1. CPAC is in DC. It's cheap and easy for the Beltway media to cover it. Netroots Nation floats around the country. Back in the early days, when I had some level of influence with NN, I made an impassioned plea to never have the conference in DC. Not only was it imperative for a grassroots conference to take place where our activists lived, but it forced politicians to make a commitment to attend. Anyone can roll into a conference center in DC and spew platitudes. It was a whole different level of commitment to get on a plane to give that speech. In fact, the Christian Coalition used to have its HQ in southern Virginia in order to force politicians to commit to a visit. Then they got lazy and moved their HQ to DC, and does anyone talk about them anymore?
2. DC is wired for Republicans.
Reporters are simply more interested as a general matter in the GOP because they're used to thinking that's where the power and action is. The fact that reporters, disproportionately, do not identify with the ideology doesn't nullify this fact but paradoxically reinforces it.Sounds about right. Just look at the guest list of Sunday morning talkshows.
3. Shock value.
CPAC's wild press popularity and attention has been driven by what we might call a tacit conspiracy of derp between the event organizers and the people who cover it. You be outrageous; we'll be outraged. And everyone will be happy.Seriously, I wish every day was CPAC day. The shit that comes out of that conference is pure entertainment gold! Go to Netroots Nation, and there's none of that. There was an attempt by Michelle Malkin back in the day to nutpick the first then-YearlyKos conference. This is what came of it:
People here are largely, disappointingly, golf-shirted, short-haired, and white bread. Grooming and hygiene are up to western business standards. There is one dude wearing a pith helmet and another guy in a kilt, but the freakish T-shirts I brought along a camera for are not popping up. Oh, I spoke too soon, there’s a girl in an I HAD AN ABORTION t-shirt. For such a routine, ordinary, medical procedure she seems awfully proud of it. Can I get an “I HAD A TONSILLECTOMY” shirt?If you're looking for crazy, only one side delivers. And the sessions? Netroots Nation is a buffet of panels on how to win elections, how to take action, how to influence change. There's very little of the red meat that characterizes CPAC. And that's a good thing. We're focused on winning, they're focused on making themselves feel good by putting Donald f'n Trump on stage. If you're the media, which is more compelling?
On the other hand there’s a buzz-cut grey-templed fellow in a pinstripe suit and an American flag tie. Hmm…maybe they’re catching on. The media is here pretty strong, so maybe they cleaned up and want to look respectable…
Let the media cover Republicans trying to out-crazy each other. I'm not sure how they think that helps their cause, but kudos to them! It's working! They are so crazy, they're proving irresistible to the "if it bleeds, it leads" crowd. Let liberals focus on the more important stuff: Like how to make sure we keep the CPAC crowd out of power.