Tomorrow I will be heading downtown into Washington DC proper to attend CPAC 2012–otherwise known as the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference. Although I would rather be working on science fiction, and especially blogging about fiction writing here, the time constraints of my job and where I live essentially mandate that my entire life revolves around politics. And let’s face it, when you live in DC, the most politically-driven city in the entire world, your life is about politics.
I’m not entirely keen on going. I was convinced to go because a friend of mine who works in social media wanted me to. He has a tendency to keep dragging me to happy hours and social events, which is just his thing. That’s okay, but it means that when I show up, I usually only do reluctantly. The deciding factor for me this year was that Daniel Hannan, UK Conservative MEP, will be coming on Saturday to give a half-hour talk, and if you’ve ever seen this video and liked it on Youtube, you know you just can’t pass up an opportunity like that.
How can you see such wit and eloquence and not want to see the man in person? I certainly can’t. So, as a blogger for UnitedLiberty.org, I registered as an official CPAC blogger, and am now getting my stuff together.
There are worries, though. There are a great deal others who are attending CPAC who are far less inspiring than Hannan. You have folks like Kirk Cameron, Stephen Baldwin (Alec Baldwin’s conservative twin), Ann Coulter, and then (former) presidential candidates Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich…and Rick Santorum. You’ll have birthers. You’ll have Christian fundamentalists. You’ll have Limbaugh fanatics. You’ll have people dressed up in tricorn hats like it’s some bizarre science fiction convention. And with last year’s brouhaha over GOProud, the organization for gay Republicans, being kicked out, you don’t have any sort of balancing act whatsoever.
In short, it’s the most concentrated crazy you can get without resorting to doing lines of coke while listening to a Justin Bieber album at a Flat Earth Society meeting. Or the Democratic National Convention.
I’m deeply saddened by this. Especially now, when this country badly needs an effective opposition to the nincompoopery being spread around by an ineffective and corrupt presidential administration, and organizations that seem to have no other goal but to rob millions of Americans of their individual freedom in order to obtain yet more ill-gotten plunder at the public treasury, the opposition forces are disorganized, uncoordinated, and worse off, come across as complete moonbats. To be fair, that’s not everybody. A lot of conservatives are not as radical as the media makes them out to be, and they’re actually quite sane and reasonable individuals. Jonah Goldberg, Richard Lowry, David Frum, James Joyner, Doug Mataconis, Richard Stacy McCain (you know, the “Other” McCain), and a whole bevy of others are fairly moderate. I suppose that’s another reason why I’m hauling my carcass to the hotel where CPAC is being held: I want to see for myself, with my own eyes, just how far down the road to nuttery the conservative movement has gone. I want to see some sort of hope at CPAC tomorrow. Maybe there will be. Maybe there won’t.
But probably the largest reason anyone is going to CPAC is because it’s one large social event. You’re not really there for the speakers or the booths or the how-to panels. They’re sideshows. The main attraction is meeting all the bloggers and staffers and strategists who you haven’t seen in months…and then attend one of the nine hundred eighty-two happy hours going on over the weekend, at which point you all get smashed and wake up the next morning wondering just who the president is and what exactly is the job of the Supreme Court of the United States. That’s the real point of CPAC. For me, definitely; I’m attending a blogger breakfast sponsored by Google and hope to use the conference to pick my fellow bloggers’ brains about best practices. No doubt about it, I want United Liberty to be in the Top 100–better yet, Top 50–of blogs covering American politics. I want it to be a place where people who are fed up with the left and the right can go for a refreshing perspective on politics, where they feel that yes, they have colleagues and allies and are not alone in this miasma.
But that’s enough for now. Tomorrow, I will go to the conference. I will report. I will blog. I will meet. I will greet. I will shake hands. I will probably kiss an ass or two–wait, there’s not going to be any Democrats, nevermind.