CPAC: The Conservative Movement’s Confusing Conference

Monday, February 13th, 2012

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CPAC 2012 seemed surreal. The event was anchored by two staunch conservatives.

Thursday, Governor Rick Perry gave a rousing speech with multiple standing ovations. Saturday, Governor Sarah Palin gave a barn burner of a speech, firing up the crowd. She deftly dealt with protesters. She painted a soaring vision.

Sandwiched in between these speeches: Moderately interesting political speeches from Santorum, then Mitt, then Newt.

Internet connectivity was spotty to an enraging degree. I couldn’t write, upload, and sometimes even tweet. Any coverage I did give, came via my phone and 3G.

Aside: This is the fourth time I’ve been to CPAC and this is the fourth time the internet has been a problem. If they want their event to be reported effectively, you’d think the organizers would make the investment into some serious bandwidth.

A couple people asked me how I felt CPAC compared to years past. Well, in 2008, Mitt Romney got out of the race at CPAC and there were multitudes of weeping Romneybots there. Mitt Romney still won the straw poll that year.

Romney edged out Santorum for the CPAC Straw Poll this year. In years past, paid Romneybots or Ronulans stuffed the vote. It was a competition to see who could win. The Straw Poll has never mattered, but the press loves to blab about it anyway. That Santorum came so close to winning this year is somewhat significant. He must have some organic following amongst the faithful to even compete with Romney’s Straw poll ballot-stuffing machine.

Generally, the energy just didn’t seem to be there for CPAC this year–not like I think it should be during an election year. Does it concern me for November? Yes, it does. This should be a shoe-in year for Republicans. I’m afraid it’s going to be close because our candidates can’t articulate a clear, inspiring vision. We’ll see.

Some fun moments included the Paul Begala – Tucker Carlson slap fight, Andrew Breitbart’s rousing speech and the promo for the Hating Breitbart movie, and Steve Crowder and Chris Loesch’s parody rap (watch for the N-word–lefties fell right into the trap).

Mostly, CPAC is about networking. On that account, it was a spectacular success.

Some years back, Hillary Clinton groused about a “vast right-wing conspiracy”. That statement was laughable when she said it. Now, there’s a right-wing network. No, it’s not the top-down MMFA-Obama machine fueled by Journolist like on the left. The more a patchwork of people who tolerate each other and work together when forced to achieve a useful end. Ever try to rangle a hoard of one-man-bands? Well. The bands are starting to become aware of one another, work together, and help promote each other’s work. It’s heartening.

A couple events help with that. For the third year, Ali Akbar, Aaron Marks and I decided to torture ourselves by throwing a party for bloggers. Microsoft on the dreaded K-street hosted and the party was an alcohol-soaked success. As John Brodigan says, the proponents of limited government are not for limited alcohol. See also karaoke.

At the Blogbash awards were given by and for bloggers. They weren’t the only ones. The TeaParty.net presented some awards, too.

Winners included Michelle Malkin (legacy award), Andrew Breitbart (changing the narrative — Weiner Press Conference), Ezra Dulis (video–Attack Watch), Jimmie Bise (podcast–The Delivery), RB Pundit (Twitter–@RBPundit), Peter List (Activism — unions), Lisa DePasquale (friend of bloggers), Jason Hart (state level blogger of the year — Ohio politics), True The Vote & Catherine Englebrecht (bloggers stand with), James O’Keefe & Project Veritas (Sunlight–New Hampshire voter registration fraud) and John Sexton who won both investigative post AND Blogger of the year for work at Verum Serum with Morgen Richmond.

One heartening part of CPAC: Hollywood types are starting to come out of the closet. Kirk (Growing Pains) Cameron spoke for the first time. Allen Covert and Dan Kessler launched their patriotic iPhone/iPad app CherryTree for children. I saw Chuck Wollery on Radio Row.

