Sunday, March 09, 2014
AFTER THE BALL.
The remainder of my Raw Story CPAC dispatches are here, here, here, here, and here. It was a grueling three days, and I didn't even attend the after-hours festivities like Reaganpalooza -- you can go to Wonkette for that stuff. I also recommend Charlie Pierce's dispatches, which are full of fierce indignation, unlike the measured, just-the-facts reporting for which I am known.
Overall I'd say the event was a success for its people, in that they seemed energized by it and optimistic about their chances on the hustings. Of course they had every reason to feel that way in 2012 too, and we saw how that turned out. But though CPAC is for true believers and, as you may have gleaned from the coverage, some of what they true-believe is crazy, the folks I spoke with and overheard were serious about success.
And I think for them the libertarian schtick is where it's at. The youngs who have driven the Paul-heavy straw poll results in recent years were there already; I believe the growing conservative tendency these days of portraying, for example, their opposition to mandatory insurance coverage of contraceptives and gay rights as religious-liberty issues, instead of merely denouncing birth control and homosexuality as tools of the Devil, shows that the elders are also ready to talk the talk, at least.
Also, consider: The American Conservative Union reported that in this year's straw poll, 62% of respondents said marijuana should be legal in at least some circumstances (21% approved for medical reasons, 41% in all circumstances) and only 33% said it should remain illegal. ACU also claimed that all age-groups but the oldest were broadly pro-legalization. I haven't seen any cross-tabs -- and moldy fig Patrick Brennan thinks the wording of the questions makes the survey "push-polling for libertarians" -- but I wouldn't be surprised. The Republican voters who might be turned off by a pro-legalization policy aren't going anywhere except to the grave, while there are a lot of independent voters who might be pleasantly surprised to hear conservatives want to free the weed while Democrats like Jerry Brown are much less enthusiastic.
I predict whoever gets the GOP Presidential nomination in 2016 will preach marijuana legalization and abortion bans. It may seem incongruous to you, but national politics is about coalition-building.