Behind The Scenes At RightOnline 2011

I had a great time at last weekend’s RightOnline conference in Minneapolis Minnesota, purposely held on the same weekend as the Daily Kos  nutroots conference. As with all conservative conferences I go to, it was a fun-filled, action-packed weekend that left little time for actual blogging.

Since I forgot to bring a good camera, I didn’t take too many pix because all I had was my iphone.  Obviously, my pictures are not going to be as impressive as John Hawkins’  in his picture dump.

I arrived at my hotel, about seven blocks away from the Hilton where RightOnline was being held at around 9:00, Thursday night. First thing I saw was a Tweet from blog buddy and CPAC pal, Cheryl Prater of AppleCross Media about being at Hell’s Kitchen with Breitbart and Tony Katz and others, so I thought woo-hoo, I’m going! Then I found out that she was only retweeting someone else’s tweet. She wasn’t at Hell’s Kitchen at all. She was back in Atlanta punking me!  I didn’t go, it was getting late. But I was up bright and early enough to get a spot in the smallish bloggers lounge, Friday morning.

Looking back, I don’t think I made the most of my time, Friday morning….I didn’t go to any of the breakout sessions,  did little if any blogging, and spent most of my time chatting with John Sexton from Verum Serum. Where did the time go? We did go to Andrew Breitbart’s book signing where we were first in line to have him sign our copies of Righteous Indignation. Only I didn’t have my copy of Righteous Indignation with me, so I had him sign the little card we all got when we were waiting in line. I think we were supposed to write what we wanted him to say on the cards, but John and I thought that was kinda dorky, and didn’t do it.

Just for sh*ts and giggles, Breitbart later moseyed over to the Nutroots conference to parlay with some Kos Kiddies. By all accounts, it did not go smoothly.

For lunch, a bunch of us went to Hell’s Kitchen and had some surprisingly good chow. Tabitha Hale showed us her nifty iphone business card scanner. iwant one!

Ann McIlhenny of “Not Evil Just Wrong”, gave a wonderfully impassioned speech in the afternoon, but unfortunately I can’t find a video of it anywhere online.

A brief synopsis is provided by The Intellectual Conservative:

She began her speech, “I am a recovering European.” She pointed out the immense hypocrisies of the left, such as accusing conservatives of invading people’s privacy in the bedroom, while they invade our privacy in every room in our house, from our bathrooms to our lightbulbs. She had some choice words for feminists, including, “The pill didn’t liberate women, the washing machine liberated women.” She went off on how women are worse off in Africa because a few feminists at Harvard would rather make sure they have the pill instead of washing machines.

Also memorable and inspiring was Melissa Clouthier ( @melissatweets ) who took us through her humble online beginnings to her current success as a prolific and effective media maven. You can watch her speech at The Right Scoop.

I went to the Global Warming Extreme Power Abuse panel with Ann McElhinney and Chris Horner in the afternoon.

Extreme Power Abuse from AFPhq on Vimeo.

At some point, Friday afternoon, I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle Malkin for the first time. She is even more petite in person than you could ever imagine, and was just as sweet as she could be.

There was a  reception after Friday’s sessions on the third floor foyer.  The one free drink coupons they gave us ensured near 100% blogger attendance.



Warner Todd Huston, Publius Forum, John Sexton, Verum Serum, Michael Bates, Batesline.

SE Cupp and Jenny Erickson.

Tabatha Hale on left.

John Hawkins on left, Molly Teichman, Political Mommentator on right.

At the banquet with Political Mommentator, Molly Teichman.

After the premiere of The Undefeated, we headed for a place called Brits. It was well past midnight when John Sexton of Verum Serum  and ExUrban Jon, now of The GoldWater Institute decided to play some pool:


Saturday’s events began with a general session of speeches held in the main ballroom. Michelle Malkin, John Fund, Ed Morissey, Michele Bachmann, Erick Erickson, SE Cupp, Guy Benson and others all gave great speeches, many of which you can view on the RightOnline website.

A few of us went out for a quick bite, and were back to to the conference in time for the book signings. I was supposed to take a picture of John from Verum Serum with Michelle Malkin, but his camera would. not. cooperate. for me! How complicated is just pushing a button, for crying out loud? Yet I couldn’t get it to work. How awkward! John was able to get a pic of me with Michelle, (pic soon to come).

I then caught the tail end of Stephen Kruiser and Tony Katz’s  panel on using humor effectively online, which was….of course, very enjoyable.

After Tim Pawlenty’s  speech, (which you can view, here) I went to the Detecting and Countering Left-wing Media Bias session with Dan Gainor of MRC  which was very instructive, but I feel like I could almost have led the discussion myself.

The final speeches in the main ballroom were given  by VA ATT General Ken Cuccinelli, Congressman Thaddeus McCotter, and Herman Cain, which can all be viewed at the RightOnline website. Herman Cain gave a press conference after his speech to clear up some misconceptions about his policy positions, which I videotaped with my cell phone camera. He briefly raised his voice at a TPM reporter who pressed him on a question he thought he had already answered, but immediately apologized.

And that concluded the conference.

I stayed clear of the Netroots Nation folks who were staying at the same hotel, but you could usually spot them by their sour expressions, backpacks, and rumpled appearances.

John Hawkins wanted to get a pic of me at RightOnline, and paired me up with PJTV’s Tony Katz (no, he was not interviewing me):

The rest of the night is a blur. Let’s see…dinner in the lounge, (I noticed Stephen Kruiser barely touched his wild rice soup, what a pickybutt!) then there was the frustratingly slow hotel lounge internet connection which made uploading my Herman Cain video damn near impossible.. Gateway Pundit ended up getting a video up Saturday night. I had to wait until the next morning.

Everyone met at a large bar down the street, and we called it a night relatively early. (1:00 am-ish). Somehow, I managed to not get a pic of the notoriously shy and introverted RS McCain, but he has one of me with Herman Cain, here.

A list of other blog posts about RightOnline, here.

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