Celebration of American Values Leadership Forum

I will do my best here to live blog the event, which should begin shortly.  NRA puts on a good piece of political theater, which is what this forum is, pretty much.

12:17: Wayne has arrived to applause, and is walking the aisles greeting members.

12:26: Program starts with a video by Wayne LaPierre.  It’s a big about the War of 1812, and the role of militiamen.   Now we’re getting to the siege of Fort McHenry and the creation of the Star Spangled Banner.  “Without the right to keep and bear arms, our country would be a very different place today.”

12:30: Lawrence Brown sings the national anthem.

12:33: John Sigler leads the Pledge of Allegiance, and begins his speech.

12:36: Sigler introduces Wayne to a thunderous standing ovation.

12:38: Wayne asks military and police members “Anyone who carries a gun in the defense of justice” and asks the crowd to applaud.

12:39: “Everyone in this room is on the same page, when we consider what honor means to all of us.”

12:40: “Americans offers more freedom than any other place on the planet.”  Sadly, he’s right about this, and I think that’s a sad statement.

12:41: Wayne is speaking of the challenge of preserving the constitution, and passing the values onto the next generation.

12:43: “Some people work hard to give away the very freedoms that make us special.  And they do so without remorse.”

12:45: Now Wayne is bashing the media, as I sit here in the media booth.  That’s kind of funny, if you ask me.

12:48: Wayne speaks of the internationalist gun control movement.  “All is not lost.  The American People get it.”

12:50: “A disarmed people will not remain a free people.”

12:51: “If it weren’t for America, there would be no freedom in the world.  If it weren’t for the Second Amendment, there would be no America.  And if it weren’t for the Members of the National Rifle Association, there would be no Second Amendment.”

12:50: Chris Cox is up.  He gets polite applause.

12:51: Jokes about having to follow Wayne every year.

12:52: He’s going down the list of legislation we’ve been facing.

12:53: “HR 45 is DOA.”  “We got the Defense Department to change it’s policies on the brass.”

12:54: “Obama deserves credit where credit is due, for the only part of the economy that’s going strong — Gun sales.”

12:55: Chris Cox introduces Governor Jan Brewer, who welcomes us all to Arizona.

12:55: “We’re so excited that you’re here.”   Their economy is hurting, so that’s probably pretty correct.

12:56: Governor Brewer gives a shout out to Sandy Froman, Todd Rathner, and Landis Aden.

12:56: “It happens to be the ARPA’s 100th anniversary.”

12:57: She reads Arizona’s RKBA’s provision, they stole it from Pennsylvania, but changed “questioned” to “impaired”   I guess here you can question it, but you better not impair it, or Governor Brewer will shoot you with a coach gun.

12:58: The Governor congratulates the newly elected NRA board members.  Arizona has six board members from Arizona.

12:59: “Now is not the time to rest on our laurels.”

01:00: “I’m not having any of that.” in reference to restricting our right to deal with Mexico’s problems.  “We should not cloud the issue or border security.  New gun laws are not the answer to the problem of increasing violence in Mexico.   Secure the border, and leave the freedoms of the United States Citizens alone!”

01:01: “Go out and see our beautiful state, and go out and spend lots of money!”  I guess they really do need it.

01:02: It’s time for video messages.  Dan Boren had to phone it in this time it seems.  Boren is probably the most pro-gun Democrat in the House.

01:03: “I vow to you that all the members of Congress that support the Second Amendment is not eroded by the political problems here in Washington.”

01:04: Chris introduces Michael Steele and actually gets a sanding ovation.  I guess they don’t know he’s not all that pro-gun.   I certainly didn’t expect that.

01:05: “I’ve learned in this job, you can’t please everyone, but you can tick them off all at the same time, and as the only Catholic African-American chair of the GOP, I’ve managed to tick off just about everyone.”

01:06: Says his job is to build a coalition to stop the excesses and the Democrats and Obama.

01:07: Steele also credits Obama with the surge in gun sales.

01:10: Steele is actually giving a pretty good speech, joking with the crowd and being engaging.

01:12: Michael Steele is getting all SNBI on us, suggesting that the Second Amendment means “Shall not be infringed” and that it’s pretty clear to him.

