I last attended the CPAC convention in 2011, and it was just after I drove away that I realized it is misnamed. I would swear CPAC had changed management, and allegiances. Maybe even driven by a different god.
CPAC seems to have a menu of screenplays to choose depending on the circumstances and needs of the time, all going off in a misdirection unsuited for urgency of the time.
If you will recall, the 2011 CPAC was 12 months out from the 2012 election campaign, and the air was filled with enthusiasm about conservatism’s comeback and the re-taking of the House only four months earlier, with the real possibility of throwing the whole damned Democrat lot out in another year. Going in, the air was electric, especially for the conservatives who felt they’d had a hand in that 2010 landslide.
But as the weekend danced on I got no hint of full-throttle “let’s go get ’em” talk. I saw more posing and posturing than the Academy Awards, and only some talk of a fight with Democrats. By Saturday the general enthusiasm had turned to mush and then, so did 2012. But hey, Ron Paul did win the straw poll for the second straight year, which signaled to me, at least, the lack of seriousness of CPAC in 2011. For conservatism it was a hoax. But hey, George Will didn’t put in an appearance, but Jeff Greenfield and Patty Lyons, the Sarah Palin impersonator, did. I kept looking up to see if there was to be a high-wire act over the fountain in the lobby.
So this week, 2014, a full 24 months out from the 2016 presidential campaign, with an even more important election looming just eight months out, the CPAC theme seems to have been a beauty pageant of presidential possibles for 2016, none of whom will throw their hats in the ring for at least a year, if at all.
When the 2014 theme should have been a real-live rah-rah rally for kicking Democrat butt this fall, and getting out the vote (GOTV), urging people to go home to volunteer and renew their commitment, and recruit others, to become precinct chairmen and local activists so as to repeat 2010, CPAC instead, for the first time in several years, pretending to salve the conservative split of years past (I’m guessing), gave as full-a-throated conservative and libertarian massage as you can hope for, hoping no one would notice that they were two years too late (rah, rah), and also two years too early, (rah, rah, my sister’s black cat’s patootie) for it to make any difference.
So what difference did CPAC want to make?
Why are CPAC hoorahing a group of men and women none of whom are declared candidates, as I said two years out, while sucking all the air out of the room for the much bigger and more important game to be played just eight months from now?
By staging an inconsequential presidential beauty pageant by a group of really fine people who can never admit they’d been patsied, CPAC has encouraged the media to do what it does best, play sexy presidential campaign cards, so that CPAC can set confiscatory rates for next year’s pageant. But worse, it has set loose the partisan fanatics who follow these marquee unannounced contenders, Cruz, Paul, Palin, Rubio, Perry, Huckabee, like yipping attack chihuahua’s. Thanks to this assembly, they are already marauding all over the internet, I repeat, two years out.
To me, this was all intentional, and I smell both money and anti-conservatism in the mix.
Presidential politics sells tickets, I understand, but as Cold Warrior and his Precinct Project reminds us daily, its down-in-the-trenches politics that drives Democrats out of office. Also, conservatives and libertarians agree that the largest steps to restoring the Constitution and up-righting our listing ship of state, is to reestablish a strong, and right-looking Congress. An executive branch built on cult-like adoration and a Congress that looks away when asked, is our problem, not our solution. Presidents who play fast and loose with the rules have gotten us into all sorts of difficulties not just the past 5-6 years, but the past 21. While I’d love to see some people in power today eventually put in jail, I don’t favor doing that by breaking the same rules with another constitutionally-indifferent executive. A strong, right-looking Congress, is the key to righting the ship, and 2014 is probably our last chance to have that. If that fails, in 2016 we can pray for a Cromwell. But not now. (Have Rolled up Newspaper, Will Travel)
To be honest, Mitt Romney would have been a very good president if working with a strong right-leaning Congress, but probably a lousy one under a divided one, or squishy one, as one might imagine a Boehner-McConnell Congress to be. With a strong Congress, already battle-tested and scarred by a hostile press, I’d prefer Mitt over Christie twenty times over, because while vanity and arrogance may look like leadership, it isn’t. Christie would spend all his time trying to one-up Congress, just as McCain would have, to appease a press we already know will be hostile to any conservative Congress.
