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Your CPAC flask

A slightly debauched survival guide for the Conservative Political Action Conference

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You’re supposed to be taking this seriously. The Conservative Political Action Conference, noted for its subtlety in the handling of all universal issues pulling at the public psyche, has taken its show on the road this year, ditching the usual architectural echo chamber of Washington, D.C., in February for the early-fall swamps of Central Florida, where alligators and mud are at the ready for slinging. The one-day gall-apalooza, brought to you by the American Conservative Union, is somewhat uncomfortably sandwiched in the middle of a flurry of events sponsored by the Republican Party of Florida known as the Presidential 5, an irregularly scheduled weekend-long event meant to peak with a straw poll designed to make clear whom Florida’s Republican delegation would like to see measuring the White House curtains next year. But that’s more of a Burning Man affair, destined for the deep-seated regrets of a prolonged three-day hate bender. You know: hookers, blow.

CPAC (the Florida version) is more of a compressed moment in time, a lost Friday, something that – given the right accoutrements and a steady flow of alcoholic umbrage – could actually register in your mind as an amusement park mistake on a midway of awful. To that end, we’ve created a timeline of guidelines meant to assist budding neo-cons and anxious rabble-rousers alike in traversing the craters of conceit and rhetoric that will rattle the very foundations of the Orange County Convention Center on Sept. 23 (all for just $45). Strap on your assault rifles and grab your bibles, folks. This is your official Orlando Weekly CPAC primer.

7 a.m.: ACU Chairman’s Breakfast

Nobody feels anything at 7 a.m., and unless you’re willing to shell out $500 for a “platinum level” registration (“diamond level” is already sold out, plebes), you’re likely to miss the piles of bacon and blood meant to bring out the verbal flatulence of grumpy old keynote speaker Newt Gingrich in an exclusive breakfast setting. Maybe you should just turn around and go home.

8:30 a.m.: Pledge of Allegiance and Invocation

You can’t go home. Jesus is here.

8:45 a.m.: CPAC FL Welcome

You may not be familiar with him yet, but ACU Chairman Al Cardenas – the only Hispanic leader of the Republican Party of Florida, ever – is a rising star in the conservative ranks. This year he took over the chairmanship from white-haired civil libertarian (gasp!) David Keene, who has since ascended to the presidency of the National Rifle Association. Cardenas has a record of despising women’s rights and abortion – and also boasts this year’s Grecian Formula Republican hairstyle (dark on top, gray on the sides) – so, naturally, he’s more than qualified. He’s here to welcome you and talk about Ronald Reagan, whom he worked for, a lot.

9 a.m.: David Bossie, president, Citizens United

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