By Alan Caruba


The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is over after three days of speakers and seminars. It drew a huge crowd of mostly younger voters, many drawn from the Young Republicans for Freedom who, in 1973, teamed with the American Conservative Union for the first conference. Over the years roughly half of those attending have been of college age.


The crowd this year was so large, estimated to be between 10,000 and 11,000, that no hotel in Washington, D.C. was able host the event. It was held at the National Harbor convention center just outside of the capitol.


What was most impressive was the fact that every major player in the Republican Party and representing a leadership role in conservative affairs, was there. 


The winner of its straw vote this year was Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) who won 31%, far ahead of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) at 11%, Dr. Ben Carson at 9% and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who received 8%. Mitt Romney won in 2007, 2008, and 2009. Then Ron Paul won in 2010 and 2011. Romney won again in 2012. Rand won in 2013 and now again this year.


Does the straw vote represent anything significant? I doubt it. The Paul’s, Libertarians, reflect the younger voter’s idealism, but neither represents a presidential prospect. Most likely one of the governors will emerge as the Republican Party nominee to run for President.


The two who have the best shot are Chris Christie and Texas’s Rick Perry. Perry did not do well in the 2012 GOP primaries, but we later learned he had had back surgery and was in a fair degree of pain during the debates.


Christie is already moving passed the “Bridgegate” problem though you wouldn’t know that if you tuned into MSNBC at any hour. They have devoted themselves to making it into a big issue in order to defeat any chance he might have, but have succeeded only in making themselves look more stupid than usual. Christie has lost some of the momentum he had after he won a second term for Governor in a blue State.


Along with Perry, Christie was very well received at the CPAC convention. The fact is that the GOP has a deep bench of governors that include Nikki Haley, Rick Scott, Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal which tells you how well Republicans have done as governors nationwide. There are 29 of them at last count.


Ted Cruz (R-TX) who burst on the national scene with his filibuster about Obamacare is a powerful orator. He has managed to generate opposition from the Republican establishment in D.C., but so has the Tea Party.  We can count on him and others to be heard from in the years ahead.


No doubt the high level of enthusiasm and confidence at the CPAC convention reflects the utter disaster that the Democratic Party inflicted upon itself by passing the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. When you add in the way Obama has looked weak, first with Syria and now with the Russian invasion of the Crimea, Obama is fast losing his once great messianic appeal. His own party is disinclined to give him mindless support these days.


Obama is already being compared with former President Jimmy Carter and history will likely judge him as the worst President this nation has ever had to endure. Few, if any, Democrats running in the forthcoming November midterm elections will even want to be seen on the same platform with him. All he does these days is fund raise, play golf, and take vacations.


So, if the CPAC straw vote provides little indication of who will be the GOP candidate in the 2016 election, the response to both Christie and Perry provides a signal of what direction the party may take. Another good indication will be the way the mainstream media goes after whoever it thinks might be the GOP selection. It is little more than an arm of the Democratic Party.


Much has already been written of the
“divisions” within the GOP as a strong conservative debate ensues among the candidates who, in truth, all know that Obamacare will be a deciding factor in the midterms and thereafter. I anticipate a Democratic Party bloodbath and so do they.


Americans want Obamacare repealed and, if the GOP gains control of the Senate and increases its hold on the House this year, you can count on a vote to do that. Obama will veto it but he could be over-ridden. That would be historic.


It is, however, way too soon to be making any predictions. All manner of events could intervene and alter the political scene. For now, though, I am inclined to think that Gov. Perry has a good chance of emerging as the presidential nominee in 2016. It would not surprise me if Hillary Clinton decided she’s too old and too tired to put herself through a long campaign. After all, a virtual unknown named Barack Obama defeated her in 2008 when she did that the last time.


For now, I am greatly encouraged by the turnout at the CPAC convention. The future belongs to the generation that attended. They and their parents, and just about everyone else have been screwed by Obamacare and know it.


© Alan Caruba, 2014

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Comment by Mangus Colorado on March 12, 2014 at 7:52am

 Jeff I used my real name until some nut cases tried to cause me and my family problems. I have always written under pen names for decades. If you read the content of my Campaign experiences you will find them to be accurate.

I am here to share experiences with the hope that we can turn round the Ship of State before running aground and being sold the idea of Socialism or collectivism will save us all equally. Many on this site know me and my actual name - in fact you are now one as I sent you my email address which contains my name.

Comment by Jeff Dover on March 11, 2014 at 4:31pm

Hey Mangus,

Not to worry.  There was nothing personal in my comments.  I don't know you so it could not be personal if I wanted it to be.  In fact, who does know you?  Like another person who occasionally cruises this site, you seem to be using an assumed name.  What is it with those who claim, in your case, to be a Reagan campaign insider,  or the other who says he's a high-up in the Arizona GOP, that you can't use your real names?  Will they take away your birthday or something?  Just kidding of course, but what's up with that?

Comment by Mangus Colorado on March 11, 2014 at 12:16pm


I do not hold your statements personally as all entitled to their opinions.  Let me State that the Reagan campaign which I was a part of [insider] so I am well informed how what and why he was able to grab the right leaning Democrats of which there are few left. There is no way a Republican or Independent can win a national election and not run for the center. 

