Consider the most exciting gathering, concert or festival you have ever attended and then imagine it on the craziest steroids out there. Boom. You may have just imagined the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). What flashed before your eyes in that split second? I would bet Chris Christie showcasing some highly coveted dance moves would make an appearance…OH WAIT, it wouldn’t. Chris Christie wasn’t invited this year! The beloved New Jersey governor was snubbed this year; one of the many eyebrow raisers from the conference.

The CPAC is held annually and serves for a variety of purposes; a serious stage for GOP bigwigs to deliver some key speeches, a platform for activist groups to gain traction, a major networking hub for conservatives of all ages and statuses, and, of course, a good-old-fashioned flirt fest. A good time is always had by all, especially for the young conservatives, at happy hour where they can jab at those not in attendance, commiserate in regard to Obama’s failures (saying things like, “Ugh, I know, Obama is the wooooorst, right??”), and use the most ineffective pickup lines out there to attempt to pick up a hot young woman at the hotel bar after the festivities are over (including “So who’s your favorite for 2016?” “Oh cool, wanna go back to my room and we can talk about it some more?”)…talk about a low point in life. Everyone is just having a good time speaking off-the-cuff to their likeminded brethren. For a full list of quotes from various personalities, please see this list compiled by Town Hall’s John Hawkins.

As I mentioned before, Chris Christie wasn’t invited, because was accused of “not being fiscally conservative enough.” But the funniest part of the aforementioned is that while Christie wasn’t invited, Donald Trump was! It actually gets better though, not worse. Trump likely assumed he would get a prime speech slot during the CPAC, but instead he was landed with the early morning slot, commencing before 9am. The turnout was well, low. Plenty of people were rightfully confused as to why Trump was invited in the first place, as it seems totally unnecessary considering the Republican Party is embracing rebranding and expanded outreach measures. The CPAC really didn’t need all of this nonsense. The Trump escapades were just a distraction that totally took away from the main event; Rand Paul.

Yes, Rand Paul got to make a follow-up speech discussing the ins and outs of his filibuster of John Brennan’s nomination for CIA director, discussing to his peers his concerns about Obama’s drone policy. Well, this up-and-coming Senator from Kentucky is doing big things apparently; he won the CPAC straw poll with 25% of the vote (second to Florida Senator Marco Rubio with 24% of the vote), indicating unofficial ballot approval of his immediate peers.  Let’s be honest; Marco Rubio didn’t top Rand Paul because he didn’t lunge for a tiny bottle of water during his speech this time…oh, how the mighty have fallen… So, will this confidence boost propel Paul to seriously consider a run in 2016? We shall see. For more information on Rand Paul’s hit speech at the 2013 CPAC, see this article from The American Conservative.