CPAC 2019 has come and gone, and I was able to attend on Friday. I had planned on going Thursday as well, but a bug hit me the Monday night before and even Friday wasn’t easy to make. Of course, that didn’t stop me from leaving the house at 8:00 AM & not getting home until 1:00 AM. I was pretty bummed to miss Thursday, as that day featured some of the sessions and speakers I really wanted to see, but given how I was feeling I would have been miserable. So rather than recap what I missed out let’s focus on the cool parts I got to see on my one day there:
On arrival I took a walk down the broadcaster’s row – it was relatively quiet this early and as you get to the back the broadcasters get smaller and smaller. Not to disparage any of them, as everyone has to start somewhere and frankly, they’re doing a lot more to promote the Conservative message than I am. But walking down that row does feel a bit like Captain Willard’s trip in his PT boat winding into Cambodia. If nothing else I found some uncrowded bathrooms, and I got to briefly say “hi” to Chris Plante – good guy. I once read a post suggesting he might be the next Limbaugh. And I could see it – what I love about his show is I’ve never heard anyone come off as a Happy Warrior in broadcast as well as him. He is absolutely vicious and brutal in his treatments toward Leftists, but not with name calling or anger. He just presents the facts with surgical ruthlessness but always with a smile in his voice. If nothing else try to check out one of his podcasts and see for yourself.
I made my way into the main hall to get a seat before Mike Pence spoke. Even though I was over a half hour early the hall was pretty full & I barely got a seat. The guy sitting to my right was a doctor and when Pence spoke about the opioid crisis my guy complained that Pence didn’t talk about the extent to which Oxycontin addiction is a problem. He directed me to this piece in Esquire about the one family that owns the patent on the drug and how they personally block other less addictive drugs that could be potentially prescribed. He was very passionate about the subject and wanted me to help him spread the word on this topic. I told him I didn’t have the bandwidth to do so but would mention his story here, and if anybody reading this is interested in follow up I’ll be glad to put you in touch with him. Of course, that family is now facing a lawsuit or two…
Overall Pence’s speech was fairly mediocre. He threw out some boilerplate Conservatism in his typically bland style. This was nothing unexpected, and given that you know what you’re getting in Pence I can’t say I was disappointed. Although at the end I would have been happy if we could have been allowed to leave to hit the head. Judging by the number of people the Secret Service was keeping from leaving I could tell I wasn’t the only one. The preceding speech from Ted Cruz and National Review’s Rich Lowry on the border crisis was a lot better.
After getting out I made my way straight to the back of radio row for the less crowded head, what would be a good move. On my way out as I make my way through a much more crowded Radio Row I pass by Ted Cruz, who was busy chatting up one of the younger conference attendees. I was tempted to lurk and thank him for not only defeating that obnoxious Beto-Male, but also hooking the opposition to waste a boatload of money on a failed campaign that could have turned scores of local elections. But given the crowd and the flow of pedestrian traffic, I decided to move along, walk a few blocks to Potbelly for lunch, and take a few to chill in the lobby of one of the nearby hotels.
On my way out to lunch I ran into Laura Loomer and chatted with her for a few minutes. She’s still a bit rough around the edges in some of her actions but has a lot of promise. Her getting thrown out of CPAC the next morning is a perfect example of what she does. She took advantage of her press credentials to troll CNNs Oliver Darcy, following him into the press section and continuing to hector him. While I agree that her questioning and pursuit were completely legit, she should have let up before having to be escorted out of the press room. Looking back I’m kicking myself for not offering to take to lunch with me Laura and the dude who was rolling with her. As I returned from lunch I also got to chat with Brandon Straka, founder and leader of the #WalkAway movement. Nice guy, and I was glad to see him at CPAC.
I finally make my rounds across the Exhibit Hall, and I want to use this space to give some publicity to some of the lesser known groups. If you’re reading this you know about the big names, like Heritage, AEI, and Turning Point USA. Let’s take a look at some of the names you might not have heard of before. Unless I mention otherwise, I’m using their own words from their web pages to describe each. In no particular order:
NeW – Network of Enlightened Women – Started as a book club at the University of Virginia in 2004, NeW cultivates a community of conservative women and expands intellectual diversity on college campuses through its focus on education. NeW members meet regularly to discuss issues related to politics, gender and conservative principles.
Capital Research Center – They’ve been linked here before. This is a good site to add to your bookmarks for some great research pieces as well as some well made videos.
Job Creators Network – JCN provides business organizations and their members with the tools to become effective advocates of free enterprise in their communities, and their workplaces—allowing them to hold politicians accountable to job creators and workers alike.
