Now before you say anything, I know this is a little out of character for me. But I plead the Fifth! Steve Green, the Vodkapundit, put a fifth of scotch into me and there is a deadline to fill so here we are, my friends.
Hanging around with Steve Green is an amazing experience. He has the constitution of a yak. Steve Green cannot die until the EPA can find a safe place to bury his liver. They dip surgical instruments in his blood to sterilize them.
I met Steve and Scott Ott back in CPAC 2009. This would have been a month after that communist swine Obama was elected. Yeah, you heard me. CPAC in 2009 was like a funeral viewing, only not so cheerful or peppy.
Today was very different. People are smiling. It rained in California again. The drought is over. Hooray!
That said, while the mood is better, it seems to me that there is nothing like the crackle and energy of that first CPAC of mine. I’d been an admirer of Steve’s work at Vodkapundit, as well as Scott Ott’s satire at Scrappleface. They were fans of my essays at Eject! Eject! Eject! Of course, we were not the glamorous, magnificently paid internationally known celebrities we are today. Just simple bloggers pounding away on the internet because we felt, in those post 9/11 years when we all started, that we had to do something for America... even if it was only blogging, for God’s sake.
Steve, Scott and I met for the first time in the lobby of the hotel. We went across the street to a very cold booth, had breakfast, and a half-hour later we had the idea for Trifecta, which became Right Angle. We have done something like five thousand episodes since then.
One evening in CPAC 2009, I got a call from a loose acquaintance of mine named Andrew Breitbart. He asked me if I wanted to go to dinner with Ann Coulter. I said “boy howdy!”
We went to an expensive restaurant in DC. The night was historic, really: it was the last time in recorded history when Your’s Truly shut up for a while and listened to these two people; titans, really, which was remarkable since all of us, Steve and Scott and I especially, seemed to be just regular shmoes called to try to do something about the fate of the country we all loved, and continue to love.
Even then, going to a restaurant with Ann Coulter was a unique experience. I have been around a few famous people before, and I know what it looks like when someone is staring at a person, trying to be sure if they were famous or not. I saw that with Ann, but I also saw real anger at her and after hearing some of her personal stories I simply marveled at her physical and moral courage.
Back then, politics on the internet was new and we all felt a sense of electrical excitement in the air: we regular guys – sad, isn’t it? – were going to have to stand up and do what the immortals had done before us: get out there and defend the country in this new war of images and ideas.
It’s been almost five years since Andrew died of a heart attack. Steve and Scott and I still have the passion to do four or five shows a week for eight years without missing a single week. CPAC 2017 is filled with bright-eyed young people who are now, suddenly, not just the campus weirdos but the ones speaking for a party that has won the Presidency, the Senate, the House of Representatives, and at least one – if not two or three – Supreme Court picks. So things are better but not as exciting. Maybe we too felt the romance of being in opposition to the most powerful forces on the earth. And what was a passion remains a passion, but now it is a business as well, and we owe our livelihoods to our ability to convince people like you that while TV is free, and the internet is free, we need to get you to pay for TV on the internet. We all know that this is the future of news, but it takes a while for the dust to settle from the asteroid impact that wiped out the Mainstream Media dinosaurs.
What has not changed, however, is the most important thing of all. To actually meet our audience; to hear people tell you that you have helped to change their lives… that has the same, undiluted effect today as it did when we started the game in earnest in 2009. You people are so kind, so sensible and so fundamentally honorable that it has forced all three of us to become better people in order to rise to your standards. You have, through the rigors of a fire assay, forced us as individuals and as a movement to find the gold within ourselves and to present that gleam in the service of the idea of what America is, and for that we are genuinely and eternally grateful.