Photo: Grace Wyler/Business Insider
The first day of the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference is finally winding down, as the visiting Republicans make their way to secret hotel suite after-parties and other conservative bacchanalia going on around Washington tonight.For the uninitiated, CPAC is an annual opportunity for right-wing Americans to really let their freak flag fly, away from the prying eyes of the liberal elite. Thousands of conservatives descended on Washington this year for three days of Republican pageantry, during which even the fringey-est elements of the GOP are allowed to make their presence known.
The entire spectrum of American conservatism was on display for the opening day on Thursday. Candidates of conservative past (Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry) were on hand, as well as candidates of the movement’s future (i.e. Rand Paul, Marco Rubio).
Away from the main stage, white nationalist Peter Brimelow spoke at a panel on the “failure of multiculturalism,” convicted Iran-Contra propagandist Elliot Abrams talked about the relative merits of the Arab Spring, and “juggler/pickup artist” Wayne Elise schooled young conservatives in the perils of bipartisan dating.
Overall, it was a spirited start to what promises to be an eventful election-year CPAC. We can only hope that this is a preview to the 2012 RNC in Tampa this summer.
Not surprisingly, the first sight upon pulling up to CPAC was our old friend Herman Cain's omnipresent face-bus — a great omen for the madness to come.
Cain took the opportunity to endorse his good friend, Joe The Plumber, who is running for Congress in Ohio.
Joe The Plumber, otherwise known as Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, has apparently promised to promote Cain's signature 9-9-9 tax plan, a prerequisite for Cain's support.
Interestingly, Cain did not mention Newt Gingrich, despite his very public endorsement of the former House Speaker in Florida last month. Rick Perry, another former candidate backing Gingrich, also neglected to mention him in his CPAC speech Thursday.
The movie retraces the voyage of the Pilgrims and the history of the Founding Fathers in order to discover why American has lost its exceptionalism and why the American family is falling apart.
Sarah Palin hasn't arrived at CPAC yet, but her picture is everywhere. The real Sarah is scheduled to give the keynote speech on Saturday.
Martha Washington was there too. She told me she also goes by Abigail Adams — but don't call her Dolly Madison.
Predictably, the National Rifle Association has a big presence at this year's CPAC. Their skeet shooting simulation was a big hit with the kids on Thursday.
Overall, vigilante justice seems like a pretty popular CPAC theme. This tee-shirt was a popular purchase in the Exhibition Hall.
But the most common target was obviously President Obama. An entire booth was dedicated to selling Obama parody paraphernalia.
The whole day was so fun, this woman decided she would enjoy it better without shoes. (She wasn't the only one.)
Now get ready for Friday's Mitt vs. Newt showdown. Until then, here's some more crazy to tide you over.
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