Whose CPAC is it anyway?
What are we all doing here?
Every year, conservatives waste time and energy debating the point of attending CPAC. We have this obsession with debating why we’re all here. Debate? Solidarity? Passing judgment on the presidential prospects?
No one really knows. And that’s okay.
It’s okay because, for better or for worse, everyone comes to CPAC for different reasons. Those who don’t find much relevance tucked within the many layers of the conference have stopped attending; those who enjoy attending speeches sit in the ballroom and listen to speeches; up and comers who need a leg up take every opportunity to network (and rub elbows at the bar.)
I’ve previously said that we’re already well into the 2016 election cycle; gatherings like CPAC throw into full relief the fractured nature of the conservative movement, and the Republican party at large. Walking around, I’ve run into tea partiers, libertarians, establishment Republicans, college Republicans, disaffected Republicans, and everyone in between—but I’m still not sure the various factions of whatever sort of gathering this is truly recognize the nature of the movement they’re a part of.
Republicans’ greatest challenge in 2016 will be controlling the narrative—on both sides of the aisle.
The reality of the situation is that we will never come to a consensus about “what it means to be a conservative.” We will never be able to float, vet, and select a candidate that makes everyone happy. We will never stop disagreeing about which leg of the three-legged stool should or should not be sacrificed when push comes to shove during an election cycle.
Rinse and repeat. It’s never going to happen.
2016 is going to be a huge year for Republicans of all shapes and sizes. Obama’s Administration has gone from “groundbreaking,” to bad, to one of the worst in history, which means that the eventual democrat candidate for president is going to serve as a proverbial punching bag for Republicans who have 8 years worth of failed policies to back their attacks.
8 years worth of failed policies, and an increasingly diverse, dynamic, and growing base.
I believe that we can work under a big tent without compromising conservative values. It can and will happen—just ask the white, black, Latino, Asian, straight, gay, young, and old people who descended upon Washington D.C. because they care about making sure that their viewpoints are heard—if not folded into—the greater 2016 Republican platform.
This, of course, is the real point of CPAC—sit. Listen. Learn. None of those things require compromise; all they require is the willingness to break free from the idea that if we don’t conform to a bullet point strategy, conservatism is doomed to bleed upon the altar of creeping progressivism.
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Wow. Just wow.
“The reality of the situation is that we will never come to a consensus about “what it means to be a conservative.”
Straw man. Nobody is saying we should. Conservatives know what it means to be a conservative. The moderate-cum-RINOs at the head of the GOP have two basic ideas as to what they’d like conservatives to be: Reliable and mute.
“We will never be able to float, vet, and select a candidate that makes everyone happy.”
Straw man. Nobody is saying we should. This is not conservatives fault.
“We will never stop disagreeing about which leg of the three-legged stool should or should not be sacrificed when push comes to shove during an election cycle.”
Straw man. Yours is a false trichotomy. The ‘stool’ has dozens of legs. Policies can be compromised. Principles cannot. This is the only difference between moderate Republicans, aka the ‘establishment’ and their followers, and conservatives. Pro-life is not negotiable. Secure the border first is not negotiable, etc. Tax reform is negotiable, to degree so is immigration reform. Our country and its government is a bit larger than a bad three-legged stool analogy.
“Rinse and repeat. It’s never going to happen.”
Straw man. No has anyone suggested that it should.
And how do you reconcile these two utterances:
“Every year, conservatives waste time and energy debating the point of attending CPAC. We have this obsession with debating why we’re all here. Debate? Solidarity? Passing judgment on the presidential prospects?
No one really knows. And that’s okay.”
“This, of course, is the real point of CPAC—sit. Listen. Learn.”
No one but you really knows?
Thank you again, Henry Hawkins, for the doing the work that must be done and for doing it so well. Reading that drivel in such detail must have been sick-making, you poor man. I’ll drink my glass of wine tonight for you, fair warrior.
Yer welcome, mom.
“…Pro-life is not negotiable.”
Do you know of any independent voters who had an abortion or is planning one in 2016?
Seems to me like a strawman itself.
Pro-life is a principle with conservatives, not a policy. It is non-negotiable to conservatives. What you are getting at, I do not know.
Add another wow! I was going to say more or less the same thing, Henry, but you beat me to it. True conservatism is such a simple set of principles, that can be shared by so many different people. While the political left boasts of their big tent, they have really only put up a large number of small tents on the same property. Their voters cannot get along because they are competing for special recognition and treatment. Conservatives, on the other hand, who share a desire for small government, individual responsibility, and adherence to our Constitution, can all fit into a very large tent. We’ll have gay men and Christian fundamentalists, libertarians and military hawks, drug legalizers and law and order types, all mingling together with a shared vision of exactly where each person’s rights begin (as laid out in our founding documents) and end (at the next guy’s nose).
Great response, Henry!
“..they have really only put up a large number of small tents on the same property.”
Heh. Love it; a nice follow-up to Henry’s astute remarks.
All Knowing, Establishment, Ms. Miller says: “Republicans’ greatest challenge in 2016 will be controlling the narrative—on both sides of the aisle.” Does she mean the “aisle” between the permanent political class she champions and normal Americans? There is no “aisle” between Establishment Republicans and Democrats. First and foremost they want open borders. Second, they want us to shut up and pay. How’s that for “controlled narrative,” Ms. Miller?
HotAir’s Jazz Shaw, who is also attending CPAC2015, made an interesting observation about the establishment GOP and how “grass roots support” for candidates like Jeb Bush (and Mitt Romney in 2011) just kind of miraculously appear at these things. After noting that many of the normal CPAC attendees stood up and left when Jeb was scheduled to speak, and that Jeb had actually resorted to busing his own hand-picked cheerleaders in, he writes:
He goes on to describe a similar phenomena with Romney in 2011.
This is the kind of post many of us who are not in attendance at CPAC might find more interesting than vague pointless stream-of-consciousness “What Are We All Doing Here?” meanderings. Stuff is happening. Write about it!
“Republicans’ greatest challenge in 2016 will be controlling the narrative—on both sides of the aisle.”
That’s very revealing, since one of the things the Republican establishment frequently says is that those of us who disagree with their inept tactics, incompetent communication and destructive policies should just shut up.
But you’re also wrong about the biggest challenge. In 2016, the biggest challenge for Republicans will be preventing party leadership from throwing it all away with another guaranteed loser of a candidate like they did the last 2 cycles.
With people like y’all, I could rule the world. In fact, I’m thinking about running for president.
Run, Henry, run!
It’s not like I don’t have experience. I’ve been the mayor of Possum Holler NC for 17 years.