History can flip on a dime, and in the mists of time a symbol will emerge to memorialize the significant beginning: Washington chops down the cheery tree when we are ready for freedom. The Liberty Bell cracks to warn us to proceed with caution. We face great change in our time, and the symbol time may recall to mark it could well be the 7-Eleven “Big Gulp” container Sarah Palin brought to CPAC 2013. It was a great moment and a hilarious shtick, and Grizzly Mama is a natural comic. But it marked a definitive change in temperament, a change we have been seeing since Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul challenged the federal government’s use of drones to take American lives.
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Now that the old-line leaders of the Conservative Political Action Conference have excluded Chris Christie and any groups supporting gay and lesbian rights, is there anyone left to speak “truth to so-called power?”
Will anyone stand up this weekend and invoke Ronald Reagan, not as an ideologue, but as a pragmatist? Will anyone talk about the accomplishments of other Republican presidents from Eisenhower on? Will anyone mention past Republican platforms or candidates that supported equal rights for women, a strong civil rights plank, environmental protection, taking on poverty and hunger and homelessness?
I doubt it.
The ubiquitous opiner Justice Antonin Scalia now insults Hispanics and blacks,
as he recently insulted gays while voting rights and gay rights are
pending before the court. Then the ubiquitous Dick Morris, sounding like
Fredo Corleone, offers a plan to "take down" President Obama. Has
Morris read the Ryan budget? Meanwhile the ubiquitous Grover Norquist
appears to call Ronald Reagan a "rat head in a coke bottle" because
Reagan raised taxes, while the ubiquitous Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), in
his campaign to fully destroy the GOP brand, insults Sen. Dianne
Feinstein (D-Calif.) with constitutionally ignorant and personally
condescending comments about guns.
Regarding the conservative crack-up, can you believe that CPAC honors the ubiquitous birther Donald Trump and insults the most popular national Republican, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie? The CPAC convention shows just how far conservatives remain from the American mainstream. CPAC even gives a bad name to ubiquity, seeming to offer a greatest-hits album that recycles those Republicans most responsible for recent victories of Democrats.
The Ryan budget shows just how little Republicans have learned from losing so many elections.
Why does Mitt Romney appear tonight at CPAC? To carve a future
(monarchist) dynastic path to politics like Bush and Kennedy; a final
investment for his children, his friends and his aunties here in the
11th hour? Possibly because he can’t let go of the conviction that he is
not one of them, when he is not, and sadly, has never been. He has an
unearthly, spooky quality, says Noreen, my dental hygienist, among the
staunchest conservatives in New Hampshire. He lives here in New
Hampshire, kind of, but is among us and not of us. He governed
Massachusetts and was not one of them, while Gov. Bill Weld, New Yorker
Brahmin, fit in easily. He has tried to be so many things to so many
people — a Mormon pioneer and a westerner, a Midwestern industrialist
native son, a New England liberal — and has worn so many masks, that he
can no longer find his face. And now he is in a panic.
To merely surmise, he feels he can in his “rite of exit” from the political world prop up the Marco Rubio contention, for Rubio is now and always has been and wanted to be the Dan Quayle of our age. He is the immaculate manifestation of the imagining of a passing, geriatric generation which meets in their own reclusive revivalist tent. And there the “stale and moss-covered” visualize themselves again as young: Suppose we were not 66 now with bad knees and expanded prostates, but young, and Cuban too? And tragically for America, Bush the Second, venerable now and a storied painter of dogs, was one as well.
Heaven help us! Donald Trump has just confirmed that he will join a distinguished group of deep thinkers at the Conservative Political Action Conference next week.
We can’t wait — maybe he will re-ask for the President Obama's birth certificate, or how about demanding his grades from primary school? Or, better yet, maybe Trump will conduct a seminar on how to avoid paying your taxes and enjoy flying around in taxpayer-sponsored corporate jets?
While some focus on the freak show aspects of the coming Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) meeting — does anyone really care what Sarah Palin will say, and is anyone except joyous Democrats and suicidal Republicans not yet bored by what Ted Cruz says? — the real show will lie in the Bush v. Rubio battle over immigration. Former Florida Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, who is likely running for president, has fired an anti-immigration shot over the bow of current Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who is likely running for president, by opposing a path to citizenship on immigration. Democrats are joyous.
Republicans are forcing the sequester because they refuse to accept revenue that could be achieved by closing loopholes that benefit the most powerful corporations or wealthiest individuals. President Obama is right. A majority of voters agree with him. They agree with him in polls. Democrats have won three of the last four national elections. House Democrats received more votes than House Republicans in 2012. The dominance of the right in the GOP leads to the dominance of Democrats in national elections. The social Darwinism of Ayn Rand, which is the policy of Republicans, is poisoned tea for the GOP. Republicans who claim the fingerprints of the president are all over the sequester are continuing the politics of delusion. The president is winning the debate. Again. The GOP brand is poison. Period.
The most interesting question about the upcoming Conservative Political
Action Conference (CPAC) gathering is whether any Republican will have
the courage to say what many of them privately believe: the way of
extremism is the way to GOP disaster. In this sense, CPAC is Sister
Souljah waiting to happen, awaiting a Republican willing to criticize
extremism directly to them, as Bill Clinton did in the Sister Souljah
People who are unaffiliated with a political party, while sometimes
thought of as being indecisive, are actually people who demonstrate the
ability to think for themselves. Anyone who is blindly loyal to the
platform of a political party has given up their God-given right to
exercise their independent thought processes. They degrade their own
It has been a big week in Republican soul searching, and Republicans
seeking answers to the past and for the future must read Michael Gerson
and Pete Wehner's diagnosis and prescription "How To Save The Republican Party," in the March edition of Commentary.
It's all there. For those still in denial about everything being a
"messaging problem," if this doesn't wake you, you might be helpless.