Archive for the ‘ GOP ’ Category

CPAC News: Q/A with Houston Blogger Melissa Clouthier

I talked to top conservative Houston-based blogger and tweeter, Melissa Clouthier, from the Conservative Political Action Committee convention in Washington, DC. Melissa was a featured CPAC panelist for a breakout session titled “The Power of New Media to Change Things.”

WHAT’S DIFFERENT AT CPAC THIS YEAR FROM LAST YEAR?

The sheer numbers of young people here. There are 10,000 people at CPAC. Probably half of them are under age 25. So there’s a LOT of young people, and a lot of energy. And there’s more hope. Last year, I think everyone felt a little kicked in the gut.

WHAT WAS THE BEST MOMENT DURING DAY ONE (THURSDAY, 2/18)?

Bar none, it was the surprise of having Dick Cheney speak. The crowd went nuts. He was funny, snarky, and very loved by the crowd because he’s unapologetically conservative. And he’s a great speaker with a lot of presence. He’s been a successful politican for a reason.

Second only to Cheney, was the surprise of Scott Brown introducing Mitt Romney. Brown also brought down the house.

DO YOU SENSE THE GOP FEELS A POWER SHIFT TO GRASSROOTS MOVEMENTS?

There’s probably still a strain of denial among some. But I do think there are some others who are really excited to have this energy coming up from the bottom. They know people are paying way more attention to the issues. Thats’ a challenge to the GOP because everyone’s watching and determining whether they’re on the “right” side of an issue or on the “wrong” side of an issue.

WHAT’S NEXT AT CPAC THAT YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT?

I’m interested more in the break-out sessions. The next important thing – and my question – is what are we going to do policy-wise to make a difference? There are some good topics and ideas being put forth in these sessions; for example,the California model of governance (what NOT to do, of course), and there’s a session on ideas for community development in urban centers that interests me.

WHAT ARE TOP CONSERVATIVE BLOGGERS TALKING ABOUT WITH EACH OTHER?

We had a “Blogger Bash”  dinner last night and you know, we’re just enjoying each others’  company. Bloggers are not the most loved people by some. So it’s been great to be able to be positive for each other. That doesn’t happen often. Most bloggers are self-employed and probably not making money. So it’s fun to be together. We’re less political with each other than you’d imagine and just having a good time.

WHAT DO YOU HOPE WILL COME OUT OF CPAC FOR 2010?

I’m hoping that the people who attend will feel more solidarity with like-minded people. Conservatives in particular, over the last 8-10 years, have felt like America has changed so much that maybe the “majority” really does want a more european style model of government. President George W. Bush’s domestic agenda – although I personally like him – but his agenda was more of a big government model. Now it’s encouraging to see there’s a lot of people who want something different, who are focused on less government and lower taxes. But let’s not forget how much Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, et al, have done for us as well. So it’s one thing to be negatively motivated but another thing to be positively engaged.

HOW ABOUT FOR TEXAS SPECIFICALLY?

For one thing, I’ve been asked here a million times, “What’s going on down there with that Debra Medina?” But the point to that is, people are really interested in what’s going on in Texas, because they know our state is doing really well. Conservatives are impressed. They want what we have in their states. Of course, there are people suffering in Texas from unemployment, mortgage foreclosures, etc., but when you start comparing the stories I’m hearing from around the country, we’re in relatively good shape. It’s such a different environment in Texas and people want it. That’s a big thing. So Texas is like the rock star right now in the conservative movement. Going forward this year, we need to preserve what’s been done right, and make it even stronger.

Learn more about Dr. Melissa Clouthier at www.melissaclouthier.com

Follow Melissa on Twitter: @MelissaTweets

This interview is also published online at: http://www.austincapitaltimes.com

Follow The Austin Capital Times on Twitter: @atxcaptimes


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A Super Sunday for Perry-Palin 2010

Faces of the New Right

16-year old Jonathan Keener and mom, Gwen, wait to see Sarah Palin and Gov. Rick Perry

Super Sunday Rally, Berry Center, Houston, TX, 2-7-10

Perry-Palin supporters on line in Houston

There was one pre-game show on Super Sunday that didn’t take place on a football field in Florida. It happened in Texas, where thousands of political fans of the re-energized right streamed into the 10,000 seat Berry Center to see and hear two of their political heroes; Governor Rick Perry of Texas, and the ubiquitous former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.

“We’re here to get a fresh feel for their platforms,” said Alex Cestero while waiting in line with his wife, Erin. “This is our first event like this. We haven’t been involved with the Tea Parties or anything. But it’s a critical year for conservatives on every level – state and national – so here we are.”

Nicole Ho and Steven Teoh, both from the Willowbrook area of Houston, said they are registered voters who came out to support Governor Perry.

“We want to know what Perry has to say about the future of Texas. We haven’t made up our minds yet about Sarah Palin.”

Others were already fans of Palin.

“I love Sarah Palin,” said 17-year old Lauren, also from Houston. “She’s very cool and stands for everything I agree with.”

