticism was so outrageously over-the-top that people were forced to go look up the truth. When they went to investigate, many liked what they saw. I’m not sure if the negative ads didn’t help Ted Cruz.

Thursday night of last week, FreePAC, Freedom Works political action committee taught a stadium full of people how to get out the vote. [My interview with Matt Kibbe here.]

After that, there were rousing speeches from all sorts of Cruz supporters. Following the speechifying, Senators Jim DeMint, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul, Republican usurper Richard Mourdock of Indiana (who beat incumbent Senator Lugar), and FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe gave a press conference. There were a couple reporters there and then about 20 bloggers.

[Aside: Journalists ask stupid questions. I got to roll my eyes in front of them instead of online. Example: “Do Republicans want to win the Presidency more or the Congress more?”]

The FreePAC event lasted late and so early Friday, I drove back to The Woodlands, Texas and then went to the TeaParty event where many state TeaParty leaders showed up and endorsed Ted Cruz. Also there: Senator Jim DeMint and former Alaska Governor Ted Cruz.

Combined, these events and others like them around the state have the troops riled for a big turnout tomorrow. The energy certainly seems in Ted Cruz’ favor.

These folks were asked by a Texas Teaparty leader to turn toward the camera folks and show them they’re not DC insiders.

John Drogin, Ted Cruz for Texas campaign manager

John Drogin, Ted Cruz’ campaign manager working hard at the Teaparty event in The Woodlands, Texas.

Texas Teaparty Leaders support Ted Cruz.

Jim DeMint praises Ted Cruz to The Woodlands, Texas Teaparty rally June 27, 2012.

Ted Cruz speaks at the Tea Party

Ted Cruz speaks at the Woodlands Teaparty, Friday, July 27, 2012

Sarah Palin walks on stage at the Texas Teaparty for Ted Cruz

Sarah Palin for Ted Cruz

Sarah Palin endorses Ted Cruz at the Woodlands, Texas Teaparty.

Sarah Palin enjoys the Texas crowd at the Ted Cruz Teparty rally in The Woodlands, Texas

Teaparty Express spokeswoman Amy Kremer with Rafeal Cruz — Ted Cruz’s dad at the Woodlands, Texas Teaparty rally for Ted.

Sarah Palin works the line at the Texas Teaparty rally for Ted Cruz in The Woodlands, Texas.

The Woodlands police were always near Governor Palin and Todd Palin was never far away either at The Woodlands Teaparty rally for Ted Cruz.



Ted Cruz Talks About Texas, David Dewhurst’s Attacks and Money, The Tea Party & More

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Tonight, I had the very special opportunity to talk to former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz. Ted is running for U.S. Senate but first he must win a very expensive and very challenging primary against an opponent who is spending a million dollars a week to beat him. He’s still confident.

Ted received another big endorsement — this time from Governor Sarah Palin. He’s also been endorsed by Rand Paul, (and just now, RON Paul!!), Mike Lee, and a bunch of other people.

What Ted needs is your vote and money.

Please go to TedCruz.org and DONATE HERE. He needs your help. He’s running against a pile of money.

Have a question about Ted Cruz? He answers it here. Everything from social to fiscal to economic issues. Listen and share!



Democrats v. Republicans: California v. Texas

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Who wins between California and Texas? Well, as a Texan who lived in California for three years, the answer to this question is clear.

Will Franklin has put together some fascinating infographics about how Republicans and Democrats feel about Texas and California. Go take a look. It’s not surprising, really, but to see it laid out is still disturbing.

As Will says:

Fascinating. There are two dominant models for governance in America today. The California model of high taxation, bloated government, forced unionization, enviro-luddite regulation, higher unemployment, and intense domestic out-migration of individuals and businesses, versus the Texas model of low taxes, streamlined government, right-to-work labor laws, balanced environmental regulation, abundant job creation, and robust domestic in-migration.

Despite having 12 million fewer people, Texas exports 56.8% more than California.

Go read the whole thing. Wow.

My conclusion? Democrats really, really don’t care about fiscal responsibility at all–not even a little bit. They must think there’s a magic money tree somewhere.



The Kindness Of Capitalism: How The Texas Economy Cares For The Community

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Liberals don’t like Texas. Whether they’re liberal Democrats or liberal Republicans, Texas inhabits a hard-scrabble mythology. Red dirt, rocks, heat. A tough landscape. A big sky. Openness. Hardness.

