Eavesdropping on CPAC: “Hunger Games Karaoke!”

Even Politico is mocking:

CPAC muddle mirrors GOP mess
It’s not hard to make fun of CPAC. From the presence of Donald Trump to a meaningless straw poll to a cavalcade of fringe-dwelling book merchants, the event has become more carnival than conservative salon.

What is more notable about this year’s rendition of the annual confab, which begins outside Washington on Thursday, is not the easy caricature but how thoroughly the Conservative Political Action Conference reflects the state of the Republican Party four months after yet another humbling presidential defeat. It is a muddle, but a muddle with meaning….

And that “meaning” is: These guys aren’t capable of running a weekend convention, much less the government. But nobody wins the morning by telling unpleasant truths!

For those who are curious about “tomorrow’s GOP craziness, today” (note: probably not the actual CPAC motto), but fear that two wetsuits the anti-virus software isn’t protection enough for direct contact, may I recommend Dave Weigel?
cpac keep calm

Who’s invited?
Almost everybody with a ticket fee, a press pass, or an elected office. The slogan this year is “America’s Future: The Next Generation of Conservatives,” but few of the marquee speakers are first-timers. They include Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (who spoke here when his father was running for president), Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (who has always used this event to talk up his budgets), NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre (who used to give the same audio-visual presentation every year, but has new material ever since Newtown), former Fox News pundit Sarah Palin, and defeated 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney. More than 10,000 activists are expected to show up, all of them becoming instant experts and pundits for hundreds of reporters, whether they like it or not.

Who’s not invited?
Not that many people, but they’ve immediately become famous. GOProud, a gay Republican advocacy group, has been barred from co-sponsoring CPAC since it did so in 2011 and pissed off social conservatives. (Chris Barron, one of the group’s founders, called CPAC board member Cleta Mitchell a “nasty little bigot” in an interview with the gay magazine Metro Weekly. His apology was not truly accepted.) Social conservative groups like the Family Research Council staged a boycott of the event that year. The boycott succeeded, aided when the ACU’s new chairman Al Cardenas took the reins. Anti-Sharia law campaigner Frank Gaffney has been barred since that year, too, in no small part because he used his platform at the conference to attack Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan, both advocates for bringing Muslims into the movement. Pamela Geller, a blogger who won real fame for opposing the “Ground Zero Mosque” in New York, has been barred after being relegated to rented rooms far from the main stage. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell were not invited, and Cardenas told National Journal that the former was left of the list because he didn’t have an “all star” year…

And what else?
The conservative media, which always finds a wide spotlight at CPAC, is running some experiments. Andrew Breitbart’s network of reporters and filmmakers and friends is all over the conference: Steve Bannon, who directed the Sarah Palin documentary The Undefeated, now runs the Breitbart network and has three films at the conference. Citizens United, the group that brought you modern campaign finance law, is holding a Breitbart remembrance. The Breitbart crew is holding an exclusive party off-campus, rivaled in buzz only by the BlogBash party co-sponsored by the National Republican Senatorial Committee and threatened by left-wing hackers.

Wait, left-wing hackers?
That’s another story.

And the “Hunger Games karaoke” quote (from the Tea Party, of course) here.

58 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2

    If they don’t have a Game Night that includes Munchkin, well..

  3. 3
    Hill Dweller says:

    They are a morally and intellectually bankrupt party, but no one in the Village will say it out loud.

  4. 4
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    I hope that when I leave this world, they can put “banned for life from CPAC” in the obit. It would be an honor!

  5. 5
    dance around in your bones says:

    Srsly? Breitbart clones? And what’s with all the P’s and R’s? (Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Palin, Romney. LaPierre) …don’t they have any other letters?

    eta: I really need to go to bed.

  6. 6
    SFAW says:

    @dance around in your bones:

    Breitbart clones?

    Not sure whether that’s better or worse than Breitbart zombies.

  7. 7
    dance around in your bones says:

    Well, they DO seem to be the living dead. AND they try to eat your brains.

    Obviously I am not asleep yet. Fuck.

    ETA:It’s kinda embarrassing when you look at ‘Recent Comments’ and they are pretty much all by yours truly. Go the fuck to sleep.

  8. 8
    SFAW says:

    @dance around in your bones:

    Go the fuck to sleep.

    I’d love to be able to say “You’re right, I should, I need my beauty sleep.” But, as the saying goes, there ain’t enough sleep in the world to help me with that.

    [Yes, I know you were talking to yourself on that one.]

  9. 9
    NotMax says:

    So on which day is the minstrel show being held?

