Skip to comments.A Love/Hate Relationship With CPAC
Posted on 03/09/2014 6:58:08 AM PDT by Kaslin
Its over. The 50th Annual Conservative Political Action Conference has ended, and it was everything Id hoped and feared it would be. Once again, it wasnt far from being great. I just wish it were.
I look forward to it every year, and hate it while its happening. Ive never thought much about why before, but this year, it hit me. Its an opportunity that far too often is wasted.
Im a cynical person, always have been. So while that may be a part of this, it only clouds my attitude, not my thoughts.
CPAC brings together thousands of conservatives from across the country and around the world, which is important. Theyre all engaged or interested in politics to one degree or another, but theyre all underserved by CPAC, and they underserve each other.
Were all there for our own reasons the engaged attendees, the speakers, the elected officials, the pundits and some of it has to do with egos. And this leads many of the biggest stars to insulate themselves from the general audience either by having staff run interference for them or by never entering areas where they could interact with actual attendees.
This is understandable to a certain extent theyre busy people, especially the politicians. But CPAC doesnt sneak up on anyone. If they truly wanted to take the time to speak with real activists and college kids who, at least for a weekend, view themselves as future leaders, they could do so in heartbeat. But they dont.
Most members of Congress be they ballroom speakers or just there to hit radio row blow through CPAC, do their business and leave. They may do a book signing or a VIP meet-and-greet. But aside from some glad-handing as they walk the halls, they dont often take the time to engage the real people whove traveled long distances and spent a lot of money to be there. For most attendees a quick selfie with someone they admire is enough, especially in this social media-obsessed culture where it didnt happen if you didnt tweet a picture of it. But it doesnt move the ball.
Its getting harder and harder to go to CPAC and be inspired. There are stirring speeches and red meat flung from the stage to a hungry crowd. But it makes little difference anymore. Maybe its because Ive heard it all before, sometimes from the same people. But it just didnt resonate.
There was no call to arms, no call to action, just fiery speeches that were a mile-wide and an inch deep. To those of us who work in politics, it was boring; to those who dont, it was empty calories.
Ive complained about this for some time and fear I will have to continue to complain about it for a while longer there simply is nothing approaching a bold vision coming from conservatives, libertarians or Republicans right now. Theres only a theme: Democrats suck, were not Democrats, lets get rid of Democrats! Vote Republican!
There always will be some politicians who have to play it safe, and I understand that. But nobody now is taking the risk of offering a sweeping vision of the future. Nothing said from the stage will change anyones mind. No one hurt themselves with their speeches or lost supporters, but none won any either. The suspected 2016 candidates played it as safe as Nerf baseball.
The non-politicians arent much better.
CPAC draws all kinds of narcissists from the conservative movements past. People who do matter, who are making a difference and will take the time to attend and engage people are increasingly few and far between. Far more common are the aging, alcoholic has-beens who loiter on radio row hoping to be grabbed for a last-minute interview so passers-by will think they matter again pimping books nobody wants to read, or those still milking every last ounce of having been the Deputy Assistant Undersecretary of Taking the Trash Out for the last two weeks of the Reagan administration.
Theyre there to be seen, to feed their egos, to sell themselves, to have drinks bought for them, and to feel important. What they arent there to do is make a difference, to educate and inspire anyone. They peacock around hoping to be recognized by anyone so they can claim surprise and fake humility if someone does.
What none of this does is advance the cause.
This is not all CPACs fault. Its natural for parasites and politicians to act this way when a group gathers. But what CPAC lacks is a genuine opportunity for attendees to participate, to question, to speak. Aside from a few questions here and there, the information flow was a one-way street. People did get information, but there was no way to ensure they could message it themselves. And if CPAC should be anything it should be an annual jumping off point that allows attendees to imbibe information and disseminate it to the people they know back home. Spending three days being talked to, rather than engaged with, is not the most effective use of energy.
CPAC would be better served by less star power from the stage (it needs some) and more engagement with the audience. How to message, how not to, facts, figures, history. If CPAC isnt empowering every attendee to go home fully armed with information to educate others and an understanding and strategy on how and when to do it, its spinning its wheels.
Conservatives dont lose because progressives have better ideas. They lose because they are terrible at conveying those ideas. Progressives couch their failed ideas in conservative language, they lie to people; CPAC should be the hub for spreading the antidote to those lies. Its not.
Polling shows the American public leans to the right on nearly every major issue, but far more people vote to the left. The media is never going to expose this disconnect, individuals have to. CPAC brings together an army of people who can do just that, to spread the truth like a cold on a plane, but it only arms them with some of the tools to do the job.
