Backstage at the NRA: Remembering the 2012 National Convention.

by Mark Mabry

I came to the NRA National Convention last year with Glenn Beck. This year he asked me to come back and be a fly on the wall again... to write some of my impressions of what is going on.

Before I start on this year though, I have to expiate last year's stories, because they matter. They’re relevant.

Scene 1: NRA Convention St. Louis

Glenn was down that week. Heavy.

“Are we even making a difference?”

Sometimes he would email this question in the middle of the night to people in the company.

We hit the NRA trade show floor right away. Not wanting to detract, Glenn threw on a ball cap... (evidently he felt that his only distinguishing physical feature was a shock of white hair and that being 6’4 with a face that had recently graced the TVs of most redhouseholds in the nation wouldn’t give him away).

Walking through a cafeteria of about 2000 people, someone said quietly to his friend...

“Is that Glenn Beck?”

It spread.

One guy stood up and started cheering. Soon the entire hall was cheering. I looked over at Glenn who by now had removed the hat.

He was wiping his eyes.

Question answered. A difference was being made.

Scene Two: Preparing for the Speech

Glenn was knocking them dead in speech rehearsal with Stu and Pat in his room.

In the car to the stadium Glenn says, “This is the funniest talk I’ve ever done.”

Then he asked, “Who is speaking before me.”

“Larry the Cable Guy, sir,” came an answer from the front seat.

“You have got to be kidding me,” Glenn suddenly didn’t feel so funny.

Talk notes be damned.

Scene 3: Glenn’s Green Room

Larry the Cable Guy was killing it and the crowd was roaring. Glenn was watching the green room TV- crossing out jokes on his talk.

A knock at the door. It was Ted Nugent and his beautiful wife.

Ted was dressed in camouflage shorts, a t-shirt, a cowboy hat... and flip flops if I remember correctly. Glenn was in a suit.

Ted ran in and gave him a hug. The hug itself isn’t totally relevant, but the type of hug is why I mention it at all.

This was a mutually empathetic hug. It was quick, but weighty.

It was a moment between two men, who at the time, were under attack by some of the best PR guys in the business. To marginalize either Glenn or Ted would be to marginalize a whole swath of people.

Bible, Guns, and Religion people.

Nugent sat on the couch and launched into a story about Chesty Puller,

“the baddest F--er to ever put on a Marine uniform.”

Then he tried to do what I’d seen congressmen, businessmen, and well meaning conservatives try to do for the prior 6 months. He started,

“Glenn, what’s your deal with Romney?”

Glenn’s answer isn’t the important thing, because he had given it on air a hundred times. But Ted did something different.

With no double-speak, no agenda, no pending appointment in DC; Ted said to Glenn,

“I have sat knee to knee with Mitt. He’s the real f---ing deal.”

“Where is he on guns?” Glenn asked.

“He’s right. He’s with us.”

Ted had tears in his eyes at this point.

“Glenn, he is for real. Trust me.”

Ted gave the best pitch I’d ever heard on Romney... and possibly the only one that would have been rated R.

2012 was do or die time, we all knew it.

We knew that the Second Amendment was hanging by a thread and that with a Democrat congress and Obama back in office, we’d have to go through hell to keep it uninfringed upon.

Well folks.

Welcome to hell.

Any question that we had in 2012 is now a reality.

The next three days will be historic.

I think we can all agree, both on the Left and the Right, that children who have been caught up in illegal immigration is an awful situation. But apparently what no one can agree on is when it matters to them. This past weekend, it suddenly — and even a little magically — began to matter to the Left. Seemingly out of nowhere, they all collectively realized this was a problem and all rushed to blame the Trump administration.

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Here's Rachel Maddow yesterday:

I seem to remember getting mocked by the Left for showing emotion on TV, but I'll give her a pass here. This is an emotional situation. But this is what I can't give her a pass on: where the heck was this outrage and emotion back in 2014? Because the same situation going on today — that stuff Maddow and the rest of the Left have only just now woken up to — was going on back in July 2014! And it was arguably worse back then.

I practically begged and pleaded for people to wake up to what was going on. We had to shed light on how our immigration system was being manipulated by people breaking our laws, and they were using kids as pawns to get it done. But unlike the gusto the Left is using now to report this story, let's take a look at what Rachel Maddow thought was more important back in 2014.

On July 1, 2014, Maddow opened her show with a riveting monologue on how President Obama was hosting a World Cup viewing party. That's hard-hitting stuff right there.

On July 2, 2014, Maddow actually acknowledged kids were at the border, but she referenced Health and Human Services only briefly and completely rushed through what was actually happening to these kids. She made a vague statement about a "policy" stating where kids were being taken after their arrival. She also blamed Congress for not acting.

See any difference in reporting there from today? That "policy" she referenced has suddenly become Trump's "new" policy, and it isn't Congress's fault… it's all on the President.

She goes on throughout the week.

On July 7, 2014, her top story was something on the Koch brothers. Immigration was only briefly mentioned at the end of the show. This trend continued all the way through the week. I went to the border on July 19. Did she cover it? Nope. In fact, she didn't mention kids at the border for the rest of the month. NOT AT ALL.

Do you care about immigrant kids who have been caught in the middle of a broken immigration system or not?

Make up your minds. Is this an important issue or not? Do you care about immigrant kids who have been caught in the middle of a broken immigration system or not? Do you even care to fix it, or is this what it looks like — just another phony, addicted-to-outrage political stunt?

