Media

CPAC and the Press

| Fri Feb. 19, 2010 10:50 AM PST

Why does the press devote so much attention to CPAC every year? Marc Ambinder (sort of) asks the question:

It has become a place to network and cheer at applause lines — nothing more. Leave the hall and end the day, and you've had a good time, but you don't feel fulfilled. CPAC is a guilty pleasure.

....CPAC isn't supposed to be a policy conference, which is fortunate, because policy is almost non-existent. Some of the panels are set up to rehearse the conservative-libertarian divide over certain issue sets, but no ideas get advanced at CPAC. Judging by the exhibitors, conservatives don't care about education, or the environment, or health care, or urban policy — only abortion, Supreme Court nominations, gun rights, campaign finance (Citizens United has a very nice booth) and deifying Ronald Reagan.

Asked and answered! Put on a serious conference that discusses real ideas, and you will get no attention. Put on a show with fake sumo wrestling and lots of outrageous speeches and the media will beat a path to your door. Ambinder thinks CPAC is showing its age, but I think CPAC is actually a perfect symbol of contemporary politics as reality show spectacle. As long as a camera is there, it's all good.

And if you're loud enough, the cameras are always there, aren't they?

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