It's time for conservatives to throw on their favorite pants suits and hang out with the rightest of the right-wing. Leaders of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) have gotten a lot of attention for the people they've pushed aside, like Chris Christie whose speaking invitation seemed to have gotten lost in the mail after he embraced President Obama, but the list of people who are invited and events that will take place is equally fascinating.
Let's look at CPAC day one.
The first major speaker of the day is Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate for governor in Virginia who's in the midst of a slight moderate shift to appeal to voters in a state that's increasingly purple. Only one day before he gave the conservative confab's inaugural speech, he refused to sign the no-tax pledge. He might want to watch out for Grover Norquist who has a CPAC book signing.
Other big day one speakers include former Congressman Allen West, and Sens. Marco "Poland Springs" Rubio and Rand "Filibuster" Paul--expect right-wing red meat from these two rising conservative stars. We can only hope Texas Governor Rick Perry's address is worthy of his infamous "Live Free or Die, Victory or Death" speech. We'll also hear from Senator Tim Scott, a less vocal member of the conservative movement, who has gotten a lot more attention since he went from being the only African-American Republican congressman to the only African-American Republican senator.
The day one book signings pack even more of a conservative punch, from "Obama’s Four Horsemen: The Disasters Unleashed by Obama’s Reelection" to "Spin Masters: How the Media Ignored the Real News and Helped Reelect Barack Obama."
Guns will be addressed, too. First at a 3 p.m. session titled “Should We Shoot all the Consultants Now?” then again at 4 p.m. named “How a Constitutional Sheriff can Protect Your Second Amendment Rights."
Attendees will also have a chance to talk about voting solutions on Thursday morning. Shocked to see conservatives pick up the mantle of voting rights? Don't worry, this event only addresses military voting. Anyone hoping to discuss minority voting rights should wait until the afternoon, when Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch speaks. He's an active member of True the Vote, the Tea Party organization of poll monitors who've been accused of suppressing and intimidating minority voters. Thursday afternoon also features a talk with Hans von Spakovsky, the man largely credited with furthering the vote fraud myth that's been used to justify the recent wave of voter suppression laws.
CPAC organizers have taken a lot of flack for no longer allowing GOProud--a major gay Republican group--to sponsor the event, but at least one member of the group snuck in and will attend a Thursday panel discussion titled “A Rainbow on the Right: Growing the Coalition, Bringing Tolerance Out of the Closet,” sponsored by a libertarian group.
The culminating event of the evening? Hillary Clinton. Not the person, the movie. Organizers will screen the 2008 political documentary that made it to the Supreme Court in the infamous Citizens United case that gave America's richest citizens greater power in the electoral process than ever before. The screening is sponsored, of course, by Citizens United.