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My CPAC 2023 Adventure – And Why I’m Never Going Back

My CPAC 2023 Adventure – And Why I’m Never Going Back

It’s so much work to get there, and it’s expensive. If it’s also going to be like visiting a registry of motor vehicles, it’s just not worth it to me.

(Pictured – Journalist and blogger, Robert Stacy McCain, and me, kicking back.)

This year I decided to go back to CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Coalition) conference at National Harbor, just outside of DC for the first time since 2015. I had a good time, but things didn’t really work out as planned, and I will not be going back.

Weeks before the conference, I registered on CPAC’s website to attend as media and cover the event for Legal Insurrection, just as I had done in 2013, 2014, and 2015. When I didn’t hear anything back, I called the CPAC office. The young woman I spoke to did not have any information for me, but did not indicate that anything was wrong or that I should not attend.

When I called the Gaylord International Hotel to book a room, I was told that there were no more rooms at the special rate for CPAC attendees. This should have been a red flag, but I booked a room at a very nice hotel only a block away from the conference.

I also decided to change things up by taking the Acela train instead of flying. As far as the trip down to DC is concerned, that choice worked out well. The train was on time on Wednesday morning at 6 AM at South Station in Boston, and we cruised down to DC in just 6.5 hours.

Once I was settled into my hotel, I went to CPAC and found the media registration desk. I was asked for my QR code, something I had not received, in my regular mail or my SPAM folder. I was told to come back in an hour. I went back to my room, checked email, got a coffee and went back about two hours later. Again, I was told I was not in the system. Best to check back again later.

At this point, it was the evening. I called my old buddy Stacy McCain of The Other McCain, because I knew he would be there. I walked back over to the convention hotel and met Stacy. He wanted to go to the media registration desk to pick up his credentials. I walked over with him and he was fine, they gave him his badge, but I was still not in the system. I was told to return after 7 AM the next day.

The next morning, I returned to media registration at 8 AM. Still no luck. The young woman at the desk, who by now knew my face but not my name, explained that I was still not in the system. I was starting to get frustrated and explained that I had traveled from Boston to be there. I hadn’t even raised my voice, but the woman at the desk suggested that I visit the Resolutions Desk, then passive aggressively suggested that she could have security escort me there if I wanted. Like, what am I? Antifa?

To be absolutely clear, I never had a ‘Do you know who I am?’ moment, I never even got visibly upset, but I do write for three fairly influential conservative sites. Legal Insurrection, The Gateway Pundit, and Twitchy. Shouldn’t CPAC want someone like me to be there?

I went to the Resolutions Desk and waited in line for a half an hour to speak to someone, only to be told once again, that there was no explanantion for my situation or any solution. She told me I needed to speak to the woman at the end of the desk, who was management, but that she was away for a few minutes. I went to the end of the desk and stood waiting for another 30 minutes.

When the manager finally appeared, I explained the situation to her. She then spent a few minutes searching through her laptop. Then she declared that she would need to call the media office, which she did. After a few minutes on the phone, she explained to me that the conference had over-booked media people, and that I would not be getting media credentials, but that they would be happy to sell me a ticket if I wanted to go to the conference as an attendee. Tickets are over $300.

At that point, I gave up. I was now on vacation in National Harbor. I actually felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off of me. No more explaining, questioning, or waiting in lines. I was also stunned to suddenly think that Amtrak seemed more organized than CPAC.

I spent the next two days doing fun things. I crossed the river and walked around in Old Town, Alexandria, where I got a much needed haircut at a very cool barber shop.

Old Town has a very Boston feel to it.

I also had a great time at the Irish Whisper pub in National Harbor.

On Thursday night, I went out for drinks with Stacy McCain, where I also got to meet Mark Mitchell of Rasmussen Reports, a very nice fellow.

Jeff Reynolds of PJ Media, formerly of Legal Insurrection, was also there. A great guy all around. Funny and smart.

I also had a chance to meet Stacey Lennox and Gwendolyn Sims of PJ Media. These ladies were a riot.

I had some fun on Twitter, too.

In a very funny piece over at The Other McCain, Stacy wrote about my troubles and advised me not to go too scorched earth in my write up of the event, and I’m not. I’m just telling you exactly what happened. Stacey Lennox also has a great essay over at PJ Media about how CPAC has changed over the years.

