Friday was the big day of the CPAC conference. Three of the men who could possibly become the next President of the United States were scheduled to speak in the main ballroom, although they were scheduled at staggered times during the day to avoid direct conflicts.
The one conflict that couldn't be avoided was the presence of some dirty hippies intent on disrupting the event. Some of the "Occupy Wall Street" crowd came to the Marriott in force. And things got a little ugly. More on that later....
The day actually started off on an almost perfect note, as former Governor Mike Huckabee gave a rousing speech to start the day. He reminded Conservatives that our country cannot exist without morality. He stated that there cannot be a separation of fiscal conservatism from social conservatism. His comments about conception and the dignity of life brought several in the audience to tears. It is a fantastic speech and I hope all of you will watch it.
I know his words stuck with me for hours afterwards and I wondered if our party had made a mistake by not convincing him to run. He espouses Conservatism in a way that is very emotional and powerful and has an effect on voters. Had he entered the race...he would have won Iowa and South Carolina and he would have been in the top 2 candidates for the entire race.
After his speech, I went to a different conference room to see Governor Huckabee introduce a movie called "The Gift of Life." I watched some of the film, then headed back to the ballroom to see Rick Santorum. Because Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are such terrible candidates, Rick Santorum started to generate some real momentum at CPAC. Most of the supporters in the hallways carrying signs and handing out flyers were for Santorum. During his speech, he mocked the media pundits who keep saying that Romney has more money and that only Romney can win. It was a point that really hit home with social conservatives.
I tried to get into the Tyler seminar room for a forum about European debt, but the room got too crowded and they weren't letting any more people in. I noticed people on Twitter were tweeting about trouble outside CPAC so I went outside to see what was up.
Of course, the Occupy Wall Street/99 Percenters were there, causing trouble.
Hundreds of them were marching in the street outside the Marriott. They tried to storm up the driveway and get into the conference, but a police cruiser cut them off and other squad cars soon arrived. Myself and other attendees who were headed out to lunch got somewhat close to the protesters, but that only enraged them more. The police started yelling at us that we would be arrested if we didn't go back into the hotel. I told one of the officers that this demand was bullshit because I was staying across the street and these dirty hippies were interfering with my right to return to my residence. The officer said I would have to go around the protest.
One interesting thing about the protest is that if you see the photos above, they had an enormous blow up cartoon character of a "Fat Cat" squeezing the neck of a little blue collar worker. I thought that the image was clever, although inaccurate.
I was in a bad mood when I went back into the hotel and was confronted by activists who were pimping their favorite candidate. People were swarming the lobby trying to hand out their favorite candidates t-shirts, campaign signs, stickers, and buttons. It was little hellish for me, as I didn't care for any of them.
Even though I was wearing my Perry for President button on my lapel, an eager young college kid shoved a Romney sign into my hand and shouted "Mitt Romney for President!"
I was stunned.
I looked at him and shouted "Here's what I think of your Mitt Romney!" and I tore the sign to pieces and threw the pieces in the air like confetti. This drew an enormous laughter and cheers from all the Santorum supporters. The Romney people sulked and one of them shouted "You're a dick!" Another Romney whiner said "He's with Perry, so he's already a loser"...which drew some revenge laughs from their crowd.
(To be continued in tomorrows TJR...)