RedState Gathering: The Saddest Convention In The World

Glenn Beck.

Glenn Beck.

It doesn’t seem to be making the same splash as the recent Western Conservative Summit, but another high-profile conservative political activist conference is underway this weekend, this time at the Grand Hyatt in downtown Denver–the 2016 RedState Gathering. You might consider the RedState conference to be an analogue to the left’s annual Netroots Nation conferences.

But this year, with the Republican Party having nominated megalomaniacal businessman Donald Trump for what increasingly appears to be one of the most disastrous presidential campaigns in any major political party’s history, RedState is by most accounts a really weird place to be right now.

We can probably start with last night’s keynote speaker, multimedia conservative pole star Glenn Beck. For reference, this is the guy who has already said “it will be a ‘gigantic mistake if this country chooses Donald Trump’ as its next president.” CBS4:

“The GOP is over,” said Beck, hours before his keynote speech that was supposed to unify conservatives at the conference… [Pols emphasis]

“He’s absolutely uncontrollable. So now that they realize, ‘Oh, crap. He won’t listen to us’ now suddenly they’re against him,” said Beck. “You made your bed. Enjoy it while it lasts.”

FOX 31’s Joe St. George:

With less than 90 days out – you might suspect there to be a lot of support for the GOP Nominee – that however was not the case on Friday.

Speakers barely mentioned Trump during their addresses and no picture of Trump was present in the summit’s lobby.

In fact on Friday, the keynote speaker was Glenn Beck who told the crowd gathered that “Trump is a liar” and that he is “wholly unqualified” to be President. [Pols emphasis]

Donald TrumpThe Denver Post’s Joey Bunch reports that even hard-right stalwart Rep. Ken Buck is in triangulation mode:

After his prepared remarks at the Red State event Friday, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck of Greeley, a member of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, was asked from the floor about his opinion of Trump.

“Yeah,” he said before a pause that drew laughter from the floor. “I don’t think I mentioned the Broncos to you.”

Among the speakers at this year’s RedState gathering, you’ve got a very large number of conservative pundits and candidates who have disparaged Trump–mostly before he won the Republican presidential nomination, of course! Like Erick Erickson, the former editor of RedState, who calls Trump “just another Fascist with an enemies list.” Or Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina, who says Trump is “everything a governor doesn’t want in a president.” Or columnist Hugh Hewitt, who compared Trump to “stage four cancer.”

For so many of these ideological thought leaders on the political right, Trump’s takeover of their party of “values”–family values, supply-side economics values, whatever–and substitution of his own amoral cult of personality for those values, is a very real and personal defeat. One’s sympathy for their plight must however be tempered with the knowledge that they did this to themselves. Years of deliberate inculcation of contempt within the Republican base for anything inconvenient to the party’s agenda, from public institutions to the “mainstream media” to reason itself, more than any other factor, is what enabled Trump’s low-information rise to power. And the “thought leaders” of the right like Glenn Beck and Hugh Hewitt led the way.

Sorry to dump on them when they’re already feeling down. But please, at long last, let’s get real.

27 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Duke Cox says:

    Oh, please…may I dump on another scoundrel who has worked diligently on the destruction of Americas' institutions and its real values? None other than the Wordmaster , himself, Frank Luntz, who now is being highly paid to be a TV "analyst".

    He is as guilty as the rest of them.

  2. BlueCat says:

    There were two letters from Trump fans in the Post today blaming the lefty media for twisting Trumps words and making big deals out of his off hand remarks.  It's so unfair, they claimed, that they're not paying the same amount of attention to all of the negative HRC stories.

    Here's the thing. Trump saying outrageous things and creating the circus that got him millions and millions in free coverage is what got him the nomination in the first place.

    Back in the early days when Bernie's rallies were often even bigger than Trump's they got no coverage because they weren't the thrilling OMG what will  this celebrity "billionaire" say and do next media feeding frenzy fests that Trump's were. He was the Ratings King, the Click King, and neither he nor his supporters were complaining about all that attention that eventually took them all the way to  the nomination. The RNC mainly kept their mouths shut for fear of offending the monster base they had created.

    Well, he's still the King. Why talk about something as boring as Clinton Foundation contributors getting State Dept. access when you can cover Trump calling for vigilante action to prevent election stealing (the only way Trump according to Trump can lose), attacking a gold star family, claiming that Obama and HRC co-founded ISIS and that ISIS honors them, thy're ISIS' MVPs, that if HRC is elected at that point there will be no way to stop her from abolishing the 2nd amendment except … ummmm.. something to do with the 2nd amendment?

    All that and more plus the freak outs from both sides of the aisle that follow. You don't get that kind of mileage out of breaking down economic policy, talking about the same old e-mails and the same old complaints against the Clintons that have been around since the '90s.

    Too bad, so sad, Trumpsters.

    The very same thing that got you where you wanted to go is coming back to bite you. You loved your exciting, uncensored, celebrity candidate who speaks his mind with no "PC" filter. You loved his rock concert/near riot vibe rallies. A great big chunk of you loved the unleashing from 'PC" bonds of all that racism, bigotry, xenophobia and misogyny.  And you loved seeing it all every day on your TV and all your other screens.

    Now you want the media to politely look away every time he makes an "off hand" outrageous remark and focus on boring old HRC instead?