    This is, after all, a gathering which collectively doubtless would find a Michael J. Fox bobblehead doll (or perhaps an assortment of milk chocolate transvag1nal* probes) to be the absolute height of humor.

    *wasn’t sure if FYWP would accept that if spelled correctly

  10. 10
    danielx says:


    I understand that in honor of the new Argentinian pope somebody has managed to produce for sale at CPAC models of an airplane with little commies being thrown out the door; hugely popular!

    Those crazy kids, I tell you…..

  11. 11
    Maude says:

    I hope Kay sees this comment. Portman has had a change of heart about gays. His son is gay, he found out.
    If it effects him, he’s all for gay rights. If not, well, too bad.

  12. 12
    Linda Featheringill says:


    Good for Portman. He abandoned a stance rather than abandon his child.

    You’re right about one thing, though. If it don’t affect him, it don’t matter anyhow.

  13. 13
    raven says:

    Mornin Joe and crew have spent 10 minutes hammering Cruz. Mika called him “criminal”. So there!

  14. 14
    Linda Featheringill says:

    BTW, Hunter of dkos is apparently attending CPAC. He has an interesting post up about the generational divide within the attendees.

    In the comments, Hunter adds:
    “The tea party is the other dominant presence. Young conservatives and Rand Paul fans on one side, older Tea Party types on the other. Between, the usual smattering of bloggers and movement figures and hangers-on, but those two groups seem to have a significantly more conspicuous presence.”

  15. 15
    SFAW says:


    Mika called him “criminal”.

    That’s only because she heard that La migra is looking for him. (Although, I guess, in “honor” of his being an “illegal” from the North, I should have used the French term for it. Not that I know what that is.)

  16. 16
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Hill Dweller: So true. Wish voters would figure that out.

  17. 17
    NotMax says:

    Will they be strip searching the hired help at the catered affairs for recording devices of any kind?

  18. 18
    JPL says:

    @raven: Did Joe blame Obama for Cruz’s behavior? If the media keeps this up, Cruz might learn to shut his mouth.

  19. 19
    jeffreyw says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Thanks for the link. Interesting observations, pretty much in line with the old saw that the real milestones in the march of a revolution are the tombstones of the old guard.

  20. 20
    Valdivia says:

    Just read that the new Miss Israel will be attending the dinner with President Obama in Jerusalem. Of course they are making it something totally lurid because the White House requested she be invited (she is the first Ethiopian Israeli to ever win and immigrated just 10 years ago). I am calling it that his is going to be a thing–the UK tabloids are calling it a date. Ugh.

  21. 21
  22. 22
    Valdivia says:


    And I hadn’t seen the pictures yet so now having seen them I can totally see how it’s going to be a thing (specially since the media are pushing the idea that there is something wrong with Michelle not going)

    ETA: shoot me now! :)

  23. 23
    Linda Featheringill says:


    She is pretty!

    I’m glad to see her get this honor. The Ethiopians have had difficulties in Israel and yes I think it has come down to plain old racism. [Not that folks in the US should throw stones.]

  24. 24
    JPL says:

    Rob Portman changed his mind because of a family member. Wouldn’t it be nice if a Republican could change their mind because it is the right thing to do. I found this gem at huff post

    The senator also said that Romney’s campaign told him that his son’s sexuality was not part of the decision to select Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) over Portman.


  25. 25
    NotMax says:


    Ethiopia? (Cue the birthers and ultra-conspiracists.)

    Why, that shares a border with Kenya! Coincidence?

    And… and… it’s on the very same continent as is Libya, where – gasp – Benghazi is.

  26. 26
    SFAW says:


    The senator also said that Romney’s campaign told him that his son’s sexuality

    Tagg is gay?

  27. 27
    kindness says:

    I wanna hear stories about these Left Wing Hackers Weigel mentions.

    And at the off site Breitbart party…..Do they have bowls of roofies or is that just for the management to slip on the guests?

  28. 28
    Baud says:


    I’d choose to hang out with her over Bibi.

  29. 29
    Valdivia says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    I totally agree. If you compare the treatment of the Ehiopian immigrants to the Russian ones it is night and day. And it’s not limited to the Ethiopian. Back in the 50s and 60s there was really bad treatment of Yemenites, Morrocans, etc. Even a scandal of their children being given to ‘white’ families to raise (I know about this story only because I was married to an Israeli Yemenite and they talked about this and the constant discrimination all the time–the rest of ‘European’ Israelis don’t talk about it very much)

    I love that they invited her I just dread what the crazies will make of it. Then again I am dreading the whole trip. Sincerely I am not going to be calm until he is back here–there is a very ugly strain of crazy in Israel that makes me nervous for him to be there.