American Conservation Coalition – The American Conservation Coalition is changing the narrative on environmental discussions through the promotion of free-market and pro-business environmentalism in legislatures, college campuses, the political arena, and beyond.
Basically, a home for pro-environment Conservatives. Given how much we hear about the Climate Cult I’m surprised that we don’t hear more about this from the Conservative perspective.
Freedom Fest – July 17-20, 2019 in Las Vegas. FreedomFest is an annual festival where free minds meet to celebrate “great books, great ideas, and great thinkers” in an open-minded environment. It is independent, non-partisan, and not affiliated with any organization or think tank. FreedomFest invites the best and the brightest thought influencers from around the world to talk, strategize, socialize, and celebrate liberty. FreedomFest is open to all and is purely egalitarian; speakers, attendees, and exhibitors are treated with equal respect and interest.
Institute for Free Speech – The Institute for Free Speech promotes and defends the First Amendment rights to freely speak, assemble, publish, and petition the government through strategic litigation, communication, activism, training, research, and education. Our dedicated professional staff works tirelessly to protect political speech under these freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. We are the nation’s largest organization dedicated solely to protecting First Amendment political speech rights.
National Right To Work Committee – The National Right to Work Committee is the only national grass-roots organization in America dedicated exclusively to combatting the evils of compulsory unionism.
As part of a coalition of 2.8 million workers, small business owners and freedom-loving Americans, National Right to Work Committee members bring the power of grassroots pressure to bear on their elected officials in Congress and all 50 state legislatures.
Their message is simple: No worker should be forced to join or pay dues to a labor union in order to get or keep a job — a belief shared by more than eight in ten Americans.
Patriot Voices – If you’re wondering what Rick Santorum has been up to this organization has been his work:
We support policies that give the American worker a fighting chance and we know that strong families produce a strong economy.
We believe in entrepreneurship and opportunity. We encourage personal responsibility.
We know that the right to life begins at conception and we must be a voice for those who cannot fight for themselves.
Save the American Inventor – At Save the Inventor, you will find news, facts, interviews and the occasional opinion about current efforts to fundamentally change our patent system in ways that we think will undermine the system, not improve it. You will also learn ways that you can let Congress know that inventors are a vital national resource and the key to our economic prosperity as a country.
CFACT – CFACT is a national, student-based nonprofit that believes in promoting prosperity, protecting liberty, and enjoying nature. Free markets, private property rights, and environmental stewardship are the keys to a prosperous society and constructive tomorrow for people and nature too.
ALEC – You might have heard this name before. Every once in a while The Radical Left dubs ALEC it’s Emmanuel Goldstein of the week and launches one of their hate mobs, demanding that companies cease to work with them. From their web page:
The American Legislative Exchange Council is America’s largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism. Comprised of nearly one-quarter of the country’s state legislators and stakeholders from across the policy spectrum, ALEC members represent more than 60 million Americans and provide jobs to more than 30 million people in the United States.
Code of Vets – The site is relatively sparse, but the home page shows some success stories of them helping homeless vets.
If you can take a minute to view each of their sites, and at least take a minute or two to follow at least one of their social media feeds – I did.
The last CPAC Proper events that I made it to was first a great seminar called “The Climate Seminar the Left Doesn’t Want You to Hear: the State of Climate Science and Energy Economics”. Yeah, Climate Cult + Economic reality is right up my alley. Great talk, but I don’t have any links or visuals to add. After that I caught Nigel Farange on the main stage – great close for the day talking about Brexit. Had I been a little more with it I wouldn’t have missed James O’Keefe or Michelle Malkin bringing down the house. But given how wiped out I was I’m not beating myself up too much over this.
That evening I went to the Reaganpalooza event just across the river in Alexandria. I figured that a $55 VIP ticket for the open bar would be what I would spend at a bar anyway. The reason I’m including this is for an observation from a fellow attendee toward the end of the night that was the perfect cherry on top for my CPAC experience this year. The VIP crowd got wrist bands and could go to any bar, but there was also a VIP area with better food and its own bar. When the party was in full swing the line to the bar became a mob scene. It wasn’t the fault of the venue nor the bartenders – they were staffed up and busting their butts. So we were in a situation where the drinks were free (OK, prepaid), a high demand, and not enough labor to meet that demand. The guy waiting next to me simply said, “THIS is Socialism!”
That gave me my biggest laugh of the day, and it reminded me that it was worth attending to be surrounded by people who possessed that basic ounce of common sense.
Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog