Monday, February 22, 2010

All Over But the Shouting

The CPAC convention in Washington, D.C., like any gathering of lots of people united by a loose connection to something amorphous, generated a lot of tidbits of news, such as the Nancy Pelosi piñata and the psychedelic stylings of Glenn Beck who turned his keynote speech into a lecture on how the Republicans need a 12-step program to get their mojo back. There were the usual number of speakers who got the expected reactions when they made cracks about President Obama (Marco Rubio using a teleprompter to mock the president for using a teleprompter), there were the usual number of tasteless and ill-timed jokes that you expect from people who are trying to prove that just because you’re a conservative doesn’t mean you can’t be edgy, and then there were the hawkers selling cute little tchotchkes that reduces homophobia and male patriarchy to four words and puts it on the bumper of your Hummer to prove that you’re not overcompensating too much.

These kind of hijinks show up at just about every political gathering nowadays. But I agree with Steve M; there would be a lot of outrage if this sort of nonsense happened at the Netroots Nation meeting.

Can you imagine if, in the runup to 2006 or 2008, most of the major Democratic presidential contenders had attended a convention featuring a Condi Rice pinata, and maybe a Dick Cheney face shoot or a George W. Bush pretzel-eating contest? And can you further imagine Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and Joe Biden trying to outdo one another on missing-WMD jokes and Katrina-failure jokes, all while attendees got to knock down a guy dressed in drag as Lynne Cheney, sumo wrestler?

David Broder would be beside himself — the lack of gravitas! Charles Krauthammer would need three columns to deride the Democrats’ “unseriousness”!

Now imagine how much more unseemly the Dems’ behavior would appear to the Beltway mandarins if it were all taking place during a time of 10% unemployment and two wars.

But these are Republicans, so this is no big whoop.

A slight correction; these were conservatives and it was not a GOP-sanctioned event. The fact that most of the speakers who showed up are Republicans trolling for their base is just a lucky coincidence.

What was most interesting was the straw poll that gave the nod to Rep. Ron Paul as the presidential candidate for 2012. Hilarity ensues.

CPAC organizers were plainly embarrassed by the results, which could reduce the perceived impact of a contest that was once thought to offer a window into which White House hopefuls were favored by movement conservatives.

A spokesman for the conference rushed over to reporters following the announcement to make sure they had heard the unmistakable boos when the screen first showed Paul had won the straw poll.

Remember, Mr. Paul is being challenged in his own district in Texas by some tea-party candidates. So this has all the makings of a Shakespearean tragedy… or a Marx Brothers movie.

HT to the Reid Report.