CPAC seemed better and more discouraging than in past years. Better because it was wonderful to make more new friends and renew old acquaintances. Worse because I believe that the country is moving leftward both morally and fiscally to our eventual demise. Conservative actions are spreading locally and at the state level. Nationally, conservatism is voiceless and leaderless and that’s too bad.



Bloggers Honoring Bloggers: Award Nominees To Be Voted On At Blogbash CPAC

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Blogbash was created for one purpose: to honor the unpaid, activist bloggers who are making a huge difference in the conservative movement. They are, as Pamela Gellar said, “the ones who will change the world.”

This year, we’re adding something special: A tangible way for bloggers to honor bloggers by nominating posts, blogs, tweets, podcasts for awards. Seeing all the amazing things bloggers have done over 2011 in one place is inspiring.

Below, you’ll find the nominations for the different awards and you bloggers will be able to vote for the winners.

You’ll also note the categories of awards to be chosen by committee.

This is so exciting! Please tweet this post and share all the great work bloggers are doing!

See you Thursday!

Activism Post

(The Right Sphere) Brandon Kiser, Editor and (Tea Party Brew) Dennis Pedrie, Editor — Greater Food Bank of Boston/Occupy Boston, encouraging readers to donate
(RedState) Breanne Howe, Writer
(LaborUnionReport) Peter List, Writer

Investigative Post

Welfare Reform (Christine Rousselle – The College Conservative)
Occupy Wall Street (John Sexton – Verum Serum)
Weiner-Gate (Ace – Ace of Spades)

Sunlight Post

James O’Keefe, Project Veritas, New Hampshire Voter Fraud Expose
Matt Boyle, Daily Caller, Fast & Furious
Doug Powers, at Michelle Malkin on Solyndra

Best in Show: Podcast

Jimmie Bise, The Delivery Show
Andrew Lawton & Ben Swenson, Strictly Right
Fingers Malloy, The Snark Factor

Best in Show: Twitter

@rumpfshaker (Sarah Rumpf)
@iowahawkblog (David Burge)
@RBPundit Rebel Pundit

Best in Show: Video

Attack Watch: Ezra Dulis, Misfit Politics
New Hampshire Voter Fraud: James O’Keefe, Project Veritas
The Story of Citizens United, A Critique, Lee Doren

In addition, there are more awards that will be awarded, selected by a Blog Bash panel of your esteemed colleagues, including:

Best State-level Blogger
Changing the Narrative
Friend to Bloggers (Julie Laughridge Award)
Bloggers Stand With…

We will honor one pioneer blogger with the Legacy Award. And, of course, we will honor the Blogger of the Year.

Learn more at Blogbash.org



#Righton Interview: Ed Morrissey of Hotair Interviewed Me At Right Online

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Here’s the link. Ed Morrissey and I have a great time together. I look forward to when he comes on my show.



The Bleat

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

James Lileks Now Officially Blogs
With comments!



Pictures from Americans For Prosperity-RightOnline-Samsphere Conference, Austin, Texas

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

Americans for ProsperityRightOnlineSam Adams Alliance conference in Austin, Texas:

Eric Peterkofsky talking about reaching conservative youths through humor and new media. He creates Newsbusted, the humor arm of Newsbusters.

David Almacy speaking about all the ways to reach people with the conservative message through new media. David blogs at CapitalGig and was the internet guy for President Bush.

Soren Dayton teaching about more new media ideas. He’s a bright guy and blogs and edits at TheNEXTRight.

Kathleen McKinley aka RightWingSparkle, Danny Glover of Eyeblast.tv and the Media Research Center, and Dan Gainor, The Boone Pickens Fellow of the Business and Media Institute of the Media Research Center.


Eric Peterkofsky and Kathleen McKinley have lots of fun. Hey, Conservatives know how to party, too! We proved it.


Eating dinner with some of the most interesting people: John Hawkins of Right Wing News, Danny Glover, Kathleen McKinley, Steve Clouthier, Sean Hackbarth of The American Mind, Dan Gainor, Frank Maenza. (There are a couple guys at the end, who I didn’t get the opportunity to spend time with, if you know them, let me know!)