Free Markets, Free People

CPAC–Days 3 and 4

Well today’s a travel day and so I thought I’d jot down a few thoughts about the last two days before I hit the road.

A) I enjoyed it.   Quite lively and quite a different experience.  Apparently this was their largest attendance ever.  Got to speak to  a lot of people about a lot of subjects near and dear to my heart. 

B) Great networking – met a great number of bloggers who I’ve read and admired over the years.  Also met a number of media types which was cool as well. 

C) The two people who literally packed the huge ballroom with thousands were Ron Paul, which came as no surprise, and Ann Coulter.   Coulter was sharp and funny.  She was asked afterwards during the Q&A who she favored in the 2012 race and she blurted out that the GOP needed to nominate Chris Christie or Romney would win it and the Republicans would lose.  Frankly, that’s the scenario I see developing (Romney gets the nomination), but whether the GOP loses probably depends more on the economy’s state than whether it is Romney or not.    Ron Paul won the straw poll which is essentially a throw-out and it’s the second place guy you look at.  Romney took that with 23% and then it drops to about 6% apiece for all the other candidates (to include Newt Gingrich).

D) GOProud sort of crapped in their mess kit by doing a little name calling during the event.  They killed a lot of good will they had earned up to that point.  OTOH, those that boycotted were obviously not missed (see record attendance).  Both GOProud and the boycotters need to grow up.

E)  I wanted to say a public thank you to Tabitha Hale and Freedom Works for the outstanding job they did putting blogger’s row together.  Probably about 50 or so bloggers there.  Good libertarian contingent including Doug Mataconis from OTB who I finally got to meet.  Anyway, taking care of bloggers is akin to herding cats but Tabitha was up to the job and things went very well there.  It was a choice location with tables and power in a large room and a balcony a few steps away which overlooked the main floor of CPAC where bloggers could go out and listen to the speeches.

F) A good number of speakers and others came through blogger’s row and bloggers had an opportunity to interview and meet them.  Yesterday former LTC and now Congressman Allen West came though and spent about 10 minutes with bloggers before he gave the keynote speech of CPAC.  I like the guy (no Army prejudice or anything, heh).   Here’s a link to the entire 10 minute interview if you’re interested (video).

Back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.



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25 Responses to CPAC–Days 3 and 4

  • From all accounts, West brought down the house, and is looking good for a run at higher office the next Presidential cycle (or the one after that, depending on who wins in 2012).
    I’d like to see him with some executive experience, but that would mean him ousting Scott.  Maybe Lt. Gov?
    West’s speech is apparently available at CPAC’s site – I’ve not had the chance to go watch it, but I fully intend to.  Way too many people who’s opinion I listen to were tweeting up a storm over it.

  • I am surprised Coulter would back Christie. He is no social conservative, she always has gone apoplectic against other Republicans who were not social conservatives. 

    • Perhaps Coulter is sufficiently worried about the debt that she’s willing to live with Christie’s social positions so long as he remains fiscally conservative and – perhaps more importantly – willing and able to go to bat and “sell” a program of reducing the size of the government.

      At the moment, the best the GOP seems able to do is quibble between those who want to think hard about considering the possibility of perhaps cutting the federal budget by 0.005% over the next 500 years and those who want to consider a modest increase of, of, how about 5% every six months?  Only to promote economic growth and continue to provide vital – ABSOLUTELY vital – services, you understand.

      Both of these positions are ultimately suicidal for the country.  It may be that circumstances will force us to adopt Daniels’ “truce”: if getting the debt under control and our country back on a path of fiscal sanity means putting a cross-dressing homosexual pro-abortion atheist who faints at the sight of a 22 rifle and gets the hives from hearing the word “Bible” into the White House, then that might be the best bargain we can make.

    • He is no social conservative, she always has gone apoplectic against other Republicans who were not social conservatives.

      Her support of GOProud would suggest otherwise…

  • Romney gets the nomination

    This would be Republican SOP .. a Bob Dole redux
    While I always liked Bob Dole, I thought he was a terrible Presidential candidate.  Besides Romney was probably a better candidate last cycle when the electorate was looking for somebody “more moderate,” but those days are gone.  Romney is the physical embodiment of that “too much bipartisanship” that Paul talked about.
    What we need in this next Presidential cycle, is somebody who will hold back Congress from their “lesser” impulses .. exactly what Obama failed to do .. instead of working with them.

    • While I always liked Bob Dole, I thought he was a terrible Presidential candidate.

      Dole was easy to like on a person level, but I never liked Bob “Tax Collector for the Welfare State” Dole on the political level. He was the template for today’s do-nothing-radical-because-we-don’t-want-to-offend-anyone establishment GOP.

      And that’s why he was such a horrible candidate. He didn’t really stand for anything except getting elected. He would sometimes make noises about how things were going to be bad if we didn’t stop spending so much, but when he was in a position to actually do anything about it, he failed every time.

      Romney comes from that same template, albeit a bit more plastic – heck, he was born to a political family. That makes him even worse than Dole, in my opinion. He doesn’t come across as genuine. He comes across as someone who has crafted their image their entire lives to gain higher and higher political office. Kind of like Bush the Elder, who had the advantage of Reagan’s tailwind, and still caved to the media-Democrat complex faster than you could say “Boo”.

      Unlike Bruce, I don’t see Romney as the likely nominee, because I think in an era where repeal of Obamacare is a seminal issue, RomneyCare is an albatross he won’t be able to shed.

      Of course, I didn’t see how McCain could get nominated either, so maybe I’m missing something here too. But I think we’ve passed a cusp where establishment GOP simply can’t make peace with the Tea Party base. We don’t have enough time for these establishment GOP types to do cosmetic things to look good and kick the can down the road aways. There is a healthy segment of the voters who (finally!) realize that.

