Saturday, March 16, 2013

Dana Milbank on CPAC

Dana Milbank reports on the Conservative Political Action Conference for The Washington Post.

If this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference were a papal conclave, black smoke would be billowing from the chimney at the Gaylord Convention Center. The cardinals of the conservative movement, assembling for their annual confab, skipped the usual recitations of their common creed in favor of an emotional and inconclusive argument over what had gone wrong with their movement, how it could be fixed, and who, in a puff of white smoke, could lead them to spiritual renewal. Was the problem technological inferiority? Greedy consultants? Lackluster candidates? Failure to reach women, Latinos or Asians? Were the media to blame? A muddled message? Or were they just not conservative enough?

Usually, CPAC is a time for the movement faithful to enjoy a diet of red-meat speeches that all sound the same. But this time they also tasted the clumpy quinoa of self-doubt and the curdled soymilk of recrimination. The only possibility that wasn’t seriously entertained by the attendees was the most obvious: that the voters aren’t buying the conservative policies Republicans have been selling. But beyond this prominent omission, the CPAC agenda could be described as a three-day group therapy session.

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