An important discussion is emerging in the online conservative community about how to integrate with the old guard Republicans and grow the GOP movement.
After Barack Obama swept John McCain in the 2008 election and the Democrats expanded their majorities in the House and Senate, high-profile conservatives began plotting strategy meetings to invigorate the party.
Younger, conservative bloggers complain they were left out.
The most-discussed meeting was held at the Media Research Center President Brent Bozell’s Virginia home for roughly 20-leading voices, including American for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, the Leadership Institute’s Founder Morton Blackwell, American Spectator Publisher Al Regnery, pollster Kelly-Ann Conway and Chairman of ConservativeHQ.com Richard Viguerie.
One particularly passionate online activist told Townhall he called three sources trying to get an invitation to the meeting only to be told there was “no room.”
Many bloggers were invited to listen into a conference call summarizing the meeting, but felt that was not inclusive enough. Michael Illions of Conservatives with Attitude! was one of them.
“I thought we were invited on the call to discuss these initiatives and offer feedback and engage and offer feedback and engage with them about this, not just be part of the media invited to report about it,” Illions said.
Some well-connected conservatives say right-leaning bloggers will likely be included at a later date and the meeting was only a preliminary event.
Erik Telford, deputy communications director of Americans for Prosperity and Executive Director of Right Online, said there was great opportunity for the conservative movement to grow online in the days ahead.
He said there were four key areas he believed conservative bloggers could contribute. He mentioned the pundits “who provide intellectual ammunition,” the networkers “who organize all the people in the room,” but also placed emphasis on investigative reporting and fundraising.
Telford noted that a conservative, investigative blogger originally sniffed out the story about Minnesota Democratic Senate candidate Al Franken neglecting to pay his taxes. There was also a notable online push to rally around Rep. Michele Bachmann (R.-Minn.) when the National Republican Congressional Committee withdrew their support for her after she came under fire from liberal blogs for a controversial appearance on MSNBC's Hardball.