01:13: Steele takes a low shot at Pelosi that the crowd loves, on the issue of her being briefed on torture.

01:15: Steele is bringing up the Mexican gun canard, and asks whether anyone here thinks that makes any sense, “To restrict guns in America, in order to prevent crime in Mexico.”

01:17: I have to admit, I was skeptical about Steele being here, but he’s giving a really great speech.

01:18: Steele is speaking of the importance of the Supreme Court appointments “Instead of Justice Roberts, it sounds like he wants to put Dr. Phil on the Supreme Court.”

01:20: Steele says he doesn’t want a justice who will empathize with the people, but one who empathizes with the Constitution.  Here here.

01:22: “The last thing we need on The Court is a justice with an ideological agenda.”

01:26: Steele is done, and the crowd erupts in thunderous applause.   Make that a standing ovation.  He deserves it.  It was a good speech.  I was skeptical.  I even argued with ILA over the choice privately, someone there told me “He’ll get it right.  Trust me on this.”   I will admit, I was wrong :)

01:27: Saxby Chamblis is up, but he’s phoning it in.

01:29: Chris Cox is introducing John McCain.

01:30: John McCain gets pretty good applause, but not as good as Steele.  McCain is happy that the biggest dinner in the State of Arizona will be served at our banquet.

01:31: McCain thanks the NRA for their endorsement.

01:32: McCain thanks his individual supporters who pull out all the stops against the odds.

01:33: “Gun ownership is one of those liberties that deserve a passionate defense.”

01:34: McCain is praising the Heller decision.  Says he was proud to sign the amicus brief on behalf of Heller.

01:35: “As a realist, you know and I know that a 5-4 decision isn’t going to prevent the other side from looking for more restrictions.”

01:36: He keeps stressing that it was a 5-4 decision, and that we need to remain vigilant.

01:39: McCain is bringing up a new AWB. “Semi-automatic firearms are used by millions of law abiding gun owners and sportsmen.”  McCain has always understood this issue.

01:40: McCain is touting his vote on the National Park Bill, and thanks Tom Coburn.

01:41: The Mexican Gun canard again.  You’d think that NRA members were concerned about this or something.  McCain wants to assist Mexico, but does not want to use the issue as an excuse “to advance a second agenda aimed at restricting the rights of Americans.”   Debunks the 90% bullshit.

01:47: McCain wraps it up.  Crowd offers polite applause.

01:48: Chris Cox introduces Larry Potterfield, president of MidwayUSA, who sponsor this event.

01:50: Potterfield’s daughter just gave Chris Cox a giant check for 4.5 million dollars.

01:51: Potterfield is describing the NRA Round up program.  The check is the money that’s been raised through the roundup program.

01:53: Baucus is phoning it in too.   Is promising to stop a new assault weapons ban.

01:55: Chris Cox introduces Dick Heller, who gets a pretty good standing-o.

01:56: Heller is describing how DC City Government rolls when it comes to the constitution, particularly the Second Amendment.

01:57: Dick Heller talks about how long this fight took, and how long they worked preparing this case.  Advises patience among activists, saying we younger folks have a head start on the fight.

02:02: Dick Heller tells everyone to go out and recruit NRA members.  Stand up thing to say considering they didn’t initially want his case to go forward.   Now he’s saying we’re all on the same team, and have the same enemy.

02:04: “The little guy can fight city hall and win.”

02:05: Michael Reagan is up.  Man, he kind of looks like Ed Rendell.  That’s scary.

02:06: Says he was adopted, and “I thank God every day that Jimmy Carter wasn’t looking for a son.”

02:09: “If the Brady Campaign had been around when Cain killed Abel, they would have called for a fifteen day waiting period on rocks.”

02:13: “We were so lucky to have my father the President of the United States of America” which gets quite an applause.  Reagan closes with that.

02:14: Larry Potterfield introduces Ken Blackwell.

02:15: Blackwell’s speech focuses on engagement.

02:18: Blackwell asks Freedom lovers to stand up right now… but socialists to stay in their seats.  I have to sit to report this to you, which is kind of awkward :)

02:20: “Our rights are not grants form government, they are gifts from God!  Self evident truths granted to us by our creator.”

02:23: “We are now witnessing the most significant power grab in this country’s history.”

