I have a new expletive or two for really, really, really bad “screw ups”: one is CPAC and the other is the name of one particular rude CPAC staffer I encountered.
I’ve had a miserable time at CPAC, the only shining moments were Governor Rick Perry’s speech, Andrew Brietbart’s rant about Obama and the “silver pony-tail gang”, and the Presidential Banquet with Paul Ryan’s talk and the privilege of meeting some wonderful Conservatives. I was especially struck by one panelist’s comment that the proof that faith and family are priorities and that the proof is that the TEA Party hasn’t literally formed a third party.
I’ll complain about the Convention itself later, but, first, the Politics!
Here at CPAC, virtually everyone who finds out I’m from Texas told me they were rooting for Perry and/or that he was their first choice. The exceptions were one who switched over from Sarah Palin, two that were interested in Cain, and one Ron Pauler; all but the Pauler had supported Perry while he was in the race.
Governor Perry’s speech was extraordinary and had more passion and truth than all the current candidates’ speeches. He gave the boldest speech so far.
For the Powers That Be, all the candidates should have acted like they were at CPAC. Early in the speeches, we needed to hear their conservative ideas, social issues, and self-criticism of their past mistakes, preferably with a passionate conversion story, preferably one that made us all know how strong and permanent the change has been. At CPAC convince us that you could smell the brimstone and feel the singe of the heat.
Instead: We got Santorum’s very sad-faced family and 20 minutes of foot-stomping and whining without any substantial plan, Romney’s wide-eyed gaze at us, and his assumption that he’s already won and we’d better study his 50 page plan. Newt not only had his friend introduce Saint Calista, but Newt himself gave us big government plans to *replace* the EPA with a new Federal bureaucracy and *reform* the FDA, both of which should be abolished and their regulations returned to the States.
And now, to my own rant about the Conference: I have a new expletive or two for really, really bad times: one is CPAC and the other is the name of the incredibly rude staffer I encountered on Thursday
My husband and I have attended several very large conventions (The Texas Straw poll in ’07, the Value Voters Summit in DC in ’08, American Academy of Family Physicians with up to 10,000 in attendance, the National Pawnbroker’s Convention, and the Texas Republican State Convention, etc.) The system and facilities for CPAC2012 are the worst I’ve ever experienced.
The Marriott’s too small, the ballroom was set up wrong, and no one could have designed a more dangerous traffic pattern, even without the Mormon missionaries standing shoulder to shoulder, blocking traffic in the halls and lobbies.
I could never recommend that anyone pay for “Platinum Package.” Several people have said that they should have saved the money and gone “Diamond.” And it turns out that there’s another level of Very, Very Important People, but none of the rest of us get to even glimpse them.
I’m told that all previous CPACs offered less security rules and presence and more access to the Candidates and celebrities. That access was exactly why I asked my husband to buy me the “Platinum Package” tickets for my birthday this year. I also signed up for Blogger credentials (free), as well.
Well, there was no access.
The bloggers were divided weeks ago into the in-crowd and the rest of us.
And money can’t buy happiness, either. I’ve been in more lines this week than I thought possible, and there has been very little of the promised “special lines.” Even the “VIP entrance” is a joke: I’ve been stopped more than half the time and then still fight the fire-hazard crowds in the single in/out aisle. On the first day, I couldn’t find and empty chair in the “Platinum/Diamond” area until after noon. The Platinum Balconies offer little or no view and the food is available for very limited times.
The opportunity to hear the 3 main candidates in one day and to meet some great Conservatives is the only benefit I’ve seen this week at CPAC. (You can follow my tweets @bnuckols )