In an all too perfect ending to this comedy of errors, my Acela train back to Boston was beset with electrical issues and was forced to stop for over an hour and then travel at low speed for an hour. As a result, it took nine hours for the train to make it to Boston. I was on the train from 11 AM to 8 PM. I could have flown back and forth from Boston to DC twice in the time I was on the train.

I won’t be going back. It’s so much work to get there, and it’s expensive. If it’s also going to be like visiting a registry of motor vehicles, it’s just not worth it to me.

The best part? I got to pick up my little buddy Finn at the vet on Sunday morning and bring him home. He stayed with their surprisingly affordable boarding service while I was gone.

On a final note: When I walked away from the CPAC Resolution Desk on my way out of the convention hall on Thursday, I walked past Dave Weigel, formerly of the Washington Post, now writing for Semafor, another liberal outlet created by Ben Smith of BuzzFeed fame. He had a press pass around his neck.

This is who they want covering their event, I wondered to myself?

Good luck with that, CPAC.


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First, that Irish pub superpower is NOT unimpressive in the least.

Second, your Amtrak trip back to Boston — now THAT’S the Amtrak I’m familiar with.

For real railroad regret, try the Lake Shore Limited , Boston – Chicago.

    Olinser in reply to Rab. | March 5, 2023 at 6:49 pm

    I’ve travelled Amtrak a handful of times on the east coast. Been problems probably half the time, its slightly more comfortable than planes but DRAMATICALLY longer journey (even factoring in airport security), pretty much the only reason to do it was because it was cheaper.

    Now that’s not even the case anymore because they started massively increasing ticket prices.

    Out of curiosity I just looked it up (really slow day at work and I’m bored).

    A round trip from Boston to Washington DC on Amtrak for a departure April 10 and return April 14th (so a month in advance) costs $194 on Amtrak.

    A couple outliers aside, almost all tickets for airline flights from Boston to Washington DC for the same window departing April 10 and returning April 14th cost…. $202.

    So you’re paying THE SAME PRICE for a significantly longer journey with a much higher likelihood that it will be delayed.

      MAJack in reply to Olinser. | March 6, 2023 at 8:09 am

      When I traveled via Amtrak (Boston to NY), the Wi-Fi
      Was horrible. Think…loooooong pauses.

      RRRR in reply to Olinser. | March 6, 2023 at 9:31 am

      All of which are why when I have to go from NY to Boston or from NY to DC, I usually drive. Boston to DC would be a bit much to justify driving.

    Irish pubs are pretty easy to find in DC and northern Virginia besides the one only a block from the Gaylord.

      Irish pubs are somewhat easy to find anywhere in the world. Wherever you go, there’s an Irish pub and a Chinese restaurant. And maybe an Indian one.

I read the article at PJ. Seems
like there is some clean up on aisle 4 that needs to be done

Who in the world is in charge of it?

I don’t know if you think it is worth it but Steve Bannon seems to have a lot to do with it and probably needs to if he wants it to recover, survive and thrive.

Seems there are more than one CPAC event per year, was that always true?

Definitely the young Republicans, Brietbart and others had alot to do with its success.

I would hate to see another conservative venue or person go down in flames.

We have lost too many good people like Rush, Brietbart, Scalia, amd others only to see the evil left live forever like Pelosi, Soros , Schwab, Maxine… what, are they doing Soylent green ?

    CommoChief in reply to gonzotx. | March 5, 2023 at 7:35 pm

    Organizations get complacent as they mature. As the original founders and their direct protege age out they are replaced with those who don’t share they same vision. How could could they? After all these folks inherent it, they don’t have to build it. When the goals of those who inherited the organization differ from the founders… well those guys aren’t around and times have changed or so they say.

    This phenomenon isn’t really unusual. I’m surprised CPAC lasted as long as it did as bastion of big tent conservative ideals. A place where libertarians, defense Hawks, audit the Fed folks, social/religious types, economics focused folks, non interventionist and believers in American Empire could all gather, set aside their differences, exchange ideas, straw poll politicians and policies and focus on the common opponent; the d/prog.

    The factionalism we see between the never Trump v everyone else and the only Trump v everyone else is bad omen. When leading figures in the GoP don’t see merit in attending the same events anymore because one faction seems to have dominated the event to the point of making prior attendees unwelcome or unheard that’s a problem.

