02 September 2008

Dateline: Xcel Center, RNC Day 2

UPDATE 2:43am CDT: Last update before I sign off for the night. I watched this exchange--between Gingrich & an MSNBC reporter--from the concourse and thought, I wonder what they're talking about. My colleague at NewsBusters, Noel Sheppard found the video and it's fantastic. Click here, to see Noel's post. I repeat something I've written before. We are more than happy to have a dialogue about Palin and debate the relative merits of her experience versus Obama's.

It's important to understand that debating our #2 vs. their #1 concedes that Obama isn't even in McCain's orbit.

UPDATE 2:41am CDT:
One other point I forgot to mention regarding our interview with Jon Voight. We asked him about other conservatives in Hollywood and if he had any advice to give to them or young conservatives. The long and short of his answer was similar to what I have observed in academia. If you want work, keep your mouth shut about your conservative politics. At this point in his career (though it has been known about Voight for some time), he can say what he wants because he doesn't really need the work and he is a big enough name that he can get work despite his politics. For younger actors/writers/directors, this is not the case.

UPDATE: 2:31am CDT:
My days are divided by sleep periods rather than by calendar days. While waiting to interview Jon Voight, we joked around with Kevin Farley, the younger brother of one of my favorite comedians, the late Chris Farley. Seeing Kevin was, to use an overused word, surreal--not because I or anyone else was particularly impressed to meet Kevin (though he is a nice guy), but because he looks just like his brother. At first glance, I had to do a double take because I was sure I had seen a ghost.

UPDATE: 10:56pm CDT:
The posts below now contain links to the video of our interviews with Mort Kondracke and Laura Ingraham.

UPDATE: 10:45pm CDT:
We just finished interviewing Jon Voight regarding his role in An American Carol, the right's response to endless parade of conservative-lampooning films. If you judge a person by the company or celebrities he keeps, John McCain comes out looking great. Compare and contrast Jon Voight with Kanye West. West's songs, though catchy, are full of hateful, racist lyrics. And Jon Voight is just awesome. Ditto Five for Fighting's Jon Ondrasik, who was with Jon Voight. (making them the h-less Jon's)

UPDATE: 8:48pm CDT
: Just got back from interviewing Mort Kondracke of Fox's "Beltway Boys," Gary Bauer, former POTUS candidate, and Laura Ingraham. Mort is shorter than his fellow "Boy" Fred Barnes, but is just as congenial. Like just about everyone else, they took the time, even though they were in a hurry, to speak with us.

Laura Ingraham said "the media hates Sarah Palin because she's pro-life. End of story." I think there's a lot of truth to that.

Mort Kondracke played the role of media apologist at first, saying that it was important that they go hard after Palin because of the short period of time to "vet" her. After being asked, pointedly, if the media were treating Palin the way they had treated Obama--especially as it relates to Rezko, Ayers, Wright, etc.--Kondracke admitted that it was not equal treatment.

Gary Bauer's comments were on point and in touch with the religious wing of the Republican party
. He pointed out the hypocrisy of the left in criticizing Palin for her daughter becoming a pregnant--something they usually treat as a non-issue. He noted the many christian-crisis centers across the centers designed to help young women in a similar situation. As he said, social conservatives embrace and aid those who make mistakes and need help.

UPDATE: 6:52pm CDT
: ABC News and Politico separately reported that 'while the hurricane raged, Republicans partied.' This is an unfair and untrue characterization. It's true, the previously planned parties were still held, for the most part. But the partisan celebrations have been replaced by American fundraisers for those in the path of Hurricane Gustav. This has been my experience and after interviewing a number of delegates, it seems to be everyone's experience.

- Seated next to me in the Press Filing Center are a couple of leftist new media types. They are so smug and self satisfied. In hushed tones that aren't so hushed (you know, so everyone around them can hear but they "maintain decorum."), they talk about how things seem "dead" or "like an undertakers conference, " (har, har, har). Compare that take with the critique above, that holds that Republicans are partying too hard in light of the hurricane.

If you're a conservative in this country, you cannot win.

UPDATE: 5:19pm CDT
: In early 2007, Jonah Goldberg participated in a debate at the Oxford Union about the following topic: "This House regrets the founding of The United States of America." It was a ridiculous proposition and fortunately, cooler heads prevailed. Today, I spoke with Goldberg about that debate, telling him that it was a source of some pride for us Americans who spent time in Oxbridge circles and frequently encountered just the sort of anti-American spirit reflected by that debate topic.

He was, like his colleagues, gracious, and said that were it not for the extreme left of the opposition, they might have lost, owing to the fact that the crowd was decidedly anti-American. Irony of ironies, the Communist was a no show. As Goldberg said, "this is a guy who has spent his life defending lost causes (Stalin, among others) you'd have thought he show up to the debate."

(audio here)

First, links to my latest NewsBusters posts:
How to Cover Pregnancy Controversies, MSM-Style
Hot Air TV: 'Instant Classic'
Another Fake 'Lifelong Republican' Exposed
Celebs for McCain: Yes, Virginia, There Are a Few
Pollster.com Finds 'House Effects,' Not Bias, to Blame for Volatile Polls
- Yesterday was a long day that seemed longer because of a late arrival the night before. Official RNC stuff was limited with the First Lady & Cindy McCain making a brief appearance and appealing for support of the Gulf Coast states--specifically Louisiana--as they deal with Gustav and the latest round of hurricanes.

- Interesting note: the 5 gulf coast state governor are all Republicans. And anyone who followed Katrina can't help but notice the stark contrast between the leadership provided by Bobby Jindal and his predecessor, the spectacularly incompetent Kathleen Blanco. Why didn't Kanye accuse Blanco of hating black people?

- At the National Review reception I spoke with Byron York, Rich Lowry, & Kathryn Jean Lopez. I didn't quite have time to talk to Jonah Goldberg or Mickey Kaus. To the man (and woman) they were all gracious and took the time to chat about politics and education. Special thanks to Ms. Lopez for the invitation. I am only sorry that my first NR party came after Bill Buckley's passing. I would like to have made his acquaintance.
(click the name for a link to their latest stuff)

- At the Lifetime women's party, I tried to get myself cast as the villainous male in the next Lifetime feature film. No dice.

- This morning I attended a blogger brunch hosted by RedState and Google. Fred Thompson was the featured speaker and like Michael Steele yesterday, he railed on the media coverage of this campaign in general, and the shameful Bristol Palin attacks in particular. Fred's a good one.

One interesting point about the co-hosting by RedState and Google: Google is notoriously liberal--they endorse the sort of web-censorship conservatives hate because it is always conservative stuff that gets lifted. So, for months leading up to the convention, no one wanted to partner with Google. This was money for the taking--to put on a party for conservatives, but no one wanted their money.

Just two weeks ahead of the convention, RedState decided they wanted to do a blogger brunch and reached out to the RNC. The RNC mentioned Google. Initially RedState said no, but after speaking with Google, concluded their (Google's) intentions to become more neutral, were honest. So there we were this morning and there we will be tomorrow. Hopefully Google follows through on stopping their censorship of conservatives.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.