CPAC, Conservative Political Action Conference, has traditionally been the largest annual gathering of conservatives, but consisting of overwhelmingly male college students. CPAC meets in Washington, D.C., in February or March, with roughly 10,000 in attendance. In 2013, it meets in March 14-16.
Conferences cost money, and it has become increasingly difficult at CPAC for attendees to hear a socially conservative message. Students for Life, in contrast, sells out with its annual conference of 2000 students in D.C. in January, without the libertarian and big money dominance that increasingly plagues CPAC. But CPAC does remain a good counterweight to the neocons who dominate the Fox News Channel.
In 2010, the CPAC audience demonstrates its lack of social conservatism by ranking issues in the following importance:
- 85%: reducing government and government spending
- 10%: eliminating abortion
- 1%: stopping same-sex marriage
There was, however, virtually unanimous opposition among attendees to the policies of the Obama Administration.
Ronald Reagan Award
Each year the special Ronald Reagan Award is given to a rising star in the conservative movement, and there have been some tremendous recipients in the 1990s and 2000s. In 2010, this award went to the Tea Parties.
The following people did not speak at CPAC 2010:
- John McCain
- Jeb Bush
- Charlie Crist
- Sarah Palin
- Chris Christie
- Rudy Giuliani
- Sean Hannity
- Bill Kristol