Thursday, March 09, 2006


Memphis Or Bust!

After a long wait that rivaled the August run-up to UT football season, the Southern Republican Leadership Conference is finally here! Blogging today will be light as I make all last minute arrangements for the trip to Memphis. I've rented a vehicle from Budget (as not to put another 1,000 miles on my old warhorse) and tentatively plan to leave tomorrow morning between 2 A.M. and 3 A.M.

Like many of the other conservative bloggers attending SRLC (Mick Wright, Nancy French, Adam Groves being the ones I know of), I am at the conference as both a blogger and a conference participant. What's the difference? Well, bloggers don't get fed, don't get access to some limited parts of the conference, and aren't allowed to vote in the straw poll.

How big is this event? Very. Take a look at what Frist and others had to say in today's Tennessean. Adam Groves also posted on SRLC at Tennessee Politics Blog, as did The Main Street Journal (here and here), and . Mick Wright has a great rodeo of SRLC coverage, as well.

As regular readers of this site know, I am all about full disclosure, and here is my bit about SRLC. I had originally planned to attend on a shoestring budget as a blogger and only stay for half of the conference, since I had a night at the Holiday Inn Express near Germantown that I could use. However, an offer came from people in and around Mitt Romney, the Massachusetts Governor and 2008 presidential candidate, that I simply could not pass up in the way of a hotel room near the Peabody and my participant credentials. Now I know that some will probably find a way to spin this if my coverage of Governor Romney is anything short of brutal, and that is their prerogative. However, I have some experience with this (even stretching back to my days as a film critic, when I was admitted to movies for free but still found a way to rip them in print), and I will be as fair as possible in my coverage. As extremely astute readers may remember (here and here), I have not been overly kind to Governor Romney in the past in assessing his chances of winning the White House. My acceptance of his offer will allow me to get to know Governor Romney better, so I see this as a good thing. Others may not.

That doesn't mean that I am not in Memphis to visit with the other potential candidates, either. I would like to speak to Senator Allen, Governor Huckabee, and Senator Brownback, for sure. I have made efforts to contact each of their staffs to obtain some of their time at SRLC. We'll see if anything pans out with that as the weekend progresses.

Back to some actual work, and then packing!

They should feed the bloggers. Certainly no MSM-type constraints on the bloggers' part, that I know of.
I believe I'm a Brownback man, myself
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