CPAC 2011 Saturday
Went to bed early last night. There was a party in the suite next to me and they were boisterous. I could hear them talking about the conference and they went late into the night. They woke me a few times but that didn't bother me much. I could roll over and go back to sleep. If I weren't so tired, I'd have joined them. What did bother me were the Paulies who woke me up yelling from down on the ground somewhere outside: "Ron Paul!: Ron Paul!" The windows were closed and I was on the fourth floor, but they still woke me up. I felt like getting dressed, going down there, getting in their faces and yelling with my fists and teeth gritted: "Shut the f*** up!" I actively considered it, but rolled over and tried hard to go back to sleep instead. Then I'd hear again: "Ron Paul! Ron Paul!" In my younger days I'd have gone out there.
Only one post today. Where did I get the energy to do three in each of the past two days? I had good intentions today too, but . . .
Started the day with Andrew Breitbart at 9:00 am. He got big billing starting off the day because crowds are biggest on Saturday. Many people come only for Saturday at CPAC and this year we were pushing 11,000. There were 8,000 in 2009; 10,000 in 2010 with the Tea Party additions, and 10% more this year. Amazing. Conservatives are fired up.He’s gotten featured billing in the main ballroom. He’s not fringe anymore. He’s earned his stripes in the conservative movement and he's a former liberal, so I identify with him.
The guy introducing him says he has all the right enemies. “The venom hurled at him by the left is ferocious.”Okay. Here he is. No tie. That varies from year to year, I've noticed. He said he’s taking on the institutional left. That he does, certainly.
“The hyper-focused aspects of my ADD makes me stay on the story." Pigford. He’s gnawing that bone relentlessly and I just know he’s going to keep chewing and chewing. See Thursday's post here.He talked about annoying the left for sport near his home in West LA. “Acorn is protesting in front of the Fox television affiliate,” he says. "They chant: 'We are Acorn, mighty mighty Acorn.' It’s all they say. They won’t answer questions." They did say vile things about Andrew though when they spotted him. That was before they disbanded and this was during the focused attack Breitbart made on them last year that eventually put them out of business.
Breitbart went on with his story. He said they resumed chanting: “'We are Acorn. Ask us why.' So, I walked up to them with a video camera and asked, 'Why?'” At that point, he noticed their organizer get perplexed. Others were looking to him for direction and he didn't offer them any. Then, they just disbanded, Breitbart said, and he realized he was having a marvelous time and he wanted to do this for the rest of his life.
“I am Andrew, mighty mighty Andrew,” he said from the CPAC podium. "You can do this too. You can take on those out there who would try to intimidate you. Use a camera [when you do it.]"
Later, he said "I’m at a “Stop the Hate” rally. 'Who here is from SEIU?' I ask them. I have a camera. The organizer gets nervous. I keep asking them questions. They call me a fag and spit on me. Then they disbanded as well.
Then he talked about a Code Pink rally in LA. Guess that's the left's rally point out there on the left coast.
He had another story about that, but I couldn't type fast enough. He connected Code Pink, Pigford, and Obama in a loose way.Being seated in the media lounge with the mainstream media while Breitbart speaks is ironic. They don’t know much about him and they don’t take him seriously. “Is he from LA?” “Is this still Breitbart speaking?” They talk amongst themselves. They don’t understand that Breitbart and armies of others like him will eventually put them out of job.
Next, I attended a session in another room entitled: "The Sharia Challenge in the West" with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, James Woolsey, Clifford May and Andrew McCarthy. It was a marvelous session, best of the day. The email giving me my media credentials asked whom I'd like to interview and I requested Ayaan Hirsi Ali but I never heard back. I got there early, however, and sat in the front. She, however, was partially hidden behind the podium from where I was sitting. During the Q&A, someone asked her the likelihood of the Muslim Brotherhood taking over in Egypt now that Mubarak was gone.
