One of the hottest tickets tonight at CPAC is the invite-only Blog Bash event, organized by the right-wing National Bloggers Club and co-sponsored by NRCC, NRSC and others. Last year the event recognized Andrew Breitbart and James O’Keefe, among others. The nominees for this year’s awards are no less controversial.
The organizers of Blog Bash, including president Ali Akbar, are apparently not fans of the American Conservative Union, which runs CPAC and is co-sponsoring tonight’s Blog Bash, or its chairman Al Cardenas. Akbar and other event organizers, including Adrienne Royer of “What to Wear at CPAC” fame, exchanged a series of emails on a public Google Group which have been republished by the blog Breitbart Unmasked.
The emails reveal that the Blog Bash organizers have a low opinion of ACU and Cardenas and don’t agree with many of ACU’s positions. They also reveal that the controversy around the exclusion of GOProud – the gay conservative group that has been banned from CPAC by ACU – is an incredibly sore topic that is not to be mentioned to Cardenas under any circumstance.
Here is Akbar on February 21st:
The ACU Chairman will be at Blog Bash for a time. It's our job to protect him. I did a lot of reassuring today them that they wouldn't regret attending.
No one, no one is to talk to him or be allowed to talk to him about GOProud or anything like that.
Akbar went on to say that the “same goes for Goodlatte and his whole SOPA mess,” referring to Rep. Bob Goodlatte, whom Akbar said would be in attendance. Anyone who violates these rules is to be escorted out by security, said Akbar.
In response, Royer said she doubted that people will even know who Cardenas is and probably haven’t even heard of ACU:
I doubt that people know what he looks like. Most people think CPAC is the organization and have never heard of ACU. The organization isn't as well-known as it used to be, and CPAC has eclipsed all their other work. Yesterday, my boss -- who has worked in the conservative realm for 12-15 years – asked, "ACU puts on CPAC?"
Akbar replied that Cardenas will be brought on stage and identified. He’ll know that most people in the room disagree with ACU on numerous issues, Akbar said, but they shouldn't allow anyone to express that to him:
Allow me to clarify. The Chairman will take the stage. Melissa and I will recognize him while on stage with him, the room will applaud. […]
When he's making his way through the room – if you hear anyone say GOProud or other bullshit – put your body between their mouths and the Chairman's body. [...]
FWIW, the Chairman knows most of that room disagrees with the ACU Board on a variety of issues. But if a blogger is looking to make news at Blog Bash by making a fool of anyone --- they're going to fine themselves in the rain.
The following day (February 22nd), Royer sarcastically noted that “today would not be a good day to release this information,” referring to a Red State post entitled, “The American Conservative Union’s Embarrassing Scorecard.”
Akbar, exasperated, replied:
Not that I agree with ACU (because I don't), but hot damn, could RedState shill for Heritage's scorecard less?
Nothing is ever good enough.
But back to Blog Bash, yeah we're not going to add the Chairman's photo until a week or two and we wont even make a release like I said. We'll just announce him at the event like kind hosts.
This. Movement. Sigh.
According to the organizers, Blog Bash is expecting a number of members of Congress tonight, including Speaker John Boehner. I can’t imagine that they will appreciate the candor of the Blog Bash organizers. And it will be particularly interesting to see how ACU and Cardenas react and whether Blog Bash continues as an add-on to CPAC. Stay tuned.