A bullet and a gun are not very useful separately, but together they have changed the world. CPAC needs to retool and refocus to fully arm attendees with the information they need and the knowledge of how to use it so they can change the world too. If done properly, their next 50 years will more successful than the last 50 have been. If they dont, the next 50 years will be an Atkins diet of red meat from the stage and electoral losses come November.
Bla bla bla
See you all next year!
We’re horrible at conveying the message because we are wired differently than the other 90% of the populace.
I say 90%, because while you may get a majority of the people to say “hey, your ideas really make sense”, most of the people don’t think like we do naturally.
I don’t have to be reinforced with conservative logic and reason on a regular basis. Politicians don’t have to convince me of their Reagan-esque qualities. Rather, they have to convince me they’re not lying before I bother looking into their viewpoints.
We have lost the nation to piss poor education, handouts, laziness, and moral destruction in a vicious, repeating cycle over the last 100 years.
The author is right in the sense that it’s simply shallow red meat, without a call to arms.
We are at the point where a call to arms, or secession, are the only solutions that will work.
We are either unwilling, or unable to change the things that would put us back on the right course.
That about sums it up for me...the same thing is true of all these scandal hearings, just blah, blah, blah, till it all just gradually goes away.
Like what ever happened to Fast and Furious?
Did you write this ? :-P
The great conservative champion Sen. Robert A. Taft (R-Ohio) hated practices such as kissing babies on the campaign trail, which he considered "ballyhoo." But you have to do that sort of thing to win over the low-information voters.
The same thing that happened to all of the scandals of the Clinton presidency. They just faded away. Fast and Furious would have sunk a Republican presidency.
To my point, we’ve allowed people to get stupid enough, and reinforced their stupidity for so long, that “ballyhoo” is all you can really do on a campaign.
I’ve no interest garnering the votes of people too stupid to understand reality. You may get their vote, but then you’ll also get their ire when you don’t give them the right entitlements.
Derek Hunter, who wrote this article is asking for RED MEAT. Yet he himself, is too CHICKEN to highlight the issues he is interested in and to name Names of people who either did NOT deliver or who where a waist of time - In His Opinion.
Yes - Bla-Bla-Bla
You are absolutely correct. It is why we sitting here, or sitting at CPAC, or sitting in any other VERY small group nodding like a majority is going to agree with us is about the quickest road to extincting that we can take.
They haven’t agreed yet and they will agree less and less at this rate.
All too often, we are confronted with pleas [bleats, actually] of pragmatism, seeming realist views of how ‘Republican’ is the last hope, even if it is riddled with appeasing coward RINOs whose life’s mission is placation, 2nd tier power and the ease of go-along-get-along with their ‘good friends’ across the aisle. After all, the lesser of two evils is better than no good at all, isn’t it?
Camel Dung! Our own RINOs capitulate in our name with Cloture votes and ‘show votes’ that don’t mean a damn thing. Their consultants, staffers and pundits scheme with business interests to hand over our sovereignty because somebody says Hispanics will like it. BS to the nth power!
And, for people who call themselves Conservative to gather yearly for the Pink Slime of Kabuki Conservativism in the heart of this nation’s corrupt capitol is unforgivable. They all should be ashamed.
Next time, hold your damned meeting in the middle of a corn field in IOWA and then try to explain why all that corn is going to be converted into a liquid that nobody wants, nobody needs and nobody can justify instead of feeding this nation and the world. Hypocrites.
I'll name names...and it starts with Salem Broadcasting. Their broadcast stars were promoting attendance with a super-duper all star VIP ticket offer...just $5000 a couple, tax deductible, of course.
All I heard from Medved, Bennett, Mark Davis, et al was about this "opportunity" to have dinner with Krauthammer and a few others. How many of us "grass roots" foot soldiers can afford to cough up $10K for travel, etc. for a few days of speeches, especially when many of the presenters only believe in obtaining more political power for themselves. Do you hear me, Mitch McConnell?
It was more of an opportunity to be seen, and get paid for it, by more of the GOPe types we've come to despise.
Do you hear me, John David Wells? By adding Hannity and Mark Davis to the lineup, Salem is the GOPe network.
The author sounds bitter and attention neglected.
The author sounds like a progressive.
Unless and until the fools in Washington tell the voters that they are in Washington because they were voted in by other fools. And thus, the voting fools must undue their warped beliefs and face the truth.
I only saw Palin. She is still awe inspiring.
“All I heard from Medved, Bennett, Mark Davis,”
Point Made - All three a Major RINOs. - Bla-Bla-Bla, Just like their Radio programs
That’s a pretty good analysis.