The CPAC War: Not Over Yet
Over at FoxNews.com, Kevin McCollough complains that CPAC is being ruined by people who like liberty too much:
It is the libertarian in attendance that produced the free pornographic calendar passed out to attendees in 2010. It is the libertarians in attendance who openly promote the inclusion of groups like GOProud, largely as an attempt to silence groups who would speak in strong support of traditional moral values. It is the libertarian in attendance who slandered President George Bush, by claiming his appreciation for the Constitution was best summed up as a "damn piece of paper." It is the libertarian in attendance that proclaimed the war to prevent terrorists from regathering strength and coming after our homeland as "illegal." And it is the libertarian in attendance that eschewed, booed, cajoled and screamed "war criminal" to Vice President Dick Cheney, a man who served his country with commitment and still attempts to help the world understand the threat of the radical Islamic element devising plans to eliminate us and our allies.
That about sums it up. The right can lean libertarian, putting up with the excess of free pornographic calendars, or it can lean "conservative," and the excesses of torture, abridgment of civil liberties, and war crimes. Rush Limbaugh was unhappy with CPAC too:
So you had a weird list of priorities and focus. I mean we had it all. We had GOProud, the gay conservatives. We had demands to legalize drugs, marijuana, at CPAC. Most conservatives strongly oppose gay marriage and legalized pot. We had would-be candidates promoted by the Washington ruling class. We had some candidates dumping on talk radio. We had Mitch Daniels saying, (paraphrasing) "We need to move beyond the audiences of Rush and Sean," and so forth and the C-SPAN viewers, we need to move beyond that.
As the Dish pointed out yesterday, Mitch Daniels gave a stirring speech about the dire fiscal emergency that America faces. But Limbaugh pouts dismissively because as an aside, he pointed out the obvious truth that the right needs to win over a wider audience than talk radio blowhards can reach. It's illuminating to see how threatened Limbaugh is by an unapologetic fiscal conservative who is capable of articulating the need for spending reforms without engaging in the culture war or character assasination.
And perhaps he is right to be threatened. In a sense, the triumph of someone like Daniels would be the strongest repudiation of Limbaugh imaginable. It would clarify the ineffectiveness of his approach to politics.