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CPAC puts the “party” back in the Republican Party.
Jesse the hotel security man was at the door, and Jesse was not happy. Our suite at Washington’s Omni Shoreham Hotel was crammed with journalists, bloggers, activists, publicists, think-tank wonks and sundry other guests, and by 10 p.m. perhaps we were becoming a bit loud.
What had originally been planned by myself and investigative journalist Matthew Vadum as a small get-together for VIPs at last year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) had turned into a monster party. Guests had invited friends, other people had gotten wind of the event and invited themselves, and the soiree had overflowed from the suite out onto the balcony outside.
Half an hour before Jesse showed up, a talk-radio producer had climbed atop a sofa and led the crowd in a boisterous singalong. When the security man knocked at the door, Vadum answered and promised to try to keep things quiet henceforth. Jesse, however, was adamant: The party was over, and all the guests would have to leave.
I was called to the door to attempt to reach a reasonable compromise, but Jesse — a man the size of a professional football linebacker — was not interested in compromise, reasonable or otherwise. Then Bob Barr showed up.
Barr, the former Republican congressman from Georgia who eventually became the Libertarian Party’s 2008 presidential candidate, joined the negotiations. But not even an erstwhile member of the House Judiciary Committee could persuade Jesse to let the party continue. “Everybody out,” the security man insisted.
Some conspiracy theorists blamed the premature end of the VIP party on liberal bias, suggesting that perhaps Jesse was a Democrat who resented conservatives having fun.
Myself, I blame Mitt Romney.
Eight hours before the VIP party convened in our suite, Romney had announced to a packed crowd in the hotel’s Regency Ballroom that he was suspending his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. In effect, Romney’s withdrawal meant that Arizona Sen. John McCain — or as I had begun calling him, “Crazy Cousin John” — would be the GOP nominee.
Conservatives were profoundly disappointed by this development. Romney hadn’t been first choice for many of them, but after Newt Gingrich’s flirtation with a primary campaign had turned out to be a tease, and after the Fred Thompson bandwagon fizzled, the former Massachusetts governor had been the last best hope of the ABM (Anybody But McCain) movement.
When Mitt quit, some of his heartbroken supporters made a beeline to the lobby bar seeking solace for their sorrows, and by the time the VIP party convened at 8 p.m., a few of the guests had been drinking since noon. Fun? Brother, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a “family values” advocate after her sixth margarita.
CPAC is, of course, the world’s largest gathering of conservative activists, and a great deal of serious activism is on the agenda when the three-day conference begins Thursday morning with a welcome speech by David Keene of the sponsoring American Conservative Union. CPAC director Lisa De Pasquale has once again organized a splendid schedule of speeches, seminars and other events, with a record attendance of more than 5,000 expected.
Yet for all wonderful events on the official agenda — including speeches by Ann Coulter, Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele — much of the fun at CPAC is unscheduled and unofficial.
When I try to describe it to friends who’ve never attended, I tell them CPAC is like Mardi Gras for right-wingers. Or as Wendy Sullivan says, “It’s like what you see on MTV’s Spring Break, but with pearls and navy blue suits.”
Perhaps we exaggerate somewhat. It’s not a decadent bacchanalia, but neither is it a meeting of the Southern Baptist Sunday School board. There are some people who think the phrase “conservative” is a synonym for such words as uptight, boring and repressed. But most of those people are liberals who get these stereotypes from “Saturday Night Live” sketches or Frankfurt School propaganda.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online