    Good luck with that.

    • Chickenheed says:

      Well said!

    • Bokonon says:

      Assuming that those letter writers are real people and not just paid trolls (there is such a thing), these people are just working the referees the same way that they always do … in every GOP political campaign.  This is exactly the tactic that creates pressure for the press to downplay negative coverage, create false equivalencies and push "both sides do it" story lines.  The reporters and editors do this out of fear that more people will pile on and criticize them (and gain the attention of the billionaire or massive media corporations that own their employers).  

      But for all the reasons you are mentioning … this playbook just won't work as long as Trump is out there making his controversies and bad behavior headline news on a daily basis.

      But the GOP is going to keep doing it, because it is the only playbook they've got.  

      If you can't win the media cycle or tilt the coverage, this tactic still maintains the right-wing media bubble that objective coverage is actually biased coverage … which will keep some of the GOP faithful from getting demoralized.  

      So you can expect this to intensify if things continue to get worse. 

      • BlueCat says:

        The GOP is pretty much stuck with this circus now and it's their own fault. Blaming the lefty media is pretty much all they've got. It works better when it's just one pol at a time saying the occasional ridiculous thing that most aren't paying much attention to. It's much harder when it's not just some wacky congress person or a single gaffe but your celebrity presidential candidate and center of all attention saying these things, one after another on a daily basis and standing by them for days on end, then suddenly pretty much saying… can't the media take a joke?

        His base may buy into it but polls show most beyond that base aren't. If they were the approval rating of Trump's idea of ISIS' MVP wouldn't getting higher every day and HRC wouldn't be beating him in the polls (Trump used to love the polls. Now not so much) in battleground states.

        The GOP can either disown him or keep trying to blame the lefty media. Seems like they've made their choice.

  3. Davie says:

    They should just call this gathering Comicon-GOP.  Where fantasy and magical thinking rule their self-defined alternate universe, and reality is permanently banished.

  4. Diogenesdemar says:

    Ummmmm . . . 


    . . . aren't these the same Olympian-caliber knuckleheads that have been giddily backstroking through the sewers every day of at least the past twenty plus years???


    Here ya’ go boys, this dump’s Drumpf’s for you !!! . . .

  5. Chickenheed says:

    If Glenn "Shock Jock Asshat of the Tea Party" Beck was in the same position as Trump, would he really be any different than Trump?

    And where does he get off saying “You made your bed. Enjoy it while it lasts.” He helped create today's GOP!

  6. JohnInDenver says:

    I know not to expect "oneness" in any political party, but a keynote address saying

    Speakers barely mentioned Trump during their addresses and no picture of Trump was present in the summit’s lobby.

    In fact on Friday, the keynote speaker was Glenn Beck who told the crowd gathered that “Trump is a liar” and that he is “wholly unqualified” to be President. [Pols emphasis]

    I'm getting the impression that the Republican Party will need to do some deep discussion after this election cycle. If 2012 brought an autopsy, 2016 will need an anthropology expedition to find the parts, clarify relationships and piece together the structure – and even then, it will only be a skeleton fit for a museum.

  7. notaskinnycook says:

    Is there any way the Repubs can cut some of the loonier ones loose? Dems don't toss people out of their party, but Republicans do it all the time. If they pushed out the religionists and the radical anti-tax types, they might start to resemble the party we grew up seeing. 

    • Davie says:

      But they would be 1/3 their current size. The deal with the devil they made 35 years ago is coming due.

    • Bokonon says:

      Yeah, but … the religious right and the anti-tax people are exactly where the numbers, the money, and the organizing muscle are all currently located in the GOP. They control the state and local party systems, and increasingly control the national party systems as well.  These groups have very pointedly pushed out everyone else and told them to shut up and vote with the program.  By and large, the establishment types have done that.  The biggest struggles are between these blocks – i.e., the current schisms between the Koch Brothers groups and Trump's people).  Not between them and anyone else. 

      You can't toss those people out.   They own the joint!  Instead, they get to toss other people out … and have the bouncers beat them up out back.

      • Duke Cox says:

        You may be right about that.

        I don't see anyone stepping up that can get the Trumpians back in the fold. The establishment wing ( Wall St., The Banks, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, etc.) will have to re-organize, not the hateful band of racist, right wing, ruffians that now run the party. 

        The Republican Party is now faced with a challenge amounting to something as impossible as putting toothpaste back in the tube with a catchers' mitt on each hand.. It ain't happenin', baby…  

      • BlueCat says:

        Yep. They may not be able to win the WH with them but they can't do it without them either. If (at this point pretty safe to say when) the Donald loses that will be three presidential elections in a row, probably also losing the Senate after holding it for 15 minutes and losing their majority on the Supreme Court for at least a couple of decades. 

        If they were a team they'd be firing the coach, trading away most of the players, embarking on rebuilding and accepting losing for a while to have a better shot in the future.

      • Republican 36 says:

        Bokonon, your description of the present make-up of the Republican Party is correct. The right-wing radicals "own the joint" and deviation from their agenda or ideology is not tolerated.To make it even worse much of the GOP base believes they are right because god told them they are. Once someone believes that, they can't change course. The voters in Colorado and across the country need to terminate the Republican Party at the ballot box and be done with it. It no longer serves any purpose.

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