UPDATE: Here's how this discussion went on radio. Watch the video below.

Glenn gives Rachel Maddow the benefit of the doubt

Rachel Maddow broke down in tears live on her MSNBC show over border crisis.

Progressives think the Obamas are a gift to the world. But their gift is apparently more of the metaphorical kind. It doesn't extend to helpful, tangible things like saving taxpayers money. Illinois has approved $224 million to pay for street and transportation upgrades around the planned site of the Obama Presidential Center. The catch is that Illinois taxpayers will have to cover $200 million of that cost. For a presidential museum.

Eight years of multiplying the national debt wasn't enough for Barack Obama. Old fleecing habits die hard. What's another $200 million here and there, especially for something as important as an Obama tribute center?

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That's all well and good except Illinois can't even fund its pension system. The state has a $137 billion funding shortfall. That means every person in Illinois owes $11,000 for pensions, and there is no plan to fix the mess. Unless Illinois progressives have discovered a new kind of math, this doesn't really add up. You can't fund pensions, but you're going to figure out a way to milk the public for another $200 million to help cover the cost of a library?

It's hard to imagine who in their right mind would think this will be money well spent. Well, except for maybe Chicago Mayor and former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel who said, "The state's… investment in infrastructure improvements near the Obama Center on the South Side of Chicago is money well spent."

Some presidential overreach lasts longer than others.

The spending has already been signed into law, even though the Obama library has not received construction approval yet. Part of the holdup is that the proposed site is on public land in historic Jackson Park. That doesn't seem very progressive of the Obamas, but, you know, for certain presidents, you go above and beyond. It's just what you do. Some presidential overreach lasts longer than others.

Here's the thing about taxing the peasants so the king can build a fancy monument to himself – it's wrong. And completely unnecessary. The Obamas have the richest friends on the planet who could fund this project in their sleep. If the world simply must have a tricked-out Obama museum, then let private citizens take out their wallets voluntarily.

As the Mercury Museum proved this weekend, it is possible to build an exhibit with amazing artifacts that attracts a ton of visitors – and it cost taxpayers approximately zero dollars.

'The fool builds walls': China blasts Trump over tariffs

NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images

I can picture it now: Thousands of years ago, Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, standing before hordes of his followers, in the Qin Dynasty, with a bright red bamboo hat on, and chanting, "Build that wall!"

It took a couple centuries to build the thing, but it got built. And it has been carefully maintained over the last 2,000 years, but, today, the Great Wall of China is so massive that astronauts can see it during good weather conditions from the lower part of low Earth orbit. The wall boasts over 3,000 miles of towers and brick embankments, with over 1,200 miles of natural defensive barriers. It's worth mentioning that the Chinese government is also exceptionally good at imposing digital walls, so much so that China ranks worst in the world for internet freedom.

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So it's a little strange to hear an editorial run by a major news network in China criticized President Trump for his proposal to build a large wall along the southern border of America.

"Following the path of expanding and opening up is China's best response to the trade dispute between China and the United States, and is also the responsibility that major countries should have to the world," the author wrote. "The wise man builds bridges, the fool builds walls."

Similarly, the Pope told reporters in 2016, "A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel."

Don't throw stones at people who want to build walls when you live in place surrounded by walls.

If you've been to the Vatican, you know that it is surrounded by enormous walls. The same goes for all the celebrities who live in heavily walled compounds—a safety measure—but who have also vehemently criticized President Trump's plans to build a wall.

You know the adage: "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones at other people's glass houses." Perhaps the phrase needs an update: Don't throw stones at people who want to build walls when you live in place surrounded by walls.

An immaculate Nazi doctor hovers over newborn. He probes and sneers at it. "Take it away," he says. This is the very real process that Nazi doctors undertook during the era of Nazi Germany: Nazi eugenics, the studious, sterile search to find children who would define a pure breed for the German lineage. The Übermensch.

RELATED: Glenn responds to advocates of aborting Down syndrome babies: 'No better than Nazi Germans'

During a speech to a delegation of Italy's Family Association in Rome on Saturday, Pope Francis referred to this cruel Nazi practice, which he used as a comparison to the increasingly popular process throughout Europe of "ending" birth defects, by offering abortions to women who have babies with chromosomal defects.

Here are two passages from the Pope's remarks:

I have heard that it's fashionable, or at least usual, that when in the first months of pregnancy they do studies to see if the child is healthy or has something, the first offer is: let's send it away.

And:

I say this with pain. In the last century the whole world was scandalized about what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today we do the same, but now with white gloves.

When CNN got the quote, and it shocked them so much that they had to verify the quote with the Vatican—in other words, it didn't fit the usual narrative.

It didn't fit the usual narrative.

The Pope also addressed claims that he has dedicated himself to LGBTQ causes:

Today, it is hard to say this, we speak of "diversified" families: different types of families. It is true that the word "family" is an analogical word, because we speak of the "family" of stars, family" of trees, "family" of animals ... it is an analogical word. But the human family in the image of God, man and woman, is the only one. It is the only one. A man and woman can be non-believers: but if they love each other and unite in marriage, they are in the image of God even if they don't believe.

The media have largely seen Pope Francis as the cool Pope, as the Obama of Catholicism. It'll be interesting to see how abruptly and severely that perspective changes.