After living in California, New York and Michigan, I’m convinced environment shapes our view of the world more than we care to admit. The coasts, used to milder weather and milder expectations, don’t like the tough life inherent in living in oppressive heat, freezing cold and general discomfort.

Texas ain’t that pretty. It certainly isn’t lush. There’s space. Hard ground. Texas is big. Texas is not, however, soft. There are no rolling hills of heather. There are no natural lakes. And yet, the people come.

People have had to make Texas what they want it to be. They have wildly succeeded.

The government reflects the landscape: spare and open.

Want a life of government paid-for ease? Don’t move to Texas. Move to California, New York or Michigan–well, until they stop using debt to finance their lavish ways. They’re out of money.

So, on this backdrop, here’s a story about the kindness of capitalism in Texas.

Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and thousands of exiles trekked to Texas. When the crisis hit, Governor Perry called mayors, business leaders, and probably most importantly, church leaders. [Aside: Governor Perry’s leadership through Hurricanes has been impressive and stellar. It’s difficult for outsiders to fathom the sheer magnitude of evacuating a city the size of Houston, for example. When the first evacuation showed logistical weakness, local and state leaders did a correction of errors and the next one was flawless.]

The church leaders sent the call out to the churches. The mega churches have huge charitable organizations. They coordinated the smaller churches and resources. They asked church and community members to help. And the local people responded. So enthusiastic was the response, that when I finally got to Target to buy supplies for folks (toothpaste, brushes, and all the rest) the shelves were empty. Nada. Picked clean.

Helping Hurricane Katrina victims was probably the single largest charitable outpouring in a concentrated time for that many people in American history.

This charity was, is, a result of capitalism. People had the extra resources to give because all their extra income wasn’t soaked up in taxes.

There is a palliative effect from this sort of action–both for those who are suffering and those who are relieving the suffering. The sufferers often got to meet who was helping them. They were prayed with and cared for and loved by individuals profoundly moved by their plight. The caregivers were blessed to see their actions making a direct difference in the lives of those in need. This was not some antiseptic government bureaucrat having a person check off a list in order to get a bar of soap and diapers. This was a friend helping a friend.

The government helped, too. But it took a while to get the government engine going. It always does. People got vouchers to find homes and apartments. The Houston public school was flooded with new, and woefully behind, students (an average of two years behind academically).

After six months of the transplanted New Orleans folks living off the kindness of strangers and the government dole, a Democratic Houston city councilwoman told the visitors, pointedly, “It’s time to get a job.”

At the time of her pronouncement, the unemployment rate was 4%. She rightly noted that no one had an excuse for not working. It was time to get to work and become a member of their new community or go home. And so, some people went back home. Some people stayed.

One woman who stayed is my favorite grocery checker at my local HEB. She got plunked in my community because her house was flooded and destroyed in New Orleans. She decided to make Texas home. When I asked her why, she said that she got a job, found a rental home in a neighborhood she really likes, the schools were great, her son was happy, New Orleans was violent and scary, and she was happy here. Mind you, she’s living happily and well in one of the best school districts in Texas as a single mother on a grocery checker’s wage.

Another woman, a nurse, moved here and stayed. She was thrilled with her pay (40% more than in New Orleans!) and the low cost of living (cheaper house!).

Capitalism, the Texas kind, is kind.

The free market here in Texas creates jobs. People with jobs have dignity.

But it’s not a living wage! liberal Democrats and Republicans cry. Really? In Texas, the cost of living is a fraction of what it costs in other states in the nation. I know this from personal experience having lived, and decently, on $2000 a month gross, with a baby. Mind you, that was without delux cable, smart phones, and home entertainment systems. It was eating Ramen noodles and sitting on the floor. Is that a horrible way to live? It’s a way a person starts. Where he ends is his choice.

But insurance! Texas has a high number of uninsured people. A good chunk of that is illegal immigration. I’m sorry, liberals, but I do not want to pay for someone else’s insurance. Still, Texas has programs for those who have difficulty. Lots of young Texans don’t want to pay for insurance. When we first started, we had no insurance. What’s the first thing we purchased when we had two nickels? Insurance. Many people choose not to make that expenditure. Fine. It’s a choice. With Obamacare, no one can be turned away from insurance. People make choices. Let them choose.

