WASHINGTON, DC, March 6, 2014 — CPAC is seen as just a gathering of conservatives to hear speeches by politicians seeking the presidency. CPAC is so much more and most of the action happens far away from the main stage.
Yes, Texas Senator Ted Cruz is a phenomenal speaker. Yet what makes CPAC successful is the thousands of people coming together to share ideas. From the currently famous to the young budding superstars, the first day of CPAC 2014 featured so many different events that it was impossible to take part in them all.
Although CPAC traditionally begins on a Thursday, the day before offers plenty of action. Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform has his weekly Wednesday meeting. While the session is off the record, it is a fantastic networking prequel to CPAC for policy and political junkies.
CPAC 2014 Thursday featured many independent film stars, including the great “Fracknation” which dispels the myths of the dangers of hydraulic fracking. While Donald Trump gave one speech to the official CPAC audience, he then came to one of the meeting rooms set up by Citizens United and gave a completely different speech that inspired a new generation of leaders. Citizens United was victorious in the big free speech court case that had President Obama fuming and Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito whispering that Obama’s criticisms were “not true.”
Hospitality suites were everywhere. People as diverse as Congressman Louis Gohmert of Texas and comedian Kevin Jackson of “The Black Sphere” greeted by eager attendees. The evening had more celebrating and networking than most people could fathom.
Grover Norquist had a celebration for international attendees, who came from every corner of the world to share in conservatism. Conservative satirist Evan Sayet spoke at the IJ Review gathering. Sayet’s book “The Kindergarten of Eden” has been publicly praised by Rush Limbaugh.
Then came “Blog Bash.” Last year Blog Bash was run by Ali Akbar, with attendees given t-shirts emblazoned with the late Andrew Breitbart. This year Blog Bash was emceed by Mary Katharine Ham, with Tabitha Hale putting in plenty of hard work at various functions. Ham and Hale represent the new breed of young conservatives that are accomplished, smart, and yes, telegenic.
The biggest rock star of that event was Colonel Allen West, who as always took time for every fan who approached him. The most popular t-shirt read “Free Dinesh D’Souza,” who has been indicted by Obama’s Department of Justice for exercising his First Amendment rights in a way Obama disagrees with.
Not all of the biggest celebrities were politicians. Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal and foreign policy veteran K.T. McFarland were there to share their thoughts with eager consumers of information. Radio row was bustling. As with everything else, the conservative movement is just not the old, white cranky relic that the left desperately wishes it to be. Young minority hosts from Dana Loesch to David Webb have pumped a vibrant air into the conservative movement that appears to be here to stay.
READ ALSO: CPAC Update: Paul Ryan addresses CPAC
Friday is expected tone a big day for the Young Jewish Conservatives, who will be putting on a special Friday night Shabbos (sabbath) dinner. The Hispanic community also has their big CPAC event put together by Manuel Rosales, the National Chairman of the Latino National Republican Coalition.
As if all of that were not enough, throw in three days of phenomenal conservative speakers on the main stage.