Western CPAC Reveals Rift Between Establishment Conservative Powerbrokers And New Media Activist-Journalists

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Western CPAC might have been a small conservative gathering but it was certainly significant. It was as if a sample of the conservative movement was put in a petri dish, mixed with some steroids and allowed to grow over the weekend. The result was ugly.

One part of the conservative movement: The Old Guard. No joke, it’s as if Thurston Howell III and Lovey yachted to the weekend for some old time palling around and gentle joshing. Another part of the conservative movement: the old time attendees. They’ve been to every Republican gathering of any significance since the Goldwater years and they bleed Republican. Another part of the conservative movement: grassroots activists. They haven’t paid attention to politics until the Bush bailout and the continued Obama big government bonanza. They’re fiery, informed and ready to kick butt. Another part of the conservative movement: new media activist-journalists. And straddling this group: The Politicians.

At the back of the room, was Blog Row. Attendees had to walk by the bloggers to get into the room. Some attendees were groupies. They knew the bloggers, followed them on Twitter, talked to us and seemed happy we were there. Some attendees looked at us with curious interest–like seeing pandas at the zoo. We were a rare breed of animal rarely seen caged. Heck, rarely seen in the wild. Some attendees viewed Blog Row with indifference–don’t talk to the help dahling.

At the front of the room was the speaker, podium and platform. The room was small enough that speakers could see the faces of the bloggers and vice versa.

Who were the bloggers? It was a stellar cast. I’ll begin with my blog hero: Jim Hoft aka Gateway Pundit. Jim is just the nicest guy with a mischievous streak. He also likes chocolate. Also at the even, my longtime Twitter friend John Schulenburg of Infidels Are Cool. Ed Morissey was the Grand Pubah and trouble-starter. He has a problem with rudeness to authority. He was punished. Stephen Kruiser of RFCradio.com, Rachel Alexander of Intellectual Conservative, the men of Verum Serum John Sexton and Morgen Richmond (thanks for dinner gentlemen!), Ed Driscoll of Pajamas Media (he uses big, BIG words) and Caleb Heimlich of ExposeObama.com. Oh, and me.

I’m not quite sure the organizers grasped the scope of the bloggers on the panel. Each person has incredible influence both in number of people and force of reporting and ideas shared. The lack of understanding was part of the problem. Bloggers are viewed as some weird group of blabbermouths who talk on this internet thing. The Old Guard interacts with them with either indifference or with affectionate condescension–they’re the hired help.

So, when Ed Morissey wrote about the Nazi talk at WCPAC (I linked it here), the talker was shocked and dismayed. He shouldn’t have been surprised.

And then, an Old Guard funding type got seated on the New Media panel. Stephen Kruiser reports what happened:

Christopher Carmouche (rhymes with…) began his thought vomiting by giving Ed Morrissey a hard time for blogging about the impeachment nonsense earlier in the day. He then proceeded to regale us with a tale about his distaste for Twitter and Facebook, complete with a “why can’t we just pick up the phone” line that he pulled out of both his ass and 1989.

I looked over at Ed Driscoll and whispered “What in the **** is this idiot doing on the ‘New Media’ panel?”

I regret not saying that into the mic now.

After insulting the most prominent blogger there and pissing all over the reason for the panel, Carmouche then gave everyone a little lecture about avoiding the in-fighting that has plagued the Right for so long. “Planet Kruiser” fans can probably figure out who my “Tool of the Week” is going to be next Friday.

So why was he there? I’ll go out on a limb and say that may have made a donation.

The rest of us did too but we donated talent, exposure, ideas and credibility instead of money.

Carmouche runs something called GrassTopsUSA. Here’s what Mr. “Can’t We All Just Get Along?” and his company do:

This cutting edge organization charges people to send a fax to politicians. That’s right, a fax, by God! If the fax doesn’t do the trick you can order GrassTopsUSA’s premium service where they give you a stagecoach ride to Washington, D.C. and teach you how to churn butter outside your representative’s office until he or she pays attention to you.

Carmouche and his ilk are the kinds of dead weight, dinosaur idiots that conservatism doesn’t need around any more, no matter how fat their wallets are.

Stephen has more to say about this. His post nicely draws the lines.

The conservative movement is changing. It HAS to change. Does nobody on the Right remember the trouncing in the last two election cycles? Do the establishment types think that “we throw enough money at TV commercials and Republicans get elected” as one blogger said, and that will be enough? It wasn’t enough before. And it’s not enough now.

If the Republican party cannot find a way to engage with the Grassroots and partner with New Media Activist-Journalists, they will be out of power for a long time. The Party needs numbers. They need voters, not just dollars. And they won’t get elected if the very ones who stand for everything the Republican party ostensibly believes (until elected and voting) stays home.

So, some blood is going to be spilled along the way. Some blood was spilled this weekend at Western CPAC. It’s all to the good. There needs to be some clarifying moments.

Elections will NOT be won if the funders do what they’ve always done. Elections will NOT be won if new media activists are treated contemptuously and dismissed.

Interestingly, the politicians at this event seemed to get the picture. That, at least, was encouraging.