Code Red (State) Alert:
It is highly recommended that all liberal Democrats, Independents and even some moderate Republicans (if there are any left) power down their media devices the weekend of March 6 – 8. Choosing to ignore this warning means you will be inundated with news flashes of anti-Obama speeches from hordes of conservative Republican leaders who will be attending CPAC, the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in the Washington D.C. area.
But, if you fear powering down your media devices more than you fear conservative Republicans, here is a handy guide to help you understand what CPAC is all about. After reading, you might even be tempted to attend, for CPAC is like visiting a foreign country without a passport.
First, what is CPAC? It is the antithesis of former Republican National Committee Chairman Lee Atwater’s vision of a “big tent” party where everyone was welcome, even those with divergent views on major social issues.
Then, after coining this iconic phrase in 1989, Atwater died in 1991 and somehow, the tent shrunk. Now, in 2014 everyone left standing in this weekend camping trip sized tent looks and thinks alike and every speech pays homage to Ronald Reagan, at least twice.
About 65 percent of the CPAC crowd is between the ages of 18 – 25. They are lily-white, and speak proper southern. The good news is that they are the future of the Republican Party, all gathered under one roof.
(Also a perfect Obamacare demo, but you will not see a sign-up table, for it would be trashed — to put it mildly.)
After many years of attending, my observation was that the most popular accessory for women was grandmother’s pearls. (In honor of former First Lady Barbara Bush perhaps?) And for men, tinted pimple cream.
Predictably, every year CPAC spawns some controversy usually involving Republican gay-rights groups that are or are not invited to attend. However, this year it is the yanking of the American Atheist information booth that is offering all the pre-game fireworks. Now I find that refreshing because the annual ho-hum major drama of which Republican leaders are asked to speak and who is “left-out” is so 2013.
In fact, it was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who last year sparked headlines when he was issued a CPAC snub for not being “conservative” enough — but this year has managed to wrangle a prominent speaking spot.
Is this because the embattled Governor’s policies have suddenly become more conservative? No.
Christie’s presence is better explained by his newly-minted “victim” status resulting from the mainstream media’s excessive “overreach” with their zestful coverage of “Bridgegate.” Look for this to be a major discussion topic.
And speaking of Bridgegate, the estimated 10,000 CPAC attendees can expect to find many vendor booths selling what I call, “death score” bumper stickers.
These read something like, No Ambassadors Died on the GW Bridge or Bridgegate Deaths: Zero — Benghazi Deaths: Four, or the retro, No One Died During Watergate.
There will also be a huge economic stimulus from the blockbuster sales of “What Difference Does It Make?” buttons and other anti-Hillary paraphernalia.
Then, my favorite politically incorrect bumper sticker, “Republican Women LIKE Men,” will probably sell out fast, as it usually does at such gatherings.
Besides Governor Christie, the long list of A-list Republican speakers are exactly whom you would expect to hear if there were ever a mid-term Republican National Convention. So, absent that, CPAC sucks up all the hot air and media attention. (Note: the only Democrats present at CPAC are members of the media and you can spot them because they are constantly rolling their eyes and mouthing OMG.)
In the recent past, CPAC and the RNC have often been at odds over the future direction of the party, but not this year — where everyone appears to be in lock-step. Christie’s invite might have something to do with that, but still, watch out for Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, NRA’s Wayne LaPierre, Bobby Jindal, Jim DeMint, Paul Ryan and even Donald Trump to make numerous cable news eruptions.
With all these colorful characters breathing the same recycled air, CPAC is bound to get a little wild and crazy especially with Obama, Hillary and House Speaker John Boehner to kick around.
A three-day marriage between CPAC and the RNC was officially announced in an email I received from RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.
In past years I do not recall emails promoting CPAC attendance except from CPAC itself, so I took this RNC email as a positive sign of intra-party harmony and another example of how the RNC has in fact, morphed into CPAC.
However, it was the message and style that I found jaw-dropping.
The RNC’s email with the subject line, “Only a few hours left to enter” asked for a $6.00 donation “to win a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity to attend CPAC.”
This was an exact copy of President Obama’s campaign emails that I used to receive almost daily, but now reduced to only once a week.
(Yes, I admit to being a spy on his 15 million person e-mail list so send me to re-education camp.)
Obviously the RNC has begun to see the value of quick-buck “contest donations” priced like grande-sized Starbucks’ lattes — rather than their traditional boring solicitations rivaling the cost of dinner for four at Morton’s Steak House
Unfortunately this year I am unable to attend CPAC and will miss Senators Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz as they warm-up in the 2016 presidential bullpen with hard, fast, one-line zingers straight into the hands of their fans.
But honestly, it is the panel discussions that I will miss the most with such passionate red, hot and blue topics as:
- Obama’s IRS: Political Arm of the Left?
- On Wisconsin! Freeing the Other 49 states from the Grip of Unions
- Healthcare After Obamacare: A Practical Guide for Living When No One Has Insurance and America Runs out of Doctors.
Finally, here are five equally important panel discussions that I suggest CPAC add to their official program:
- How the heck do any CPAC speakers win 270 electoral votes in 2016?
- Should we integrate CPAC with brown and black people?
- Creative ways to attract non-Christians and Yankees to our party.
- Do we make any sounds when only talking among ourselves?
- Could George W. Bush be the last Republican President?
These topics would really shake things up and generate headlines for days in addition to giving the media on hand more reasons to roll their eyes and gasp OMG.
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