Friday, February 27, 2015

GOP Flagellates Itself With CPAC Again


Sen. Ernst and CPAC were ready for each other

Republican politicians-- with great trepidation-- are putting themselves through CPAC again. Awesome for fringe crackpots like Sharon Angle, Sarah Palin and Louie Gohmert and scammers like Brent Bozell and Donald Trump; less alluring for anyone trying to maintain any semblance of mainstream credibility. Some may even be concerned that one of the sponsors of the the annual conclave, which kicked off yesterday, is a blatantly racist organization with ugly fascist ties. I'm not certain if Todd Akin, who is exploring a primary against Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, is there... but CPAC was made for kooks like him. “Roy," he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch yesterday, "has burned a lot of bridges with a lot of conservatives in the state." As for a professional clown like Trump... could there be a better stage? It may bring into question the whole Republican enterprise as something worth taking seriously, but Trump, for some reason, is a speaker.
In recent days, Trump said, he has hired staffers in key primary states, retained an election attorney and delayed signing on for another season as host of NBC’s The Celebrity Apprentice because of his political projects.

“Everybody feels I’m doing this just to have fun or because it’s good for the brand,” Trump said in an interview with the Washington Post. “Well, it’s not fun. I’m not doing this for enjoyment. I’m doing this because the country is in serious trouble.”

The moves are the most significant steps yet by Trump, 68, toward a bona fide presidential bid, which he considered briefly and flamboyantly in 2011 before deciding against a run.

Louie Gohmert had a lovely time at CPAC
The looming question, however, is whether he can convince Republicans that he is more than a celebrity bomb-thrower and instead is sincere in his consideration of a campaign. Trump is slated to appear ahead of former Florida governor Jeb Bush on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering of conservatives near Washington.

Trump in recent years has served largely as a provocateur on the sidelines of Republican politics, flirting with “birtherism” and making other remarks casting doubt on President Obama’s credentials and love of country. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney frequently shared the stage with Trump in often awkward appearances during the 2012 campaign, providing ample fodder for Democratic attack ads.

...“I am more serious about this than I’ve ever been before,” Trump said in the interview. “I made the deal with Chuck and Corey and some more we’ll be announcing soon because I’m serious and I want to focus on making America great again. I don’t need to be out there raising money.”

...“I am more serious about this than I’ve ever been before,” Trump said in the interview. “I made the deal with Chuck and Corey and some more we’ll be announcing soon because I’m serious and I want to focus on making America great again. I don’t need to be out there raising money.”
Amazing that Republicans would allow themselves to get hoodwinked by the two-bit hustler again! That's how desperate and out of touch with reality they are! Jeb Bush, of course, is also being featured at CPAC today-- right after Trump. He probably has the most to lose and the headlines are already written-- he packed that hall with his supporters, bused in from K Street, to make it less embarrassing for him when teabaggers staged a protest by walking out on him.
As political events go, it’s hard to find one more ill-suited for Jeb Bush than the Conservative Political Action Conference.

That’s why he’s bringing in supporters-- some of them old George W. Bush White House hands-- to cheer him on. He’s also looking to exploit CPAC’s speaking format. The former Florida governor is eschewing the traditional speech-making opportunity in favor of taking questions from Fox News host Sean Hannity, calculating that it will give him a better chance of making his case on the contentious issues on which he is most at odds with attendees.

It’s a cautious, tactical approach to the annual confab this week at Maryland’s National Harbor, a strategy carefully chosen for a venue that’s littered with potential land mines for Bush.

His brand of moderate conservatism is an awkward fit with CPAC’s ideologically strident audience. His political lineage is a sore spot for many attendees, particularly the younger and more libertarian-oriented. Then there’s Bush immigration reform efforts and support for Common Core education standards: Both are deal-breakers.

“He needs to talk in a way that shows he understands this is a different Republican Party. … That’s what I think his challenge is,” said Grover Norquist, a prominent anti-tax activist who will also be speaking at the event. “Somehow, he’s got to show that he’s up to speed.”

Bush-- who last served in elected office in 2007-- begins with the most basic of challenges: articulating his vision to an audience that may be unfamiliar with his record. Unlike the sitting incumbents pursuing the Republican presidential nomination, the Florida Republican doesn’t have the luxury of pointing to a current governing record as evidence of his conservative credentials.

“It’s more of a challenge to lay out an agenda, because he’s been out of office longer than the others,” said Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, a prominent group that is heavily funded by the conservative megadonors Charles and David Koch.

Unlike conservative favorites like Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul who have mastered the art of tea party oratory, Bush’s speaking style is more subdued and less geared toward firing up a crowd. In response, his advisers have taken steps to pack the room with supporters-- a Bush adviser said the campaign would be coordinating transportation for Washington, D.C.-area boosters who’d expressed interest in attending his Friday afternoon presentation.

...Bush’s CPAC strategy, however, isn’t without risks. In not giving a speech in a high-profile conservative arena, he is ceding the stage to other candidates whose addresses will be crafted for the purpose of exciting the CPAC faithful. Increasingly viewed as the front-runner thanks to his prolific fundraising and high name ID, Bush may even find himself under attack from his potential rivals. While his opponents are unlikely to call out the former governor by name, their advisers say, they plan to highlight their strident opposition to Common Core.

There are other potential potholes. On Saturday, the closing day of the conference, activists will cast their votes in a straw poll that, in recent years, has favored conservative hopefuls such as Rand Paul and his father, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul. Jeff Frazee, a spokesman for Young Americans for Liberty, whose followers largely back Paul, said the group was encouraging its members to participate in the straw poll. A Bush aide, meanwhile, said the campaign wasn’t undertaking any formal effort to get supporters to the straw poll.
Many other Republicans are just washing their hands of the whole thing and staying away or keeping a low profile. Republican Senate incumbents from swing states have nothing to gain from this particular circus and many, like Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Ron Johnson (R-WI), two of the most rabidly right-wing members of Congress, are avoiding it. Illinois moderate Mark Kirk always ignores the event anyway and Rob Portman (R-OH) is just scheduled for a non-controversial panel discussion. Aside from the presidential candidates, most of the speaking time will be ceded to the radicals and extremists like Joni Ernst (R-IA) Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Tom Cotton (R-AR). So far my favorite overall moment was Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker comparing Wisconsin working families' struggle for economic justice to ISIS terrorists. These people have no sense of shame-- none whatsoever.

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At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I call CPAC BIFI.... By Idiots For Idiots


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