FreedomWorks has started to publish the various speeches and presentations from BlogCon 2011 in Denver, including the speech I gave — really, more of a discussion starter — from the second day.  Thankfully, they have kept the Q&A from the segment, which I think was the best part of my time at the podium, in which I discussed the various ways bloggers approach the primary season, as either analysts, activists, or advocates.  All three are legitimate choices as long as they’re chosen honestly, I argue, and all three play an important role in allowing us to test our candidates:

David Freddoso wrote about the need to vet our own candidates last week for the Washington Examiner, in the context of responding to criticism about his coverage of Herman Cain’s problems on the campaign trail:

Why do I bring this up? Because all this griping about the exposure of conservative candidates’ flaws will, at best, result in the Republicans’ nomination of another unvetted Barack Obama-type candidate.

If Republicans nominate a candidate while overlooking his flaws, they might lose. Even worse, they might win. If you look forward to defending a bad president — the way liberals do now — then stop reading here.

For those conservatives still reading, you bear the responsibility for making sure the GOP does not nominate a candidate who doesn’t know what he thinks about Libya, abortion, Israel or unions. …

And with the candidates we do have, it’s worth poking at their flaws. They will either die deserved political deaths, or come out of the ordeal stronger.

That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have their defenders, either.  I think we’re better off when we have bloggers filling all of these roles.  Of course, this can go off the rails at times, too, as Lisa Graas does in accusing me of attacking Rick Santorum and the Catholic Church in this post from August.  This is what I wrote, in defense of Santorum from the media painting him as a “dominionist”:

Well, I guess I’m safe; I’m Catholic.  And so, by the way is Rick Santorum, who is most certainly not “affiliated with fervid subsets of evangelical Christianity.”  He attends a Latin Mass, which might give a few evangelicals — and maybe a few Catholics, too — the vapors.   Keller’s ignorance is on full display right off the bat.  If he can’t even bother to Google, what makes him an expert as a religious inquisitor?

She lumps me in with other supposed Catholic attackers of Catholicism (including the Boss Emeritus) for my statement on the “vapors,” claiming that I wrote that Santorum gives people the vapors:

Way back in August, Ed Morrissey of Hot Air, a Catholic himself, suggested that the fact that Rick Santorum is a faithful Catholic would give people the “vapors“. Hot Air is among the most popular conservative blogs. Such a suggestion, in and of itself, has power to make a great many conservatives skeptical of him. In other words, it was, by itself, politically damaging to Rick Santorum. Hot Air readers might not have the “vapors” had Ed Morrissey, a Catholic, not suggested that having a faithful Catholic as a candidate might be cause for “vapors”.

This is such tortured thinking that the Geneva Convention might apply.  Saying someone got “the vapors” over something is obviously derisive of those having the vapors, not the something that triggered it.  Furthermore, I didn’t write that Santorum gave people the vapors — I wrote that “a few evangelicals — and maybe a few Catholics, too” get the vapors over the Latin Mass.  And I wrote that to show how ridiculous it was to put Santorum in the category of potential Dominionists, which is a fringe evangelical concept.  In fact, I think Santorum has done a good job representing social conservatism, as I said it my talk earlier this month — and I’ve written in support of the Latin Mass before.  This is the kind of oddball paranoia that can occur when advocates abandon reason and reading for comprehension in passionate defense of their preferred candidate.  Fortunately, it doesn’t happen too often.