    The best course for all of us opposed to d/prog totalitarianism is to settle our differences in the primary, unify around the nominee and stop creating anymore bad blood. Especially for those of us on the populist right, unless we want to hand power to them and the establishment rinos.

      txvet2 in reply to CommoChief. | March 6, 2023 at 1:18 am

      One thing you might try is to stop calling anybody you disagree with on any particular point “rino’s”. The simple fact is that unless EVERYBODY on the right unites, we’re never going to win anything – and that’s not even taking into account that every time we end up in an internecine fight, we hand another state to the left, and thereafter, they will cheat to maintain control.

      I know a lot of you think that we still have a fighting chance to regain control of this country. I’m not one of you. I think we gave the game away decades ago when we failed to strenuously oppose and attack leftist stealing of elections. Yeah, Chicago was a big joke, as the Democrat machine stole election after election, and as they installed Kennedy in the White House. People are starting to belatedly discover that it wasn’t a joke, it was a precursor of the present. I have no more patience with Trumpbots or GOPe who think that the true enemy is other Republicans, as we see an administration owned and operated by the Chinese CCP destroy the country. I’ve said it before: I’m glad that I’m old enough that it’s unlikely that I’ll still be alive when they finally succeed – but I know for certain that the last thing that the putative right will be doing just before the final collapse will be cutting each others’ throats.

        CommoChief in reply to txvet2. | March 6, 2023 at 7:44 am


        I agree with a lot that analysis in scope if not the timeline; I think we have maybe a decade or so to reverse course as Nation. I personally try and reserve the rino label for those people in power or people of influence who say they want to do x but never quite get around to doing it.

        Folks like the weirdo grifters at the Lincoln project. People like David French who try and stake out moral high ground demanding that the GoP do X or refrain from Y b/c morality/tradition but seem to ignore when d/prog fail to measure up or if they do mention a d/prog shortcoming engage in whataboutism to a degree that it turns into a condemnation of the GoP.

        Politicians like McConnell and Ryan who campaign to do X but when in power refuse to expend the political capital to deliver. The old school GoP which trades capital gains tax cuts and increased defense spending in exchange for an ever larger Federal leviathan that is empowered to enact weirdo social policy is out of touch with the base which is far more populist.

          txvet2 in reply to CommoChief. | March 6, 2023 at 5:00 pm

          That “rino” thing was in response to your comment, but it was aimed at a lot larger audience. Nothing personal.

          CommoChief in reply to CommoChief. | March 6, 2023 at 6:41 pm


          No worries, it didn’t seem like it was directed at me. I just took the opportunity to expand on the very valid point you made about the sloppy use of the term ‘rino’ to lay out my view of what that term constitutes.

          We have a problem with overuse of that term. It’s a part of the factional division today in GoP/conservative circles. The absolutism some display/demand is never gonna create a coalition large enough to win b/c they exile anyone who isn’t 100% in agreement with their policy and/or candidate preference.

They were intentionally wasting your time and money. They do not repeatedly tell somebody to just hang around and come back later and maybe ‘the system’ will suddenly decide they are registered.

They knew from the very start that you weren’t getting in, and they chose to intentionally waste your time and money by repeatedly telling you to ‘come back later’.

    It’s looking like they denied anyone they didn’t know a lot about a media credential, perhaps because Matt Schlapp was chased around early by reporters asking about his groping law suit. Schlapp appeared on a few times on the CPAC stage, while his wife Mercedes appeared much more often.

If they are reading LI, which I am sure they do, then they know you are not 100% pro-Trump. Therefore they do not trust you. Trump was their #1 featured speaker. If you are not one of theirs, then you are not welcome. I gave up on CPAC several years ago, even though I used to go regularly. They are a dinosaur, just like Trump. Maybe I’m wrong, and they are just incompetent, like most of Trump’s choices for high ranking executive positions.

