Today starts the three-day annual circus known as the Conservative Political Action Conference, in which Washington journalists scurry like wounded, hungry cooing doves in search of crazy bite from right-wing presidential hopefuls, and also Rick Perry. Gawker is there, too.
Just in case America's welfare dependency is solved there in the next three days, our intrepid legal analyst Gabrielle Bluestone will be bringing us war dispatches from the grounds of this GOP Gallipoli. And wow, what an agenda. Here's what's on CPAC's ambitious schedule just for today:
Panels! Today's include:
- "Does the U.S. Congress Matter Anymore? Executive Orders AND the Hopelessness of EVER Curtailing Federal Spending"
- "IRS Targeting Scandal: Protecting the Voice of the People, Sponsored by Tea Party Patriots"
- "Healthcare After ObamaCare: A Practical Guide for Living When No One Has Insurance and America Runs Out of Doctors (Part 1)"
- "What's the Deal with Global Warming?"
- "Rocky Mountain High: Does Legalized Pot Mean Society's Going Up In Smoke?"
- "When the Fed Stops Building and the Mint Stops Printing: Rebuilding the American Economy After a Real Crash"
Movies! Screenings today include:
- "Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny," sponsored by Citizens United and presented by Newt Gingrich
Prizes! One lucky conservative journo wins:
- "The Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award Sponsored by Citizens United"
Special events! Who doesn't want to attend this:
- "Special Event: Celebrating American Entrepreneurship Reception with Donald Trump Sponsored by Citizens United"
- Ted Cruz is already talking; it's possible he was rolled into the ballroom, already midflow, and simply manually rewound a bit.
- Paul Ryan speaks shortly.
- John Bolton will chat and then sign copies of his book.
- Then come Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, the NRA's Wayne LaPierre, and Rick Perry.
Sponsors! Who's bankrolling this shindig? Everybody. But mostly:
- The Heritage Foundation
- Koch Industries
- Amazing America With Sarah Palin
- Tea Party News Network
- National Rifle Association
- Tea Party Patriots
- National Review (which, incidentally, has a bunch of stories it really doesn't want you to write about CPAC this year, because press freedom.)
Check back here for the latest.
[AP photo: Gloria Wist of Lady Lake, Fla., with the Association of Mature Americans, poses for a portrait while attending last year's Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., Friday, March 15, 2013.]