Defending the American Dream, or RightOnline in Austin 2008

I just returned from Austin, Texas, attending a conference put on by Americans For Prosperity partnering with Sam Adams Alliance, Heritage Foundation, Leadership Institute, and Media Research Center. Thank you to my friend Erik Telford for inviting me to this conference.

We had some great speakers. Robert Novak is a favorite person of mine. I devoured his autobiography The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington last year. He told us that he believes the Republicans will lose seats in both houses of Congress, but the presidency can be won. Also: “I like Ron Paul (cheers)…but not for President” (Thanks, Nic Hall, for reminding me of this.)

I always like listening to Tim Phillips, president of Americans For Prosperity. He told us it’s important to let the few “good guys” in government know that we stand behind them, and conferences like this are one way to do that.

Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal told us, and it is reported today in the opinion piece Their Fair Share that Americans with income above the median paid 97.1% of all income taxes. Barack Obama doesn’t think that’s enough. This reminded me that we have two classes of people in America: tax payers, and tax consumers. Regarding the death tax: “No taxation without respiration.”

Steve Lonegan of AFP in New Jersey has an inspiring life story about overcoming blindness as a young adult. The state wanted him to become a client and go to vocational training (to be a basket weaver, he said), but instead he earned an MBA degree.

Grover Norquist: “The left are not friends. The are a band of competing parasites.” Also: “Republicans who raise taxes are rat heads in Coke bottles.”

Michelle Malkin is an inspiration to me. Did you know, I believe she said, that Gen. Wesley Clark whines about the “right wing freak machine”?

Bob Barr, the Libertarian party candidate for president, spoke at a reception. One of his topics? How he introduced the articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton. This is inspiring? Although he did say “Libertarianism lies in the heart of every American.”

It’s always interesting to me to see how these speakers are different in person from when they’re on television. My friend Maggie Thurber at Thurber’s Thoughts has some more good remarks on the speakers.

A few things that I learned:

It takes a long time to drive from Wichita to Austin! And, at a time when some are urging a return to the 55 mph speed limit, I saw little observation of the current 70 mph speed limit. Even when I drove for a while at 75 mph, people passed me like I was standing still.

Why is the term changing from “global warming” to “climate change”?

Ask readers to take action on your blog. Then, after taking action — maybe making a telephone call or writing an email — have readers write a comment about it so others can learn what happened.

I learned more about media bias and how to spot it.

One speaker said that the combined circulation of small newspapers is equal to the circulation of large newspapers.

Personally, I reconnected with some blogger friends that I first met at Samsphere in Chicago earlier this year, a friend I had met at Mises University last year, plus some Facebook “friends” who I had never met in person.

I also got a glimpse at the power of Twitter combined with a mobile device like a Blackberry. I may have to get one.

I had thought I would be able to produce an abbreviated Kansas Blog Roundup on Friday, but with all the activity, I didn’t have time.

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