    Dathurtz in reply to JR. | March 5, 2023 at 6:58 pm

    I wonder what they think of Weigel?

    gonzotx in reply to JR. | March 5, 2023 at 6:59 pm

    It’s always Trumps fault

    Sure he wanted left wing “journalists “ in rather than Mr LaChance

    Pretty sure Trump is responsible for the ukraine war too, phone call and all

    Amazing how a man that paid out of his pocket for the nomination, took no money in office, lost billions cause of cancel culture, worked his ass off for us, was sabotaged by his own party and tried his dampest to keep his promises, kept us safe and out of wars, improved the economy , lowered illegal immigration by 90%, and was impeached twice for nothing, has lawsuits out the cahzoo for the people of the Country he loves …

    And you blame him for anything and everything


      ” They are a dinosaur, just like Trump….”

      So goes Trump, so goes you and I, JR.

      Here is another big reason why they hate Trump: he is appealing to a very broad constituency:

      That’s what happens when you campaign in the inner cities, “flyover country” as well as in big venues. Trump is a grassroots candidate whose message resonates across a wide swatch of America. And he talks to us DIRECTLY. Look at his numbers with blacks, hispanics, male, female, age group… In fact, he trounces the field on ALL of the demographics.

      That explains why he is vacuuming up the small donations ($50 donation comes with one vote, just like the $25,000,000 donations). The Uniparty has been an utter failure at selling their cancer so they had to cheat. Now Trump is focusing on beating everyone at their game by adding voter harvesting into his game plan. This will be very effective in places no is expecting, like CA where the GOP gained 3 congressmen because they harvested.

      It makes all the sense in the world that CPAC hotel rooms were booked. Just like Trump’s campaign rallies and some Tea Party rallies. Trump is a super magnet. There is a reason why DeSantis skipped CPAC. The place was packed with Trump’s MAGA team and a few surprises like James O’Keefe.

      Don’t lose faith. We are winning.

        gonzotx in reply to Pasadena Phil. | March 6, 2023 at 1:44 pm

        Former CNN Head Jeff Zucker Ordered Staff Not To Even Investigate the Lab Leak Theory, Because It Was a “Trump Talking Point”

        Trust the media. They have no agenda except the truth.

        Undoubtedly he gave this order so that his network would not give any air to any Trump statement, and so CNN could not blunder and inadvertently wind up reporting that Trump was right.

        Best not to do any journalism at all, decided the “journalists.”

    Technique in reply to JR. | March 5, 2023 at 8:11 pm

    I don’t get this. Us vs. Them. Why?

    As noted previously organizations age out. They get taken over and corrupted regardless of the side. To use this fact as a punching bag against a particular person you don’t like, seems small and disingenious.

    Many many people are … erhmmm … lemmings. They feel that the can be safe and then powerful if they are part of the “in” crowd. This gives their small minds a sense of fullfilment and completion. They gather around people … “any” people that they think are “alphas” so that they can get a piece of the action without having done anything. This is very much Rand’s quest for the unearned. It doesn’t matter anything to these people which “side” or position they are on, they are only interested in unearned power. It is their only motivation and goal.

    An honest civilized society is framed by it’s ability to sideline this garbage. If it is allowed to fester it will destroy whatever it touches. This is human nature on full display. Maybe leaders promote it maybe they don’t but even an honest leader will have this around him/her whether they want it or not.

      Because the US (big tent Republicans) have been building a big tent as they empty out the true believers. THEM (Tea Party and true conservatives) have taken the fight out of the tent. As you can see by the polling stats I posted in another thread, the Trump supporters are where you find the “big tent”.

      You “big tent Republicans” see the fight as being infighting. We Trumpers reject your premise (which the ultimate strawman) and see the fight as being Uniparty vs constitutional government. Yeah I know, wasting my time. We “THEMs” are very specific about what we are fighting for. You “WEs” just hate Trump because blah blah blah. It’s a big brawl because the WE faction makes exactly the same arguments as the progressives (their Uniparty teammates) and there is absolutely no possibility of civilized discussion. Lecture, insults and threats. It sure was better when these events were just an extension of the 19th Hole wasn’t it? Now you have to put up with working people, Christians, hispanics, blacks and the rest of the crowd not aloud in the “big tent”.

      Yeah, too bad but I was never in that club. That is exactly what the Tea Party was about and I am still in THAT club.

        CommoChief in reply to Pasadena Phil. | March 6, 2023 at 4:59 pm


        Framing everything through the lens of 100% support for Trump no matter what is going to shrink that tent. Those of us who were in the populist right sphere before tea party are used to being outsiders. The establishment Chamber of Commerce types didn’t want us seen or heard. It sounds like the only Trump tent you are erecting doesn’t have room for us either.

