In CPAC, Past or Future?

This year’s Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) meeting shows a conservative movement in transition — or, at least, that’s what they want you to see. True: faux intellectual/full-blooded libertarian Ron Paul displaced Mitt Romney as the victor of the annual “straw poll”, perhaps signaling a move to “real” small government conservatism in this low-stakes, poorly-predictive measurement of an angry base. But for his victory, he drew boos, which conference organizers eagerly highlighted to watching media, as if to suggest this was a hiccup, and an undesired one at that. Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee took offense at even this smattering of libertarianism —

— and Politico struggled to characterize “grassroots” groups like RedState as voices of a new, populist, economics-centered conservatism, despite the site’s firm grounding in homophobia, old-style paleoconservative hate, anti-feminism, and Beck-style senseless vitriol.

If CPAC is a vision of conservatism’s next year, I humbly suggest that we have little to fear, at least for now. By all accounts, attempts to fuse tea party “populism” with big-government conservatism have failed, or are in the process of failing. Republicans will be able to field a sizable protest vote in near-term elections, but an angry base has never been enough to rebuild a national majority. We can’t get complacent, but we needn’t run scared, either.



  1. Steve Jeffers · ·

    I’ve suspected for a while that the Republican strategy is ‘Obama is going to win in 2012, so put up a tea party type candidate against him, that candidate will be annihilated and that will destroy the movement, and we can go on to field a moderate in 2016 without any of this nonsense’.

    I now think they’ve decided 2012 is winnable, so they’re doing this in the midterms.

  2. Five out of seven shown in the straw poll don’t accept evolution. Come on, GOP, that’s just sad.

    1. It is!

      Surely they could find two more without too much trouble. :nods:

      1. ZING!

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