Favorite Quotes from #TXOnline

One of my favorite parts of political conferences is getting down good quotes from the speakers; the thoughts and ideas I’ll chew on for weeks afterwards.  It’s frustrating, though.  Scribbling one quote means I’ll miss the next, and I miss so much.  There were a hundred more great statements I didn’t transcribe and I’m still kicking myself for it.  So if someone doesn’t appear on the list, it’s because I suck, not because they didn’t say anything noteworthy or profound.  It’s probably time I learned shorthand.

That said, I submit for your perusal a collection of my favorite quotes from the TXOnline conference this weekend.   Any one of these quotes could inspire its own blog post, but I promise not to do that to you.  Instead, I’ll let you pick your favorite, and which ones you completely disagree with.


Guy Benson, on the importance of checking sources:  ‘Being credible takes hard work.’

Charles Cooke, on the cult of tolerance:  Our young will be ‘so marinated in a culture of tolerance that they won’t be listening to what you say.’

And Charles again, on the language protesters at universities use to justify disinviting speakers:  ‘We are too tolerant to tolerate you, too open to welcome you.’  (this was all the more awesome for being spoken in his delicious British accent)

Kurt Schlichter: ‘We’re scaring the hell out of them; let’s keep it up.’

Stephen Kruiser on whether the tea party is dead: ‘I believe the tea party has grown up. It’s not what it used to be.’  (I agree; many of us have embedded into the Republican party, or decided to run for office, or found other ways to participate.)

Sonny Bunch, on conservatives who are perpetually angry: ‘Angry is good, but there’s an aspect of preaching to the choir.’  (I think it’s also sometimes self-indulgent.)

Emily Zanotti, on the value of knowing pop culture: ‘People are so knee-jerk about ‘nothing on TV or movies is good.’ There’s always an element that you can use to teach.’  (I think we need to be taught this by example.  Try that as an exercise the next time you watch something.  Try to find the conservative themes or messages in everyday pop culture.)

Larry O’Connor, on the wisdom of conservatives sequestering themselves to the political sphere: ‘People aren’t watching Meet the Press.’  (Apparently they’re watching Game of Thrones, which also has great conservative application.)

And again, on thinking through what celebrities do versus what they say: ‘I think the Kardashians are free market supporters.’

Noah Rothman on the element of entertainment in politics: ‘A lot of people don’t find politics entertaining.  Approach it from the perspective that you’re an entertainer.’  (This is probably one of the most difficult concepts to grapple with.  I know it is for me.)

Bill Whittle, on hip hop culture: ‘Hip hop is about people who come from nothing and make multimillions.’

Kevin Williamson, on the charge that pop culture is frivolous: ‘Pop culture is only frivolous in that it runs the world.’

Noah Rothman, on the need to engage people who aren’t conservative: ‘We don’t win hearts and minds by sequestering ourselves.’  (THIS was the quote of the conference for me.  Look around you.  Take stock of your world.  Is it overfull of conservative people, news sources, and relationships?  Have you shut out any other voices?  Then you’ll probably find it harder to engage voters who don’t think like you.)

Matt Walsh, on policy v. culture: ‘We cannot connect on the policy issues because we’re so far apart on culture.”

Kevin Williamson, on people who look down on the power of pop culture, and those who recognize that power: ‘There is a certain pleasure to be had in condescension.’   (Some people are proud that they don’t know much about pop culture.  That’s fine as a life choice.  It is a huge mistake if you are interested in winning elections.)

Noah Rothman, on dismissive cultural isolationists: ‘It’s a tactical mistake to denigrate those who do care about culture.’

Kevin Williamson, on how people vote: ‘Many voters vote as an act of tribal loyalty.’  (This is precisely why pop culture matters so much.  It you’re talking facts, logic and reason while the other side is talking about relating to voters, identifying with voters, and casting us as villains in the process, you are not going to be able to overcome that loyalty to the ‘nice’ guys, the ‘cool kids,’ the ‘people who look like/care about me.’

And again, on liberty: ‘We don’t really want liberty, we want license, because people with liberty have to make decisions.’  (Kevin believes we’ve passed the point of no return.  That said, his quote agrees in part with Dennis Prager, who says a growing number of people in this country would rather be cared for than free.)