Saturday, February 28, 2009

What I Saw At The Counter-Revolution

Today I attended this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. This is the third or fourth year I've attended, I can't remember which. I get in at the student rate since I'm still at the Art Institute (probably for the last time at that rate). I only go on Saturday, so I miss a lot of conferences and meetings and what-not that take place on Thursday and Friday. I was never one much for chasing celebrities. It makes me feel silly. But I did manage to meet three interesting people this year.

Ed Morrissey is one of the writers behind one of my favorite political blogs, Hot Air. You've probably read about him here before. I finally got to meet him at Bloggers' Row. He recognized my call sign (which would be "manwithblackhat") from among the registered commenters there, and I was flattered to know he appreciated the things I wrote, as much as I did his writings. He had an interview coming up, one of a number of webcasts he had been doing over the last three days. But we talked for about five or ten minutes. Ed works for Michelle Malkin, the syndicated columnist who is also president and owner of Hot Air. (I never got to ask him why she only hires guys.) They were handing out giant posters elsewhere, from the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, and one of them was of Malkin. I picked up one, but it's for a guy who sends a lot of articles and stuff my way. I can't very well hang it at my place. Sal would eventually see it, and that would be bad.

Bill Russell ran for Congress last year, to win the seat for Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District, from a pork-barreling blowhard named John Murtha. I saw his material for the "Russell Brigade" at a booth, and started talking to these two guys there, about why Murtha did so well in that district, despite referring to his constituents as "racists" and "rednecks," and what a guy like Russell would have to do to win against someone like that. Of course, that's when I learned that Russell was standing right behind me the whole time. They all got a good laugh out of that. Good thing I knew what the hell I was talking about. That district includes Johnstown, one of my favorite places, and he discussed the progress he made in the campaign, despite everything, and how it might work in his favor if he decides to take another shot at it. I certainly hope he does.

Sometimes it pays to be a good sport.

Finally, I met Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher. He was signing his latest book. We talked about his current plans with political organizing. He seemed very upbeat, despite taking one or two on the chin in recent weeks. In fact, the overall mood there was very optimistic. Conservatives tend to be more gracious losers than liberals, at least in this country, or so I've noticed. When Sal and I had dinner tonight, the Vietnamese restaurant had CNN on the big screen, and Rush Limbaugh could be seen stirring up the troops on the podium at the convention. They had the screen tuned to closed captioning, so I caught the jist of it.

And so, this is to give a shout out to, and a Tip of the Black Hat for, Ed Morrissey, Bill Russell, and Joe Wurzelbacher. Thanks for making this year's CPAC a great one for me. Tell ya what, guys, I enjoyed it so much, I might even come for more than one day next year.

Maybe even pay the full price. It could happen.

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