CPAC was a blast. Although I had a hard time getting there, it was worth it.
I was amazed at some of the people I was able to get close to and photograph just by walking around the event. Have a look below.
Here's Ed Morrissey of Hot Air and Erick Erickson of Red State. They were part of a panel on GOP prospects for 2016.
Here are Katie Pavlich and Guy Benson of Townhall. Same panel as the one mentioned above.
Every year, conservatives waste time and energy debating the point of attending CPAC. We have this obsession with debating why we're all here. Debate? Solidarity? Passing judgment on the presidential prospects?
No one really knows. And that's okay.
It's okay because, for better or for worse, everyone comes to CPAC for different reasons. Those who don't find much relevance tucked within the many layers of the conference have stopped attending; those who enjoy attending speeches sit in the ballroom and listen to speeches; up and comers who need a leg up take every opportunity to network (and rub elbows at the bar.)
I've previously said that we're already well into the 2016 election cycle; gatherings like CPAC throw into full relief the fractured nature of the conservative movement, and the Republican party at large. Walking around, I've run into tea partiers, libertarians, establishment Republicans, college Republicans, disaffected Republicans, and everyone in between---but I'm still not sure the various factions of whatever sort of gathering this is truly recognize the nature of the movement they're a part of.
Republicans' greatest challenge in 2016 will be controlling the narrative---on both sides of the aisle.
The reality of the situation is that we will never come to a consensus about "what it means to be a conservative." We will never be able to float, vet, and select a candidate that makes everyone happy. We will never stop disagreeing about which leg of the three-legged stool should or should not be sacrificed when push comes to shove during an election cycle.
Rinse and repeat. It's never going to happen.
On Thursday, I had the pleasure of giving a presentation to House staffers on the BDS movement, and the role Congress legitimately can play in addressing the new form of the century-old Arab boycott of Jews in the land of Israel. I spoke about pending legislation, as well as possible additional legislation.
The moderator for my presentation was David Hazony of The Tower Magazine:
Back at CPAC, I spent some time on "Radio Row," where many high profile radio talk shows have set up booths.
I've been fortunate to interview with several of them, including Larry O'Connor of WMAL in D.C. ...
Getting to CPAC this year was a real challenge. As I was loading my car this morning, I slipped and went down my back steps like a human sled. I barely escaped the snow of my hometown and faced the traffic of Boston.
I arrived at Logan airport on time only to find out that my flight was delayed. Once I landed at Reagan, I made the mistake of waiting for a hotel shuttle that never arrived. When I finally gave in and bought a ticket on a generic shuttle, the driver circled the airport half a dozen times looking for passengers to fill the other seats in his van.
In spite of all that, I'm glad I'm here. I had a nice dinner with Team Insurrection and then went to Blog Bash where I got to meet some great people. Here are a few photos I took at the party.
Mark Hemingway of The Weekly Standard and his wife Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist.
See more below.