Last year, my takeaway from FreedomWorks’ first annual BlogCon bloggers conference was that I was “far from alone.” Sitting in the terminal at Reagan National Airport only hours after attending the 9/12 rally at the foot of the Washington Monument, I wrote about the lessons learned from meeting so many people in the new media for the first time:
I learned that each and every one of these incredible folks are in this and involved for the right reasons, that they know exponentially more than the left would ever give them credit for, and that they all have highly overactive funnybones, endlessly enormous hearts, and freakishly strong livers.
Last year was all about discovering others who have been doing the same thing I do at various levels. I met chiropractors, bankers, lawyers, nurses, stay-at-home super-moms and activists alike, all of whom like me somehow found the time to contribute their voice and effort in some way or another. It was an utterly amazing experience.
In the fourteen months that have passed since the first annual BlogCon, I have been fortunate enough to build relationships with many of these people, both by meeting with some in person at events like the August 2011 RedState Gathering here in Charleston, and by interacting with some through social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. (Since the first BlogCon in September 2010, my love for the latter has grown exponentially; I find Twitter to be the equivalent of hanging around, chatting, and watching television with a group of friends.)
This past weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Denver, Colorado for the second annual BlogCon conference. It was different in many ways.
On Saturday evening, after a full day of speakers, panels and presentations, I found myself in a meeting room with approximately 150 other people, dirty martini in hand, looking around at the faces of those who gathered to socialize, network, and learn from one another. Glancing at my watch, I realized that CBS News’ GOP debate was about to start.
Glancing around and seeing people like Jim Hoft from Gateway Pundit, Ed Morrissey from HotAir, Moe Lane from RedState, Ace from Ace of Spades, Warner Todd Huston, John Sexton from Verum Serum, Ben Howe from RedState, Jimmie Bise Jr. from The Sundries Shack, John Hawkins from RightWingNews, Kristina Ribali, Tabitha Hale, Melissa Clouthier, Kathleen McKinley, Steven Crowder, Glen Asbury, Michelle Lancaster, April Gregory, Sarah Rumpf, Matthias Shapiro from Political Math, Michael Bates, Michael Chamberlain, Fingers Malloy and Thomas LaDuke from FTR Radio, Tony Katz, Kurt Schlichter, Jason Whitman, Philip Klein and others, it occured to me that there very well could have been more representatives of conservative new media in that room than outside of it.
“Who, pray tell, is minding the store?” I asked myself. Actually, I had two martinis on a nearly empty stomach in the thin air due to being at such a high altitude, so I probably asked others the same question.
Martinis aside, the weekend was fantastic. It was a way to meet new people, such as Kurt Schlichter, Tony Katz and Philip Klein. It was a way to build preexisting relationships with people I had met in D.C. last year or in Charleston over the summer, such as Kristina Ribali, Kimberly Haney, and Michael Bates. It was a chance to hear developments in policy from those who shape policy and public perception. It was an opportunity to learn how to be a more effective blogger.
On the lighter side, it was a chance to hang out with–albeit very briefly–Michelle Malkin, the brilliant and hardworking blogger-turned-blogger-pundit, and to sing karaoke with Pamela Geller, a woman who has done more to wake the world up to the scourge and threat that is radical Islam than anyone else in new or old media. (Not only is Pamela exceedingly nice, but she is also an excellent singer. Further, in her panel presentation on Saturday, she delivered one of the best lines of the weekend, noting that “truth is the new hate speech.”)
This weekend also gave me a chance to throw my weight around. No, not in terms of political influence, as I have none — but rather in terms of actual weight, of which I unfortunately have plenty.
Occupy This, Morons!
I have never had a dirty, smelly hippie between my legs before, even during my free-wheeling college days. Still, there has to be a first for everything, and this past weekend just happened to provide me with such a milestone.
At some point on Friday afternoon, as we learned about such interesting things as data visualization from Matthias Shapiro and search engine optimization from Cord Blomquist, those of us collected at the Crowne Plaza hotel in downtown Denver were told to expect a visit from the local #OccupyDenver crowd. The hippies, it seemed, became aware of BlogCon during the previous week and planned a mass disruption.
About an hour before the #Occupy folks were due to show, I was pacing around the sidewalk in front of the hotel, talking to my wife on the phone. About fifty yards away, I saw a group of people who looked like homeless college students walk into the lobby. “A bunch of crunchy types just walked into the hotel, honey,” I said to my wife. “I have to go.”
On my way into the lobby, I sent out a warning on Twitter. “The #OccupyDenver folks are in the lobby,” I wrote. Approaching the door to the conference room, I saw that comedian and Pajamas Media contributor Stephen Kruiser was the only thing between about eight to ten hippies and a room full of equipment and people. Kruiser is a wonderful guy and very, very funny, but he’s not a big man by any stretch of the imagination. So I joined him.
Soon, the confrontation devolved into this:
More videos are available here. If you look closely in many of them, you can see me in the background by the door; in the third video–which features the hilarious line that the goal of the #Occupy movement is to “find an indoor toilet”–I am clearly visible on the left.
