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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Short skirts, high heels, and optimism abound at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), an annual gathering of thousands of conservatives in Washington, D.C. Right-leaning people from across the country are here to debate a wide range of issues. Some, like bashing President Obama and his health care law, are agreed on by all participants. Others, like gay marriage and marijuana legalization, receive less homogeneous support.

Certain characters stick out from the mostly young, sleek crowd. Take the cowboy hat-sporting older man whose shirt says “Legalize Marijuana! Ask Me About It.” People do, and he spends much of the conference in the hallways, conversing with supporters and debating those in disagreement. The kilt-wearing, round-bellied senior who spent CPAC’s first evening sporadically waving his “Don’t Tread on Me” flag attacts similar attention.

While few African-Americans are present, Kevin Blanchard, author of Black Man with a Gunsticks out, although his pro-gun rights views don’t. There are a handful of veterans, and many young servicemen. “Radio Row,” set up in the conference’s main hall, hosts conservative talk-show hosts. Hasidic Jews find relatively quiet corners to pray in. Booths offer free conservative merchandise like “Amazing America” bags, which promote Sarah Palin’s new show, and pamphlets promoting the power of prayer and healthy eating in battling cancer.

Some of the young participants are here to meet and greet potential employers, and many more making their first inroads into politics. “I just really wanted to get a firsthand perspective of things,” says 19-year-old Mike Jones, a first-time CPAC attendee from Fairfax, Virginia. He’s hopeful about the direction conservatives are moving in. “I think there’s momentum. Especially seeing all these young people come here. I see a lot of enthusiasm.”

University of Michigan law student Jiesi Zhao sees a marked change from last year’s CPAC (this is her fourth time attending the conference). “Last year we were healing our wounds, after the [2012 presidential] defeat. This year it’s much more exciting and forward-looking,” she said.

While there is alignment on some issues, Zhao notes serious debate between libertarians, Tea Partiers, and everyone in between. “There are so many diverse opinions. There are a lot of different ideologies,” she said. “I think it’s great.”

In addition to the usual issues, like lowering the government deficit and strengthening the military, education is quietly integral to many CPAC conversations. Michael Brickman of the Fordham Foundation, a D.C.-based conservative education policy think tank, is at CPAC to gain support for the controversial Common Core State Standards initiative.

“We want higher standards, accountability, and school choice,” he argues, adding that more conservatives support the standardized curriculum program than ever before. “Everybody’s interested in what we can do to make schools better.”

But Jordan Bosstick, a San Diego resident who runs the political website, says the fight is elsewhere. “People want to be able to send kids to charter schools, not public schools,” he says. “They’re fighting for more charter schools. And they’re really, really against Common Core standards.”

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  • docb
  • Dominick Vila

    The Republican establishments understands that while extreme Tea Party policies and statements are helpful in the South and the Bible Belt, they are counter productive in “purple” states and undermine their ability to ever get control of the White House. Therefore, they have decided to accept the Tea Party as a necessary evil, while trying to project an illusion of inclusiveness and pragmatism that is clearly inconsistent with their record. Whether or not they succeed in portraying the party as a center-right entity that appeals to mainstream Americans remains to be seen, but that appears to be their strategy for 2014 and 2016.

    • charleo1

      Hey Dominick, always good to read your take. As for myself, I’ve often hoped to project the illusion that I share a remarkable resemblance to Brad Pit, or George Clooney. And, I hope the
      GOP finds as much success in their endeavor, as I have in mine.

      • Dominick Vila


      • plc97477


      • kmkirb

        Best post & comparison I’ve seen charleo1 🙂

        I couldn’t help myself. When you claimed, “I’ve often hoped to project the illusion that I share a remarkable resemblance to Brad Pit, or George Clooney.”, that’s when I also thought to myself, at 5’1″ tall with dark brown locks, & a bit more round than I’d like to be, I share a remarkable resemblance to Katherine Hepburn or even Lucille Ball, lol. Spectacular!

        And I’m right with you. I hope the (G)reedy (O)ld (P)arty finds just as much if not more success in their endeavors. I truly hope they eventually get all the recognition they deserve, just as the WHIGS did!

        • charleo1

          Well, there you go! It sounds like you’re closer to
          Ms, Hepburn, and Lucille Ball, than I’ll ever be to
          Brad, or George. But, there was a more serious underlying point. That we cannot usually make
          a thing so, by simply wishing it were, or willing it
          to be, what it is not. Or, by claiming very loudly,
          and often that it is so. When it is painfully obvious
          it is not. This is the current Republican Party’s
          dilemma. They want to be more inclusive. But,
          it’s not by the wanting, or the wishing, or the declaring, that makes a thing so. It is only by the
          actual changing into that we wish to be, that
          makes it so. And I’ll be winning Brad Pitt look a
          like contests, long before the GOP becomes a more inclusive, mainstream political organization.

          • kmkirb

            Exactly, & I got your underlying point just fine charleo1. When it comes to Lucy or Katherine here’s the facts. Lucy was 5/7″ & Katherine was 5’8″, & they both had red hair. Both were slim, full of charm, & very sophisticated. While I in reality am 5’1″ short & squatty with dark brunette hair.

            “And I’ll be winning Brad Pitt look a like contests, long before the GOP becomes a more inclusive, mainstream political organization.”

            So let us cut this down to the chase charleo1. Sh!it in one hand & wish in the other. See which one gets full the fastest. LOL!

          • charleo1

            I would beg to differ on the charm, and sophistication. But your point does cut to
            the chase. And is well taken.

