I have two regrets. The first is that I did not attend the Redstate gathering this year in Atlanta, but hope to next year God willing. I did watch some of the speeches by invited guests and the question-and-answer periods from my home here in New Jersey. This time next year, depending on the timing, we will hopefully have a presidential ticket to invite, listen to, and ask questions. I think I have been here at Redstate since at least 2010 that I can remember and I have had some good discussions and arguments over policies, candidates and personalities. Some of them were ugly and some amusing. I have learned about some political happenings in other states that miss the newspaper headlines no matter how deeply I research something. Regardless, despite the occasional insult thrown my way, I would not think of venting on any other website the way I do here.
My second regret is that I read Redstate too late on Saturday morning to comment on the dis-invite extended to Donald Trump for the Redstate gathering. I feel for Bill S’s fingers as moderator in answering, succinctly, some of the comments. Keeping it to as few short words as possible must have been difficult and good practice for Twitter. After over 250 comments back and forth, the post was closed to further comment.
I did not read the Donald Trump quote that got him dis-invited (I didn’t know he was invited in the first place). I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and that the comment was not a reference to Megyn Kelly’s menstrual cycle. That is not the reason(s) I support this move by Erick Erickson. As another person commented, his refusal to pledge against a third party run should have been reason enough. His refusal at this point only confirms in my mind that he is a Hillary Clinton mole who cares less about defeating her in 2016. He can retire to opulence in Trump Towers and contribute to her Inauguration fund.
Another objection is that although not a tool of the Republican Party- as evidenced by the many comments and diary entries critical of the GOP- Redstate remains a right-of-center forum. Donald Trump, despite all the evolution on issues, despite all the ultrasound pictures seen, despite all the recent bombast, is not right-of-center. If he is not a liberal, then he is a typical Northeastern Republican and people should be behind Christie since he represents the same. Have we not learned our lesson with Northeastern liberals parading as conservatives?
Finally, the questions asked of Trump at that debate were not only fair game, they derived from his own comments over the years. If wrong, apologize and move on. If correct, then defend them. He did neither except go off on some discourse about “political correctness.” You live by blunt talk, you die by blunt talk. As Christie found out, it wears thin after a while especially when you are less of a Republican than Christie. Further, did anyone here in their right mind honestly believe that these very subjects and questions would not come up if, God forbid, Trump was the GOP candidate? Team Hillary would have been sued for political malpractice if not. In that regard, Megyn Kelly did the GOP a huge favor by airing the dirty laundry now rather than later.
This is perhaps the most important election in recent memory and the stakes are too high to get it wrong. The option- a President Hillary Clinton- is a very real distinct possibility despite her recent downturn in polls. After being involved and cognizant of politics for over 30 years now, a year is a lifetime in presidential politics and plenty of time for dirt to roll off Clinton’s back. I fear that the anti-Hillary trend may be peaking too early. The process on the GOP side is a vetting process which includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. That is what these debates are for after all.
Regarding Redstate shutting down free speech, give me a break. Some said disapproval could have been shown by walking out on or booing Trump. Maybe, maybe not. But if we take the free speech argument to its logical conclusion, then invite Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or Graham and McCain. What the hell- let’s just have a free-for-all and maybe Lincoln Chaffee could win some converts to the metric system. Redstate is free to invite or dis-invite whoever they please for whatever reason. Period.
As for inviting Kelly herself, perhaps it does create an atmosphere of victimization. But quite frankly if I were in Atlanta in 2015 at the Redstate gathering, I would rather listen to Megyn Kelly than Donald Trump. Trump’s ego is bruised. He did not receive the velvet glove treatment from Fox News. Boo hoo. But if he thinks Fox News has it out for him, or Megyn Kelly in particular, just wait and see what a general election campaign can bring. The Clinton machine is more ruthless than Fox News and Kelly is a lot better looking than Hillary Clinton.
In conclusion, kudos to Erick Erickson for making the right move and denying Trump a forum that could have sullied a good thing. And kudos to moderator Bill S for the patience in answering comments. No go rest your fingers.