Just got back from CPAC 2010, which surpassed my expectations in every single way. I’d recommend that every conservative attend at some point. CPAC is an exciting environment, and anyone even moderately conservative will feel welcome and at home.
(SCROLL DOWN TO THE BOLDED ‘SPEAKERS’ TITLE TO BYPASS MY PERSONAL ANECDOTE BELOW)!
Kendra and I arrived in DC late on Wednesday night. I’ll remind you that I lived in northwest DC during summer 2008, so I’m very familiar with the area. I stayed at American University while interning in northern Virginia, and it was legitimately the best time of my life. I was 19 years old, excited to be on the east coast, and in complete adoration of my new friends at American University.
I felt right at home in D.C. Sometimes I feel I should have been born there or New York rather than in California, which has been, for most of my life, an uninspiring place for writing/journalism. D.C. is basically the ideal place for me with regards to writing opportunities. Maybe that’s why I just fell in love with D.C. two summers ago.
There was snow on the ground, but the weather wasn’t super chilly. Thank God for missing the big storms.
Thursday was the most exciting day at CPAC.
I stood a few feet away from Mitt Romney, met Tucker Carlson, caught up with Mary Katharine Ham, who I briefly worked with while interning at Townhall, and chatted with the other Townhall workers. I worked at Townhall two summers ago, and that was also a phenomenal experience for me. I’d really love to be employed there once I graduate, if they’ll have me, and believe me, I’ve been bugging them like no other!
The speakers were great, for the most part. I was really proud to see CPAC’ers boo an anti-gay college guy off the stage.
I liked seeing Marco Rubio, who I hope will win senate in Florida. Michele Bachmann spoke for 45 minutes instead of her slated 15 minute slot. These individuals made fun of Arlen Specter a lot, and for good reason! Traitor. There was minimal Obama-bashing, to my surprise…I feel like the jokes have gotten so old and dull for everybody.
The crowd had a mixed, mostly negative reaction to the speech by Ron Paul, who isn’t necessarily popular with conservatives. His foreign policy theories make me and many others cringe. The entire audience booed when the poll results showed that Ron Paul was voted the favorite CPAC 2010 speaker. For the most part, Ron Paul probably has a few hardcore followers, but the majority of CPAC’ers seemed pretty displeased with his presence, even though he was the final speaker on Thursday. CPAC typically leaves the most anticipated speaker for the end of the day.
It was awesome when Dick Cheney made a surprise visit to the stage. His daughter Liz was scheduled to talk, and she brought along her dad. “Run Dick, run!” everyone yelled, to which Cheney responded, “KNOCK IT OFF!”
Cheney basically flat-out told everyone that he won’t be running for president in 2012. It’s cool.
Scott Brown spoke as well, but I missed it because I was in the VIP room right next to Romney…for five seconds.
I also liked seeing Newt Gingrich speak, and there were of course a few interesting unknowns up at the podium. The panels on Climategate and college campus indoctrination presented fascinating points.
Though I can’t remember her name, a wonderful Irish woman called Avatar a “beautiful, idiotic film.” I still haven’t seen the movie, so I cannot comment, but I do know that I would never pay money to see it or support James Cameron.
Ann Coulter took the stage at noon on Saturday. I’ll admit that I was feeling sick to my stomach right before her speech, and I was dehydrated for the duration of Glenn Beck’s performance. Not fun, but I’m so glad I sat through my discomfort to watch them, they were the most memorable and inspirational, particularly Glenn Beck as he talked about hitting rock bottom as an alcoholic.
I’m really disappointed that Ann Coulter spoke for less than ten minutes. Way to short change us all. She was ready to leave as soon as she marched up to the podium, and that’s unfair to CPAC. I don’t agree with half of what she says, but I cannot doubt that she’s riveting and entertaining. You can’t take your eyes off her when she speaks. I don’t like that she’s so hard on gays and non-Christians, but she has good points on fiscal responsibility.
She seemed in a rush to get off stage, and that was off putting. “I need to catch a flight!” she repeated a million times, and it just seemed really disrespectful to everyone who showed up at CPAC. Yeah, we know you’re busy, but you were the ONLY speaker to seem so eager to leave. It’s a privilege to ralk at CPAC…
More than anything, I was unsatisfied that I couldn’t see more of her. Do I agree with everything she says? Not at all, and I hate that she’s so mean to gays and non-Christians, but she’s definitely fascinating to watch. I like Keith Olbermann’s show for the same reason. He’s a total lunatic, but he’s hilarious and fun on camera. I can’t get enough of these pundits, whether or not I see eye-to-eye with them.
Glenn Beck, the keynote speaker, was the most entertaining speaker and certainly the funniest, and I’ll admit that I cried when he talked about the time when he lay in the fetal position on his apartment carpet 15 years ago, feeling he destroyed his life and tore apart his family as a result of his alcohol abuse.
“I can either die, or fix my life,” he said, and he chose to live and overcome alcoholism.
He’s an excellent advocate for making change in one’s life, and he reminded us all that to worry and to suffer is a choice. We can let ourselves be miserable, or we can be pro-active. As conservatives, we should always be looking for ways to sort through our issues rather than just cry about all that’s going wrong for us. Kudos to the promotion of self-reliance and inner strength. We are all in the driver’s seat of our lives. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
I’m actually unfamiliar with his TV show and background, but he made me laugh several times during his speech. He kind of made excuses for Tiger Woods, and that wasn’t cool. Tiger Woods is an absolute disgrace. He destroyed his family, disrespected his wife, and thought he could get away with everything. Cheating is never warranted, but perhaps one instance is more understandable than what Woods did. If he wanted to sleep around, he never should have gotten married. I have no problem with men who do this as long as they remain unattached. You can’t have it all, though. If you want to have a good family life, don’t cheat on your wife with multiple women.
