With wildfires ravaging homes across Colorado Springs and the surrounding area, and in the aftermath of the devastating shooting rampage in Aurora, conservative journalist Michelle Malkin has been experiencing a tumultuous summer in her adopted home state. Nonetheless, the author and mother of two wouldn't miss coming to Dallas, Texas, to participate in FreedomWorks' grassroots training session for the world. And she's gave TheBlaze an exclusive interview ahead of the massive event.
Editor's Note: Restoring Love will be exclusively broadcast by TheBlaze TV/GBTV and video will also be available on demand after the event.
FreePAC and grassroots training
While there are many events to partake in during FreePAC and Restoring Love, Malkin is perhaps most inspired by the grassroots training session slated to take place on July 26, because it is the "next great development in the Tea Party movement" and it's happening right under the media radar.
"All the smug Beltway reporters who pronounced the Tea Party dead before it was even alive have no idea what is really going on," Malkin explained.
"The Tea Party has matured -- they're doing the nuts and bolts work of developing future generation of limited government leaders." Malkin told TheBlaze that it is the success of these emerging limited government leaders, and the fact that they are turning words and protests into "concrete action," that the Republican and Democratic National Committees fear most.
What is perhaps most ironic is that the Tea Party was born not so much out of a response to the election of Barack Obama, but rather out of disgust for big government Republicans who had lost their way. Malkin pointed out that is why one of the Tea Party's first orders of business was actually to topple Republican Senator Bob Bennett from Utah.
Still, the struggle against less-than conservative Republicans continues in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act. Malkin noted that there are GOP lawmakers who will actually seek to extend certain core provisions of Obamacare, which is why she believes it is so important for conservatives to send a message to Republicans in the Beltway by electing a new generation of leaders who will not just "go along with every capitulist leader on the hill."
So who are the stand-outs in the next generation of limited government, free market leaders? When I asked Malkin, she didn't hesitate an instant before sharing her enthusiasm for Texas congressional hopeful Ted Cruz.
Cruz is by far and away, a rising star within the Tea Party and broader conservative movement. The former Solicitor General of Texas (the youngest in the nation to date) has authored over 80 U.S. Supreme Court briefs and personally argued 40 oral arguments, including 9 before the U.S. Supreme Court. He's been a guest on the Glenn Beck program and is receiving a steady stream of accolades from conservative leaders from all over the country.
"Ted Cruz is a wonderful scholar, lawyer and conservative," Malkin said. He is the "ideal Tea Party candidate. His roots are in the grassroots." She also said the first generation Cuban American is someone who possesses the "intellectual gravitas" Beltway elites are always deriding the Tea Party for supposedly lacking. To wit, Malkin had a humorous and rather astute jab of her own for those Beltway elites: a Tea Party member without a law degree is a lot savvier and far more grounded that lawmakers slinging mud in the "Beltway Swamp."
For Malkin and many conservatives at FreePAC and beyond, Cruz isn't just a "run of the mill politician who speaks the Tea Party language." He has argued cases before the Supreme Court, even winning a 10th Amendment case and has just just gone toe-to-toe with liberals but even the Bush administration as well. "People feel he can be trusted," Malkin said during our conversation. "That he won't be corrupted when he gets to D.C."
"He's put the Tea Party pedal to metal."
But for as formidable as the Texas scholar is, he is bound to face challenges in his upcoming run-off against incumbent Republican David Dewhurst, who is enjoying a steady stream of "big government" money from the party. Still, Malkin remains hopeful as Cruz "did fantastic in his last two debates" and is getting his message out.
The real community organizing
Another way to help small-government conservatives like Ted Cruz, for Malkin, is by spreading the message at grassroots events like FreePAC. Malkin, who will be speaking at a grassroots training session prior to the FreePAC main event July 26, said the first thing she will do is thank the activists, because without them "the Tea Party would be nothing."
"They really are frontline warriors...and every voice counts."
They count especially because, she said, of the hypocrisy of the Left in its attacks against conservative activists. In one breath, progressives like Van Jones will "trash the Tea Party" with pejoratives like "top-down, astroturf robots," then attend a Netroots conference and rally his base to "copy the Tea Party model" of grassroots organizing.
In fact, Jones heaped effusive praise on the organizing capability of the Tea Party in his book, "Rebuild the Dream." Ironic, considering that community organizing is something the Left often "pats itself on the back" for "cornering the market" on.
Spreading its wings
Politics are evolving. Ever since the emergence of the Tea Party, conservative activism and tangible political change is being affected from outside the halls of Washington and New York -- for perhaps the first real time ever. And Malkin has "never been more excited about the conservative movement" because of it.
The change has, of course, "upset strategists" and those who control the news cycle, which proves to many that the paradigm shift is working.
Sure, Malkin cedes, FreedomWorks maintains an office in D.C., but the real grassroots training is occurring outside. "It's great that conservatives no longer have to call New York or D.C. home." In fact, holding events in Dallas, Texas is just one "manifestation of that evolution."
The "injection of fresh air from outside the Beltway," is invigorating and inspiring for Malkin. "I think that's why i am so sanguine and positive about the future of conservative movement," she said.
In terms of FreePAC, its grassroots training session and Restoring Love as a whole, Malkin believes this kind of networking is invaluable regardless of who is elected in 2012.
"More than ever," she adds, "we are ready to be a stalwart opposition [of the Left]."
Challenges ahead for conservatives
Invoking an old phrase made popular by the ever-gaffe-ful Joe Biden, Malkin joked that we all have to "gird our loins" and be prepared for anything -- especially when dealing with the "by any means necessary" modus operandi of progressives and Washington elite.
Malkin also believes it is worth heeding that even physical threats have been leveled against conservatives in the past. Some have been harassed at home and work for sharing their beliefs openly. The Brett Kimberlin case, in which conservative bloggers have been the consistent target of frivolous lawsuits and even a dangerous prank dubbed "SWATting," is just one example of the nefarious tactics a contingent of leftists will resort to.
The syndicated columnist praised the synergy between conservative activism on the web and what Glenn Beck and others are doing with multimedia platforms as the future of political outreach. "In a way it's evangelical because you are reaching out." Likewise, mediums such as talk radio are also powerful movers. It's not just about "preaching to the choir" for Malkin, who believes that even the unlikeliest of people might tune in, listen, and be inspired by what they hear.
"I've been listening to talk radio since college," she told me. "You never know who will tune in and listen... You never know who might be moved or inspired [by what they hear.]"
Conservatives will face challenges ahead, but those challenges should come from external sources, not from within their own ranks or selves. That is why, for Malkin, it is of utmost importance that conservative do not succumb to a defeatist attitude that says: "my voice doesn't make a difference."
"That is untrue," Malkin asserted.
"Becoming a part of this community is invaluable."