The Conservative Political Action Conference (C-PAC) wrapped up its 2013 session Saturday night. This conference is the premier event for the conservative wing of the Republican Party. It is considered the most important Republican event of the year. Some cable commentators, however, call it “Clown PAC”
This year’s conference focused on why the Republican Party continues to lose presidential elections, and what the party and conservatives need to change if they are going to turn things around. Now that the conference has ended what changes can we expect from the conservative wing of the Republican Party?
C-Pac was like going back in time
The most obvious message of the conference is that nothing has changed. Conservative Republicans feel that there is no problem with their message or their policies.
ABC News commentator, Matthew Dowd, said that C-PAC was like going back in time. “It’s like a bunch of dinosaurs; most of them are like throwbacks in times,” Dowd said on This Week Sunday. “It’s like who’s running for Grand Poobah of the “Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes” is what it looks like to me.” Dowd is generally conservative-leaning analyst.
Take a look at some of the key issues, and what the speakers said about them.
Why Republicans lose?
Ran Paul said the “GOP of old has grown stale and moss-covered.” He didn't mention names but he was probably referring to Senator McCain who called hi a “ Wacko bird.”
Governor Perry said it is because they failed to nominate a “real” conservative in 2008, 2012 taking a slap at both John McCain and Mitt Romney.
Donald Trump said it is because the TV ads were so bad they looked like they were paid for by Obama, taking a punch at Karl Rove.
What are the new ideas?
Most speakers said very little about new ideas. Instead, they used the majority of their time taking shots at President Obama, who won’t be running again.
Sarah Palin brought up the birther issue suggesting Republicans should have run a background check on him. Michelle Bachman said Obama is living a life of luxury at taxpayers expense.
Marco Rubio said that Republicans do not need a new idea. “America” he said, “is the idea and it still works.”
Reaching out to minorities
At a session entitled "Trump the Race Card: Are You Sick and Tired of Being Called a Racist and You Know You're Not One", the discussion about race descended into chaos when an attendee suggested slaves benefited from being given "food and shelter". He also said that it was not true to say slavery was evil.
Another attendee said that Dr. Martin Luther King was a "Marxist" and the Republican Party should focus on attracting more white votes and abandon attempts to reach out to minorities, whom he described as being naturally inclined to vote for socialists and Marxist leaders.
The Republican point man on immigration reform in Congress, Senator Marco Rubio, did not even mention immigration in his remarks.
Donald Trump warned Republicans they should reconsider the “path to citizenship” because all 11 million “illegal aliens” would vote Democratic. Trump suggested our immigration policy should favor European immigrants whose kids go to Harvard.
Senator Marco Rubio said to cheers that his belief that marriage is between a man and woman “does not make him a bigot.” He didn't mention whether denying others from marrying who they love made him a bigot, however.
Many speakers and attendees put down Senator Portman from Ohio who changed his position on marriage equality after learning his son is gay. He was warned to expect a primary.
Former Senator Jim DeMint made a full-throated attack on marriage equality saying “We cannot hope to limit government if we do not stand up for our core civil society institutions, beginning with marriage.”
The most raucous applause given any speaker was the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre who railed about how Obama is coming after everyone’s guns. No speaker spoke in favor of doing anything about gun violence despite the fact polls show more than 90% of Americans favor background checks, and a majority favor stricter gun laws.
So it appears the most accurate commentary on C-PAC is that it was a trip back in time, as Matthew Dowd said.