Merlin Miller | CPAC 2013, the Conservative Political Action Conference (a project of the American Conservative Union), held its 40th Annual Conference, March 14-16 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD. This waterfront complex, just south of our nation’s capital, was most impressive and able to accommodate an estimated 10,000 participants.
This year’s conference theme was “America’s Future: The Next Generation of Conservatives…New Challenges, Timeless Principles”. This was my first attendance at CPAC, having been invited and sponsored by the American Freedom Party. It was a gathering of “who’s who” in American conservative politics. Heavily represented by elements of the Republican Party, there were also many libertarian and patriot groups in attendance.[audio:http://american3rdposition.com/wp-content/uploads/Radio-Broadcast-Network-0322013.mp3|titles=Merlin Miller CPAC-2013 Report]
Approximately half of the attendees were college students or recent graduates, and the atmosphere was not unlike a trade show – complete with Exhibition Hall (approximately 200 booths) and dozens of varied capacity conference rooms, including the enormous Potomac Ballroom where the key note presentations and “expensive” dinners were held. The Potomac held a few thousand attendees and scores of media representatives (inside and out), but the other Conference Rooms and the Exhibition Hall were simultaneously active. Attendees had to make scheduling decisions to attend the events or presentations of greatest interest to them. There were also movie screenings in a few of the conference rooms which represented relevant political subjects. “False Flag” could be a real attention getter there, should Americana Pictures succeed with its production this year.
A litany of nationally known Senators, Congressmen, Governors, and organizational leaders addressed the Conference, including; Rand Paul (straw poll winner), Sarah Palin, Jim DeMint, Michele Bachmann, Marco Rubio (2nd in straw poll), Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Steve King, Jeb Bush, Eric Cantor, Newt Gingrich, Mike Lee, Allen West, Wayne LaPierre, David Keene, Donald Trump, Phyllis Schlafly, Anne Coulter, Peter Schiff, and scores of other notables. It seems anyone with a past or future related to conservative national politics was there to promote their career or cause.
Despite the level of speakers, the Conference seemed to be grasping to find new direction and a more effective way to forge a successful, conservative future for America. The most enthusiastic potential seemed to clearly rest with Tea Party advocates, although establishment Republicans were still desperately kicking and seeking “redirects” to maintain control/power. However, there were increasing moments of condemnation for what clearly has not worked for Republicans and scorn was directed at such people as Carl Rove, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Lindsey Graham and others who have abandoned honest conservative values (and their constituencies) in favor of liberal, socialist programs and globalist ambitions. In speaking with many exhibitors and attendees, there seemed to be a growing frustration that may manifest itself in a new revolution – hopefully a peaceful one – but one dedicated to restoring America’s constitution and nationalist traditions (freedom, small government, individual rights, spiritual foundation, fiscal responsibility, non-imperialism, etc).
The Republican Party must quickly develop a viable and populist platform if it is to hope to survive, let alone succeed. Trying to out “democrat” the “Democrats” will simply not work. Excessive government growth, irresponsible spending, and liberal, socialist policies are the domain of Democrats and many attendees recognize that recent Republican efforts to appeal to multicultural and progressive interests will ultimately spell doom. The immigration debate is clearly separating those who wish to preserve America from those who have succumbed to cultural Marxist propaganda and special interest actions. Fortunately, through alternative media, many are starting to recognize the difficult truths that the mainstream media suppresses…and a large number of alternative media companies (TV, radio, internet, etc) were closely covering this conference. Unfortunately, some tea party favorites (Rand Paul) seem too willing to compromise on issues like amnesty. We need to become a tea party favorite with a different answer (and great salesmanship). The mainstream media mostly covered their usual messages and messengers (establishment figureheads)…and with increasing frustration allowed no tolerance for “conspiracy advocates” or those with non-establishment positions.
Most of the seminars and panel discussions were held in smaller conference rooms (holding 40-400) and I attended several. Some were sponsor affiliated for promotional purposes and others were held for their topical significance by conference organizers. Importantly, a few were dedicated to the study and analysis of our faltering foreign policy – especially crucial since the false construct of the “War on Terror” was embraced by current and previous administrations. Despite the professional atmosphere at these sessions, it was difficult to remain respectful as some supposed conservative leaders were pushing for new wars.
