That is a word that will bring back memories of my first CPAC trip. Boy oh boy did I get a hangover on Friday morning…and Sunday morning. I’m responsible though and I avoided all alcohol Friday night, in order to be bright eyed and ready for the job fair on Saturday, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about.
Other words that I will continue to think of when I remember CPAC will be inspiriring, exhausting, hectic, and amazing. It was not at all the same as Right Online 2012, which I went to last year in Las Vegas.
For one thing I already had a great group of friends when I got there and a huge number of twitter/tumblr followers to meet up with during the 3 days.
Also, no offense to Las Vegas (or my friends who live there) but, I definitely prefer the DC/Alexandria/National Harbor area over the Strip any day at all.
This truly was the “comicon” of conservative politics, as Jimmie Bise told me to expect when I saw him before the convention. There were even people in costumes!
In a way the mood was both more laid back and more formal than Right Online ever was. At RO it seemed that if you weren’t going to the panels and listening to the speakers, the halls were a ghost town until after all the grand speechifying was finished and you could finally spend some quality time networking.
CPAC was heavy on the networking and going to hear the speakers and panels was far more secondary. I have to admit that, with a few exceptions like Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ann Coulter, and Ted Cruz, I watched most of the speeches after CPAC was over and done with and I was flying home. Instead I spent a lot of time talking to people, making new friends and getting (hopefully) some new readers for my blogs and new viewers for my video cast.
Long story short, I think this year’s CPAC was necessary release valve on our frustrations after the election. We got to reconnect, re-organize, and remember why we do what we do.
My one major issue with it though was that we kept hearing people talk about the party being refreshed and getting new blood, but there was still a lot of the old blood speaking. No offense to Sarah Palin, but we’ve heard it all honey. The reaction to Rand Paul’s speech, where 90% of the audience appeared to be on their feet to “Stand with Rand”, is what we need now and that means we need to energize the base with new faces…not the same old schtick over and over again.*
As for the trip itself, it was fantastic! I got to see some old friends and hang out with awesome people. I went to a pub named “Bilbo Baggins” in Old Town with Donlyn Turnbull and then danced the night away with all the cool people at a karaoke bar a few blocks away.
I saw the Jefferson Memorial and took pictures of the White House and visited the Tomb of the Unknown in Arlington and I basically fell in love with the Alexandria/DC area.
I can’t wait to go back, whether it’s for another conference or for a job.**
*I make an exception for Ann, because she is just so snarky!
**Though I’m hoping for the job. I want to live in that area so much that it was almost physically painful to leave.