I figured I would see what all the buzz was about. But it looks like 2011 was a rough year for the conference, because their feature guest laid a giant, embarrassing egg.
This diary is cross-posted at the Montana Cowgirl Blog.
GOP young-guns are always a little bit behind, and haven't quite caught up to young Dems with what goes on with the blogosphere, social media, and other modern technology, even though the young wing-nuts desperately want to be as cool as young liberals.
As evidence, the ROL conference is so sparsely attended that they have to piggy-back on the NetRoots conference, and have it in the same city at the same time (Minneapolis this year). A lot of this is due to the fact that young Republicans' first inclination when they witness new technology being used smartly by Democrats is to get angry, angry that they can't figure out how to employ the same technology that Dems are using effectively. They do eventually realize that they need to play the same game, but they are always late to the party, which is why the "RO11" had to be held at a Howard Johnson's on the intersate somewhere, while NN is held at an arena or some other large venue.
But at least Montana had some representation, with occasional Cowgirl conservative contributor Aaron Flint showing up to tweet for us on location, which we appreciate because we like Aaron (even though sometimes his head is screwed on backwards. )
Rick Perry showed up as the keynote speaker, and he accepted an award. The award was one proudly bestowed by RO11 on the Republican politician who most effectively employs and understands social media. Evidently they believed Rick Perry to be at the top of this list.
Rather than spoil the joke, I'll let you first watch Perry's acceptance speech, so that you can see what's wrong.
Forget about whether Rick Perry actually knows what the internet, Twitter, or any of these things is, or how they are pronounced. For him to be referring to Twitter as "Tweeter" is more than just a funny gaffe. It must mean that he has virtually no connection at all to broadcast news, to newspapers, to a radio, to any news source in the actual world. The instinct is to make light of this, but this man is clearly shut off. It's as bad as when Sarah Palin was unable to name the title of a single newspaper. How can anyone in 2011, who is a Governor, think it's pronounced "tweeter"?
Note that before he humiliates himfself, repeatedly, he makes a point of taking a shot at Al Gore. Interestingly, Gore has built a virtual media empire, worth maybe a billion dollars, from his curiosity about technology and willingness to understand, early in the game, how new media will play out. He is someone that seems to figure it out before everyone else, and he is thus a one man global phenomenon. Not bad for a so-so politician.
Perry, meanwhile, is seen here doing his best impression of George Bush, oblivious to his own ignorance, as many conservative politicians often are.
They say this guy might run for President but my hunch is that Texas Dumb is not what the Repubs are looking for. They may want a new face, but they must surely sense the inherent doom in taking a George Bush clone as their nominee. W's legacy made it possible for a black man, with an arabic name and a muslim upbringing, to become president with 53% of the vote. And I don't think most Repubs are happy about it. So my prediction is that Perry will wither on the vine.