        These events, like CPAC, should be neutral territory for all those opposed to d/prog. A place to gather divergent views, discuss and debate ideas about how to confront and defeat the common foe we all agree upon; totalitarian, woke, progressive, socialists.

        It doesn’t matter which faction takes over an event when they use that power to exclude other viewpoints. It’s bad when anti Trump folks do so and it’s equally bad when pro Trump folks do so.

        Those of us who want to wait until the primary plays out to decide upon the 2024 Avatar to oppose the d/prog at the top of the ticket would appreciate a seat at the table v being excluded again by another faction who doesn’t want us seen or heard.

          You completely miss my point. Trump didn’t start this fight. The NeverTrumpers did. We (obviously not you) are single-minded about destroying the Uniparty. Every candidate not named Trump is hoping to gain traction as the “Anti-Trump”. Everyone had a chance to appear at CPAC. No one was excluded. It is YOUR GOPe that is doing everything to demonize and exclude Trump and those of us who will fight this to the bitter end.

          YOU and your friends insist on playing the dishonestly coy game of “we will support whichever candidate wins the primary” even though Trump is excluded from everything. Nice “big” tent you are building there. Trump already HAS the big tent but the only people who show up to his events are his supporters and unless you are in a coma, he is on a roll again. The magic is back.

          Trump will win with or without DeSantis. Put that in the bank. Stop buying into the “Trump cannot win” nonsense. The Karl Rove “big tent” theory was a fraud when he used it for “W”. What big tent? The Uniparty bipartisanship united left wing progressive tent?

          The only thing at this point about DeSantis I am interested in is whether he is just the latest incarnation of the typical RINO polymorph. He sure looks like one. BUT he has a great opportunity to end the Uniparty by destroying the GOPe, the people you seem to admire. All he has to do is keep dragging out his game of making people guess whether he is running until the dirty money and their puppets have a nervous breakdown.

          At some point, he announces that he will soon make a major announcement. The announcement? “I have come to the realization that MAGA has to win out and so I am endorsing Trump and will campaign enthusiastically for him to return to the Oval Office!” He and Trump settle it and the base (except you NeverTrumpers) are united to defeat the Uniparty once and for all.

          Yeah, it looks unlikely but once you get it in your heads that Trump is NOT stupid, Ronald Reagan’ had a plaque in his Oval Office that read:

          “”There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he does not mind who gets the credit.”

          That’s how miracles occur, a couple of smart political operators who just want to accomplish a mission. That miracle is sitting right there and it’s up to DeSantis to make it happen. This is the point where all you NeverTrumpers zone out. Yeah but Trump…..!!!!!! Get over it!

          CommoChief in reply to CommoChief. | March 6, 2023 at 9:08 pm


          Your point seems to revolve around the idea that Trump is an indispensable man. He isn’t. If he was then assuming he is elected in 2024 he departs office four years later….that indispensable man will no longer be eligible to serve as POTUS. Another must take up that burden at some point. That’s life.

          That’s not to say Trump isn’t important. Nor is to denigrate him or his odds of victory in the GoP primary. IMO he has the inside track. Especially since he has released some very compelling policy proposals and made a huge impact in E Palestine with his visit.

          Those of us who want to hold a competitive primary instead of a coronation are not your enemy. Save that vitriol for the Never Trump weirdos; FYI most normal GoP folks hold them in contempt as much as you do. For what its worth I don’t have a problem with Trump or DeSantis. One of them will win my vote in the primary. The nominee will get my vote in November.

          A primary contest will strengthen the eventual nominee that’s the effect of competition; when we have to earn something we work harder to achieve it. Trump’s recent actions in focusing on policy and using his media celebrity to focus attention on E Palestine show he is serious about competing in 2024 and not focusing on the past or on his ego. That bodes very well for him and his odds of winning not only the primary but the general election.

          Whomever the nominee is we all must unify to get them over the hump v the d/prog. We can’t afford to give up and go home if our preferred candidate isn’t the nominee.

