I acknowledge this is a very late posting of my CPAC media from March. Guess I had to think about it for awhile. This was my sixth visit to CPAC, a costly adventure, particularly for three full days. Is it worth it? Is CPAC making a difference? Will I return for 2015? Mulling over this year and looking back at previous years, I'm not so sure...
...I met a fellow from North Dakota...
This was an eye-opener for me and should be for any "Greenies" out there: North Dakota is so Oil Rich that they have little unemployment and high wages. Google the State of North Dakota and its oil history. N.D. has had more than one Oil Boom and this current Boom is going gang-busters: One Billion Barrels of Crude to date.
Those who are against American independence, economically and socially, continue to resent and block access to our oil fields. N.D. the Poster Child for energy-led success makes the "Greenie"s ill: It's a sickeness
And this exchange was just the first day... the morning of CPAC 2014. I wanted it all to be so riveting. All three days. But....it really struggled to hold my attention.
Frank Gaffney's event Uninvited event this year and the previous Geller/Spencer events (2009,2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) have always been the high points of CPAC for me.
So, with tweaks and 'improvements' a-plenty, was 2014 better? The powers behind CPAC, Al Cardenas, Cleta Mitchell, Grover Norquist & Suhail Khan (and their tools ) run a tight-ship. They shut-out and shut-down critical input from within. Every year.
And criticism that exposes Norquist and Khan goes ignored every year, including 2014 . It is is verboten.
Suhail Khan kept a low profile this year, but in 2012, moderated a panel on "Promoting Religious Freedom in U.S. and Abroad" ...
In the video of the Q and A, after the Panelists prattled about being inclusive and open-minded, yet Khan revealed they were anything BUT open-minded.
VIDEO: Suhail Khan Warns People From Reading Robert Spencer
Obviously, from their perspective, CPAC is alive and well. Even though, quite inconsistent when it comes to policy.
From year to year, who is "in" seems to change according to insider whims. Yes, Atheists. No Atheists. Yes, GoProud . No, GoProud. Lots of flip-flopping,
Besides the Uninvited Panel from my previous post (The National Security Action Summit of 2014) there were others, as well, who were Uninvited by CPAC (again).
Gay Republicans (GoProud) & Atheists were OUT at CPAC 2014
And in 2011, the same opposition group made this. I wonder at why opposing wasn't acceptable over banishment
GoProud's participation (and co-sponsorship) in the past was permitted and in 2010, there was spirited debate from both sides.
They had a booth again in 2011. So why the banishment in 2014?
Seemed to be more opposing points of view allowed in 2011 (as the slideshow indicates as well)
The Atheists: I found at a table outside CPAC were friendly and willing to chat-up their position (a position I do not embrace)
Just like GoProud (in the past) they could have been inside CPAC. Not shy about defending their position as fellow Atheist-Conservatives, why avoid such debates ? Unfortunately, those who run CPAC have become more close-minded, as though somehow they are protecting the ballot-box....
DAY One Slide Show
Noticeably, the Libertarians have suffered no such restrictions. They return, year after year, with a growing dominance of opinion over what has been promoted as a gathering of Conservative Opinion. This year, more than previous years, many of the panels and speakers were noticeably Libertarian-heavy. So, perhaps CPAC should be re-branded.
Also, in spite of the Leftist narrative that claims Conservatives are racists, "people of color" were and are members of the CPAC community. There is no covert racism. The pictures I have posted in my slides shows will bear witness to the fact that they participate in all aspects of CPAC.
Once inside (Day 1) I headed for the Main Ball Room. These are a few of the moments I highlighted.
Hollywood Conservative/ Dinesh D'Souza and his new movie - AWESOME
Then D'Souza spoke
Presidential candidates are always a part of CPAC. I was able to hear Gov. Rick Perry on Day 1
Gov. Rick Perry gave a fabulous speech and the crowd loved him!
Also, caught Lt.Col. (Ret) Oliver North the Main Ballroom. He spoke to an enthusiastic crowd.
Afterwards at North's Book Signing in the Exhibit Hall, when we all went to enthusiastically take some closer pictures of Ollie .... there was a strange "only could happen at CPAC" moment... "NO PICTURES ALLOWED"!