  30. 30
    SFAW says:


    I like the way you think, or the cut of your jib, or whatever.
    Wait a second … hold the ‘phone … hmmmm ….

    NotMax — > NutMax — > NewsMax !

    Coincidence? I think not!

  31. 31
    Valdivia says:


    Maybe she is his long lost daughter, or sister or a secret agent from the Kenyan govt? ;)

    Me too!

  32. 32
    JPL says:

    @Valdivia: I’m sure that Rabin’s assassination is on the mind of the secret service.
    CBS news.. Portman’s support will help the republicans evolve on the gay rights issue .. Cruz is an asshole…The pope…the pope.

  33. 33
    danielx says:

    Know it’s not an open thread, but I understand there’s a drinking game going on tonight completely unrelated to St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t miss it – tonight at 9 eastern time on Showtime: The World According To Dick Cheney. Have a sip of something serious each time the word ‘resolute’ us used. I suspect a strong stomach will be required even for nonparticipants who watch it…

  34. 34
    Linda Featheringill says:


    Are you worried about Obama’s safety?

  35. 35
    Valdivia says:

    @JPL: @Linda Featheringill:

    Sincerely I have been worried since I heard he was going…

  36. 36
    NotMax says:


    Damnation. Outed. (Not!)


  37. 37

    Pamela Geller, a blogger who won real fame for opposing the “Ground Zero Mosque” in New York, has been barred after being relegated to rented rooms far from the main stage.

    Was she running a whorehouse? If that’s all it takes to get barred, the list should be longer.

  38. 38
    raven says:

    @Valdivia: So, you worry more than when he is here?

  39. 39
    NotMax says:

    As Anne Laurie once said to treat all of her posts as Open Threads, this little nugget (link courtesy of wonkblog) from last summer on the economic and employment clout of the Catholic church in America (and the huge amount of the worldwide church’s funding that flows from the U.S.A.) is a bit of an eye-opener.

  40. 40
    different-church-lady says:

    And when beetles battle beetles in a puddle paddle battle and the beetle battle puddle is a puddle in a bottle… they call this a tweetle beetle bottle puddle paddle battle muddle with meaning.

  41. 41
    1badbaba3 says:

    You know who else won’t be at CPAC?

  42. 42
    Valdivia says:


    yes. I remember the months before Rabin and the kind of hatred Bibi and the religious have created around Obama just resonates too much with that.

  43. 43
    raven says:

    @Valdivia: Your going to give yourself a coronaray.

  44. 44
    Baud says:


    It’ll be okay. No one wants to see the wrath of Biden.

  45. 45
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @1badbaba3: Me?

  46. 46
    Librarian says:

    “Activists?” The people at CPAC are activists in the same sense that Hitler’s storm troopers were “activists”.

  47. 47
    Librarian says:

    @1badbaba3: HITLER?

  48. 48
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @jeffreyw: She’s gorgeous! In fact all the girls in that picture are lovely. Good for her and hope she enjoys her dinner with the President.

  49. 49
    Citizen_X says:

    Keep calm and shoot yourself in the dick.

  50. 50
    GregB says:

    LaPierre should regrow the short little beneath the nose mustache he used to wear in those old BW films from WWII.

  51. 51
    Original Lee says:

    @The prophet Nostradumbass: I was thinking The Great Dalmuti, myself.

  52. 52

    @Linda Featheringill:
    Problem for CPAC and the Republican Party: The Rand Pauls, the 1% Randian Superman contingent of the party is… well, 1% of the population. The TV media pretends they’re the actual GOP, but aaaaaall the votes come from the culture war.

  53. 53
    El Cid says:

    Can God create a conservative political convention so whacked out that not even He could soon get it to be the most popular among our modern neo-Confederate Bircherbangelicals? (For Freedom, of course.)

  54. 54
    Ed Drone says:

    Walt? Walt Kelly? Is that you?


  55. 55
    Ksmiami says:

    @dance around in your bones: please can we just bar the doors and cordon these loonies off for eternity

  56. 56
    Ruckus says:

    His predecessor, uncle joe from WI didn’t learn to shut his mouth and the senate censored him.

  57. 57
    different-church-lady says:

    @Ed Drone: I’ve heard theories that Shakespeare was actually written by Bacon, but I’ve never heard anyone claim Walt Kelly was Dr. Seuss.

    But let’s not quibble: help me lobby BJ to make “The bottle’s on a poodle and the poodle’s eating noodles” into a tag.

  58. 58
    The Other Chuck says:

    @Original Lee: “It is a variant of the public domain game Asshole”

    Yes indeedy.

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