For example, “Iran and the Islamist Threat to America and the West: What is – What Should Be – Our Strategy” was a most disturbing display of US lawmakers and Neocon intellectuals/advisors – seemingly working for a foreign nation, rather than for America and the doctrines of our Founding Fathers. Specifically, Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressman Buck McKeon were promoting sponsorship of a resolution which would obligate America to war should Israel pre-emptively decide to attack Iran. The rest of the panel were also Israeli promoters and the entire discussion was full of half-truths and deceptions designed to foment animosity against Iran and the Islamic world – and to position Israel as “joined at the hip” with America. I was appalled, as I’m sure our Founding Fathers would be. Interestingly (a sign of rejection?), this session had less than 200 attendees and Graham had to leave early during the Q and A (many people were lined up!). I suspect that the good Senator was anticipating a growing realization of his overriding loyalty to a foreign state and the hostility to these never-ending wars.
Another session, “Trump the Race Card: Are You Sick and Tired of Being Called a Racist and You Know You’re Not One?”, stirred passions in dealing with a topic that is routinely misrepresented by mainstream media. I was not able to attend this one, and heard conflicting viewpoints – but the heated discussion created interest (and condemnation by the usual suspects). Some of our friends in attendance can give insights on this. These sessions should provide a much needed forum for honest discussion so that better social and political remedies might be studied. This one was sponsored by Tea Party Patriots and hopefully others will be allowed in the future.
Some of the conference sessions seemed to be promotional events. For example, Wayne Allyn Root, the Libertarian Vice-Presidential Candidate in 2008 spoke of his career and future ambitions – now realigning with the Tea Party/Patriot movement within the Republican Party. I believe that most of these sessions are sponsored by individuals or organizations, or through relationships with the conference organizers. The advance promotion of these kinds of sessions – by passing out flyers in the halls or at the Exhibition booths – could be a great way to build a party, movement, or candidacy. With inventive public relations “gimmicks”, this conference could become a viable launch for new conservative efforts.
Some of the ongoing “promotional” included people dressed as “robots”, “1776 Patriots”, and other “mascots”. This is a consideration for future conferences. Flyers were regularly passed out, but by promoters who were exhibitors or sponsors of conference sessions or activities. Security was very much present, especially in the halls and I suspect someone with their own agenda (not approved by the Conference organizers, and not a “sponsor”), would be asked to stop their distributions. Passing out business cards could be more covert and still effective. Ours looked good and the backs of cards could be stamped with info about an upcoming session, speech or other conference activity. If this were done, I’d recommend distributing them on Thursday (more students) and Friday (general mix) – for a Friday afternoon/evening event or session. The “star” speakers were platformed throughout, but the most notable were scheduled on Saturday, which could take away from other, smaller conference sessions. Most of the smaller sessions were scheduled on Thursday and Friday.
The dinners (Thursday and Friday night) were expensive and I suspect most young attendees went elsewhere. If a company/party/etc sponsored and promoted a Friday late afternoon or evening session with pizza served, you might get good numbers. Tea Party Patriots did this at 7pm, Friday. Another group sponsored a conference room session with breakfast served on Thursday morning.
This Conference featured many organizations that should be natural allies of the American Freedom Party. We are clearly in synch with most Tea Partiers on all issues, except race. If the immigration issue was dealt with from the “moral high ground” (a nationalist perspective), it could galvanize support and be a great catalyst for discussions that could lead to better understanding of the racial aspects. If too unsympathetic and hard core (attacking other groups on the basis of IQs, crime, etc…ie, “race”), then most attendees would reject the message and the conference organizers might reject the sponsorship/session. Certainly media would grab onto and project destructive, marginalizing labels. If the party wishes to grow rapidly, then I highly recommend moderation in approach – to win tea party support first. They are close to coming to certain realizations, but are still brainwashed and will “shut down”, if approached on the wrong basis. We should approach them as “nationalists” – in time they will be with us. Just look at any of the young tea party groups…they are our demographic, but just haven’t realized it (they see the constitution as their glue). To succeed at these venues, we must approach with issues most in common and soft sell the more combative issues.
Values Voters Summit is an event held in the Fall that seems to be growing as a counterpart to CPAC
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