February 12, 2008
Over at Sadly, No!, Mr Leonard Pierce dons his Raoul Duke disguise and infiltrates CPAC.
Here’s a description of Hell they never give you: a huge room full of all the people you hate most, and they’re all having a wonderful time.Lovely stuff.
Yes, it’s all smiles and sunshine here at CPAC: lively young ladies with skillfully applied layers of makeup are here to greet you at every turn and correct your every confusion. Hopelessly earnest collegiate nerds hand out Mitt Romney stickers and hope against hope that John McCain has some sort of campaign trail meltdown: perhaps it will occur to him that the last 30 years have all been a fever-dream brought on by bad fish paste, that he is still in some VC labor camp wearing a tin can around his head, and he will savagely turn on his campaign manager with a broken bottle while at a Kiwanis breakfast. High school kids with bad moustaches pal around in hopes that toadying up to the rich kids will be their ticket to an easy future. On the walls are banners for the dregs of conservative thinksmanship: Town Hall, the ACU, Human Events, the YAF. (The National Review is conspicuous in their absence; they probably think CPAC takes much-needed revenue away from their Cruise the Caribbean with Rich Lowry promotion.) And up front, where no one can touch them – their natural state, as the Market intended, are the big men. Up there, in the first few rows, are the bosses, the people for whom America is shitbox and change drawer, the living embodiments of The Man.
On the way in, bracing the driveway entries to the Omni but kept far from the entrance by irritated-looking cops, were the abortion protesters. Their color posters of mangled fetuses were held up proud and loud in fear that the throngs of right-wingers inside might be paying a little too much attention to lining their pockets and not enough to their pet topic, the atomic holocaust of tomorrow’s Christians. My cab driver, a scarred-up vet who confesses solidarity with the protesters on the abortion issue but is also a lifelong democrat, shrugs in an almost embarrassed way – as if his earlier self-identification as a pro-lifer places him humiliatingly in the company of these fanatics. Once I check in, the atmosphere of gregarious paranoia only increases: there are cops and security people everywhere you look, and long lines through metal detectors and pat-downs by mean young cops and men with earpieces, who all seem to have only recently graduated from high school. I have another moment of panic as they paw through my briefcase, turning all my electronics on and off and opening all the containers: I do, after all, have a lot of pills in there. But God bless the lobbyists for the pharma industry: every goddamn one of them is at least putatively legal, and who’s to say I don’t actually have prescriptions? Other than me, of course, and I’m not talking. At least not after my next round loosens all the muscles in my tongue.