We have to watch three things, she said. First, gauge the extent of MB influence in military. Then gauge the gullibility of the Obama Administration, which brought laughter from the audience which, like me, was probably thinking of Obama's Director of National Intelligence Clapper. And, finally, gauge the level of organization in Egypt by the Muslim Brotherhood. She offered examples of how it was as a teenaged girl growing up in Kenya and believing what the MB preached. Their brainwashing methodology was highly effective. In conclusion, she predicted an MB takeover in three to five years. Others on the panel, including former CIA Director Woolsey, seemed to agree.
When asked by another audience member if we were going to win [the war with Islamists] eventually and how we might do that, she believed we should “offer an alternative vision.” She said, “We’ve inhibited ourselves” by not speaking out enough out of some misguided fear of giving offense. “If they defeat us," she said, it [would be] because of our lack of confidence. . . . Their paradigm is a paradigm of death. That is their core vulnerability. It is a core of death. You defeat it by pushing a core of life.”She said much more than I have time to write here, so I'll return to this in a future column.After lunch, I went back to the big ballroom for a session on what to do in Afghanistan, but Pat Boone was speaking after having received a Lifetime Achievement Award. From way up in the media section, he still looked like he always did seeing him on TV as a kid. On the big screens around the room he did too. I remembered people marveling that he never seemed to age and I wanted to see how he looked close up. I walked up to the dais, knelt down, and used my zoom lens again.Okay, back up in the media lounge. John Bolton just walked by me for an interview with Fox News. I'm sorry Laurie from Bartlett. I missed Bolton's speech earlier that day because I chose to attend the Ayaan Hirsi Ali panel down the hall instead, but you can see it here. He was fifteen feet away and there were security guards around scrutinizing everything, including me. Andrew Breitbart was standing behind me talking to the CNN guy.A guy at the dais down on the floor was talking about Afghanistan costing us $100-120 billion this year. Wow. Bolton was talking and listening to someone remotely through an earplug and looking at the camera. He was talking about the possibility of democracy in Egypt.Next, Breitbart talked to the CNN guy slightly to the left of where I was sitting and trying to concentrate on the speeches below. The Afghanistan panel had broken up and Ron Kessler was slamming the NYT from the podium. Good for him. He says reporters would have been fired years ago for publishing the kinds of stories they run today. They ignore stories they don't like and play up others.Then Congressman Alan West walked by to be interviewed by Fox News. He was scheduled to be speaking at the close of the CPAC Conference, going on at 5:30. He generating the most interest in the media lounge. Many others with media passes hovered and took pictures of him. There was a cranky old guy sitting behind me yelling at people to get out of his way. He sent John Bolton and his security guards scurrying down the stairs a few minutes ago. I’ll have to ask him who he is before I leave.West was talking to Heraldo Rivera remotely about the deficits and the national debt approaching $15 trillion. He said the American people expect [Congress] to do something about that, or we won’t have an America to pass down to our children. I had a chance to shake his hand again as he was leaving. I told him he’s a good man and I hoped he got the crowd pumped later. "Thank you sir," he said.
I almost went down to the bar for a glass or wine when Ann Coulter was introduced. Didn’t see her on the schedule I downloaded a week or so before the conference, so I stayed for her remarks. Then I went down to get some closeups.“We have a path to citizenship," she was saying. "It’s called legal immigration.”
She took questions from the audience. “Where do you get your energy?” someone asked.
“Reading the New York Times. It does something to me,” she said, jerking body spasmodically.Responding to another question about what she thought of GOPride being at CPAC 2011, she answered saying liberals use different groups to destroy the family and that was unfortunate. “Liberals want the family destroyed, they want religion destroyed, because then you have loyalty directly to the state only.”
Last came Congressman Alan West's speech, which was marvelous. He got the most standing O's I've seen during the whole conference. Too bad he's not experienced enough for a presidential run yet. He's got steel in him.I didn't take notes. I just listened and enjoyed.He covered just about every issue important to conservatives and I actually agreed with the totality of what he said, which hardly ever happens no matter who I'm listening to.I'd first met him back in 2009 at the private Geert Wilders reception put on by Pam Geller in the Omni Shoreham. We spoke for several minutes and had our picture taken together. I remember being quite impressed with him and I still am. To see his entire speech, click here.