First things first, I have to tip my hat to the host of CPAC, the American Conservative Union, and especially Lisa De Pasquale. They really outdid themselves with this year’s event, especially with sneaking former Vice President Dick Cheney in on Thursday.
I also have to tip my hat to Erick Erickson of RedState. That was simply the best Blog Row that I’ve been a part of – from access to the main hall (we had a balcony in the main hall plus the room behind it) to Internet access (always an issue at an event like this, but far less an issue this time).
If you’re looking for a comprehensive write-up, I must refer you to John Hawkins’ posts from Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3. I’m no good at lengthy write-ups, so my stream-of-consciousness thoughts from earlier in this category will pretty much have to suffice.
As Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) said, CPAC is a place to recharge the conservative soul. A big part of that is renewing acquaintances, of which I renewed many. Since I don’t have as good a memory as John, I’m sure I’ll miss a few (feel free to slap me upside the head if I forgot) – Sean Hackbarth, Kevin Binversie (for those who complain that the Wisconsin boys are first, talk to the hand), the aforementioned John Hawkins, Ed Morrissey, E.M. Zanotti, Dr. Melissa Clouthier (Chris, you’ve got competition in the mandatory hugs department), Katie Favazza, Jimmie Bise, Bruce Carroll Anita MonCrief, Robert Stacy McCain, Obi’s Sister, Fausta Wertz, Aaron Marks, Ali Akbar, Tabitha Hale, Mary Katharine Ham, Erik Telford, Kerry Pickett, Ericka Anderson from the House Republican Conference (Sean’s counterpart on the other end of the Capitol), Skye, and Doug Welch (who is Pinky unless he shouts it out first; then he’s the Brain). Also, as John noted, Michelle Malkin, who is now the Boss Emeritus with the sale of Hot Air to Salem, made a special appearance at BlogBash over at FreedomWorks, where Ed won the first of his two blog-related awards.
CPAC is not just about renewing acquaintances, it’s about making new ones. Just some of the people I finally got to meet were Nice Deb, Juliette Ochieng (BTW, I do recommend her book, Tale of the Tigers), Smitty (the other half of The Other McCain blogging team), Jenny Erikson, DaTechGuy, Sammy Benoit, Caleb Howe, Ben Howe, Breeanne Howe, Tommy Christopher (yes, I know, he’s left of center), Cheryl Prater, Dahlhalla, Sarah Peppel, Moe Lane (and again, if I forgot, hit me with something).
The overarching theme of CPAC this year was reducing the size and scope of government. Both the bulk of the speakers and the non-Presidential portion of the straw poll reflected that. The loudest applause lines were when the speakers spoke about slaying the leviathan (shameless plug for a friend, buy Slaying Leviathan: The Moral Case for Tax Reform).
I suppose I have to deal with that straw poll, specifically Ron Paul’s winning of the Presidential portion of it. One of the PaulNut groups brought in a massive amount of people for the purposes of stuffing the box (which closed early Friday afternoon) and hear Paul speak late Friday afternoon. That was reflected in the decidedly-negative reaction from the crowd when the results were announced.
Revisions/extensions (7:13 pm 2/23/2010) - I knew I’d forget somebody, and Moe is the vengeful type (well, not really, but you’ll have to read his wrap-up to get the joke).