This is just my opinion, of course, but I insist that the best way back has to be led by a strong Congress, its exuberance tempered by a competent and level-headed executive. So it would be hard for me to choose which one of the many fine congressional members should step out, and weaken that strong wall already in place, and likely strengthened in another year, just to step down to become the Chief Executive.
So, why would CPAC try to paint the 2014 election into irrelevance, by bringing all the GOP big guns into public view at least twelve months early, if not to bring each one of them to bear under the guns of their potential rivals and their “generals-of-one” fanatics? If not to support the GOP establishment, and turn a nice profit, why would CPAC want to turn the various “presidential” camps against one another now, when their united front in coming years is the most important ingredient in rescuing our country?
Well I have a theory.
Lawyers have an old prayer, which I think CPAC
“Lord, we beseech Thee to stir up strife among these thy children, so that we, Thy servants, shall not perish.”
I understand making money, but had never thought of conservative money as being a part of the dirty money schemes used by hucksters and leftists. But maybe I’m wrong. I’m working on a separate piece about this darker role of “conservative” money, not the campaign need for it, but the lust for it, as a get-out-of-town, second-home-in-New-Zealand need. It will surprise you how many are arguably just in this for the money, and are perfectly content for this fight over America to continue indefinitely, both sides racking up dollars so they can build up quite a nest-egg for that day when the balloon finally goes up.
The left-wing news organizations, aka mainstream media, have already declared Chris Christie to not only be back in the game, but back on top of the hill, the leading 2016 candidate once again. Stepping into the batter’s box with one, some say two strikes, already, it will be interesting to watch the loyalty of his wing of the party disintegrate if there is a 2014 wave repeat of 2010, the prevention of which this CPAC convention is largely dedicated toward achieving, I believe.
As Rush Limbaugh once quipped, gala political events are Hollywood for the unpretty. If you’ve ever been to CPAC, you’ll appreciate what he’s talking about. But like all Hollywood and gala environmental events, it is also a giant hoax…where people come to admire each other while the promoters make bundles of money providing them a backdrop for their selfies.
But the last element of turning politics into theater is to add a plotline, in this case passing out long-knives to the respective cult-like followings of each potential candidate and have them begin slicing and dicing now, 24 months out, so as to ensure a kind of strife and enmity develops which, in predictable fashion, will accelerate in bile and vitriol until their guy or gal doesn’t get the nod…just so they can pick up their bat and ball and go home, which, since 2006, they have proved themselves poised and disposed to do.
Rather than excite conservatives, it’s clear to me CPAC’s mission here (this is no accident) has been to incite them. Against one another. In a year when conservatives need to be fired up to save the nation, instead they are being subtly encouraged to shoot at one another…already.
I wish the principals, Palin, Cruz, Paul, Rubio, Perry, et al, would step in now and call these dogs of war off, and agree to mutual support no matter what, for the press is already gearing up to drive this frenzy in the other direction.
You all know this type. Just find any news site and read the comments. Pro-Cruz, anti-Cruz, pro-Rubio, anti-Rubio, pro-Paul and anti-Paul, pro-Perry, anti-Perry, pro-Palin and anti-Palin long knives, none of them even knowing if their guy/gal is in or out.
What DailyKos stupids say about conservatives you can witness conservatives say about one another and their candidate, ensuring a less than solid wall of support come November 2016…all at the expense of a critical election in 2014.
The psychology of the “general-of-one” mentality is easy to understand, but where did we find them? How did they develop? For the good they do conservatism, they may as well have been planted by George Soros. And while they sound Occupyish, many are into their fifties, with professional degrees. And in eight years of watching and listening, I’ve yet to find one of them who ever entertained a thought of being a citizen-soldier. It’s a general or nothing.
Instead of being a general-of-one, why not get up (off your ass) and become a citizen-soldier, an officer even, by becoming a GOP Precinct Chairman. Over half the PC slots are unfilled and the GOP establishment doesn’t want us (or you) to know it, which should provide all the encouragement you need. Instead of bellyaching about what’s wrong because you’re not in charge, prove you can make things happen as part of a team. Be a leader. This is how things are really done. Just contact PrecinctProject.com