Observations of a Cartoonist at CPAC 2022 – Opinion

I’m not sure what I expected from CPAC 2022. Before 2021 I’d never been to one. None. Yes, I did have opinions, and I was willing to share them with anyone who asked. But, events in my state ignited my passion for politics.

AB5, the god-awful anti-freelancer law in California, forced the LA Times to “furlough” me after I had drawn 35 cartoons in 2020. I was able to return to drawing cartoons with a bandaid, but it did not fix the problem.

RedState had me come on seven months back, and I began to wonder if CPAC would be something I could attend. But I went, although my main role was that of editorial cartoonist. Not a journalist. I suppose I could have shown up with a pad and pen and cartooned what I saw but I’m not a street corner cartoonist (not that there’s anything wrong with that). In any event, my favorite subjects, Biden, Kamala, and Nancy didn’t show for some reason.

For my first CPAC I watched. Attendees ran the age gamut — old to teenagers, suits to dresses, shorts, and hats, straight and gay, Asians and Hispanics but not a single “Latinx” in sight.  Joy Reid was right, CPAC had many conservative Blacks. I didn’t do a head-count or estimate percentages — that’s for the other side to do.

General admission guests were polite and respectful. A man at the back had one outburst, but it was a very small one. He was listening to Rick Scott’s speech. Everyone was courteous in the packed halls full of attendees, panelists, media and speakers.

Panels, speakers, and conversations on stage were all interesting and enjoyable to see and hear. It was a great set. There were some mic issues, but it was a great presentation. RedState vets Kira Davis, Jeff Charles, Jennifer Oliver O’Connell, Scott Hounsell, and Brad Slager reported from CPAC. Tony Katz was the first person I met, and I instantly like him. Brad Slager, however, is my favourite because he gave me beer. It was lots of it.

It was a pleasure to listen to speakers from CPACs in other countries. The speakers were passionate and engaging. All were excellent, but some of them were outstanding.

Although there was occasional protestors on the streets that ran parallel to the gate, the majority of people there were just enjoying the moment and waved flags. I made my way to the venue by walking from my condo and then through the crowd. They were fascinating and I was captivated by their stories. It was an evening of fun.

RedState/Jim Thompson

I didn’t get to meet some of the people I wanted to engage with. Don Jr. shared one my cartoons via social media last year and I want to say thank you. I knew that wasn’t likely. Seb Gorka also shared one my cartoons last December on social media. Although I tried to reach him, he was busy with other people. They may have been pulled together by the gravitational pull from his head. The man Dr. Gorka has is large and has a huge head. Katie Pavlich, who I also wanted to meet. She’s friends with the author Jack Carr and my son is also good friends with Carr. Perhaps next year.

The next year will be an entirely different story. You are no longer a virgin. Maybe by next year, I’ll see attendees wearing a T-shirt with one of my cartoons on it. Next year I’ll bring something to draw with. I won’t draw attendees on Disney rides. Sorry. I’ll draw political figures. If Joe Biden shows up as an attendee, I’ll draw him on a Disney character ride.  Dumbo, Dumbo!

Next year, see you?

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