If there is a difference between Netroots Nation and RightOnline, besides political leanings, it’s that the enthusiasm amongst the bloggers and activists present was high. Fresh off the Wisconsin Recall win, the feeling of victory in November was palpable. The kick-off morning session at RightOnline last Saturday in Las Vegas started with Luke Hilgemann, state director for AFP’s Wisconsin Chapter, who reiterated the facts about Walker’s reforms. Reforms that reduced property taxes in the state for the first time in twelve years. In fact, the average Wisconsinite saved $700 on their property taxes thanks to Governor Walker. Furthermore, the governor took a $3.6 billion dollar deficit and turned that into a $154 million dollar surplus without raising taxes, laying off workers, or disrupting the delivery of key state services.
Instead of labeling and smearing Walker’s agenda, like the political left has done, AFP and other organizations disseminated the accomplishments of the reforms. Showing the positive changes towards the state’s economy, which saw the creation 33,000 new jobs and the unemployment rate dropping to 6.7%. The state is seeing a return of its economic vigor thanks to Walker’s conservative reforms that has returned Wisconsin on a track to fiscal sanity. News that was warmly greeted by the audience.
Guy Benson, political commentator and News Editor at Townhall, gave an astute (and at times comical) history of the various failures the left and Wisconsin Democrats experienced in their efforts to derail the Walker agenda. It started with Senate Democrats fleeing the state for avoid a quorum, therefore, blocking the bill. It was passed after Senate Republicans removed the expenditure language, therefore, bypassing the quorum. The Left tried to oust Justice David Prosser of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, who is seen as part of the conservative bloc on the seven member court, but failed. Then they decided to recall six Senate Republicans in August of 2011, which ended with Republicans keeping the majority at the end of the day. In short, it was an appropriate anecdote to describe how conservatives are winning in the political battles at the heart of this presidential election. Furthermore, it is being won in a concerted effort spearheaded by the common people. A point Benson drove home.
However, as the economy continues to stagnate, despair and frustration are easy characteristics to exude. There is no doubt that some attendees had experienced or knew a loved that has lost his or her job in the recent months. However, Hugh Hewitt, who spoke after Benson, reminded people in the audience, (namely the baby-boomers) that this isn’t the first time we’ve experienced such hopelessness. He stated how 1978, 1979, and 1980 were dismal years for America’s place on the world stage. However, Ronald Reagan came along, reversed the geopolitical mess left by the Carter administration, and re-invigorated a stagnated American economy.
Just as it was thirty-two years ago, out nation’s future is on the line. He reiterated the fact that everyone here, and those who participate in this online movement, matter a great deal. Hewitt detailed how conservatives compliment, not compete, with each other and how we must band together and promote each other to drive, or change, the narrative peddled by the progressive left. “We are each other’s best advocate” and it’s our duty to bring more “Breitbarts,” like Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Mitt Romney, and Ted Cruz into the fold and “help them get here!”
He pointed out how conservatives, at times, overestimate the threat. He described how many perceived the unions descending on Madison as an invincible army. However, Hewitt stated that the media, Occupy Wall Street, and the progressive online networks are pretty much papier-mache and stated that “boy is it raining right now and that’s a very good thing” concerning their incremental diminishing of power in our political discourse. What’s so great about the online movement and new media, Hewitt says, is that anyone can be Breitbart, Malkin, or Reynolds. From the ten year veteran blogger to the forty-eight hour one, each day is new day online. Let’s get to work!