In an era when every politician is a robotic follower of message discipline, CPAC was riotously off-message. The chief reason for the thematic disarray was that most prominent Republicans simply do not agree on the long-term message to offer that will help them win presidential elections.
Then lots of talk about how the GOP is out of touch with members of many different demographic groups, and a quote of Sarah Palin taking a swipe at Karl Rove, something once unthinkable.
Then something I think that's been brought up here a few times by our younger members:
A telling reflection of the Republican Party’s ideas gap is its Ronald Reagan problem.
At CPAC, virtually every orator felt compelled to reverently invoke the Gipper at least twice – and sometimes three times if the audience’s attention was drifting. It is worth pointing out that Reagan, for all his accomplishments, was last on a ballot in the Orwellian year of 1984.
Yes, when Reagan swept 49 states to win a second term, Paul Ryan wasn’t old enough to drive. Something is wrong when a party’s hero comes from an era when a smart phone was one that had a mechanical answering machine attached.
For those familiar with Boston sports sayings, this is the political equivalent of Rick Patino saying "Larry Bird's not coming through that door" i.e. you gotta play with the players you have.
Interesting that they trotted ol' Mitt out: what were they thinking?
Mitt Romney, making his first major public appearance since the Election Day unpleasantness, delivered a speech of such soul-numbing banality that I half expected him to eat up time by reciting the words to “America the Beautiful.”
There were no driving ideas and no revealing personal anecdotes. Just bland Mitt-isms like, “I utterly reject pessimism. We may not have carried on November 7th, but we haven’t lost the country we love. And we have not lost our way.” It is telling that Romney refuses to take any rhetorical risks even now that the active phase of his political career is over.
And that Rick Perry seems to think the way to win is to endorse even more strongly views that the voters have widely rejected:
Perry offered the most reassuring argument to partisans refusing to believe the party needs to change. Decrying what he called a “media narrative” suggesting conservative arguments have failed, Perry said “That might be true if Republicans had actually nominated conservative candidates in 2008 and 2012.”
There is an element of truth to Perry’s argument, since neither John McCain (who voted against George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cuts) nor Mitt Romney (remember the Massachusetts health-care plan) are traditional conservatives. Perry’s words also reflect the insistence by many in conservative movement who blame weak candidates for their problems and see no need to adjust their views.
It'd be suicide to put up a "true conservative" in 2018, IMHO.
The writer mentions Rubio as the person who expressed the most compelling vision, and it seems hard to argue that point when his competition was Ryan, Romney, Palin and Perry.
He sums things up quite correctly:
Before the Republicans can elect a president, they first need to solve what George H.W. Bush once awkwardly referred to as “the vision thing.”
That big tent has a lot of holes in it, and someone needs to get out the needle and thread instead of the scissors.