I am sitting outside the Grand Ballroom of the Atlanta Hyatt surrounded by people I have largely only known from a screen name and articles and comments written on web pages and Twitter. While I have enjoyed interacting with each of them online, finally meeting so many people who until a few days ago were just light photons emitted from the screen of my laptop has been an amazing and energizing experience.
I felt compelled to step away and write down a few of my thoughts.
I can finally put faces (and real names) to so many. From meeting Moe Lane, Amy Miller and Erick Erickson to meeting back up with my long-removed friend Jeff Emanuel to finally meeting and learning the true identities of Suzanna, Penguin2, Skanderberg and Socrates. Meeting and getting to know many of these diarists, contributors and tweeters has been an exciting experience. I particularly want to thank Erick for putting this gathering together today and am already looking forward to next year!
I have also met some very interesting national figures, including Liz Cheney (who I accidentally tweeted was "Lynn Cheney." Oops!). The left tries to paint her as an a conservative attack dog, but she is actually a friendly, engaging and intelligent woman. I met Marco Rubio, whom I had come to think of as a good candidate--until I actually heard him speak and met him in person. He is right on every issue about which I heard him speak, and I find myself regretting that I do not live in Florida. Karen Handel, whom I have always thought was an excellent Secretary of State for Georgia, has showed tremendous poise and improved significantly her speaking style and presence. She'll be the candidate to watch this primary.
There are so many important local and national figures here that I simply cannot take the time to write about them all. I am thrilled this gathering came to Atlanta and glad to have been just a small part of it. People here are excited. They are energized. An army is gathering; an army of intelligent, concerned Americans who see that this nation is headed in the wrong direction, and with the energy properly directed and released here at the RedState Gathering today we will take back our country, the land of the free, the home of the brave, in 2010 and 2012.