Observations from CPAC: Past and Now

The following is a submission by LaDonna Hale Curzon, Executive Producer/Host, Sarah Palin Radio | 3/12/14


Ronald Reagan and Sarah Palin at CPAC

Having attended my first CPAC in 2004, it is my opinion that this annual gathering of super-energized conservatives (even in the wake of defeat) has none other than the Washington “ComPost” to thank for its ever-growing popularity and explosion in participants.

Of course President Reagan also played a major role. Reagan spoke at CPAC a total of 12 times before, during and after his presidency. In his 1985 speech, he called CPAC his “opportunity to dance with the one that brung ya,” a nod to CPAC as a contributing factor to his political success.

Attendance is now so high now that no hotel in Washington can accommodate the conference. This year it was hosted at Marriott’s Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center at National Harbor located on the banks of the Potomac River on the Maryland side. The Gaylord is the largest convention hotel on the East Coast and that’s saying something.

Sarah Palin give the final big speech at this year’s CPAC. There were 11,000 pumped-up conservatives who stayed until the very end of the conference packed into the ballroom, with standing room only, to listen. When the American Conservative Union was formed in 1964 I doubt the founders expected to annually attract 11,000 conservatives in one room.

Yet, ironically enough, it was the ultra-liberal Washington Post that first covered CPAC, in disparaging ways, of course, that helped garner the conference national exposure. Before long, the media coverage was so enticing, Republican politicians (even the not so conservative ones) were clamoring to be included on the CPAC roster. That further increased the national media attention until we have what CPAC is today.

I know from personal experience how exposure in The Washington Post can help a political or entrepreneurial cause. In 2004, I had a small business called President C-Box Purses that sold cigar box purses with the image of George W. Bush silk screened on the front of the purse.

The Washington Post ran a lengthy article and picture of me with my purses for sale at CPAC. Before I could say “Free market capitalism can set you free,” I had pictures of the purse in several national magazines, a personal written, thank you from First Lady Laura Bush and a sell-out at the Republican National Convention in New York. And they went for $100 a pop! All thanks to the Washington “ComPost.”

When I launched Sarah Palin Radio in 2008, the program landed on CPAC’s radio row and once again, the liberals at The Washington Post took notice and the show was off and running. That led to a five-year run with dozens of mentions in the national and international press and the honor of being the first Internet radio program dedicated solely to a political figure.

Shortly after Sarah Palin Radio was on the air, other candidates soon followed, all of them Presidential candidates. Start-up Internet programs that focused entirely on politics emerged as well as other programs dedicated to Sarah Palin, a nice compliment.

CPAC has blossomed to the point that it is not only a good political tactic, it is good for business. And we all have the liberals at the Washington “ComPost” to thank.



LaDonna Hale Curzon
Executive Producer & Host
Sarah Palin Radio
“This is Sarah Palin and you’re listening to Sarah Palin Radio.”

(460 Posts)

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