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CPAC Is Underway

There was a time when the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was worthy of significant attention from journalists and other politics observers. As the Republican version of a trade show, it was where prominent and upwardly mobile members of the Party went to test their messaging in front of the party faithful. It was thus a preview of which candidates might make some noise in the next round of elections (midterm or presidential), and what planks they might be running on.

That time is no more, however. To start, CPAC is run by Trump loyalists. Beyond that, the organization that hosts CPAC (also known as the Conservative Political Action Conference) is a for-profit concern, and its main focus is making sure to sell as many tickets as is possible (at a price tag ranging from $50 for students to $295 for adults to $30,000 for a "Platinum Plus" admission). And what the attendees want is so much red meat that a statin IV is necessary. Most importantly, the Republican Party (at least, the Trumpy wing) doesn't have all that much of a platform anymore. And so, the job of conference speakers is not to wangle over which policy positions the Party will run on, it's to convince audience members (who are generally influential Republicans) that they are the Trumpiest one of all.

The proof is in the pudding, and the list of speakers makes clear this is little more than a better-organized Trump rally. The former president will speak, as will Sens. Rick Scott (R-FL), J.D. Vance (R-OH), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX); Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Marjorie Taylor

Greene (R-GA), Lauren Boebert (R-CO) and Jim Jordan (R-OH); and civilians like Mike Lindell, Stephen Miller, Sean Spicer, Sebastian Gorka, Mollie Hemingway and Candace Owens. The guest of honor at the Ronald Reagan dinner, which is the major social event of CPAC, and is VIP-only, is... Kari Lake. Meanwhile, not in attendance: Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), who will instead spend the weekend kissing the rear end of the remaining Koch brother and his friends, Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), among others.

CPAC runs from Wednesday through Saturday, which means it's already halfway over. Attendees have already heard from all of the senators listed above, as well as many of the representatives. CPAC really CPACks 'em in, so there have been more than 50 speeches so far. And here is a rundown of everything said during the first 2 days that wasn't about combating wokeness, and fighting the deep state, and owning the libs:

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Greene, Gorka, Gaetz and Spicer are among those who are up today, while Trump is up tomorrow. So, things could change! Or not. (Z)

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