Pundit Press is proud to present interview number 53 in our ongoing series. Today we're interviewing Barry and Kim, the editors of the political site Conservative Refocus. We thank them for their time and participation.
1. When and why did you start Conservative Refocus?
In mid-2009, I began noticing something I had never seen before--ever--in my America. It was creeping into the mindsets of myriad business associates, some members of the media, and most of the people that I ran into in day-to-day life. It was actual fear, and it was not from a foreign attacker, not even so much towards the economy, but rather it was a both new and tangible fear of our Federal Government and what it was trying to accomplish. Not only that, only a relative few, at the time, within the media and certain websites were speaking directly to these fears. These individuals were standing alone in a storm, and they needed every bit of help they could get. I felt wrong in knowing I could help out in my own way, and yet was doing nothing beyond noticing and taking part in the angst as it continually unfolded.
I slowly began to smolder in anger at what was happening both all around us and to us, as Americans, and started speaking out on Facebook. Many friends began expressing an opinion that I should create a forum, and another good friend, Kim Stallings, who is a former academian and author of several well-known college texts, holding a Masters in English with a concentration in argumentation, offered to help create a site, serving as editor and webmaster, while I would be the writer. I can remember her asking, “what should we call it?” and while busy working on a business problem, I flippantly suggested Refocus. She asked, “Is that it?” I replied well…..I don’t know, “Conservative Refocus,” and that’s how the site was born.
In February 2009, I lost my job due to the troubled economy...and began a tremendous journey of transformation, realization, and true "self" education. Barry was largely my "teacher" during this time--helping me to sort through my experiences and understand how what this country was going through under the Obama administration was connected. During our conversations, I recognized in Barry someone who possessed a breadth and depth of historical knowledge, sharp critical thinking skills, a commitment to keeping up with current events, and an extraordinary passion for and ability to communicate; he was--I knew--a voice that needed to be heard. So I encouraged him to put his voice "out there"...lending my web skills, editorial skills, graphics skills,marketing skills, etc...and Conservative Refocus was born in August of 2009. Barry was meant to join the conversation and MOVE it in a particular direction--and he has DONE that. To educate. To inspire. When we started the site, I "knew" on some level it was going to be important and successful, but I think we're both constantly amazed at how far we've come in such a short amount of time...and we have only just begun.
2. What's the best part about running your site?
Publishing an article and watching it take-off is very satisfying, to me. But the even greater part is being able to add a slightly different voice to the conversation, one that is often steeped in analytical sarcasm, sometimes funny and entertaining, but always teaching and informing about what true Conservatism actually is, or how we should interpret a piece of news. The other part in running the news,along with the ariticles, is about finding out precisely what’s happening all over the world and displaying it, from the angle of understanding how this thing over 2,500 miles away could have an impact on our lives, in America. But an even more interesting part is the amount of international interest we have garnered. People everywhere are searching for answers, and we have many of those answers in our site, folded into the wisdom of the US Constitution, but displayed in a slightly different angle. We mock any and everyone in power, including many of our own within the Republican Party, if we feel they are straying from Conservative values. But first and foremost, we have fun. Finally, I have been contacted by a number of high-profile people, and many normal,every-day Americans who thank us for doing what we’re doing. Some of these folks are people that I had never dreamed of meeting, even nominally, but they contact us from the various articles that are written, which are often possessing an entirely different viewpoint, sometimes wicked, sometimes poignant, but always centered around the real truth. Not one week goes by where Kim doesn’t come to me or I go to her and say, “hey, guess who dropped us a note today?” I find that fascinating for a farm boy from Union County who ran off and joined the US navy and then bred himself into the Business world, a world which I love dearly, by the way.
There are so many awesome things about working with Barry on CR. The constant education, working through ideas with Barry and watching as he analyzes and synthesizes what's truly going on in this country, seeing the response from our audience, watching the site continually grow and impact so many people. And, like Barry said, it's amazing to have people like former Governor of New York, George Pataki, Michael Reagan, even Newt Gingrich--just to name a few--reading and reaching out to us in one way or another. (Newt Gingrich recently publicly thanked Barry--after the SC primary--on his official Facebook site--along with about 50 other people--just after we published the article "An Unbeliever's Guide to the Establishment: To Question with Boldness.")
3. How is Romney weak in the general election? Does he have any redeeming features?
Romneycare will be hard for Mitt to overcome in general, simply because Romney will lose one of the main selling points of Conservatism over Statism if he is selected to run against the Messiah. And by the way, this “language of the left” concerning criticizing Romney is B.S. that the establishment has many hard-core Conservatives eating up. Their stance on this is nothing but pie-in-the sky avoidance of some very serious issues that Romney will have to overcome in his past. I try to remind everyone that the Conservative media will not be accused of not vetting our candidate, as the mainstream media failed miserably at in Obama’s Democratic nomination. Redeeming issue? He has quite a few, and I would be far more comfortable with Romney than Obama, Mitt knows capitalism, he knows trade, and he has been a screaming success in business. But remember, these candidates always run to their base, in our case being the Conservative base of the Republcian party, and then they fall back to their normal positionings while governing. Romney would seem to fall somewhere around the center, at best, based upon his past, and that’s a concern. We must have someone who is thoroughly Conservative to solve these massive problems that we face, and wisdom will be operative in whomever we choose.
I have serious reservations about Romney based on what we're learned about his past in our research. The mainstream media is not adequately reporting or focusing on these things--the goings-on with Bain Capital, for instance. His position on many issues has changed to suit his purposes at a given time. He's not the "Golden Ticket" that many people believe he is. Barry's October 2011 article, "A Cautionary Tale: The 2012 Obama/Romney Presidential Debate" paints a pretty realistic picture of what we might face should Romney win the GOP nomination.
4. Has President Obama been better or worse than what you feared?
Far, far, worse than I ever could have imagined. Obama has become a caricature of himself, something that should soon come out as the year progresses.
Obama is a nightmare. He has so severely damaged this country, damaged the People he was elected to serve. We are beaten down and SO divided--which is his plan as he follows Saul Alinsky's "Rules" to the letter. Four more years of Obama? I can't even begin to imagine the dark path that would lead us down.
5. What Republican do you wish ran this year?
Well, I get misty-eyed when I think of how bad we need Ronald Reagan, right now, but I did kind of hope that SC Senator Jim Demint might run. He would have been formidable, I think. There are a number of others, Trump, might have been interesting, indeed, but he’s out; no way he plays now--far, far, too late, and he knows it. Just ignore him for the rest of this cycle is the best advice that I could give. But now, Trump, oh yeah, now there is a businessman who makes even Romney pause, even while he continually reminds us of how inter-galactically successful he is--looks like Gilligan on a dissolving raft with sharks circling. I mean, look, bragging, with regard to Romney and some few others, can often be thought of as the act of trying to convince someone of something that you're not even sure about yourself; get real, people.
I'm with Barry on Ronald Reagan--such an amazing leader. But without Reagan, or his clone, the Conservative I support IS running--Newt Gingrich. He has such a breadth and depth of knowledge and experience--reasoned ideas for change that would repair the damage Obama has done. He is ALREADY presidential. I can't think of anyone else I would choose to enter the race.
6. Anything else you'd like to add?
Barry and Kim:
We really appreciate the opportunity to take part in this, and thanks so much.