I had the unique privilege of attending this year’s RedState Gathering in Atlanta this past weekend and I had a wonderful time. Conservative radio host Erick Erickson emceed two days that were chock full of conservative “red meat”. When I attended CPAC 2014 and CPAC 2015 I “live blogged” the events, giving up to the minute details on what was happening in Washington, D.C. during those great conferences but I chose not to live blog RedState and instead sat down and just took it all in. Over the last day I’ve tried to collect my impressions in an effort to deliver some thought to you, the reader, who may not have had a chance to attend the event.
I came away from RedState with a few impressions. One about the event itself and then a couple about the GOP race for President.
First, RedState was a lot of fun. It’s a smaller event, with under a thousand attendees, and this allows the candidates, politicians and conservative media to rub elbows with the grassroots organizers and activists. I had the opportunity to meet a few of my conservative political heroes, like HotAir’s Ed Morrissey and Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-OK). This kind of access is key to getting grassroots activists excited about the upcoming campaign and the work that we have to do.
Now onto the political impressions.
Wow. Carly Fiorina is awesome. She continues to impress me with her intelligence, eloquence and pitbull personality. On Friday, she was far and away the most well received speaker and the buzz around RedState seemed to indicate that everyone was very impressed with Fiorina. (Her performance in the debate the night before may have had something to do with this, too.)
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was the favorite among the RedState faithful. It wasn’t even close. The collected audience was polite to Chris Christie, kind to Bobby Jindal, happy with Marco Rubio, excited about Scott Walker… but they LOVED Ted Cruz. Loved him.
In his speech, Cruz went after the GOP as hard as he went after Democrats, and the crowd ate it up. He asked what would be different if the Democrats were the majority in Congress instead of Republicans – the crowd replied “NOTHING!” His point was that over the last few months the GOP leadership has proven to be spineless and the crowd completely agreed with him.
If Ted Cruz can continue to excite crowds around the country and keep himself out of the crosshairs of the GOP establishment (who hate Cruz), he really could be our next President.
He had one of the best laugh lines of the weekend:
“Now the Democrat field consists of a wild-eyed socialist with ideas that are endangering America’s place in the world… and Bernie Sanders.”
The Donald Trump imbroglio. The fallout from Donald Trump’s scrape with Megyn Kelly at Thursday night’s debate made reverberations around RedState. Many attendees were upset that Erickson had cancelled the invite to Donald Trump, but many also felt that Trump’s outbursts and reaction at the debate (and afterward) were proof that he didn’t have the temperament or character to be President.
My biggest takeaway from RedState 2015 though is this… we have a lot to be optimistic for. Folks, we have a handful of very good candidates in 2016. We have thousands of seasoned, grizzled activists ready to fight for political victory in 2016, and the Democrat Party should be very worried. We can beat the Democrats. But I don’t think the Democrats are our biggest opponent over the next year or so. No, I think that distinction belongs to the GOP Establishment and the crony capitalists in Washington, D.C.
We cannot allow the turncoat RINOs to force another moderate squish on us again. If Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, George Pataki or Lindsey Graham are the nominee come 2016 – then we are doomed.
Now is the time, folks. Now is the time to stand up and get active. Get out there and fight for your country. If we all do our part, we will win.
You can see a few more of the speeches at the links below.
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