The PJ Tatler

Tracked and Targeted and Thrashed Without Mercy @ #TXOnline

TXOnline just might become a thing.

Americans for Prosperity (shhh — eeeevil Koch money!) put on a great conference in Houston this weekend that featured everything from Larry O’Connor and Matt Walsh trading verbal blows over whether and how conservatives ought to engage the culture, to Jim Geraghty hawking what sounds like a good read of a book, to me and Texas Public Policy Foundation’s David Guenthner briefly discussing the San Antonio Spurs win in the NBA West Final. Emily Zanotti admitted to engaging in cosplay on several occasions.

TXOnline also featured Stephen Kruiser, Tony Katz and Kurt Schlichter doing an experimental comedy/politics/interactive thing they’re calling Tracked and Targeted. That turned out to be the second most disturbing thing that occurred over the weekend, with the Obama administration’s bizarre swap of five high-level Taliban terrorists who had been held at Gitmo for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held by the Taliban since 2009, being by far the most disturbing. The Obama admin negotiated with terrorists (which broke US law), releasing five of them without notifying Congress (which also broke US law), in exchange for a soldier who deserted his unit and was reportedly embarrassed to be an American, and whose father turns out to be a sympathizer with Islamists — at least. Now the Taliban are doing the happy dance while Americans wonder if there’s any law left that Barack Obama won’t just run through a shredder if he finds it inconvenient.

Very disturbing. Maybe the single most disturbing that the Obama administration has done so far, which is saying a lot.

Nothing quite so outlandish happened during the Tracked and Targeted session in Houston, but it did get pretty far out in the weeds — literally. To attempt to describe it would be to diminish it.

Happy hour and conversation and cigars followed that on Saturday night.

The weekend went by pretty quickly, which happens when you find yourself lunching between the likes of Jon Gabriel and Bruce Carroll or watching panels between Noah Rothman and Kathleen McKinley, and moderating panels with Dan McLaughlin, Logan Dobson and Jim Geraghty one day and Cory Crow, Lou Ann Anderson and David Guenthner on the other. If that’s a lot of name-dropping, it’s far from all the name-dropping I could do. Dana Loesch kicked things off with a speech that generated reaction and comment all weekend. Kruiser emceed and the amazing Kemberlee Kaye kept the whole thing organized and on time with ruthless efficiency. When you’re herding conservative bloggers, that’s a much harder job than it probably sounds like.

TXOnline was a sweet reunion.

Like many family reunions, it almost got violent.

(That tweet must be read with a proper British accent in a smooth baritone voice, otherwise it comes off a lot less sinister than it was intended.)

It got philosophical.

It got downright defiant.

And it got a little weird.

But one thing that TXOnline never got was boring. A great time was had by all, other than those who didn’t have a great time for one reason or another, and that was entirely their own fault.