CPAC muddle mirrors GOP mess

CPAC muddle mirrors GOP mess

Posted in the Minneapolis Forum

Racist Republicans

Minneapolis, MN

#1 Mar 13, 2013
CPAC muddle mirrors GOP mess


It’s not hard to make fun of CPAC. From the presence of Donald Trump to a meaningless straw poll to a cavalcade of fringe-dwelling book merchants, the event has become more carnival than conservative salon.

What is more notable about this year’s rendition of the annual confab, which begins outside Washington on Thursday, is not the easy caricature but how thoroughly the Conservative Political Action Conference reflects the state of the Republican Party four months after yet another humbling presidential defeat. It is a muddle, but a muddle with meaning.

Establishment Republicans are angry that popular GOP governors Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell are being snubbed, but conservatives, seeing Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush invited, are moaning that a traditional movement event has been annexed by the country club crowd.
Future Republican bright lights will be in attendance, but so will yesterday’s news, most of it with headlines no one wants to read.
(PHOTOS: CPAC’s lineup for 2013)
A Republican gay group isn’t welcome yet neither are hard-liners on immigration.
And another member of the Paul family is poised, to the frustration of organizers, to again win the presidential straw poll.
For decades, perhaps even for a century now, Republicans have grappled with their moderate-conservative divide. But as the CPAC jumble illustrates, the confusion surrounding the party is now more complex than the enduring center vs. right paradigm.
“We all need to be singing from same hymnal,” cautions former Mississippi governor and Clinton-era Republican National Committee Chairman Haley Barbour.“When the other side has the megaphone of the White House, it makes it all the more important that your side sticks together on message and has more message discipline. We have to have moderate Republicans, conservative Republicans, neo-con Republicans, tea party people all saying,‘Here are the thing we agree on and that we should emphasize.’”

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