This was my very first year attending CPAC. Although I didn’t really didn’t know what to expect, I had a couple of expectations. I expected to see many of the people I look up to and admire, and be further inspired by them. I expected to meet tons of new people who were down for the cause and excited to help get this country back on track. I definitely expected some chaotic moments; between listening to early morning speeches, running to and from sessions, bouncing back and forth between radio row and taking pictures, I knew I would be pressed for time. I expected to be tired from early morning, hectic days and late nights. But there were some things I didn’t expect. In no particular order:
1. I didn’t expect people to have such a hard time holding their liquor/being composed
Let’s face it, people like a good party. That includes conservatives. But, I noticed that some people really may have been having too much fun and apparently forgot their manners when the drinks started to flow. Specifically, while at BlogBash Col. Allen West was attempting to address the crowd, which pretty loud and rowdy. After he took the stage and began to speak, he asked the crowd to pipe down a few times but the sound never seemed to get to a reasonable level. My point is that people need to remember to respect others, even when you have been drinking. We don’t want to be disrespectful to people, let alone Col. West who took time to be a part of our event and address our group.
2. I didn’t expect expect to hear Ted Cruz do a Jay Leno impersonation
I could quite happily live out the rest of my life and never hear Ted Cruz’s Jay Leno impersonation ever again. Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely admire Ted Cruz. One of the things I really like about him is his straightforward way of speaking. Very direct, to the point and concise. So when I was listening to his speech (which otherwise was fantastic) and he began impersonating Jay Leno, I was a little caught off guard and immediately started shaking my head thinking, ‘no, no, no this is not you, Ted.
3. I was not expecting to be so annoyed during Mitch McConnell’s speech
Ok, what was sing-along Mitch doing at CPAC? Who is responsible for that invitation? His speech was laughable because while trying desperately to fit in amongst conservatives, he just ended up looking silly. I, for one, didn’t believe a word that came out of his mouth and by the end of the speech I was super annoyed. And apparently people could tell by the look on my face because while I was snapping this photo, a woman in premium seating stopped me and said, “What? You don’t like Mitch?” to which I giggled and frankly replied, “Uhm, no. Not at all.” She quickly snapped back at me and said “I have family who are in media and I know that none of them would ever make a comment about liking or disliking a politician they were working to photograph. How unprofessional of you!” She quickly turned back around while shaking her head. I couldn’t help but laugh because I’m sure she thought I was a liberal reporter.
4. I was not expecting the internet connection to be THAT horrible
I was warned that the internet wuld be slow. After all, there are tons of media people and attendees trying to use the wifi. But seriously, I heard that they spent thousands of dollars on the internet connection and I think I was able to get on it a half dozen times where it actually worked.
5. I was disappointed at the lack of grass-roots voices in speaker positions and on panels
There was a noticeable lack of diversity amongst those who were given speaking positions and placed on panels. By diversity, I’m talking about a lack of grass-roots voices. Why weren’t people like Kira Davis, Sonnie Johnson, or Wayne Dupree asked to speak or participate in a panel? Why wasn’t Allen West on the lineup? It seems like there is a clique or a select group of people who are considered ‘acceptable’ – which is fine – except it seems to exclude the very voices that in many cases, work the hardest for the cause. I would like to see CPAC become more of a platform for new, up and coming voices to gain exposure then a parade of the same people or those we just have grown to expect to see on the stage.
What were some of the worst moments of CPAC 2014 for you? Comment below and share your experience.