          • kmkirb

            Awww, I thought both ladies were full of charm & sophistication in real life, off the big screen. KH absolutely took no crap from anyone. She exuded such confidence. And Lucy wasn’t at all how she was portrayed on the screen as a dumb klutzy redhead. She was positive & upbeat, while still being somewhat comical, & she knew what she wanted. Sorry you don’t feel otherwise, c’est la vie. Good chatting with you though Charleo1 🙂

          • charleo1

            Sorry! My bad. What I meant to say was. I thought your comments showed a lot of charm, and sophistication. You know, like Lucy, and Katherine! Good chatting with you as well. Happy posting!

  • dtgraham

    Diverse opinions alright. Problem is that some opinions should have no place at anyone’s table and there were a lot of those on display.

    Paul Ryan said one of the most asinine things I’ve ever heard a politician say, and that’s saying something. With Republicans, you’re constantly updating their greatest hits. He remarked that, “the left is making a mistake.” “What the left is offering is full stomachs and empty souls.” That’s not taken out of context either because there’s no context imaginable where that would ever make sense.

    When a politician makes a direct critical statement like that, the assumption always is that his/her political party is offering the opposite. Are Republicans really comfortable with, presumably, being the party of empty stomachs and joyous souls? “Sure, you and your kid will be hungry a lot…but one day you’ll thank us.”

    It sounds so weird. It seems like something you might hear from the ministry of faith and morality in a middle eastern theocracy. It doesn’t sound like anything you would hear from a political figure in a modern western democracy.

    • CrankyToo

      What a great post…

      • dtgraham

        Thank you Cranky. Like I often say, every once in a while I say the right thing.

        • CrankyToo

          More often than not, in my view.

    • Independent1

      As CrankyToo said – Great Post!
      I have a hard time believing the folks in red states have “joyous souls”. I will confirm that the largest number of Americans with empty stomachs do in fact live in states run by the GOP. 20 of the 23 states with more than 15% of people living below the poverty level are run by the GOP; and more than 90% of the counties in America that used the most food stamps voted for Romney and most likely live in states or counties again, run by the GOP.
      Now with respect to empty souls – if by that Ryan thinks its the GOP that is providing people with souls who have God’s favor – boy! it’s my feeling that he may well be very wrong, as virtually nothing the GOP stands for is remotely Christian: not the party’s love of money above all else; not the constant judging of others; not the providing for the already wealthy above providing for the needy – Nothing!! absolutely none of it is Christian.

      • dtgraham

        Those stats you cited are truly amazing Independent1. They’re hard to get your head around. Talk about mastering the art of getting people to vote against their own self interest.

    • charleo1

      The Right is constantly projecting those things on the opposition
      Left, they are most concerned they’ll be caught and called out for.
      A full belly, and a stone cold soul, is a perfect description of many
      of the Plutocratic Fat Cats, guys like him make a living shilling, and lying for. Ryan, who’s never put in a hard days labor in his life, is constantly recommending the lash for the poor, who he determines to be lacking a work ethic. And like his heroine Ayn Rand, believes we’d be a better Country if most all of us peons, had no more than a couple of days ration between us, and starvation. And had to hit it, sun up to sun down, 7 days a week, just to survive in his Mad Max, dog eat dog World he’s always yapping he wants. Or thinks that’s what he wants. He’s an idiot, but who isn’t over there nowadays?

      • dtgraham

        Well said charleo.

        • charleo1

          Thanks! I’m sure you’ve noticed the projection
          ploy. Obama refuses to work with us. Obama is
          a radical, or extremist. Is redistributing wealth.
          Other times he’s a puppet of the super rich.
          That is, when he’s not trying to punish the rich.
          Loves to play the race card, and engages in
          class warfare. And has treated the Republicans
          unfairly, and just terrible, they feel. As they’ve
          tried every possible way, bent over backwards to
          get along, But he rejects everything they suggest.
          Just to name a few examples of classic projection.

          • Sand_Cat

            They’ve been projecting almost as long as I can remember. So long, in fact, that Rove decided to make it an official campaign strategy. Unfortunately, it seems to work all too often.

          • dtgraham

            Know what you mean. Books have already come out detailing their secret agreement, on his inauguration day in 2009, to block everything he proposed. “If he was for it, we had to be against it.” Then they claimed that he was polarizing, divisive, and wouldn’t negotiate on anything.

            He put chained cpi on the table in 2011 at their specific request. Then they rejected it and claimed that he was being cruel to poor seniors. They’re professional saboteurs posing as legislators.

            Interestingly–Obama is also a weak, feckless, spineless, mom jean wearing, ruthless, constitution shredding, dictator, tyrant. Remarkably, sometimes all on the same day.

    • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

      The real Irony is Rand Paul’s idolizing of an avowed atheist (Ayn Rand) who played the system’s social safety net for her own benefit. And he doesn’t see the irony of that in his Evangelical Galtian outlook.

      • Sand_Cat

        The irony is that Paul Ryan also idolizes her while still trying to claim to be a Catholic Christian.

        • kmkirb

          And one other note of irony, just like Ayn Rand, Paul Ryan also availed himself of the system when he used his dead father’s SS money to put his deadbeat rear through school, instead of using the family’s riches from their business. The Ryan’s were very, very wealthy.

  • sigrid28

    Will someone please tell me why the CPAC podium looks like a giant paper coffee cup?

  • Oscar’s Wilde

    Those who oppose the spontaneous nature of liberty and prosperity attempt to discredit cultural evolution because it conflicts with their fatally conceited confidence in mankind’s limited intellect.

    • Paul Bass

      What a turkey! This has nothing to do with CPAC! Go crawl in a hole!

      Plus the fact that you use Oscar Wilde, a totally liberal leftist homosexual from the last century, as your handle, get a clue you troll!

  • Budjob

    Alittle known fact about Paul Ryan.He was a congressional Aide to our fucked up Governor in Ohio.John KaSICK! That’s where he learned all of his screwy politics!!