Sixteen year old Jonathan Keener, an African-American homeschooled student, liked Palin’s principles and hoped to get her autograph on his copy of her book. But he said he supports Governor Perry as well. Keener likes the governor’s fiscal policies, position on immigration, and anti-Washington attitude. Adds Jonathan’s mother, Gwen, “We don’t vote color. We vote principles.”

Perry-Palin Super Sunday Rally, Houston, TX, 2-7-10

Aggies William Lucas, Michael Kinzer, Travis Campbell rally for Perry-Palin

Giving an Aggie “whoop” for Perry, Texas A&M students Michael Kinzer, Travis Campbell, and William Lucas said they support Perry as an Aggie and as a conservative. They like Palin, too (“hottest grandma ever”), and see both Perry and Palin as “refreshing new faces for modern conservatism.” Michael Kinzer said they came out to the Super Sunday rally to see a “rededication of Texas politics to conservative values.”

Young and old, black and white, hispanic and asian, aggies and longhorns, they came, ready for a good time but seriously sincere in their determination to make the right side of Texas seen and heard.

Needless to say, the event was what it was intended to be – a red, white and blue “booh-ya” from supporters and from Sarah Palin for Texas A&M cheerleader-turned-Governor Rick Perry – delivered in full patriotic pep rally fashion. Following the solemn presentation of colors (eagle scouts), pledge of allegiance (hispanic state supreme court justice), and opening prayer (black pastor), rally-goers whooped and hollered and stomped their feet in true Texas football season style in anticipation of welcoming their governor and his famous friend from Alaska. But first, legendary (old) rocker Ted Nugent warmed up the crowd with a souped-up Star Bangled Banner guitar solo after announcing his unique affection for Governor Perry and all things Texas.

Star Spangled Banner solo at Super Sunday rally

Ted Nugent rocks the Star Spangled Banner

“I wasn’t born in Texas but I got here as soon as I could,” hollered Nugent – wearing a plaid flannel hunter’s shirt topped by a battered cowboy hat and bringing a cheering crowd on its feet. “I was in a deer stand hunting this morning and I don’t come out of a deer stand for nobody. But I came today for Governor Rick Perry. I’m here because I believe the governor is steering the Good Ship Texas toward the Promised Land.”

Other patriotic warm-ups  included state senator Dan Patrick as emcee, and a country tribute to soldiers in Iraq. All were received with enthusiastic cheers.

State senator Dan Patrick and Eagle Scouts

State senator Dan Patrick emcees

But the crowd didn’t reach its full potential until Perry and Palin were announced and in the house. It certainly sounded like a Super Sunday for the powerhouse political pair. The crowd’s reception rivaled the fan fury for any winning sports team. And neither governor disappointed. Perry was absolutely in his element and, with the republican primary a few weeks away  and early voting just days away, he hit all the right conservative Texas notes on education (student accountability), a balanced budget (curb taxes and government spending), and abortion (unapologetically pro-life). Then the governor wasted no time in taking dead aim at DC.

“The answer (to every problem in this country) is less Washington and more Texas,” boasted Perry, adding, “America would be better off if Washington did things the Texas way. The Sarah Palin way would be pretty good, too.”

Obviously enjoying himself, the governor playfully diss’d the mainstream media as he introduced his former gubernatorial colleague amidst hoots and hollers.

“If Keith Olbermann were here for the rousing welcome you’re about to give Sarah Palin, his head would explode.”

Instead, the crowd exploded with their appreciation for the shot at a favorite MSNBC target, as much as for the governor’s guest from Alaska. Palin, who was not paid to speak at the event, responded to the enthusiastic welcome with a characteristically cheeky labeling of Texas as Alaska’s “little sister state,” and then connected the conservative dots between the two big states.

“Alaskans & Texans want the same things. We will proudly cling to our guns and our religion.”

Palin kept the crowd mostly on its feet throughout her 12-minute stump for Perry, fulfilling that responsibility by citing the Lone Star state’s continued prosperity and prescribing a Texas cure for what ails Washington, and the nation.

“Governor Rick Perry is a common sense conservative leading the way for Washington, which is broken.”

Perry responded by making Palin an honorary Texan onstage. No surprise there. Now the question is whether a Perry-Palin ticket in 2012 would come as any real surprise. Or would that be a Palin-Perry ticket? Either way, the two politicians certainly sounded presidential in spots and took every opportunity to up their game to the national level for the Berry Center crowd. After seeing and hearing the two guvs together today, I think the real fun will be in seeing which one would get top billing if such a ticket were to emerge.

When asked about a Perry-Palin/Palin-Perry ticket in 2012, Super Sunday rally goers were enthusiastic at the prospect but divided about which candidate would make a more viable presidential nominee. Everyone acknowledged that both seem favored by the Tea Party movement and thought that could have some influence on potential GOP nominations.

Rural TX Tea Party sign alongside highway

Grassroots Tea Party in rural Texas

But that’s another blog for another day. For now, on Super Sunday 2010, Perry and Palin put on a crowd pleasing pre-game show. Their fans will just have to stay tuned to see whether they’ll team up for the Super Bowl of politics in 2012.

Read more Super Sunday rally quotes at: http://nakedquotes.wordpress.com

See more rally event photos at: http://bit.ly/agRKEa

and at:

http://bit.ly/cVTx73

@FreemanTweets