CPAC 2021 Orlando: Somewhat uncanceled Saturday (Sun. Live Stream)
ORLANDO, Saturday, February 27, 2021 — The 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference offered as its theme “America Uncanceled.” For the first two days, that narrative seemed to be accurate. With President Donald Trump expecting to light up the road on Sunday, Saturday was relatively quiet. Unfortunately, the narrative of Saturday was anything but “uncanceled.”
Even a charitable observation of the day would consider CPAC to be “somewhat uncanceled.”
The American Conservative Union did everything in its power to make the CPAC experience pleasant.
They made an excellent decision to move it out of pro-lockdown Maryland and D.C. and into anti-lockdown Florida. Florida is a free state, but unfortunately, Orlando is anything but free. Orange County, Florida is run by Democrats, and Democrats love lockdowns, mandates, and cancel culture.
The Hyatt Regency is facing criticism from both sides of the political spectrum. The left is angry that the Hyatt hosted CPAC at all. Yet conservatives bristled at the mask mandate that was enforced subjectively, arbitrarily, and in some cases, randomly. The state of Florida does not have a statewide mask mandate.
Some of the hotel staff at the Hyatt took outright glee in enforcing the mask mandate in a manner that made no sense.
The hotel lobby had people jumping all over attendees as soon as they entered the premises.
Before people could adjust their masks, they were scolded. Yet a few feet away in the hotel lobby bar, masks were few, far, and in-between. There was no rhyme or reason why the lobby bar would be safer than the lobby itself. Numerous people complained of being harassed over the mask issue when trying to take a simple sip of their beverage. People with water bottles in their hands barely had a chance to take a breath between multiple sips. Attendees were threatened with removal from the premises over sipping just a tad too long.
Attendees compared notes, and the stories were similar. For those wondering why the rules were stricter on Saturday than Friday, it is possibly because the COVID-19 virus does not exist on weekends?
The COVID virus is serious, but at some point, adults have to make adult choices. The American Conservative Union may have to find a city to host CPAC that either does not require masks or enforces the policy with some semblance of sanity. While Florida is still far freer than Cuba, Venezuela, New York, or California, the Hyatt Regency in Orlando should have consulted with ACU officials.
Canceling people from a convention dedicated to ending cancel culture is bizarre, especially for people supposedly in the hospitality industry.
Harassment aside, the attendees did get to see some of the biggest political rock stars past, present and future.
Dr. Ben Carson is still beloved. Unlike Jill Biden, Carson is a real doctor. His trademark humility was on full display since truly intelligent people do not need to spend every waking minute announcing how intelligent they are.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem may be America’s best executive at that level. She was feted everywhere she went, posing for pictures on the main stage and the hotel bar. She refused to ever lock down her state, allowing South Dakota to recover quickly and thrive economically. Former Trump campaign aide Corey Lewandowski traveled with her throughout the convention center.
Given his loyalty to the former President, he still has many supporters.
One of the most emotional moments of CPAC came with the appearance of James Golden.
Mr. Golden is nationally known as Mr. Bo Snerdley, the producer of the Rush Limbaugh show. Mr. Limbaugh’s recent departure from lung cancer had the entire conservative movement fighting back tears. Attendees held on to Mr. Snerdley’s words, given that he is the closest remaining living link to the great El Rushbo.
As much as people loved Limbaugh and still love Trump, the most beloved figure in the conservative movement still remains former President Ronald Reagan. The big nighttime attraction at CPAC was the Saturday night Ronald Reagan dinner.
This year the Ronald Reagan keynote speaker was Trump’s former Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The daughter of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is vying to become Arkansas Governor herself. Conservatives adore her for her relentless pushback against members of the media openly hostile to Trump and Republicans in general. The Young Jewish Conservatives had Shabbos programming all Saturday including morning services, a luncheon, a light evening meal, dinner services, and the Havdalah ritual commemorating the end of the weekly Sabbath.
Speakers of other communities came to offer solidarity. Of particular note was former NFL free safety, Jack Brewer. A Christian and a devoted family man, Brewer expressed his pride at standing with the Young Jewish Conservatives. Members of Congress also spoke of their love for Israel and the legislative actions they were taking to keep Israel safe.
Some Saturday night traditions took the year off.
Gone was the annual “Reaganpalooza” party that takes place in D.C. Those looking for Saturday night revelry had to settle for the hotel bar and private parties in hospitality suites. At least the bar was a demilitarized zone where masks were non-existent and the friendly conversations flowed. The Hyatt Regency staff understands that bullying people over masks at a bar is a good way to keep them from spending money on drinks. The financial bottom line still matters, which makes it all the more mystifying that non-conservatives in business still exist.
Once the people left the lobby bar, it was back to the lobby and the mask mandate. However, a few more feet meant the outside of the hotel and a return to freedom.
The relative quiet of Saturday will continue into Sunday morning with various prayer breakfasts by Catholic groups, Protestant groups, and the Young Jewish Conservatives. By Sunday afternoon, CPAC will be revved up to the highest level on the decibel meter. The biggest of the big dogs is in town, and Trump’s keynote speech is expected to be a raucous affair.
There is no word yet on whether hotel staff will remove Trump in mid-speech if he takes his mask off to have a sip of water.