CLC 07: Dick Armey Live Blog

Former Representative Dick Armey addresses the Conservative Leadership Conference in the first event of the day. It’s 8:15 in the morning here, and there isn’t much of an audience for the opener. The auditorium is about one-quarter full, but people continue to stroll into the room.
8:19 PT – Armey starts off by praising Nevada as a “pretty little ol’ state. It would make a fine county back in Texas … but only western Texas.”
8:20 – “I believe in individual liberty,” and from that free-market economics flow. This is a key point, but he isn’t choosing to follow up on that theme at the moment.
8:21 – “Politics is juvenile delinquency,” focusing on short-term goals rather than long-term benefits. Armey notes that heroes always focus on policy criteria while fools and scoundrels focus on politics.
8:24 – People in public office do not naturally serve the electorate, but naturally act to serve themselves. That’s why it’s important to hit them when they get out of line.
8:25 – “I’m a natural-born nonpartisan. … I don’t like politics, and I don’t like political parties.” He wants to focus on freedom, not partisan bickering.
8:33 – He’s getting some traction on Armey’s attack on the two-party system. That’s probably due to the large number of Ron Paul supporters here at the CLC. Now, most of Armey’s criticism goes at the Democrats; “I don’t see a lot of lovers of liberty in the Democratic Party; I see a lot of big-government supporters.”
8:35 – “The Republican Party [in 1980] was about freedom.” That’s why he ran as a Republican for Congress. He asserted that for 4-5 years after the Contract with America, people had reason to be happy with the Republicans. He says that he didn’t understand how limited the support for that effort was until he and Newt Gingrich left. The Republicans got “short-sighted and delinquent”.
8:38 – Armey endorses the Republican Party, because “they’re salvageable”. Groups like this need to keep the party honest, discipline them when necessary, and keep them on the path of liberty. It’s an interesting and somewhat unexpected twist on his speech, which almost sounded like a call for splintering.
8:42 – “If you’re not willing to stand up for liberty and be a mensch, don’t come around me.” Armey tells the group that they need to protect the heroes in Congress today, and help breed more of them. He attacks those critics who claimed he “gave up” on the effort, saying that he sacrificed a million dollars in earnings every year he was in Congress. Activists need to understand that politics is a difficult arena, and it takes hard work every day. I said something almost identical yesterday on my panel.
8:47 – He finishes with a gasp-inducing moment: “I love that document [the Constitution]. I hate the Duke police department [which should have been the Durham District Attorney’s office].” It got big applause after the gasp. It was a well-received speech, and effective as well, but I wonder how many of the people here will remember his call to remain in the Republican Party, and why.

A Preview Of Friday At CLC 07

It’s been a long and terrific day getting to the Conservative Leadership Conference, but tomorrow looks even more eventful. I’ll be setting up the BlogTalkRadio exhibit booth to demonstrate the ease of the BTR experience, and I’m hoping to win some converts. I’ll also be checking in on the speakers, and they have a raft of them on the agenda. Highlights include:
8:15 am PT: Dick Armey
11:30 – John Fund on “Why Reagan Would Tell Conservatives To Be Of Good Cheer”
12:30 – Mitt Romney
That last one might prove a tough call for me. I’m scheduled to do my Week In Review show with Duane Patterson at noon PT, but I’d like to hear Romney speak. I may work some magic on the timing for tomorrow’s show, so be on the lookout for any time changes. I want people around when I do the show as well, and most here will be at the Romney event.
Tonight, I had a great dinner with Ken Marrero and his lovely wife, and Warner Todd Huston. Earlier in the evening, I met up again with Andrea Shea-King and Eric Odom, and had a chance to talk with the Sam Adams Alliance’s director Jodi Bridges, who may work with BTR on another event in the near future. John McJunkin of Avalon Podcasting recorded an interview that Jenn Sierra did of me for Fort Hard Knox.
Keep an eye on this blog for more CLC-07 blogging, and more of the usual stuff as well!

CLC First Panel: Still Defending The Blogosphere

I’ve had an interesting day of travel to Reno. My first plane had an O-ring failure in the hydraulic system, so we all had to shuffle over to another plane — and then that turned into another headache, as US Airways fretted over how to make our connecting flights. They took us off the plane and sent us back on, and then they cancelled our bookings for the connecting flight to Reno, which forced us to rebook our seats.
I did finally arrive in time for my panel assignment, which consisted primarily of defending the blogosphere model for Internet radio. One of the men on the panel, Brian Wilson of Clear Channel Communications, dismissed the notion of citizen broadcasters out of hand, saying that it takes training and experience to turn out a quality broadcast. He expanded that argument to the blogosphere, and while he said kind things about this blog (very kind, actually, and much appreciated), he said that most of the rest of what gets published on the Internet is crap. Brian said that most bloggers wouldn’t get their material through one pass at an editor on ethics alone.
With 10 million blogs, it’s quite clear that his evaluation is correct, but largely irrelevant. No one really reads the “crap” in large numbers, and most of those blogs die of neglect eventually. The blogs that get read do so for two reasons: quality commentary and good self-promotion. After four years in the blogosphere, the market forces have really rewarded the people who do both, and punished those who do neither. In the blogosphere, there may be 9.9 million worthless blogs — but that leaves 100,000 that do good work, write well, and both inform and entertain. And that’s 100,000 more voices than we had before the Internet allowed everyone their own publishing company.
There’s no reason to think that can’t happen with Internet radio, either at BlogTalkRadio or with traditional podcasting. The Internet radio quality level is about where blogs were in 2001. The chaff overwhelms the wheat, without a doubt, but that’s because the chaff just got started. When people find their voice and their focus, when they learn from their mistakes and get serious about developing themselves as talk show hosts, the content will flow.
It will not overtake broadcast talk radio by any stretch of the imagination. Terrestrial and satellite broadcasts have a mass-market delivery system that is very different from the niche model that the Internet allows. However, that doesn’t mean that hosts won’t build significant listenerships in the next couple of years, and provide a layer of support to political movements in the same way blogs do. In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Internet talk show circuit becomes a “minor league”, a pool of self-developed talent that traditional broadcasters might want to develop even further.
I trust the marketplace. I would rather let entrepeneurs apply themselves to these new opportunities and find the 1% who rise to the top through talent, hard work, and successful promotion. That’s what BlogTalkRadio allows people to do, and I’m proud to be part of the effort.
UPDATE: I thought I had a bad day of travel — and then I finally caught up with Instapundit and realized I had a breeze in comparison. Let’s hope Glenn gets home safely and quickly.