The final day — Saturday — of CPAC, saw addresses from John Bolton, Rick Santorum, Ann Coulter, and Glenn Beck. The speeches ranged from grave seriousness to over-the-top humor, and record crowds packed the auditoriums. CPAC was certainly demonstrative of the differences that the GOP actively struggles with: fights between mainstream Republicanism and tea party conservatism raged like wildfire. But despite these differences, most everyone agreed that CPAC was the place where those differences could be put on the shelf.
Speaker after speaker reiterated the fact that disagreement was an expected, and normal, undercurrent of political discourse. Participants said the same thing. Nick Spanos ran a booth for his internet domain company Voteclick.com.
"There are lot of nice people here, and a lot of people who usually don't talk to each other who are talking to each other. In this environment, they're more apt to talk about things they have in common. In a bar room, they're more apt to talk about their differences."