CPAC Reflections

CPAC Reflections

CPAC Reflections

 

While the Conservative Political Action Conference has come and passed, I am excited to finally sit down to reflect and share what those several days felt like to me.

 

My fellow Communications Intern Anna and I gladly volunteered to help staff the RNC’s booth at the conference. Our supervisors were generous in allowing us to stay after our shifts and attend the conference as students. Neither of us had been to CPAC before, so we were anxious to experience CPAC in the middle of the election year media blitz.

 

What immediately impacted me as I walked into the grand Marriott Hotel was the buzz and excitement that seemed to hum through the crowds of conservatives and members of the media. There were conservatives from every band of the spectrum. There were Tea Party Members, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Mitt Romney supporters. The candidate buttons and signs added to the color and market-place atmosphere. Conservative organizations I had and hadn’t heard of before were everywhere passing out free bumper stickers, flyers, bags and buttons. I was surprised by the number of young students attending - this must have been due to the tremendous discount for student tickets; it was refreshing to meet and chat with other students my age who were interested in conservative principles and values.

 

After purchasing our tickets (which did take a while considering there was an enthusiastic turn-out), Anna and I met with the RNC staff at the table downstairs and began setting up and passing out the latest RNC research, literature, and souvenir-type items. Much to my surprise, this was one of the most rewarding aspects of my time at CPAC. Volunteering at the booth gave me the opportunity to meet wonderful people from all over the country! It was such a pleasure to share with others about the RNC and hear about what brought them to CPAC. Making connections with these people made me realize that part – an important part of politics – is developing an understanding of what moves and resonates with different people throughout the country. I was fascinated to hear about what motivated these men and women to interrupt their schedules across the country, make the trek to DC, and hear from the CPAC speakers. No doubt they sought to educate themselves on ways their voice could make a difference. It was an honor to show them how they could help by supporting the RNC and volunteering around America. It was fun and rewarding when my efforts were met with a warm smile and a “Sign me up!”

 

RNC Booth

 

And then… yes, there was the ACTUAL conference. I’m sure most of you who follow politics watched coverage of the keynote speakers and major events. So here I will offer my unique perspective of my impressions.

 

Speaker highlights for me…

 

-Sen. Marco Rubio

-Rep. Michele Bachmann

-Gov. Rick Perry: He’s my Governor and I was proud to meet so many fellow Texans in the ballroom that day. There really is something special about meeting people from your home state when you are far away from it – instant connection. I felt at home listening to his Texas drawl and couldn’t help but smile throughout his remarks.

 

Governor Rick Perry

 

-Speaker John Boehner: He had an impressive and commanding presence.

-Kirk Cameron: C’mon…it’s Kirk Cameron… pretty fun to see him no matter where you are!

-Lt. Col. Oliver North: I have tremendous respect for him and his service to our country. It was an honor to see him present the American Heroes Award.

-Herman Cain

-Gov. Mike Huckabee: He comes across like your favorite next door neighbor. Crowd loved him!

-Sen. Rick Santorum

-Ann Coulter

-Gov. Mitt Romney

-Laura Ingram

-Speaker Newt Gingrich

-Andrew Breitbart: I have never experienced a speaker with that much passionate energy and fierce convictions in his beliefs. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends and the whole community that feels the loss of his courageous voice.

 

Andrew Breitbart

 

-MEP Daniel Hannan: Whoa. I need a whole new blog to talk about that speech. Google it!

-Sen. John Cornyn: Another proud Texan. Enough said.

-Sarah Palin! She’s a Rock Star. The energy that filled the room on her arrival was unlike anything I had yet to experience.

 

Sarah Palin

 

All that said, I feel like I keep reflecting back to the people at CPAC who impacted my experience. The countless exchanges I had with the other CPAC booths, volunteers, and attendees left me truly touched by the genuine love and care for our country that was the ultimate center of the conference. These Americans came to DC because they are passionate about what the United States is and stands for. While we may all have a certain perspective on how we can best keep our country free, safe, prosperous, noble, and strong, gatherings like CPAC are what our Democratic Republic is all about. I am still sitting full in heart and grateful for being able to experience this amazing and dynamic aspect of the democratic process.

 

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