The Spectacle Blog

#CPAC2015: The Jeb Show

By on 2.27.15 | 2:56PM

They predicted that the crowd would be so fed up with Jeb Bush that they'd exit his question and answer period en masse right in the middle, but the only person who was even remotely exasperated about having to spend more than 20 minutes with Jeb Bush seemed to be Jeb Bush.

More than an hour ahead of his appearance, pro- and anti-Jeb forces amassed in the ballroom, staking out chairs and spots along the wall, the pro-Jebbers wearing bright orange "JEB!" stickers, the anti-'s mostly sporting Stand With Rand posters and an aggravated look. Both sides' anger and excitement were temporarily muted by Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson, who received the Breitbart Freedom of Speech Award and then gave a lengthy acceptance speech that featured a detailed look at the spread of sexually transmitted infections (specifically genital herpes) and several long quotes from the Founding Fathers. Then, having reassessed their sexual habits, the audience girded their loins for the latest Bush brother who emerged in a full suit to Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk." 

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Mr. Spock Goes End of Watch

By on 2.27.15 | 1:38PM

News has just reached me that Leonard Nimoy, who played the poker-faced and uber-logical Mr. Spock in Star Trek, the wildly popular sci-fi TV series in the sixties, has died at 83 at his Bel-Air home. Nimoy died of pulmonary disease, which he attributed to many years of smoking cigarettes. (Not a very logical habit, Mr. Spock.) 

Nimoy had a long and varied acting career, but he is best known for Spock, the half-man, half-alien Vulcan who played next to William Shatner’s Captain Kirk in Star Trek. As famous as the show is now, it may surprise some to know that it only ran for three seasons, 1966 to 1969 (during which time Spock successfully competed with LBJ for the most outrageous ears on the planet). But the crew of the Starship Enterprise stayed together for a nearly endless string of popular Star Trek movies (the last one being Star Trek, 73, Kirk’s Gums Go Bad).

Leonard Nimoy lived long. He prospered. RIP.

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Leonard Nimoy, R.I.P.

By on 2.27.15 | 1:23PM

Actor/director Leonard Nimoy has passed away of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 83.

Nimoy is, of course, known the world over for his portrayal of Spock on both the Star Trek TV and film series, directing both Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

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#CPAC2015: Jeans and Sweater Vests

By on 2.27.15 | 12:45PM

As the conference has gone on, the potential candidates have gotten increasingly casual. Thursday, they were wearing jackets. Yesterday, they were in shirtsleeves. Today, Rand Paul, fresh off a vote on the Hill showed up wearing jeans. If this conference went on for another couple of days, they'd be presenting naked. And frankly, I'm glad that's not going to happen.

Sen. Rand Paul was by far the most hotly anticipated of the speakers, mostly because kids have jammed themselves like sardines into his "Stand With Rand" booth, and are antsy after having to sit through a presentation by a former NSA director and then a John Bolton lecture. Rand Paul started with a quote that sounds like he's penning the Declaration of Independence himself, all over again. The Tri-corner hat guy is nowhere to be found, but if he were in the room, he'd be impressed.

"Lovers of Liberty must rise and stand with our forefathers who stared down the king. We must rise as free men and women and reclaim our birthright. We must protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic."

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The Strange, Sad Death of Tom Schweich

By on 2.27.15 | 11:35AM

Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich died yesterday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 54.

A Republican, Schweich had just been re-elected to a second term as State Auditor in November and only last month announced his intention to seek the GOP nomination for the 2016 Missouri gubernatorial race.

Schweich's wife made a 911 call only minutes after Schweich left a voice mail for Tony Messenger, the editorial page editor of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Schweich had wanted to invite a Post-Dispatch reporter along with a reporter from the AP to go public with allegations that Missouri Republican Chairman John Hancock was telling Republican primary voters he was Jewish. Schweich was Episcopal although his grandfather was Jewish. In his formal statement on Schweich's death, Messenger wrote in part:

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Ted Cruz Will Be Binge-Watching House of Cards This Weekend

By on 2.27.15 | 10:50AM

There's some controversy as to whether Ted Cruz's speech yesterday was great or the greatest speech of all time. But no matter which camp you fall in, one thing is for certain: Ted Cruz is ready for a break.

