In addition to getting to hear multiple jokes about Al Gore’s purported energy consumption, listen to Ben Shapiro allege that “the Left” will eventually claim that there is a right to child molestation or Rep. Jeb Hensarling repeatedly refer to the “Democrat” majority in Congress, and maybe spy Michelle Malkin blogging away at the “Bloggers Corner,” there is lots to see and experience at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
For instance, if you are lucky, you get to sit next to college-age women who applaud wildly when the speaker on stage vows to kill efforts to publicly finance elections before turning to their friends and asking “who is that?” (It’s Sen. Mitch McConnell.) Or you get to watch White House spokesperson Tony Snow deliver a rousing, patriotic speech claiming that the GOP’s devastating election losses in November was due to conservatives ”reminding” corrupt elected officials that government service is a privilege and crowing to the right-wing crowd about all the great things President Bush has done, like passage of Medicare prescription drug coverage – something which CPAC’s host, the American Conservative Union, and pretty much everyone else on the Right hates. And then you get to watch the capacity crowd jump to its feet to give Snow a standing ovation.
When you are leaving, you might get to stand in line next to grown man sporting an “I Told Hillary Where to Stick It” sticker on his suit and if you happen to step outside, you might catch a glimpse of G. Gordon Liddy and his driver climbing into a truck displaying “XFBI” vanity license plates.
Later, you get to watch Sen. Arlen Specter attempt to convince a sparse but hostile crowd that he shares a great many of their right-wing positions and has been good on the issue of judges, and then witness him receive his only real ovations when he mocks Sen. Ted Kennedy’s weight and mentions how much he misses Sen. Rick Santorum.
But most importantly, you get to see GOP presidential hopefuls pulling out all the stops in hopes of winning the CPAC straw poll:
The straw poll at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference beginning here Thursday has never played a pivotal role in a Republican presidential primary. But the Mitt Romney campaign nonetheless is paying for three vans, scores of registration fees and at least a half-dozen hotel rooms to pack collegiate supporters into the event.
The turnout drive — 10 months before the first primary — is the latest sign of both the early start and bulging budgets of the 2008 presidential campaign. But the conference may be especially important to Mr. Romney, who is trying to reassure social conservatives that his views have shifted to the right from some of the liberal positions he took as the governor of Massachusetts.
The Romney camp’s efforts were certainly noticeable at the event, with students in Romney t-shirts seemingly standing at every corner handing out invitations to a “Romney Reception With Special Guest Grover Norquist” and all around making their presence felt. Supporters of Sen. Sam Brownback were also out in full force, along with a few Tom Tancredo supporters sporting cowboy hats and TheVanguard.org stickers, as well as a lone women with a hand written “Write in Condi Rice” sign.
But for all of Romney’s planning, he couldn’t prevent the appearance of someone dressed in a dolphin costume going by the name “Flip Romney”:
“Flip” was all over the place, generating lots of attention while he slammed Romney’s record and handed out flyers with the heading “Pro-Life Students Against Flip-Floppers from Massachusetts” that, in actuality, came from the Rightmarch.com PAC.
And that is just Day 1, before Sen. Jim Inhofe has even had a chance to presumably tell those in attendance that Global Warming is a crock, or Mychal Massie has had an opportunity explain his “Conservative Solutions for Urban America” and maybe call diversity “Hitlerian,” or Ann Coulter wows the capacity crowd with her witticisms such as “we need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals by making them realize that they could be killed.”