02:27: “Obama will have the opportunity to pack the federal courts.” and says we have to make our legislators aware of what we expect from Obama in terms of The Court appointment he’s about to make.

02:32: Blackwell wraps up, Chris Cox introduces Mike Ross of Arkansas, who is phoning it in.

02:36: Cong. Frank Kratovil, from the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  He’s a former prosecutor from Queen Anne County.  Lots of pro-gun people in that area of Maryland.

02:38: Now it’s Congressman Jason Altmire, who those of us in Pennsylvania know is quite pro-gun, and looks a bit like Mike Meyers.

02:40: Cox is introducing John Bolton, also known as “The Stache”

02:43: “President Obama is not a believer in American exceptionalism.”

02:46: Bolton is speaking of the hazards of international law creeping its way into American law, and the role of NGOs world wide in shaping American policy.   Left groups that have little success in the United States domestic policy often take their cause internationally and bring it back to the US in the form of a Treaty.

02:49: Just finished charing a Reuters reporter’s iPhone, which was running out, and she forgot to bring a charger.  I had one.  All I can say is she better write a good article on the forum :)

02:50: Bolton is bringing up CIFTA “This treaty is ambiguous” and “represents the camel’s nose in the tent.”  “It will be used as a precedent for domestic gun control.”

02:56: Governor Haley Barbour or Mississippi is up now.

02:57: The Governor tells a story about a guy he knew growing up that bought an M14, and someone asked him “What do you need an M14 for?” his response was “I don’t want anyone showing up on that side of the door that doesn’t have something I don’t have on this side of the door.”   How often to you hear a governor alluding to machine gun rights?

02:59: He’s talking about Katrina now, and speaks about the contrast between New Orleans confiscating people’s guns, and his orders that Missisippi would not be doing that.

03:09: Barbour is spending a lot of time talking about cap and trade.  Granted, I hate cap and trade, but this isn’t an energy policy crowd.

03:12: John Kyl phones it in?  Really?  This is your home state.  He speaking of the Great Mexican Gun Canard.

03:13: I agree.

03:15: NRA really needs to get these things down to like two hours.

03:16: Dick Morris is up now.

03:24: Again, wandering far afield on non-2a related matters.

03:30: Still going.

03:34: He’s done.

03:35: Oh boy, here comes Mitt the Shit.  Chris Cox incorrectly says “He was the first Republican Governor in a long time.”   Umm…. and Bill Weld and Jane Swift were Democrats?

03:36: I still think he made a deal with Satan.

03:37: “The Boston Chapter [of the NRA] is a little on the small side these days.”   I’m sure that’ll make Jim Wallace feel good.

03:38: Mitt says we’re here today to defend our constitution, and pass onto our children a legacy of liberty.

03:44: “The supreme voice in this country is not the government, it is the people.”

03:45: I don’t recall Romney ever being this conservative when he was Governor of Massachusetts.  But I’m sorry to admit I’d rather have him in the White House than the Big-O.

03:45: He just took a swipe at Harry Reid.   Unless we can turn the Senate around, which I don’t think we can do, for the gun issue we need to keep Harry Reid in office.  Harry Reid has been pretty pro-gun, and will keep bad bills from hitting the floor of the Senate.

03:50: Mitt is going far afield too.

03:51: Mitt just oozes.  I just don’t trust him.

03:55: Mitt keeps telling me things he thinks I want to hear.  It’s what he’s best at.

03:57: Mitt stands up loud and proud for torture.  I’m waiting for McCain to come out from the back and strangle him.

04:00: Mitt says we have a lot of work to do together, which I’m going to suspect involves helping him get elected for President in 2012.   We shall see.

4:00:  Wayne wraps it up.

17 Responses to “Celebration of American Values Leadership Forum”

  1. Mad Saint Jack says:

    I’m not on Twitter, but in response Bitter being surprised about McCain’s warm welcome: Remember an armed society is a polite society.

  2. Bitter says:

    Well, as I pointed out to someone else, people here do tend to really respect military service. I have heard from many gun owners and conservatives who despise the political positions, but respect the military service and dedication to country.

  3. Chas Clifton says:

    Michael Steele, eh. Once again it’s the “National Republican Association.”