Talking to TMZ cameras yesterday outside the Gaylord where CPAC is being held, Ted Cruz gave a solid indication of how he plans to spend the weekend, after he’s finished voting, of course. Like the rest of America, he'll be binge watching season 3 of the hit Netflix political drama, House of Cards.

Sen. Ted Cruz plans to inhale this weekend ... Season 3 of “House of Cards.”

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#CPAC2015: The Morning Contenders

By on 2.27.15 | 10:28AM

Rick Perry is far better at mornings than I am. Rick Perry might be better at mornings than almost anyone.

This morning’s round of Presidential contenders featured the Texas governor and Sen. Marco Rubio, but where Rubio was steadfast and eminently relatable, Rick Perry was electric, energizing the tired audience with his trademark Texas-sized personality and his brand new hipster glasses. Being governor of Texas, after all, is like being the Prime Minister of a moderately-sized European country and Rick’s experience is the hallmark of his argument for support. 

Like most of yesterday’s potential candidates, Perry hit on economics, particularly as it pertains to the working class, and the President’s inability to execute a strong foreign policy, even in comparison to less typically mighty nations:

Egypt and Jordan recognize that they are at war with radical Islam, isn't it about time that our president proclaimed the same? We didn't start this war, nor did choose it, but we will have will to finish it.

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#CPAC2015: The Palin Purpose

By on 2.26.15 | 6:07PM

Before I start into her speech, let me just say that Palin, as a person, is unfailingly nice. So nice, in fact, that last night, she spent close to an hour in the hotel’s lobby bar taking selfies with college Republicans and shaking hands. She even took a photo with yours truly. And we need more people in the movement who are unfailingly nice. Because in this ridiculous line of work, literally no one is unfailingly nice.

To my great surprise — yes, I’ll admit it — Sarah Palin’s speech was not about Sarah Palin. She was tasked by CPAC to talk about veterans, and that’s what she did. As the mother of a veteran who has served in Iraq, she was well placed to give the address, and given a subject to talk about — a purpose — she did well, showing why she’s still important to the conservative movement, even if she’s long since passed out of political relevance.

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#CPAC2015: Walker-Palooza

By on 2.26.15 | 5:39PM

Scott Walker is a folk hero. Walking out without much fanfare, he took the stage with his sleeves rolled up and started talking about the Founding Fathers. It’s a tent revival.

And that makes sense. Scott Walker is headlining the Great American Revival, a plan to create more jobs, more opportunity, and, possibly, more speaking engagements that don’t require suit jackets. He has a profile for a leader that American needs and he’s certainly going to tell you about it. Because according to Governor Walker, he’s earned the ability to gloat a little, and given the response, I’m not sure anyone in the room would disagree.

Walker’s speech is not very different from the other speeches we’ve heard throughout the day: he focused on the middle class, he excoriated the Obama Administration for their lack of propriety in the arena of foreign affairs, and he outlined what he believes the Obama Administration is doing to destroy America. But unlike the other speeches we’ve heard today, Walker’s is a campaign stump speech complete with lines that are destined to follow him throughout his potential candidacy like:

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#CPAC2015 Afternoon Session: Christie, Carly, Cruz

By on 2.26.15 | 1:37PM

CPAC’s afternoon session featured a few more people, with big draws like Chris Christie and Ted Cruz filling the ballroom with countless college Republicans (only one pair around me seemed to make a love connection). They might have had to wake up a ballroom full of sleepy conference attendees this morning, but this afternoon’s speakers were playing to a house ready to jump out of their seats and applaud, and that’s pretty much what they did.

First up was Chris Christie, who chose to do a “talk show” format interview with radio host Laura Ingraham instead of speaking from the podium, and he certainly surprised the audience with his, well, maybe the best term for it is swagger. Chris Christie’s speeches aren’t always made to a national media, even though he acknowledged that what he does on a state level has national implications and makes for great fodder for national stories, if ony because the New York Times is right in his backyard. 

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