The Art of the Slam

CPAC programYou see it in action in all kinds of productions. Fireworks shows lead off with big bangs, slow down in the middle and then rock the big finale. Plays and movies hit you at the beginning to draw you in, a few memorable actions throughout, but to make sure you remember it (surely recommend it), bring down the house at the end.

Sen. Ted CruzConsider CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) 2014, the annual 3-day confab put on by the American Conservative Union, held this year 6-8 March. If speaking time is an indication of star rating, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, the second speaker on Thursday schedule had fifteen minutes while the two speakers immediately before and after had only ten. Rep. Paul Ryan also had fifteen minutes, but then Amb. John Bolton and U.S. Sen Tim Scott of South Carolina had 20. Sen. Mike LeeThat paved the way for NJ Governor Chris Christie who had an hour — and garnered almost all the headlines. But the real winner? U.S. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah spoke at 12:30 and the next speaker did not reach the podium until 2:30 — two hours later! Of course, one can probably figure a break for lunch was fit in there somewhere.

Sen. Rand PaulDay two of the conference was notable almost as much for the lack of speakers as for who spoke. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry woke everyone up at 9:00. Gov. Rick PerryWhile there were important topics addressed by a panel and two hours set aside for a first-of-its-kind Youth Caucus, there were only two other (well, maybe three) standout speakers — Lt. Col. Oliver North (20 minutes in the morning) and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, the last speaker of the afternoon.

Gov. Sarah PalinNaturally, all of the speakers got in their pokes at the president and there were a number of zingers and memorable lines. Perhaps modeling their conference after the conventions of the major political parties, CPAC organizers chose to place their keynote speaker as the very last, in much the same way each party's nominee for president closes the convention. In that case, they could not have chosen any better than Former Alaska Governor and 2008 Republican candidate for Vice-President, Sarah Palin. One after another she laid down a barrage of cutting jabs and ended her speech with a full-body slam that sent the standing-room-only crowd home savoring memories of a CPAC conference well worth it.

get updates