(It may be odd to have an opening session in the middle of the day, with breakout sessions in the morning, but when one remembers that there are people flying in from all over on Friday who couldn’t take off on Thursday because hello, we Conservatives work, then, yes.)
I missed the first few comments; I saw Erik Telford from Americans for Prosperity introduce the Mayor of Minneapolis, who made notorious waves yesterday in greeting Netroots Nation because we at Rightonline were “to be tolerated.” Mr. Mayor was quick and emphasized commercial support for Minneapolis business and thanked us for our money despite our principles.
Ann McIlhenny took the stage and introduced herself as a “recovering European.” Hers was a passionate speech, one where she lists all the many issues Republicans and Conservatives compromise on when they really shouldn’t: energy, drilling for oil offshore and on. And while Conservatives may be obsessed with what happens in the bedroom, Liberals obsess over every other room in your house, and then some.
John Hinderaker talked about the deficit, and his early roots as a low-traffic blog, and how it is now one of the more significant blogs out there. One recurring theme in this conference is the reassurance that the Internet is a huge place, and that there’s much room for everyone to make a name for themselves and make a difference.
Marsha Blackburn closed Friday’s general session with a warning on the dangers of growing government. One of her main causes is what she calls “net neutrality,” and one of my main issues is that the phrase has changed meaning depending on who you’re discussing it with. It really does depend on the regulations that the FCC is pushing and the debate is a challenging one to have.
The speakers today all had words for encouragement to the attendees. Right Online is, at its heart, a conference for Conservative activists, and while the breakout sessions are great to learn something, the big name speakers at the general sessions are great for inspiration. Michelle Malkin placed great emphasis on the president’s rule by executive fiat, citing crushing regulations that increase costs for business. (Sidebar: Bush2 may have exercised the executive’s powers to a great extent, but our president today has turned it into an art)
A surprise video address from Glenn Beck ended abruptly due to a bad video file.
Erick Erickson came with unscripted comments. He reminded us that while the founding principles and ideas of our country are important, it is more important to engage people on practical terms.
Other speakers included Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit, Jason Lewis, Guy Benson of Townhall, and SE Cupp, and they all struck the theme of being able to make a difference no matter how insignificant one is at the time one starts.