The Gentle Grizzly | March 5, 2023 at 7:05 pm

On a final note: When I walked away from the CPAC Resolution desk on my way out of the convention hall on Thursday, I walked past Dave Weigel, formerly of the Washington Post, now writing for Semafor, another liberal outlet created by Ben Smith of BuzzFeed fame. He had a press pass around his neck.

This is who they want covering their event, I wondered to myself?

Why not? Or, do you expect them to admit only the friendlies and have an echo chamber?

    If, as they claimed, they just ‘overbooked’ and were only allowing limited media in, then OF COURSE it makes more sense to admit the friendly ones first and they can admit the other jackasses IF there is room.

    The fact that they strung Mike along repeatedly but let slime like Weigel in quickly is very telling.

      joejoejoe in reply to Olinser. | March 6, 2023 at 8:19 am

      I wouldnt say weigel is slime, just mistaken and on the wrong side of Church history unlike the late great Mr Neumayer

      Concise in reply to Olinser. | March 6, 2023 at 10:32 am

      Or maybe, this whole story is B followed by S. He registered and no one said there was a problem? What the @#$#? How about, oh I don’t know, asking a question about your status before the event? Isn’t that what “journalists” do? You know, the question thing? Whatever the problem (if there actually was one and not just a failure to register correctly, if he actually even tried), the author here helped create it, He was probably counting on it. There was no desire to actually cover the event. Why would there be? Not a good forum for DeSantis groupies.

Mike, are the photos before or after the haircut? 😉

Mike, your column and that of Stacey Lennox, to which you provided a link, are must reads, and should be read one after another, in either order. And then, the Stacy “The Other McCain” McCain’s article must be read for its scathing humor.

What I infer from these 3 articles, including the poor and inflexible management described by Ms. Lennox, Mr. McCain and you, is that CPAC has lost a lot of funding or it is spending its money unwisely, or both.

    What CPAC has mainly lost is all the college age attendees. In 2015 there were 3000 voters in the straw poll and in 2010 there had been 2300. This year there were 2028. The Ron Paul and Rand Paul organzations used to subsidize college students’ tickets. In 2015, 47% of the people voting in the CPAC straw poll were 18-25.

More reporting on Finn D Canis would have been nice, a superior possibility to the current incumbent.

Too bad CPAC lost your stuff. You sure showed them!

Conservative meetings have always been nuts. It’s covered in Jerome Tuccille’s “It Usually Begins With Ayn Rand” (the original unrevised and unupdated edition being the best).

healthguyfsu | March 5, 2023 at 10:44 pm

Well, it doesn’t sound like your CPAC entry experienc could have gone any worse, but your train ride definitely could have been worse. These people all think you had a relatively stellar experience with Amtrak. (and yes Amtrak is effing awful in many many ways)

Mr. LaChance,
Thank you for the article. Glad you had a good time, despite the cock-ups.
Hindsight is 20/20, but did CPAC confirm your reservation on your previous visits?

I’m down to 3-4 good sources of information and LI is one of them.

To be clear, this puts LI ahead of all talk radio, all cable news, and all youtube pundits.

Seriously I rarely bother to listen to Ben Shapiro anymore. While he’s smart- he’s just doing too much captain of the obvious. You’re ahead of Lars Larsen and all the rest.

Then again- I’ve never really thought much about CPAC, so my opinion holds almost no weight.

IDK, you tried to register and called before hand. You were told that you were not in the system but decided to go anyways and were not let in. Sounds like a self inflicted wound to me. As for CPAC itself, who cares? It may have served a purpose once but with the internet it is far less important. I get more information from sights like LI than I could possibly get hobnobbing with those clowns.

E Howard Hunt | March 6, 2023 at 6:53 am

You seem like a nice guy, but this was all your fault. You should never have attended without getting everything cleared first. Rather than making CPAC look bad, you embarrassed yourself here. Nothing is as bad as the Mass RMV. It would have treated you worse with everything in order.

    No this CPAC was particularly badly run. I’ve been to almost all of them since 2007. Super-expensive concessions. Making general admission holders ($295 tickets) walk two blocks around a giant ball room to get in – including every time they left the main hall to go to the bathroom), while premium ticket holders could go in the first most convenient door and then all the doors in between were blocked. It was a shit show.

I would think that if you are in the political business and have earning from this business the trip might be tax deductible. Maybe if you are an employee in the political business your employer might get a deduction. Otherwise I see no reason to go and spend all that money in room tax to Maryland.

