In a rare occurrence, I have been unchained (literally, there are chains!) from my cubicle at the New York offices and allowed to venture into the Outside World in order to cover CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, which is taking place at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C. for the next three days. CPAC is the country's biggest annual gathering of conservatives — or as South Carolina senator Jim DeMint called it in his remarks this morning, the "world's largest gathering of freedom-loving American patriots." While this is an unverifiable and, frankly, dubious claim — a lot of people at the Super Bowl a few days ago probably liked freedom and America, too, we think — there are a lot of people here: 5,500 registered attendees who will be hounded nonstop by 1,300 members of the media.
A lot will happen over the next few days: Mitt Romney will try to regain his momentum and convince conservatives that he is one of them. Rick Santorum will try to build on his victories from earlier this week and make a case for his viability. Newt Gingrich wil say some stuff, also. (Ron Paul isn't here, but his son Rand is, and they're pretty much the same guy.) Dozens of workshops and panel discussions will be held, such as "The Failure of Multiculturalism" featuring white nationalist Peter Brimelow and "Why Am I Living in My Parents' Basement: How the Obama Administration's Policies Are Detrimental to Young People." A presidential straw poll will be taken. And the one and only Sarah Palin will emerge from the dark Alaskan wilderness to deliver the keynote address. Stay tuned.