Everyone is here... Michelle Malkin. Ann Coulter. Newt Gingrich. Duncan Hunter. Mitt Romney. Jeff Gannon. Sam Brownback. Melanie Morgan. John O'Neill... Oh so many heroes of the right...
And let me tell you - they've really turned out impressive support. At a time when the conservative agenda polls in the thirties, one gets the impression that they are all here. I'm surrounded!
Something else these folks have done well is turn out the new generation of wingnuts. The average age of the attendee here has got to be below 30 - there are literally thousands of College Republicans moving about in Brownian style from exhibit to exhibit, conference to conference, speaker to speaker, ballroom to ballroom.
Exhibit hall is stuffed to the gills. Freedom Alliance. Blogger's row. Heritage Foundation. American Spectator. Clare Booth Luce Foundation... the Koch group... Regent University. Several candidates have booths. Oddly enough, even the ACLU has a booth (even if they are placed in the back corner furthest from Exhibit Hall's entrance).
Oh... but there's one notable - striking, even - absence.
There are no military recruiters here. No United States Marine Corps. No Army, no Navy, no Air Force or National Guard - hell, not even the Coast Guard is here. Thousands and thousands of College Republicans, but not a single recruiter in sight...
Well, I have a theory or two (Michelle Malkin doesn't agree with me, but more on that later).
Let's try this: CPAC didn't want to be embarrassed when pictures were released that showed recruiters standing around looking lonely. Similarly, recruiters know it's a better investment of their time to troll "the other malls" rather than to recruit these nice white college boys.
I'm not the only one that noticed.
I spent much of my day (I'll post audio at CallingAllWingnuts.com later in the week) talking to female College Republicans. I admitted that many of them were particularly fetching - they are. But... I was wondering, I asked, given the fact that there are no recruiters at the event - but there are thousands of appropriately aged potential recruits... well... who would they find more attractive? A man in uniform that was willing to stand up for what he believed in, strap on the M-16, climb in the dirt and fight in the greatest moral imperative this country faces? Or a young guy that's willing to put on a suit, travel to an air conditioned hotel and drool over Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin.
Every woman, save one, answered that the military man would be more attractive.
The outlier is a repressed liberal. She told me that it would be hypocritical of her to condemn the boys that were unwilling to serve since she hasn't signed up herself.
Follow Mike Stark on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mike_stark