Thursday, February 07, 2008

A Litmus Test For Hard-Core Conservatives

The three-day annual meeting of the Conservative Political Action Committee is underway in Washington, D.C.
CPAC has become the keystone of the conservative movement and beyond the usual meeting and greeting, the major purpose of the conference is to promote conservative principles. Speakers include the four remaining Republican presidential candidates -- John McCain, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul.

There are two major changes at the 35th annual meeting: Ann Coulter was disinvited after several embarrassing speeches that highlighted her wingnuttery and diverted attention. And after years of being in the driver's seat, hard-core conservatives find themselves beleaguered and deeply concerned about how much say they will have in the 2008 elections after having had an outsized presence in previous years.

Although it is not on the agenda and I suspect a goodly number of CPAC members would deny it, the biggest issue facing this crowd is whether to embrace McCain, who has been the subject of vitriolic attacks by Coulter, among other right-wing demagogues, over not being conservative enough.

As I have written early and often, as the presumptive nominee, McCain cannot win the November election without at least the tacit support of CPACers.

Captain Ed Morrissey, among other bloggers, will be reporting from CPAC. It will be interesting to see if the big issue is even acknowledged, let alone addressed, or is it going to be three days of make believe and kissy face?

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