      • Billy, I agree, while also recognizing that I do not think as a political operative.  I liked Romney as a man of character, experience, and proven ability.  But that was years ago, when the RomneyCare experiment was still an open letter.
        I thought Ann was talking nonsense, and I still do.  But…

        • “But that was years ago, when the RomneyCare experiment was still an open letter.”
          Sorry, but it was always a foregone conclusion.

          • I understood it to be patterned on the Swiss model, which has been less crappy than other state health-care schemes.
            It did not adapt well here, for the many reasons that make us not Swiss.  That is not to say I ever favored it…just wanted to see what would happen.

      • Billy HollisI don’t see Romney as the likely nominee, because I think in an era where repeal of Obamacare is a seminal issue, RomneyCare is an albatross he won’t be able to shed.

        I predict that you won’t hear much of the word “RomneyCare” in MiniTru… until five seconds after he gets the nomination.  I don’t see his potential candidacy as Dole v2.0 so much as McCain v2.0: a “moderate” Republican that MiniTru will assure us can win by “capturing the independents” and govern “from the center” and “reach across the aisle” (did I miss anything?), only to be trashed as soon as he gets the nomination for any sin (real or imagined) he’s ever committed.  The moderate will disappear to be replaced by the wicked old corporate hack who wants to shoot union members, starve women, children, poor people and minorities, declare war on Mexico to stop illegal immigration AND get their oil, destroy the environment, eliminate taxes for rich people, etc., etc.

        Maybe they can persuade him to nominate an unknown, politically inexperienced person to be second on his ticket.

        Remember, the nomination isn’t given by people across the country who keep up with politics very much: it’s given by a handful of ignorant fools in Iowa, New Hampshire and a handful of other states.  Their track record of choosing a good nominee who will go on to be a good president doesn’t inspire confidence, mostly because they listen to waaayyy too many “news” broadcasts and political analyses.

      • Bob Dole tells a great story about Bob Dole.
        He was once introduced at some get together in Ohio as …

        this is Bob Dole, he sustained a head injury in the military then went into politics

      • Repealing “Obamacare”, like initially passing it and most of the other activity laid at Obama’s feet, really belongs to the Congress.  Yes, the President is an impediment, potentially.
        What we really need in the next President in this respect is someone who won’t veto the repeal of Obamacare.  Otherwise the attention needs focus on the Senate and even more gains in Congress.
        Making the next election only about Obama is probably welcomed by the Democrats who hope to hold onto the Senate.  Holding onto the Senate and some partial legacy of “Obamacare” still stands.  In fact, it will still muck up healthcare and that will be laid at the feet of the Republicans for tampering with the “Obamacare” Grand Plan.

  • Herman Cain gave a fine speech, as well.  The guy is impressive, as is Col. West.  I like Bolton, but doubt he is POTUS material, more because of his strengths than weaknesses.

    • Bolton as Secretary of State would be something to see 🙂

    • There were many there that would well serve as Cabinet Secretaries – and a handful that are POTUS candidates.  The problem is that so many within the ruling class (right side) that want an early victor so that (their) energies can be better focused to ensure their candidate sells well within the established arenas they think crucial (still not learning the lessons of 2010).   Then there is the media that so fears a popular grassroots candidate, or at least one that plays well within the grassroots (learned the lessons and deathly afraid of the implications).
      We need to let the primary process work – let the best candidate show him or herself via the campaign.  We can not “eat our own” just because the ruling class (left and right side) and the media desire it.  Let us save our powder dry until it is really needed.

    • The point being, there is a wealth of “national” caliber civil servants in the GOP stable.  Don’t destroy them because they are ‘primarying’ your favored candidate.

    Great ideas and plans by these guys.  REALLY like people who get it…!!!

  • We really must make LARGE noise now that the old “Because he’s next in line for the Repub. nomination” scenario ain’t gonna cut it. I hate to admit I’d rather see a second Obama term, (providing R’s win the Senate in ’12) than see a Romney, or Gingrich win because there’s still much pain to come and it will happen on the watch of whoever wins next time. (And the idea of R’s holding Prez., Senate, and House after ’12 scares me for the same reason.)
    Right now, absent an earthquake, I’m having trouble seeing any way Dems keep their Senate majority.

  • If Romney is the candidate, there will be a third party.

    Christie is a social conservative, though perhaps perfunctorily so, but his 2nd Amendment position is suspect.

    He has been tough on public employee unions, but not as tough as Mitch Daniels. Different states, of course.

    Coulter is not being very imaginative.

  • Bruce, I’m curious with your impression of Doug Mataconis.  On many subjects he is a fine blogger, but on several I find him very off-putting.  Not anything in specific really, just a professorial tone and not the benign absent minded – lost in thought type.  He has that arrogant muted condescension, summarily writing off anyone who has the temerity to disagree.
    As for CPAC, they did a heck of a job re online access.  My only complaint would be that they only broadcast the Marriott Ballroom events; reading over the schedule, I would have liked to seen some of the other panel discussions.  And the ones I saw, I wish they were more of a discussion rather than vignettes and a couple of blowhards asking silly questions or flat out speechifying.

    • I enjoyed meeting Doug – he seemed like a nice enough guy, Bains. We talked for quite some time and I didn’t perceive any of the problems you note in our conversations. Of course face-to-face has an entirely different protocol than does semi-anonymous and certainly physically removed messaging via the internet so I can certainly imagine someone might act differently in each. I’ve just never experienced it from him.

      CPAC was fun. First event like that of any size I’ve ever been too. Freedom Works took care of the bloggers and they were awesome.

      I think the problem with televising the panels was more the amount of equipment necessary to do that than a lack of desire. Those panels were held is many different rooms, some simultaneously spread over a huge hotel.