Before the crowd was run out of the hotel in the third video, at one point a curious blogger opened the door to see the commotion and one of the hippies made a break for it on his hands and knees, trying to get to the open door by crawling through my legs. With the waistline of his skinny jeans below me, and with his metrosexual self certainly not weighing much more than 160 pounds, at 6’3″ and 260 pounds I considered for just a moment the possibility of picking him up and tossing him back into the crowd like the [mental] midget he was. Instead, a cooler head prevailed, and I just dragged him away from the door by his ankle.
Soon thereafter, the #Occupy crowd tucked its tail and ran away. The smell lingered, though. And, for a while afterward, I felt itchy.
By far, the best account of the confrontation was put together by Kurt Schlichter at BigGovernment.com. As good as the piece is, I’m gonna excerpt more than I probably should; Andrew Breitbart can ask me to cut it back, if he’d like.
But the most important lesson is that the Occupiers are a joke; they are nothing but coddled, Potemkin protesters who collapse at the first sign of resistance.
These clowns have been treated with kid gloves by gutless (or even sympathetic) politicians from Zuccotti Park to the Port of Oakland. They’ve been allowed to live in filth, dominate public spaces and generally descend into a festering petri dish of social, criminal and epidemiological pathologies by cowardly mayors and other enablers unwilling to do the most basic job of any government leader and keep order.
The mainstream media adores them, viewing them as advancing their shared left-wing agenda while also recalling the activist Sixties of legend. And, of course, the media helpfully covers up the ever-growing roster of outrages perpetrated by these nimrods. No accountability there. Even the cops are required to treat these geniuses with professional respect.
It’s been all up-twinkles for them – until now.
Not to paint a couple of botched protests as the Battle of Stalingrad, but when these idiots rushed into the midst of the assembled conservative new media folks gathered at BlogCon 2011, it was about the first time anyone ever took these cretins on en masse.
They ran into an impenetrable wall of mockery, and they had no clue what to do. They folded like a house of stinky cards.
The foundation of the success of the Occupiers is the tacit agreement by the elite to treat them with respect, to take their incoherent assemblage of bad ideas seriously, and to ignore the fact that the emperor’s new clothes are dirty, clichéd and have Che’s mug emblazoned on them.
The BlogCon folks didn’t.
Round one started at about 2:00 pm when several walked into the hotel lobby and tried to crash the meeting room. But it didn’t quite go as they thought it would. The losers suddenly found themselves surrounded by a horde of eager conservatives with flip cams immortalizing the happening.
Yeah, invade a conservative bloggers’ convention. Good plan.
There was some shouting and some pushing – a hefty, troll-like woman shoved the very buff Steven Crowder. He was quite patient with her, which was wise since she had weight on him. Stephen Kruiser, John Nolte, Dana Loesch and her husband Chris were right in the middle of the fun too, ladling out heaping helpings of mockery. The bad guys were stunned; no one has ever before told them that they are idiots to their faces.
This is what happens when you have a generation that got trophies for losing.
Later that night, as a few of us walked about a mile to a cigar smoking party at a Denver-area bar, we walked right through the #OccupyDenver encampment. It was a socialist utopia, more a homeless camp than a protest site. There were tarps and sleeping bags everywhere on the sidewalk, mysterious moist trickles running from the sidewalk curb to the street curb, and curious smells wafting through the air reminiscent of a combination of body odor, Doritos, fecal matter, and feet.
I walked past one kid who had one of those little lawn rakes, the kind that you might give your kindergarten-age son or daughter if he or she wants to help you rake the leaves but you’re not wild about the idea. He was raking away the dust, dirt, leaves and detritus from the curb separating the sidewalk and grass.
“You can’t rake away Hepatitis,” I muttered under my breath.
Clashes with the #Occupy crowd throughout the weekend make an already eventful few days even more eventful. As the situation for the hippies changed in Denver, St. Louis, Portland and beyond, and as more and more evidence of rampant crime, lawlessness and unsanitary conditions popped up at several other camps, I had several in-depth discussions about the #Occupy crowd with bloggers and new media types such as the aforementioned Mr. Schlicter, Ms. Ribali, Mr. Whitman and more. I’ll share some of those observations over the next few days.
All in all, though, BlogCon 2011 was a phenomenal way to spend a weekend. FreedomWorks and Tabitha Hale sure did put on a great event — they have my wholehearted appreciation for the invitation. The takeaway this year was all about relationships, about how not only are none of us new media types alone, but that we are stronger in numbers. The way we repelled the repellant #OccupyDenver crowd was evidence of that on a very small level; the result of the 2012 elections will show our impact on a macro level.
I have returned from the Rockies to my normal, everyday blessed life, and after this weekend I find myself revitalized, rejuvenated, and ready to do what I can to help guide this nation through next year’s election. It’s not going to be easy, but with the people I was fortunate enough to see this weekend on our side, I believe that we have the advantage.