The Lessons from CPAC

Since the drubbing the GOP received in the November elections, all we've been told by the media and "Washington insiders" is that the Republican Party is dead, Reaganism is dead, conservatism is dead, there is no leadership on the right, GOP... put a fork in it.

CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, last week proved those pronouncements to be dead wrong.

CPAC attendees are the activists of right. They travel to Washington in the gray cold of February from all over the country, not to party and nominate and then celebrate our presidential ticket, but rather to address the serious business of freedom and liberty. They love their country, but not always their political party. In fact, most consider themselves to be conservatives rather than Republicans, and many are of the libertarian bent.

The CPAC crowd is young, poking holes in the stereotype the media likes to portray of conservatives, thus making Jon Stewart's job a bit more difficult as he has to search harder and longer to find plaid-panted old white guys at the country clubs. These folks don't let an election leave them cowed or dampen their spirits. They are energized and realistic. They understand the media are against them, but that poor performance and abandoning basic fiscally conservative principles played a large part in November's election losses, rather than conservatism being wrong for America.

CPAC is a shot in the arm of the Republican Party. But there is one thing I would change about CPAC, and I have expressed this to some of the conference organizers — more Republican members of Congress and their key staff should be encouraged to attend parts of the three-day affair. This would give the GOP an advantage in that the age-old disconnect that exists between Washington and the Rest of America is somewhat remedied for three days in February. Republicans on Capitol Hill should take better advantage of this annual opportunity.


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