    We blue-dog Democrat gun owners don’t get no respect. ;-) Does the NRA want to cast its lot with the minority party?

    Before you jump on my case, fellow commenters, please understand that I want to see a functioning GOP to keep the Dems honest. And if they could bring back Teddy Roosevelt instead of the Religious Right candidates, I would switch.

    (Oh, yeah, I’m an NRA life member, FWIW)

  4. Dannytheman says:

    I’m watching the streaming video on Cam and Co on the NRA web site. You and I share our questioning of Steel. But he did hit it out of the park, I think he got some votes for the Republicans.
    McCains speech only proved to me that his poor ability to speak in a major forum hurt him with many votes in the presidential run.

    Our guy Heller, did pretty good, for never speaking at such a HUGE forum.

  5. Sebastian says:

    There have been a lot of Democrats speaking here.

  6. Mad Saint Jack says:

    Blue Dogs got lots of love last year in Louisville. We are a state full of pro-gun Dems.

    Steele is doing his job thats all.

  7. FatWhiteMan says:

    Thanks for the update. I wish I could have been there this year. I will be in Charlotte next I hope.

    The Michael Steele things sounds like they just replayed last year’s and substituted Steele for McCain: “I’m pro gun, I’m pro gun. Pay no attention to my past. I’m pro gun now.”

    Thanks again for the live coverage.

  8. RAH says:

    Thanks for the comments. I thought Steele would do good. He was more conservative than Erlich in MD.

    My vet is the head of Md GOP and I recall when he was on a vet call getting calls from Erlich and Steele.

    Romney is more conservative than most people think it is just not as convincing passionate. Typical WASP attitude not to get passionate about stuff. So when he tries he is stiff.

    I noted you said he oozed and you do not trust him. I was for Romney and he would be a lot better than McCain or Obama but a lot of people had the same emotional reaction as you did so I guess despite his brilliance he is not electable.

    Without that emotional connection that Palin had in droves and Mitt and McCain does not there is no way they can win in a national race for President.

  9. Mad Saint Jack says:

    Sebastian, Do you think Blackwell will run in 2012?

  10. Sebastian says:

    I don’t know, but I like him.

  11. FatWhiteman says:


    Mitt is a gun banner. Oh, until he decided in ’07 that he wasn’t.

    I see a theme here: “Forget my past, I like guns this week, well, if you vote for me that is.”

    Are there any conservatives left that we could get to speak at these things?

  12. BillH says:

    I saw your comment that McCain has always understood the AWB issue… ok, as far as that goes. But I’d like to remind you that even you have pointed out his words and his actions sometimes, uh… well, heck, let’s just call him a politician.

    I think we should have given the Dems a three-fer, Specter, McCain, and Powell. But that’s just me I guess.

    Thanks for the report, btw.

  13. pdb says:

    Nice summary, thanks for typing it up for those of us who couldn’t make it!

  14. Desert Rat says:

    I enjoyed Ken Blackwell and Michael Reagan. Gov Brewer is a sharp looking gal, still. I left after Bolton. Great play by play!

  15. countertop says:

    We blue-dog Democrat gun owners don’t get no respect

    There have been a lot of Democrats speaking here.

    Have the Democrats been in person?? Or all by video???

    In the Dems defense, they are in power (and Republican’s aren’t) and have been in D.C. working. Of course, many – Mike Ross for one – were shooting clays in DC on Tuesday.

    Perhaps the Blue Dog Dem’s don’t need respect . . . . not when they CRUSHED the Republican’s by 20+ targets at the Annual Congressional Shootout Tuesday.

    Still, NRA shouldn’t have had Michael Steel (and the rest of the GOP hopefuls) on without giving equal (or more) time for Ds to appear in person.

  16. RAH says:

    I have read live blogging an event before and yours is the best yet. short and informative.

  17. Borepatch says:

    As a Massachusetts resident, I have to say that Mitt wasn’t a bad governor. But he’s no friend of the 2nd Amendment. He was happy to help out the idiotic AWB here.

    So, he’s not a friend of gun owners, he’s not a conservative, and he thinks we’re dumb enough to fall for his stchick.

    I agree that he’d be better than the current occupant of 1600 Penn Ave, but he’s simultaneously too smooth and not a good enough liar.


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