If they choose poorly, they end up at the free clinic where local doctors donate time. They get wonderful care. If they really get messed up, they end up an an emergency care center (Texas communities have lots of these) or the hospital. If they don’t have eye insurance (my family doesn’t), they go to Walmart (I do) and have a reasonable eye appointment and get low-cost glasses (which I have on my face right now). In a Texas hospital, you get damn good care. The problem with illegals overwhelming border hospitals is something that’s the Fed’s failing that’s become a state problem. Illegal immigration needs to stop. It’s sucking up resources.

Kindness according to big government types is some distant person making a decision for another person with other people’s money. It’s all very detached. It lacks personal warmth, connection and accountability.

Liberals want social services to not have any behavioral expectations. When a person is receiving help from a local charity or church, the organizations know the people. There’s an element of involvement and expectation. Isn’t that a good thing?

Wasn’t it a good thing that the city councilwoman loved the Hurricane Katrina folks enough to tell them to go get a job rather then subject themselves to the corrosive effects of living helplessly, waiting for the next check to come in? Isn’t it important for people to have to look those who are giving to them freely, from their own cupboards of food and necessities, in the eyes? Isn’t it important for those in need and those giving to be connected? That is the essence of community, is it not?

Many liberals find this sort of thing demeaning–both the charitable work and seeing those who need charity. It’s uncomfortable. They don’t think of the churches that built hospitals and homeless shelters and rehabilitation centers and pregnancy crisis centers. The intimacy scares them.

Capitalism, though, creates this intimacy. Both the consumer and supplier are connected. So too, are the needy and the charitable connected.

It is tougher. Just as a loving family will boot a kid out of the nest who needs to be on his own (or should), a loving society encourages its members to live as independently as possible. This is for the good of the individual and the good of the community.

From the outside, liberals see Texas and recoil. From the inside, Texans are quite content. Hard work, independence and autonomy are appreciated. And when community is needed, charity comes out of love and desire rather than force and coercion.

Is it a perfect system? No. But I’d point to the city of Detroit and to New Orleans as examples of entrenched corruption, excessive government services, and desperation among generations of inhabitants enslaved by an anything-but-loving liberal compassion.

I’ll take the kindness of capitalism any day. Given the choice between a job and independence and an unemployment check and dependency, the thousands of people moving to Texas every month agree: capitalism is kind. They’re counting on it.



Understanding The Texas Dream Act, American Majority’s Training Bomb, & What Really Happened At The CNN/TeaParty Debate

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

My Right Doctor podcast this week features three awesome Texans. First, Raz Shafer of American Majority talks about their nationwide “Training Bomb” that will hit swing states and key areas this coming Saturday, September 17. Then, Will Franklin who is doing social media and communications for the Perry campaign explains the Texas Dream Act (it is not anything like the evil the Dems tried to foist on Americans. Finally, Ali Akbar was in the audience at the CNN/Teaparty debate and explains who shouted out and clapped at the debate. Do Tea Partiers want people to die? Do they? Find out!

Listen to the whole thing here.



Texas Youth: Don’t Tax Me Bro

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

America’s Next Impact, a Texas youth advocacy group entreats the Texas Congress to do the right thing with the current budget:

The eyes of Texas are on the legislature, but the eyes of the nation are on Texas.

Specifically, young Americans look to this Texas legislature to make decisions that will restore jobs and the opportunity to participate in the American Dream. If it can’t be done in Texas, can it be done anywhere?

At the end of this semester, I will graduate from college. Millions just like me worked hard to be able to secure good jobs and enjoy a standard of living similar to our parents and grandparents. Nevertheless, the current level of government spending undercuts the possibility of good jobs or prosperous futures.

In fact, Texans of all ages are fed up with the status quo.

Hardworking taxpayers and small businesses already feel the burden in this struggling economy right along with recent college graduates who are facing increasingly tight job markets and diminishing prospects. The simple fact is that our legislature cannot continue to kick the can down the road and count on someone else to fix it.

Elected leaders at all levels of government need to act quickly to reduce the debt and control spending. Local governments in Texas are more than $175 billion in debt, including school districts, cities and counties.