The CPAC "Photog-Patrol" Babes ordered the photographers to NOT point our cameras in North's direction. To Put Our Cameras DOWN! Weird and Outrageous.
Suhail Khan BTW- pulled the same no photographers stunt in 2012 (from a previous TSM post)
"BLOGGERS BASH (2012) Finished up the day at this year’s Blog Bash at 6:30 PM. We were bussed to Microsoft’s state-of-the-art Innovation and Policy Center on K street... where Suhail Khan was greeting us as we exited the elevators and there were NO PICTURES ALLOWED! Go figure. You get a bunch of bloggers together for a party and we’re told we can’t take any pictures. (very odd behavior CPAC)"
Next, the afternoon, side-panels. ALL side-panels were from 3:30 to 5 pm. Each Day. Topics like Finance. Health care. Rocky mountain high. But, you could only chose one. At the end of three days, you only got 3 side-panels. In the past, these panels met all day. Missed out on some interesting panels with such time restrictions .
Day One, I chose the IMMIGRATION Panel and it was a 'miss'. More like a lecture. Condescended to us on how to get the Hispanic Vote. I didn't bother filming it, but did find a link at Free Republic
Take a good look at their PRIORITY SEATING (cash cow), Very often (too often) through-out the three days of CPAC these seats were very EMPTY.
Started Day Two with a panel in the Main Ball Room on Government,cellphones, emails, privacy. They asked, "Is Edward Snowden a Traitor or Patriot." Very interesting debate (with some edits)
Day Two Slideshow
Before Rand Paul, we got Al Cardenas, Chairman of the ACU. He, like CPAC's Cleta Mitchell, refuses to read and accept the very reputable expose on the Muslim Brotherhood association of Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan. [ the Gaffney Univited Panel has more info.] Cardenas gave a predictable speech.
Senator Rand Paul (like Gov. Perry) was a Rock-Star. The crowd roared with approval.
Not sure what to make of Rand Paul when it comes to israel. A recent article from Caroline Glick (post-CPAC) considers that he is more pro-Israel than his father. With a food-for-thought dissent from Pamela Geller
Day Two Panels after the Main Ball room
I had stepped in to catch Scooter Libby (I thought) on a panel with a long title: " The Big Alternative Ideas Conservatives Should Present as Obama's Term Ends" Libby was not there as announced. Replaced by Carly Fiorina. (No idea why. Hurrying to these panels was complicated by not knowing where you were going. I went to the wrong area so I missed I missed the opening remarks)
Two of the speakers on this panel:
Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch
I missed Allen West's speech ,that he gave at at an “Honoring America’s Military Heroes” reception organized by Citizens United, because of the scheduling. As I exited the "Scooter Libby" panel I saw that Allen was right across the corridor, so I managed to catch Allen's closing statement. A really good one:
Salon posted this snarky report (of course).
Speaking of 'snark", Anarchists like Adam Kokesh, roam CPAC as a reporter. He's always so CHEERY as he works to deconstruct America.
DAY THREEMarch 8th, began with Michelle Bachman.
I heard she wasn't given a time-slot, so Tea Party Patriot Founder, Jenny Beth Martin, gave Bachman some of her time-slot.
As I was leaving, the next speaker caught my ear. I missed his first remarks but, I was impressed by his very inspirational speech, so I stayed. The Honorable Dan Hannan, a Member of the European Parliament, Alliance of European Conservatives & Reformists.
He was followed by a panel that Grover Norquist moderated called "After Wisconsin and Beyond Right-To-Work Laws, what's possible bow to Free Workers and Students from Unionism". This is the introduction from Norquist.
Day 3 slideshow
Made a final sweep through the Exhibit Hall, which I always find interesting.
Slide Show of the EXHIBIT HALL:
Can't say I left CPAC 2014 feeling inspired or encouraged. Our side is at serious odds with itself. Those in control seem rigid. Doubts and disagreements loom. It gets worse each year. While the Left is Cock-Sure, focused and determined... Evil always is ...
Yet, there are so many good people in the Republican/Tea Party/Conservative Movement; Patriots who will surely Fight to the Death for our Liberties.