Monday, February 22, 2010

Why Ron Paul's CPAC Victory is Good for the Movement

Click here to see the rest of the speech..

The response to Ron Paul's CPAC straw poll win ranged somewhere between dismay and outright panic. Let me offer a contrarian take.

I have written in recent years about CPAC being an insular affair -- a trade show for Beltway conservative groups, but little more. The vibe I picked up at this year's CPAC was a little different -- more students, more grassroots, more friends from outside the Beltway making the trip. Matt Lewis has an astute take on this shift:

CPAC director Lisa De Pasquale told me: "Our pre-registration numbers were 20 percent above last year's. We're expecting over 10,000 attendees and more than half of them are college students. I think it really speaks to the excitement and energy in the conservative movement right now."

One seasoned CPAC veteran, who asked not be named, bluntly told me, "I've been coming to these for years. This used to be a convention of blue hairs; now it has youthful energy." If you're a conservative -- as I am -- it was nice to see fresh young faces, who attend at a greatly reduced price. "Blue dog" Democrats are one thing, blue-haired Republicans are quite another.

It shouldn't be too surprising then, that a group outside the normal circles of conservative influence was able to out-hustle and out-organize, and win the straw poll on dramatically increased turnout. Across the board, lots of new people are getting involved in the movement (see: tea parties), creating fertile ground for a seismic shift in the results.

While I won't necessarily be rooting for a Paul 2012 candidacy, I *like* the fact that CPAC was shaken up, for two big reasons.

First, it shows that Ron Paul and the Campaign for Liberty are engaging constructively in the conservative movement. In 2007, the Paulites were an oppositional force trying to submarine the GOP's commitment to the war on terror, thus threatening traditional conservatives. Today, libertarians and conservatives have come together against Obama's endless expansion of the State, with Ron Paul supporters supplying creative organizing tactics and boots on the ground. READ MORE...

1 comment:

  1. Libertarians and Conservatives joining forces is the only way to stop this leftwing freight train of animal feces and maggots from hitting the preverbial fan, it will drive the phony repubs standing in our way back to left i.e arlen spinkter, to there true calling, if you go fishing in the sewer you just might catch a turd .