And even though Texas is better off than most states, our lawmakers must bridge a revenue shortfall estimated to be more than $15 billion. A state known for fiscal responsibility is in a fiscally tight spot.

Texas lawmakers must make tough decisions about where to cut government spending. Many understand the Lone Star State cannot continue to prosper unless we cut the size and scope of government.

Right now, Texas is at the forefront, shaping the nation’s recovery. Decisions made in this legislative session will affect the state’s economic stability and prosperity for years to come.

How can our legislators keep the economy going without raising taxes or raiding the rainy day fund? How can we remain a beacon for job creation and business relocation without sound fiscal policies passed by our lawmakers?

It comes down to one thing: Spending must be reduced.

FIRST, TRIM THE FAT

The Texas public education system, which constitutes more than 40 percent of the state budget, is ripe for cuts. Texans value education, and education funding is rarely subject to scrutiny – but this budget cycle, we must make cuts that include education.

For the last few years, state spending per student has increased dramatically, yet academic results don’t reflect that investment. More dollars are being spent on administrative pay, hiring non-teaching staff and building Taj Mahal-style facilities. Available education dollars should be spent on priorities, which are teachers and instruction.

Average salaries for professional support staff and administrators in Texas are typically $9,000-$38,000 more than teachers earn, with as many non-teachers as teachers on payrolls at school districts across the state. Sen. Florence Shapiro suggests just cutting administrator salaries by 10 percent would save $2 billion over the next biennium.

That would be a promising start.

Another possibility would be to limit school district superintendents’ salaries to the governor’s pay, which is $150,000 a year. That would save Texas schools $20 million a biennium. Currently, 214 district superintendents earn more than the governor, not including their perks and benefits that range into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Many members of my generation do not want higher taxes and bigger government. We support trimming bureaucracy and saving taxpayers’ money – both in the short and long term – to keep Texas back on track.

History underscores the fact that we cannot tax or spend our way into prosperity.

Elected state leaders’ commitment to the principles of low taxes and limited government is critical to all Texans today, and essential to young Texans like me eager to start a career.

My generation’s message to elected officials is simple: This is no time to waver – now is the time to reduce government spending and debt to protect this great state’s economy for current and future generations. We ask our elected representatives to meet the challenges ahead and stay committed to the difficult choices they need to make today to ensure an economically viable and prosperous tomorrow

Keeping the American dream alive for this and future generations rests squarely on the shoulders of the men and women of the 82nd Texas Legislature.

Christopher Covo is a political science senior at Texas State University and director of America’s Next Impact, a new youth outreach project of Americans for Prosperity.



Podcast: Redemption and Derision

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

The story of enslavement to freedom is inherent in the Judeo-Christian culture. During this week where emancipation–being freed from slave owners and ultimately our own limitations–is a central focus, it was fitting, then, for Iris Blue to join me. She spent months in “the hole” in a Harris County (Houston) jail. She suffered addiction to heroin. She fought wardens. And she did it all to herself, willfully, angrily and stubbornly. Her story is inspiring and I hope you’ll listen to it. We talk about child-rearing, the church, and who is Jesus?

In the second half, another, less successful religion is discussed: Global Warming. Charlie Martin, now the science editor at Pajamas Media discusses the latest happenings and the bitter clinging to a discarded belief.

Listen here

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Why Rick Perry Won: Thoughts From A Texan

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Over at the New Ledger, Ben Domenech interviews Rick Perry and muses over Perry’s success. He says:

It’s a funny thing how political predictions work. When Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison declared her candidacy for the governorship of Texas, few would’ve bet against her — popular, moderate, and established, the ex-cheerleader who loves the cameras seemed a perfect fit for the limited authority (and sizable promotional duties) of the Texas governor’s mansion.

Except at some point, when no one outside Texas was paying attention, Rick Perry got good at politics. By understanding the zeitgeist of the 2010 cycle and connecting with a surprising upsurge in populism, Perry somehow managed to make an anti-establishment case to the voters despite serving as governor for a decade — an impressive feat for any incumbent.

Perhaps a small quibble: The problem for politicians is being perceived as voting D.C. interests over voting the voters’ interest. In Kay Bailey Hutchison’s case, she is perceived as D.C.