The unbroken law is you run to your base left or right in the primary and then you shift to the center in the General. There have been no exceptions on either side. Reagan was not what the Tea Party believes a TRUE CONSERVATIVE needs to present or they will not be supported. 

Reagan was the ESTABLISHMENT in 1980. Look at his history in California and you will see the other side. Look at his record many items he signed would be considered left leaning today. Read about the BIG TENT giving a voice to the left side inside the campaign and government.

This is a interesting article about parties moving to the extremes of their positions meaning they have no ability to expand the base.


Comment by Michael J. Larkin on March 11, 2014 at 11:49am

Remeber Ike and the Warren Court? Earl Warren was a California communist with no experience on the bench, but decided 5-4 on every major issue of the day, like Brown vs Board, with the flimsiest of Constitutional grounds

They ruled that a declared communist could teach in our universities, voila! Our universities have become breeding grounds for young communists, who voted 80-20 for Obama and hid marxist thoughts and actions.

I understand that John Roberts has two foster children who could be deported...that was the stick thtat made him vote for Obamacare...every man has his price.   

Comment by Michael J. Larkin on March 11, 2014 at 11:39am

Perry-Palin 2016 Two successful governors of our two largest states...and both know energy!!! Open ANWAR, complete the pipeline, drill on Federal lands, restrain the EPA, coal and water power, etc...ENERGY will be the big issue in 2016. Palin is still the choice of a majority of conservatve Republicans! 

Comment by Jeff Dover on March 11, 2014 at 7:48am

Mangus, using your terminology, put up how the center right decides elections.  Put up how the center right voted when Reagan ran.  By the way, I have a body of writing with "alternatives" to criticism and rejection. Send me your email address and I'll send you all of it.  However, like Reagan and unlike pragmatists, I'm not afraid to censure error and fault where I find it.  I'm not afraid to point out why my ideas are better by juxtaposing them with those I believe are wrong.  You disagree.  So what? 

These GOP pragmatists excite no one.  The last Republican who ran as an idealist was Reagan.  He was not the choice of the party pragmatists, that is, the Establishment.

Comment by Mangus Colorado on March 10, 2014 at 7:18pm


One vote does not make a life trend - look at Kennedy - been on both sides many times. Roberts did latter shut down Obama and his Executive option that declared the Senate in recess so he could appoint the labor relation board majority. That IMO is the first of many more SC slap downs of Obama actions.

We will soon see - Sotomayor just defied Obama policy?

Comment by Mangus Colorado on March 10, 2014 at 6:57pm


One vote does not make a court - check out what president appointed which Justice and then check how some of both have switched sides to go 4-5 or 5-4. Now let me ask if they stayed inside the original Constitution how many 9 - 0 votes would you see?

Invest some time in this Library and you will have a much better attitude about how the State Legislatures can restore Liberty and States rights and powers.


Jeff, you still have no alternative to present but criticism and rejection, you are better than that - put up how conservative can win alone without the center right?

Comment by Jeff Dover on March 10, 2014 at 6:44pm

I agree with Bruce, below and disagree with Alan's premises here.  Alan states flatly that Rand Paul isn't a presidential prospect, yet seems to believe that Christie, who's name is dirt with the conservative base is still a player!  The statement about Paul comes before a later assertion that "It is, however, way too soon to be making any predictions."

Alan, didn't you just predict that Rand Paul won't be a prospect?

Christie is no conservative and I, for one, will simply not vote for an Establishment candidate, no matter how they dress him up.  We'll just end up with another Democrat in the White House, differing from a real Democrat only in style.  I get mixed signals from Perry, but would far prefer to see a Rand Paul, Ted Cruz or other real conservative take the nomination.  Ted Cruz's CPAC speech, posted here a few days ago by  John Wiseman, truly nails it.  Cruz absolutely gets it.  No Republican will win the next presidential election unless he enthusiastically articulates conservatism with no "moderation" and without embarassment, does it well, and makes everyone understand just what Obama, the Democrats and the GOP Establishment have cost this nation and its people.  Whatever, I will not vote to elect another Democrat, even if he says he's a Republican.  You end up at the same place, but without the insult of having to vote for one or the other.

Rand Paul represents "youthful idealism"?  That's all there is to him?  I disagree.  What could be more idealistic than our constitution?  If the Colonies were all worried about being too "idealistic", we'd still have an English king giving the orders.    We conceived that idealism, won it and have arrived at a point in time some couple of hundred years later where we're letting it slip away.  Let's  reintroduce that "idealism" and stamp out the jaded and doctrinaire "pragmatists", represented by those we call RINOs or the GOP Establishment.  Cruz is correct.  We can resurrect that idealism and more Americans can share the dream.  The time is right.

Comment by Mangus Colorado on March 10, 2014 at 6:23pm


Article V is the only way to Restore individual Liberty and to put States back on equal par with the Federal Government. Again you complain but what is your alternative . .? Do you think that after 125 years of voting that we are going to see newly elected people reduce their power and money redistribution?

I think not and AV is the only way to stop the usurpation of all 3 federal branches.

And to others the Supreme Court is not yet packed . . 5 to 4 or 4 to 5 votes a packed court does not make.

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