This year for the first time, Americans for Prosperity held its Right Online conference at the same time as its Defending the American Dream Summit. When AFP offered to fly me out for Right Online which was being held at the Universal Studios Resort in Orlando, I was thrilled to have the opportunity.
I arrived early on Thursday and that night, I went out to dinner with my brother and his wife, who were in town.
Later, I hooked up with some bloggers at a restaurant outside the universal park.
It was a short, simple speech, but it was so on point with what the Republican Party needs.
The first 7 seconds are crucial in every interaction. If you don't connect w/ people then, they tune you out. — Arthur Brooks #ro13
— John Hawkins (@johnhawkinsrwn) August 30, 2013
Do you prefer someone who "fights for people" or who "fights against things?" The GOP has the wrong 7 sec message. Arthur Brooks #ro13
— John Hawkins (@johnhawkinsrwn) August 30, 2013
In other words, Republicans must do a much better job of connecting with people and convincing them that we care right off the bat. So, so true.
The event was being held in the district of wealthy, obnoxious moonbat Alan Grayson and the word was out that he was organizing a protest. Of OUR EXISTENCE.
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) August 29, 2013
Naturally, I had to go. So, a half dozen of us headed out. Sadly, Alan Grayson didn’t show up at the Alan Grayson protest, which was only about 20 strong.
While I was there, I chatted a bit with Scottie Hughes. I love this pic of her and Dana Loesch, even though it ended up looking a little weird.
Afterwards, Americans for Prosperity rented out part of the amusement park for both the Right Online and Defending the American Dream Summit crowds to share. It started out with a speech from Benji Backer.
America’s 6th largest conservative talk radio host, Rusty Humphries, spoke as well.
Michelle Malkin also rocked the crowd.
I was dead tired, sweaty, and a little smelly from walking around in the Florida sun and I called it a night. However, most of the attendees hung around to ride the three rides that were set aside exclusively for us. It sounded like a lot of fun.
On the final day, I attended my favorite breakout session of the event, “Pro Analytics: Maneuvering for Success: Facilitated by Joe Montes (AFP Foundation – New Mexico) Featuring Ethan Eilon & Joe Mansour.” The session covered analytics, email, and techy tips for improving your website. If that sounds technical, it’s because it was.
This Right Online is different than the other ones I’ve attended in that there were a lot of highly technical breakout sessions. That was a bit of a mixed bag, frankly.
On the one hand, liberal conventions have been way ahead of the Right in that aspect of things. While we were doing things like, “Introduction To Blogging,” liberals were doing complex presentations on how the Obama team created graphics and advanced campaign data collection techniques. This time, Right Online worked in more of those advanced sessions. On the one hand, for those of us who’ve been around the block a bit, that was fantastic.
On the other hand, the more tightly focused and advanced the session was, the less people it connected with. Combine that with a lot of the big name speakers who were speaking at Defending the American Dream Summit, but not Right Online and some of these sessions were lightly attended.
That brings up an obvious question: What if what those of us on the Right need the most at these conventions (more technical training and expertise) isn’t what we want? Time will tell.
After the panels, I was invited to a Michelle Malkin talk about Medicare on radio row at Defending the American Dream Summit.
Afterwards, I took a few more snaps before I had to bolt to catch my plane.
Marco Rubio spoke at the Defending the American Dream Summit and he was booed. That’s rather remarkable given that the “pink slip Rubio” people told me that they had a policeman standing next to them telling them that they would be thrown out of the conference if they booed Rubio. In other words, had security not been keeping the crowd quiet, the boos would have likely been much louder.
Just to top things off, Ted Cruz was on my connecting flight from Orlando to Atlanta. I got to speak with him for a couple of minutes after we landed. There was nothing earth shattering said, but for whatever it’s worth, he came across as a really nice guy.
All in all, Right Online was a fantastic conference. I want to thank The Blaze for hosting the media lounge, Fan Freedom for handling the Friday night dinner, and most of all, I really appreciate Americans for Prosperity putting on the event. The more technical panels were a step in the right direction, the event ran like clockwork, and the location was phenomenal. It was a great event and I look forward to next year.