The other problem for national Republican incumbents is being perceived as standing for big government, big spending, big regulation, and big invasion into Americans’ lives. That will be a problem for state-wide politicians, too…except for maybe California.

Rick Perry was very smart over the last year and half. He had a misstep when he talked about mandating Gardisil vaccinations for all Texas girls. After that “big government intervention” backfire, Perry got the message loud and clear: Bug out.

And so he has.

More than any other politician, he has consistently told Washington, D.C. “no” for the last two years. That has won him big points in Texas and won him envy among citizens unfortunate enough to live anywhere but Texas.

It should not also be ignored that Texas is humming along economically. By Texas standards, the economy isn’t wonderful, but it’s doing so much better than the rest of the nation, citizens are wanting to keep a good thing going. Who can blame them?

Who can blame Perry for paying attention to the feeling of his constituents? Funny thing, that. So many politicians in D.C. still want to do what they want to do, not what their constituents want.

Ben asked Governor Perry about the Tea Party movement and populism. Perry said this:

I think what you’re seeing now is the result of years of people’s frustration with government frittering away their hard earned money. It was fermenting in the mind and soul of the public for years, but I think you started to see a real response to it in mid 2008. They were really frustrated with what they saw, particularly from Republicans, when it came to handling governing.

Now this is self-evident truth, unless you’re a moderate Republican hell-bent on being Porky-the-Pig. It has been utterly astonishing how arrogant and out of touch D.C. Republicans, the ones voters count on to be the grown ups, have been.

As for the populism, Perry says:

I’m not sure I’d put it as just “populist” — I’d say it was common sense. I see regular people who started to look around and see a Congress and a president who are on a path that is very socialistic. They’re seeing things happen in Washington that are way out of their comfort zone. And because of that, they’re afraid for their country.

Again, this will be considered a genius statement only because D.C. Republicans are so out of touch, or have been. And Kay Bailey Hutchison, while living and immersed in D.C. culture, totally misjudged Texas sentiment and culture. She is not alone in her Stockholm-like syndrome. Once inside the D.C. bubble, it seems rational thought and common sense go out the window. That’s why the voters nationally are anti-D.C. anybody–Republican or Democrat.

Rick Perry sums up the national mood:

That’s easy. Any Republican candidate, any Republican activist or consultant or what have you, who is not paying attention will be so much roadkill.

The gravity of this, the weight of it, the momentum — whatever you want to call it, I’m convinced it’s unstoppable. You can join with this movement, and most people who are comfortable in the Republican Party should be very comfortable with what’s being said, or you can find another line of work.

Go read the whole article. It’s not difficult to see why people look to Texas and to Governor Perry.



Wrap-Up: Governor Rick Perry’s Blogger Summit In Austin, Texas–UPDATED With Pictures

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Texas Governor Rick Perry hosted a blogger meet-up in Austin, Texas this last weekend.

Friday night, twenty of us met up at the gun range with the Governor. He showed fellow bloggers Kathleen McKinley and Robbie Cooper and me how to shoot his laser-guided, tiny Ruger LCP .380. It was a nice, light little gun, but the loooooong trigger was irritating. Roger Simon has a humorous piece about his gun trepidation that’s worth reading.

Robbie also shared his .45 with me and I got to shoot a clip from his gun. I am left-eye dominant and right hand socialized, which means that I should be left handed (and in some sports I am). This makes me a not-so-great shot. Turns out that Robbie has the same problem and he helped me correct for that. He was very helpful. (A marine would be, don’t you think?)

Kathleen brought her .22 and I shot from that gun, too. Lighter, with less kick. Nice gun. I’m looking for something to carry in my purse. I liked the power of the .45, the size of the Ruger. It’s clear that I haven’t found my favorite gun yet.

It had been years since I’d shot. It is so much fun. I will be doing that again.

The gun range owner told me that Governor Perry frequents the establishment regularly with most people not realizing the Governor is right there. He likes shooting and is a natural sportsman. I believe it. It was obvious he was having a good time. He arrived a little late to the range, but didn’t seem to want to leave.

Following the gun range, there was a reception at a local bar on 6th street in Austin. 6th Street is, for those who don’t know, the “strip” of Austin. There’s lots of bars and music joints. University of Texas is right there. Lots of youthful energy and fun in the neighborhood.

