Breitbart hung around to talk the most and he had a very good CPAC. He got into this confrontation with some liberal jackass.
He also went toe-to-toe with left-wing daddy’s boy, Max Blumenthal:
Wow, is that good publicity or what? After Breitbart talked to the bloggers, I waited for an opportunity, handed him my card, said, “My name is John Hawkins, I write for Right Wing News and Townhall and I’d like to write for you.” He looked at the card, and quipped, “Welcome aboard.” I could tell he didn’t have the slightest idea who I was and was being nice. Still, I’d like to do some writing for Breitbart, so I figured that maybe I made enough of an impression to get his attention when I contact him.
I bring this up because later that night, someone walked up to me and said something like, “I heard Andrew Breitbart hired you today.” No, no, no — not quite. He was just being a nice guy.
Fun Fact: Surprisingly typical CPAC dilemma: While Andrew Breitbart was in the room talking to us, John Bolton was speaking on the main stage.
Speaking of nice — or not so nice if you’re a liberal, Ann Coulter spoke on day 3. Inexplicably, they only gave her roughly 15 minutes. During that time, she essentially did an outrageous and funny conservative stand-up routine — which was great. My favorite line: “”CNN calls them teabaggers, which is the gayest thing I’ve ever heard on CNN other than Anderson Cooper.”
Pic of Ann Coulter from the balcony of blogger’s row.
I thought bloggers row might clear out on the last day with people leaving early, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. Here are a few other pics from blogger’s row on the last day:
The slippers Melissa Clouthier was wearing on blogger’s row.
In the hallway outside of bloggers row, I ran into Jason Mattera and we laughed about the New York Times claiming that his comments at CPAC were racist because they somehow confused his Brooklyn accent with some sort of “mock Chris Rock voice.” Dumbest. thing. I’ve. heard. in. a. long. while.
Fun Fact: Rick Santorum finally figured out that he blew it by endorsing Arlen Specter: “Against the advice of my wife, I endorsed Arlen Specter. …How many times have I said this in my 20-plus years of marriage? I should have listened to my wife.”
PS: I do think Santorum is seriously considering a run at the presidency in 2012.
At about 4 PM on Saturday, I decided to take another swing through the exhibitions. I’d done a quick run through before, but I wanted to spend 30-40 minutes really looking through everything. Unfortunately, they had already shut down almost everything. There was only one booth on the hall that was still up and running…the John Birch Society.
I walked up to one of the people who was there, told him who I was (The guy didn’t sound like he was familiar with me), and flat out asked him what sort of “conspiracy theories” they buy into. He was very polite and gave me one right off the bat. He said that the Council on Foreign Relations is engaged in some sort of secret, bipartisan effort to build one world government. Then, I asked about the North American Union. Not only do they buy into it, he gave me some sort of movie to watch on it. I do plan to try to check it out (Maybe I can get a debunking post out of it), but I haven’t had the time yet.
Honestly, a group like the John Birch Society shouldn’t be allowed to be a sponsor of CPAC. Now, if they dumped the conspiracies, and simply focused on protecting American sovereignty, that would be a different matter. However, I suspect the kookier fringe brings in so much money and energy for a group the size of the Birchers that they can’t bear to give it up.
Non-Fun Fact: Conspiracy theorists and fringe groups are death for any mainstream group. But, on a smaller level, a group that accepts them into their ranks can sometimes benefit from their enthusiasm for a group that doesn’t laugh them off. In other words, some people would rather be a big ole crazy fish that will forever live in a small pond than a small, sane fish that has to try to compete in the ocean.
The only other thing that seemed to still be open in the vicinity was the Victory Solutions lounge. They make specialized phone equipment for campaign caller banks, loved having bloggers in their lounge, had out snacks, and had people like JD Hayworth and former RNC Chair candidate Saul Anuzis hanging around.
Anyway, after heading downstairs, I settled in for the final stretch which included the news that Ron Paul won the CPAC straw poll. When that was announced, it prompted a huge wave of boos from the crowd, which then cheered lustily for Mitt Romney. I think I was the only person in the crowd who loudly yelled “Mitt sucks.” Let me punctuate that by posting this atrocious picture of Romney I took during his speech that makes him look like he just ate 5 brownies laced with Ex-Lax,
I know, I know: “Why don’t you like Mitt, John?” Short answer: Because I think he’s the prototypical politician with no ideological core who’ll say or be anything it takes to get elected. Newsflash: When guys like that get to DC, they almost always end up stabbing conservatives in the back.
Sarah Palin came in third in the CPAC straw poll, which is no big surprise since she didn’t show up for the event and her aides foolishly trashed it (Huckabee did that, too. Dumb, dumb, dumb).
Long story short: How did Ron Paul win? The same way he wins online polls. Ron Paul’s supporters aren’t huge in number, but they’re fanatically dedicated. They show up. They have energy. They vote. They hand out flyers. They are willing to bust their behinds to promote Ron Paul. With less than one quarter of the attendees voting and the dominant candidate out of the running because she didn’t show, it was wide open for Ron Paul’s supporters and they took it home for him.
After the straw poll, it was time for the featured speaker: Glenn Beck.
I have to tell you: as a blogger who has done a few speeches, it is amazing to watch Beck work. He’s funny, he’s profound, he has a human touch, and he weaves fascinating historical references into his comments in an interesting way. He’s also phenomenal at changing the tone of his voice and using his body language in an expressive way to keep people focused on what he’s saying. Some people may not like his style, but personally, I admire how hard he works to get conservative ideas across in a way that holds people’s attention.
After Beck finished up, 15 of us met in the lobby and bounced out of the hotel for dinner. Finally, we ended up in a Lebanese restaurant. The food was wonderful, but it was so disorganized that it was like we were actually in Lebanon. They put us at one table, moved some of us, left some of us behind, gave us one set of menus, then said we couldn’t order off of them — long, long story.
Wrap-Up: As you may have guessed from reading this, I did make it back home alive despite the car problems — although I left an overhead light on in my car and the battery was dead as a doornail when I tried to leave the hotel. The car also cut off once while I was doing 70 MPH going down the road…you don’t care that much, do you? Where’s the love? Okay, okay…CPAC was a blast, well organized (Thanks to Lisa De Pasquale) and unlike some conservative events I’ve been to lately, it featured a very young crowd. All I can say is that if you can make it to CPAC next year, I’d highly recommend the event.