February 9 2012

CPAC Starts Today and Protests are Planned

Karin Agness

Today marks the beginning of the Conservative Political Action Conference, also known as CPAC, which is billed as "America’s largest gathering of conservative leaders and activists."  There is a full agenda.  CBS news reports:

The annual conference is a chance for conservatives to gather to hear speeches from politicians and other influential members of their movement. Among those expected to speak are candidates Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Former candidates Rick Perry, Herman Cain and are also scheduled to address the gathering.

Lots of college students attend, but this conference has a broader reach than just college students.  Four years ago, Mitt Romney ended his presidential bid at CPAC.  This year, protests are expected from Occupy DC:

Occupy DC calls the conference speakers “a who’s who of dastardly politicians” in an announcement posted Tuesday on its website. The announcement describes a “mission” organized by Occupy DC members along with the labor groups AFL-CIO, SEIU, National Nurses United, Metro Labor Council and OurDC to “Occupy CPAC” by creating “as much non-violent resistance as possible, and [making] this a conference the attendees will never forget.”

According to the announcement, the group is organizing protests to take place at noon and 5 p.m., which will coincide with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s speech. The group also plans a march from Malcolm X Park to the conference location, at the Marriot Wardman Park Hotel in Northwest Washington.

They are targeting certain speakers:

Targeted speakers include keynote speaker Sarah Palin; conservative commentator Ann Coulter; Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney; and former GOP presidential candidates Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain.

What do they hope to gain by these protests?  That is the question I would like to ask the protesters.  If it is specific government action, then this doesn't seem like a good venue.  Instead, a protest that would be seen by more current officeholders (and officeholders that hold the Executive Branch) seems like it would be more effective.  Also, how does this relate to the original Occupy Wall Street movement?  The group seems to keep expanding its mission, to the point that it is unrecognizable.  I would welcome clear answers to these questions.

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