What a difference a year can make, and since last year’s Left v. Right internet clash of Netroots and RightOnline this year will be different. First, there will be a larger crowd this year for RightOnline. With the conference being held in Pittsburgh it will be attracting activists on the center right side from Pennsylvania and many other states in the Midwest, Northeast, and the near-South that are within close distance. This will be a key factor to watch when looking at the two sides.
Second, the line-up of the speakers between the two conferences will have many stark differences. For Netroots, former President Clinton and Senator Arlen Specter will lead their line-up of speakers. RightOnline will be led by Joe the Plumber and also 2010 US Senate candidate Pat Toomey who will take on Arlen Specter next year.
Third, the mainstream media will look at both sides closely this year as now this year’s conferences are in the middle of big policy fights including health care and cap and trade. How each side will send their message on key issues like health care will be the key to determine which side is fired up and wants it more to win in one of the most important policy battles in our time. Also, Americans for Prosperity will have a protest towards the Cap and Trade bill and perhaps health care reform too during the rally with all the activists from RightOnline. People will be watching if SEIU is going to infiltrate and harass at the AFP rally like what has happened in Missouri and Florida. SEIU is a key sponsor of Netroots and with more people being wary of the union and how their activists are acting at town halls will be a factor to watch.
This is the beginning of the first of many posts coming out of RightOnline. I will be leaving for Pittsburgh on Thursday morning and we will be blogging throughout the conference. The North Shore Exponent has your ticket to RightOnline and we will try to land some interviews with the newsmakers of the conference. Also, we will highlight things that make the Steel City great as Pittsburgh has been on a high from the Penguins and the Steelers winning the Stanley Cup and the Super Bowl and enjoying some of the great attractions that make Pittsburgh an excellent destination.