Fred! * 2

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This morning I attended a "Blogger Brunch" sponsored by RedState.com and Google. The guest speaker was my pick in the presidential primaries, former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee.

The event was on the 22nd floor of the Crowne Plaza, which provides breathtaking views up and down the Mississippi River and up the hills to the State Capitol and the Cathedral. It's a beautiful city, and September is just about the best time of year to be here.

On the elevator ride up, I saw political pundit and Beltway Boy Fred Barnes. Someone else in the elevator used to go to the same church as Barnes -- the historic Falls Church -- an evangelical Anglican parish that has broken away from the liberal mainline denomination. It was encouraging to hear their conversation about the new parishes being planted by the Falls Church around the Washington area. It's nice, too, to know there are committed evangelicals like Barnes with a prominent voice in the Washington commentariat.

Google provided a terrific spread. One odd thing --- an oversight by the catering staff, I'm guessing -- they had a tray with smoked salmon, capers, onions, and all the fixings one associates with lox and bagels, only there were no bagels. I guess this was the Atkins version.

There was only one face in the room familiar to me: J. P. Duffy, an ORU grad who had worked on John Sullivan's early campaigns for Congress. J. P. is the Media Director for the Family Research Council. (I met one of his colleagues, Tom McClusky, at last night's National Review party.)

I met a lot of bloggers -- from Arkansas, New Hampshire, Illinois, Indiana, Virginia, Maryland, and Minnesota, among other places -- got cards from several, and I will add links to their blogs later. I was surprised by the number of people who reacted to the name "BatesLine" as if it were familiar.

Our speaker was stuck in traffic and arrived at about 10:30. As soon as Thompson arrived he was introduced and launched into his brief speech, followed by some Q&A.

(I tried to record his speech on my Sony recorder, but at some point in the speech, the Energizer rechargeable gave out, despite having recharged it last night. I give up on Energizer. I have had too many missed moments thanks to Energizer. Duracell only from now on. Duracell has never let me down. I'm sure other bloggers will post video and audio, and I will add links later.)

In his appearance at the brunch, Thompson displayed all the strengths -- and weaknesses -- of his run for president. This was my first time to see him in person, so now I can better appreciate the observations of those who saw him on the campaign trail. I say "see him in person" because I didn't have the chance to meet him. He departed immediately after the Q&A and didn't hang around to shake hands.

The physical set-up -- obviously not under his control -- was great for being able to see and hear him, but it also created an awkward distance between Thompson and the audience. He stood in an elevated area at the center of this top-floor restaurant, while the bloggers were at tables nearer the windows and several feet below.

But of course, conservative grassroots bloggers backed Thompson for the substance of his platform, not for his outgoing personality. The same common sense, "first principles" conservatism that drove his campaign were at the heart of his remarks. That same approach to conservatism is at the heart of his newly launched political action committee.

Here are a few quotes I managed to jot down on my old fashioned notepad:

What he learned during his presidential campaign: "Never underestimate John McCain."

On the Democrats' choice of Barack Obama in light of the international situation -- he mentioned tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir and China's military buildup among other crises: "This is no time to turn the keys to the car over to a 14 year old in heavy traffic."

On McCain's choice of Sarah Palin: "She's the kind of public servant we claim we want... They're going to Washington and take it by the scruff of the neck and give it a good shaking."

On mainstream media coverage of the presidential campaign: "It has been generally poor up until now, and now it's abysmal."

On the alleged experience gap between Palin and Joe Biden: "You don't get experience by being in the Senate....[Palin] doesn't have experience making the wrong decisions about Iraq [referring to Biden's proposal to partition the country into three ethnic-religious enclaves]. She doesn't have experience being wrong about the surge."

I didn't write down a direct quote on this, but he was asked about whether he'd be open to serving in a McCain cabinet. Thompson said it would be presumptuous for him to answer that question, and there are family considerations that would have to be weighed if such an offer were to be made.

More notes from other bloggers:

Shay at Booker Rising liveblogged the speech and has more quotes and photos of the event.

PA Watercooler elaborated on Thompson's comments about Senate experience: "As a veteran of the Senate, Mr Thompson did not give rave reviews to foreign policy or domestic security exposure... saying that it was mostly about deal making and bringing back pork to the home state."

Doc's Political Parlor weighs in.

MORE: Here are video excerpts, via NewsBusters.

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Conservative political pundit Fred Barnes will be the keynote speaker at the Oklahoma Republican Party's pre-convention gala dinner, Friday, April 19, 2013. Gov. Mary Fallin and former Gov. Frank Keating will also speak, and Keating will serve as emcee... Read More

1 Comments

Born Free said:

I'm probably revealing more than my usual stupidity for asking this, but why would any conservative American want to attend a Google "bash", of any kind, but especially at a conservative political event? Google has a reputation for liberal bias, as in blacklisting (non-violent, non-threatening) conservative opinions from YouTube and their blogsearch feature. While allowing anti-semitic, pro-Islamist venom to flow forth freely.

Not to mention, they collude with the Chicom government to suppress free speech.

Just askin'.

Full disclosure: I sheepishly admit, I still use their web and image search engines.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 2, 2008 12:25 PM.

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