Since returning from DC I’ve been going through my notes and memory cards. I will be uploading some things in the next few days.
The most anticipated speakers on the second day of CPAC were Texas Congressman Ron Paul and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. The ballrooms were filled to maximum capacity for both events and spilled into several overflow rooms. Both candidates gave speeches that were very similar to their campaign stump speeches during the primary. Paul’s speech focused on reiterating what conservatism is by listing five principles including the repeal of the 16th Amendment of the Constitution and elimination of the Federal Reserve. Paul announced that he is writing another book due out sometime late this year or early next year.
Romney immediately following Paul in the same ballroom touched on similar issues but the crowd was more subdued. Romney defended the initial bailout, better known as TARP, because he “believed it was necessary to prevent a cascade of bank collapses.” Romney was very critical of Obama’s plan for the national debt saying that it was not ambitious enough. He warned against the perceived dangers of universal health care as he touted and defended the plan that he implemented in Massachusetts as governor as a conservative alternative to socialized medicine.
Google put on a few presentations/seminars to educate people on the various ways you can use Google in a campaign. I was disappointed that it was more of a sales pitch but found some stats from the Obama campaign very interesting. Obama’s team concluded that their ROI on Google spending was 15:1.
CPAC had a job fair and the line was crazy long with unemployed political consultants (are there any others?) looking for work.
One of the more unusual booths at CPAC was one touting “ex-gays” and it was there that I spoke with psychotherapist and “Sexual Reorientation Specialist” Richard Cohen, a self-proclaimed former homosexual. Cohen was one of the more interesting individuals I came across at the event because he said that he “did not like to engage in political issues” and here we were standing at CPAC outside his booth.
Cohen talked me through his life saying that his lack of a strong bond with his father, combined with his closeness with his mother and molestation at the hands of a family friend at a young age contributed to his youthful homosexuality. “In middle school I was pretty convinced I was gay and I hated it,” he said. “It was an unwanted same sex attraction and it drove me nuts,” said Cohen.
When I asked Cohen whether homosexuality was natural or a choice he responded “Absolutely not. In no way it is it anything natural or something you’re born with.”
Well is it a choice?
“Who in their right mind would want to be gay? Would you want to be gay?”
Surprised by the question I gave him a smart-ass answer, “Uh, no, I am not in to dudes.” He gave an awkward laugh and went on to elaborate his ideas on how homosexuality originates from “emotional brokenness.”
This Debbie-downer of an interview really killed my plan to make jokes about this.