Pictured: Matt Lewis (L) and Andrew Breitbart

The conference itself was held at the AT&T Conference center. (Conference planners everywhere, take note. This is the best facility I’ve been in, in years.) The room was stadium-style, classroom seating with WiFi and pop-up plugs for electricity. Very nice. Do you know how many conferences are ill-equipped to serve bloggers and news people? When it’s a struggle to get power and internet access, frustration ensues. People like to work easily.

Will Franklin, Governor Perry’s New Media Coordinator, deserves credit for creating a tech-savvy environment for the bloggers. Will hosted the event and introduced the panel moderators. Pictures from Governor Perry’s photographer here.

Pictured: Ben Domenech [L] and Will Franklin

Panel One: Turning Ideas Into Action moderated by Ryan Gravatt and hosted by Jim Eustace and Patrick Ruffini. Most of us know Patrick from his blogging and his work on campaigns. He talked about amplifying messages. Jim Eustace I had never met or heard before. He encouraged blogging activists to get better about analyzing their metrics, etc. Some people might have been snoozing about this topic, but I was eating it up. Bloggers fall into two categories–idea people who use tech and tech people who put forth ideas. I’m the former–an admitted “techtard” and their advice was excellent. I wanted them to keep talking. The talk ended much too soon.

Panel Two: Keeping Conservative Momentum moderated by Ben Domenech and hosted by Matt Lewis and Me. Ben I hadn’t met before–seen his name everywhere, linked his work, etc. What a great guy…and his voice, wow! Turns out that he has a podcast over at Breitbart, too. Anyway, Ben was the best moderator I have ever seen in action. Lucky me! He moderated my panel. Basically Matt and I talked about transforming the Tea Party energy and anger into action. It’s happening. We also talked about the genesis of some of the current messaging problems in the GOP. We also talked about the D.C. culture and how it’s difficult to adhere to conservative values for politicians, thinkers and writers alike. It’s a constant fight.

Panel Three: Growing Influence moderated by Brad Jackson and hosted by Roger Simon and Andrew Breitbart. Roger Simon and Andrew Breitbart agreed about one thing: making money in this business is hard. Ad revenue is down among all media, including new media. Breitbart made many provocative statements. To sum up: He wants to destroy the Mainstream Media. After hearing him recount the media’s treatment of Linda Trip regarding Bill Clinton, I want them destroyed, too. He said,”The media turned a predator (Clinton) into a victim and destroyed a common citizen, Linda Tripp.” Indeed.

Pictured: Roger Simon [Left] with Andrew Breitbart

There was a break, we were provided boxed lunches (pesto chicken was my choice, if you must know) and went back in to the conference where Governor Perry gave a short spiel about the success of Texas and why he’s hoping to be re-elected. “It’s simple,” he said. And outlined his four pillars of good governance: Low taxes, reasonable regulations, constrained lawsuit environment (torte laws), and an educated workforce. The Governor just rejected Federal education money because he didn’t want the strings attached. He did the same with the Stimulus bill. Turns out to be a wise decision.

Governor Perry introduced Andrew again. Andrew doesn’t do prepared speeches, he said. Well, he gave a good one nonetheless. Link to Breitbart interview at event here.

The operative word was “Courage”. He talked about the courage to take risks in this business. He related how in Hollywood, there is a bubble, that it’s very social and people outside of the accepted belief system are ostracized. At one party he was surrounded by 40 Obama supporters who were yelling at him while his wife cried to the side.

Andrew shared the story of liberals who took risks to expose their own and how they received death threats. He spoke of shepherding the ACORN story because of how the media destroys those who oppose liberal ideology. He painted a stark picture. The speech was rousing.

It seemed fitting that the home of the Alamo was the home for a rallying call to bloggers and activists to fight and fight with courage.

The Conference was one of the best for meeting fellow citizen journalists, activists, and campaign operators. The panels were informative. The speeches inspired.

Ben Domenech on Twitter says that he “hope other candidates do these kind of low pressure outreach activities.” Indeed.

For those interested in hearing Governor Perry speak in Houston, he’ll be stumping with Sarah Palin here on February 7, 2010. Tickets at the link.

Also, I have video of this whole shindig, but still need to cut and edit it. Will attempt to upload this to YouTube. Wish me luck!

Note: All pictures courtesy Rick Perry’s official photographer.