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?”
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.
Welcome to hell.
Any question that we had in 2012 is now a reality.
The next three days will be historic.