Your experience mirrors the dark insides of the gang formerly known as “republican” Party labels no longer exist, and have not for some years. (and I no longer capitalize them)
Our political choices are between the Constitution and Communism. There. Easier to see the two sides through that lens. I’d say about 90% of the 2023 CPAC attendees fall into the second category, The sickest part of all is that 90% of those don’t get it.

I had the same experience, except mine was worse. I DID but the $295 ticket, as well as applying for a media credential. I’ve done that many years before, and although I have sometimes NOT been told whether I had the media credential or not, it was there when I got there.

This year I only picked up the paid ticket my first morning and I was wandering the exhibitor hall before CPAC began. Two large men in beige suits appeared, asked me if I was Bruce Majors, grabbed my badge to check my name, took my lanyard and badge off me. Grabbed my bottle of water to see what it was, and marched my out of the exhibitor hall. When I asked what this was about they said I was being taken to someone who would explain. They took me back to the registration list where one of the staffers said I had been denied a media badge and therefore I was banned from CPAC and could not even buy a ticket.

I told the kind of troubleshooter lady telling me this I needed to speak to her supervisor. She called them, and eventually CPAC’s general counsel got involved. A gentleman named something like David Sarfosian appeared. While all this was going owned I had been ushered into a little sideroom and more and more security people and some State Troopers were amassed outside of it. Eventually everyone apologized to me, they gave me back my badge, and they supposedly (I haven’t checked my VISA refunded my $295. The explanation was they had a whole new media department this year and it had a lot of bugs in its procedures.

For awhile I was a little shaken and though this was just. by bad luck.

Later that day Kerry Pickett of the Washington Times interviewed me about the low turn out at CPAC. She actually told me, and it’s in her coverage, that Matt Schlapp had been chased through the hotel Thursday morning by reporters asking him about the $9.4 million law suit against him by the Herschel Walker campaign staffer who claims he was groped by Schlapp.

Reading your account, I am beginning to think that the CPAC media department were paranoid about this lawsuit, and were handing out few media credentials. I’ll be writing about CPAC at my substack, The Insurrection, and perhaps some other venies.

You have described not just CPAC but the entire conservative/MAGA movement, including Trump, who knowingly appointed RINOS to top positions in his administration convinced they would change once they received his benevolence. They didn’t, they won’t and CPAC is the same. We have the message but lack the management and organizational skills. Could we fuse Trump with Musk?

My God, if this level of incompetence and dysfunction is emblematic of how the GOP National Committee is run, we might as well pencil in dotard-marionette, Biden — or some other Dumb-o-crat — for another four-year term, right now, as a given.

CPAC should showcase competence.
After all the speakers all speak on how to run the country better.

That said, this episode sounds like in-person shadow banning.
As you said, you’re a regular poster on more than one major conservative blog. And have been credentialed in previous years. If they want to not credential you – for whatever reason – they have a right to do so – but they absolutely should be open about it. Post a set of credentialing rules where applicants can see them and adhere to them. Explain any one-off exceptions. AND make it obvious if your application is accepted or denied. With a procedure to argue for overturning a denial. Finally on-site someone with authority to credential someone who fell thru the cracks should be present – perhaps with a fee for on-site credentialing ($100?) to keep late decuderscfrom clogging the system….

THAT said, it’s not obvious in your posting that you did due diligence in applying. 2015 is long enuf ago that an auto-renewal on credentialing might not kick in. Hopefully you followed up before going to ensure online or by phone what your status was?

“The best part? I got to pick up my little buddy Finn at the vet on Sunday morning and bring him home. He stayed with their surprisingly affordable boarding service while I was gone.”

Good God, and the GOP/Conservatives wonder why they are getting their asses handed to them?

As far as your dog, I can’t board mine. He hates leaving home, so if one of the kids ain’t home, we’ll pay one of their friends to house/dog sit.

Is this thread a Karl Rove “big tent club” meeting?

“Hey! The old gang is back! Remember the “good old days” when only wealthy people were allowed in the club? Yeah, those were the days. We really knew how to organize events back then didn’t we? You bet! No black people no hispanics, nope. Just one big quiet empty tent. What happened to those good old days?”