Don’t get me started on Tiger Woods…
With that, Glenn Beck was amusing. I still wish he didn’t discreetly excuse Tiger Woods, though. He didn’t exactly EXCUSE Tiger Woods. He mainly said, “Of course Woods is sorry, he got caught!” Beck also said something along the lines of how much fun Woods must have been having until it all had to be over. I don’t think that there’s anything positive to be said about Tiger Woods and I was frustrated that Beck would even remotely defend this selfish jerk.
A bunch of college kids got up and spoke on Thursday, and some of them were extremely arrogant, especially considering how unimpressive and average they were! Trevor and I spent a lot of time laughing about this. The UA College Republican club has done a lot more than some of these college speakers, and we would never be so boastful at CPAC. I’d be polite and thankful to get up on that stage. What’s with college kids and this embarrassing sense of entitlement?
It was kind of funny to see them get booed after saying things like, “I know you’re all really here today to see me.” An audience member would immediately yell “RON PAUL!” or “GLENN BECK!” That’s the ugly truth. Be humble or don’t blabber into the microphone. CPAC’ers do not take kindly to braggarts, especially bratty college boys who don’t know a thing about life.
Memory Lane (All about my summer 2008 D.C. experience, you may want to skip over this if you don’t want to read my sentimental thoughts).
I had a nice time wandering around the city with the others. On day two, I dragged the two Kendra’s to Tenleytown, where I lived during DC summer 2008.
I actually showed them the residence hall that I lived in at American University-Tenley campus.
Call it dorky, but that place brings back incredible memories.
That’s just about the worst living condition I’ve ever experienced, and it was the greatest time of my life so far. The building was over 80 years old, the showerheads barely exerted any water, the bathrooms were perpetually disgusting, and the rooms were spartan, but I had so much fun with the people I met and hung out with.
The Kendra’s and I traveled to my old dorm room, which is now a room for three boys instead of two girls. The girl’s bathroom, which was inconveniently located at the end of the hall, is now a men’s restroom. The men’s restroom, which was placed RIGHT next to my bedroom, is now the women’s bathroom.
I miss summer 2008, but I can sort of have the same experience again if I move to DC, which I absolutely love more than any other city in the world. Everyone is well-informed, there is so much going on, the weather isn’t too horrible, the people are interesting in different ways, etc. I want to be back in D.C. I went into a major funk at the start of junior year because I missed D.C. so much.
Tribute to the UACR Club
Anyway, I did a lot of great things this week, and it was a much needed break from school, Tucson, etc.
Thank you to the UA College Republicans for being such awesome people and so unbelievably fun to be around. I definitely want to attend more club meetings this year as well as see everyone on a regular basis.
Everyone stayed up pretty late each night, and it was awesome that we all got so close. It’s not always easy for me to feel 100% comfortable with a huge group of people, but I felt completely welcome with everyone in the UACR’s, all the time.
Plus, we got to talk politics, and that’s always fun for me. I don’t share the exact same views as everyone else, but we had interesting discussions about a myriad of topics. Yay for intellectually stimulating conversation.
I didn’t want to stay out too late any evening. I definitely went out every night, but I wasn’t up until 5 a.m. like certain others. This trip was supposed to be restorative for me in some ways. I wanted a break from all sorts of conflict and complication, and getting enough rest was a good way for me to stay healthy, nice, and apathetic to any minor issues that would otherwise trouble me.
I was, however, happy for my younger CR friends who barely slept because they were having such a good time hanging out with the others. It’s good to see my friends do well. There’s nothing that makes me smile more than that.
At 4:20 a.m., Kendra and Coty had to walk the other Kendra to her shuttle. They waited outside my hotel door, which they’d left wide open. I woke up and got confused as to why the door was ajar, and I immediately flipped out and assumed that someone had walked into our room while I was asleep. I got disoriented, leaped out of bed, and, in my half-conscious state, yelled at the Kendra’s and Coty for being loud. The looks on their faces were priceless and will forever remain in my memory. It was really hysterical. I was totally not awake, yet I was being so rude in my cat pajamas (I have two pairs). Ten seconds later, I realized what I’d done and ran back to bed.
It’s nice to be surrounded by people who aren’t weirded out by odd behavior like that. We laughed it off. We’re all tolerant and patient with each other, and nothing shocks us. I’m grateful to have been part of the UACR’s for four years. I’ve met some of the coolest people ever in that organization. I feel the same way about the Arizona Daily Wildcat staff as well, but I’ve been a CR member since day one of freshman year, so I will always be indebted to that club for providing me with awesome friends back when I was a loner freshman crying myself to sleep every night. Thanks Ry Ellison, Dyanna, Brice McCoy, Nasira, Blake, Mikey, and Joey Chadwick for having my back in the CR’s back then <3
This week, I've learned that I spend a lot of my time defending my political views to my friends and family, and this is ridiculous. No one should try to change me, nor should they make me feel bad about my views. I don't go around calling them socialist communists, even though I totally could. If I want to enjoy watching Fox News and believe that capitalism is the best option for this country, let me be and don't make personal attacks.
I will always love my friends and family, but I am beyond fed up with them shaming me for this. It should not be this way at all.
Besides, life would be so boring if we all agreed on everything.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, it's back to the grind tomorrow. CPAC is an awesome event, and it's worth going to, even in the snow.