With CPAC 2010 finished, media reports are swirling discussing Governor Palin’s absence from this event, which they billed as “mandatory” for conservative candidates for anything. Was it?
SRLC the Real Proving Ground for Gauging A POTUS Run
According to Politico’s Ben Smith, the Southern Republican Leadership Conference (SRLC) is “the first real chance to gauge the interest in her candidacy among the core of Republican activists and operatives” (Painter, 2010, Â¶11). Peter Hamby, of CNN describes SRLC as “a major gathering of Republican officials, donors and activists from 14 southern states” (Hamby, 2010, Â¶2). “Political watchers will be paying close attention, and not just because several potential presidential candidates are expected to attend. The SRLC – ‘the most prominent Republican event outside of a Republican National Convention,’ the organization boasts – also conducts a presidential straw poll” (Hamby, 2010, Â¶5). As noted in prior coverage of SRLC Governor Palin will not be earning a speaker’s fee for this event.
CPAC Supposedly Owned by Romney
CPAC is practically owned by the Romney camp with the organization’s executive director in his back pocket. This is not a secret to anyone. CPAC’s darling; however, delivered what some considered a snooze-fest of a speech, complete with a front row of staffers reading along, two teleprompters, and a serious story about a trip to WalMart to pick up stuff for his grandchildren. His “ownership” did not translate into a straw poll victory this time around.
CPAC Co-Sponsored by the John Birch Society
The John Birch Society has indeed co-sponsored CPAC 2010 (Hahn, 2009, Â¶1). Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post cited this factor as one reason why Governor Palin declined CPAC (Cillizza, 2010, Â¶1). Indeed, the fringe elements of the right appeared to have taken over CPAC under Mitt Romney’s nose. Politico’s Ben Smith wrote, “ ‘in 2008, people had this perception of Mitt Romney as this kid sitting in the front of the classroom with his hand up,’ said Gary Marx, a conservative adviser to Romney’s ’08 campaign” (Smith, 2010, Â¶4). According to Smith, Marx thinks that Romney has now secured “the full embrace of the conservative movement” (Smith, 2010, Â¶4). Our analysis begs to differ. Delivering a boring speech, losing a straw poll and losing control of your own gathering to fringe elements does not constitute anything approaching a “full embrace.” That circumstance more points to Marx’s 2008 “kid in the front of the classroom with his hand up” metaphor. It’s the original analysis that was spot on and in our assessment that has not changed.
Perhaps this explains why only one tenth of this year’s participants bothered to vote in the straw poll and why Ron Paul won. Governor Palin still managed to come in third — phenomenal, considering her absence and the demographic catered to. She handily beat Pawlenty. Huckabee, long considered “Mr. Conservative” was not even listed as an option on the straw poll.
CPAC Chair Disrespects Palin, but Wanted Her at Conference
Dave Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, which organizes CPAC (which he is also the chairman of) has said disrespectful things about Governor Palin. For instance, “Sarah Palin needs to stop whining about unfair media coverage and get over the fact that some people don’t like her…Keene…tells Newsmax” (Kessler, 2010, Â¶1). Keene devotes the rest of the interview to trashing Governor Palin as “a quitter,” (Kessler, 2010, Â¶5-8), “rock star” without substance (Kessler, 2010, Â¶9-12), “taking shots at the media,” (Kessler, 2010, Â¶13-14), and “unreliable when it comes to speaking engagements that help the GOP” (Kessler, 2010, Â¶15). He declares her “not ready to run for the Presidency” (Kessler, 2010, Â¶20-21).
Since CPAC was supposed to be mandatory for conservative candidates for anything, and Keene has belittled Governor Palin, why would her flat-out rejection of this year’s invitation matter to him? Keene wanted Governor Palin at CPAC, because she would have drawn many more participants, enhancing CPAC’s bottom line. Indeed, one of the hottest pieces of swag at the event was giant Sarah Palin posters. The entire batch ran out very quickly.
CPAC Losing its Luster
Shenanigans such as the Federal Express conflict of interest and catering to the lunatic fringe diminish the value of this once prestigious gathering of conservatives. Keene rather than taking splinters out of Governor Palin’s eyes might do well to take the planks out of his own. Those Sarah Palin posters were snatched up so fast, because those who wanted her image yearn for a leader to carry Ronald Reagan’s torch. None of the alternatives present could satisfy that yearning. In her absence, Governor Palin won the real poll, and she was summoned yet again.
Our vigil is posted awaiting her beckon.
Register for SRLC
Make your voice heard loud and clear! We want Governor Palin to be President Palin. Register for SRLC and vote for Governor Palin in its straw poll.
Cillizza, C. (2010, January 8). “Sarah Palin and the first 2012 Republican proving ground.” The Washington Post. Retrieved February 19, 2010 from: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/morning-fix/1-2-3-house-republicans.html
Hamby, P. (2010, January 7). “Palin to speak at major GOP event.” CNN Political Ticker. Retrieved February 19, 2010 from: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/01/07/palin-to-speak-at-major-gop-event/?fbid=M2y_6z-QpHt
Hahn, B. (2009, December 15). “The John Birch Society Announces CPAC 2010 Cosponsorship.” The John Birch Society. Retrieved February 19, 2010 from: http://www.jbs.org/press-room/5768-the-john-birch-society-announces-cpac-2010-cosponsorship
Kessler, R. (2010, January 9). “CPAC Chairman: Palin Not Ready for Presidential Run.” Newsmax. Retrieved February 19, 2010 from: http://newsmax.com/RonaldKessler/sarah-palin-cpac/2009/07/09/id/331430
Painter, J. (2010, January 7). “Sarah Palin says no to Keene’s CPAC, yes to SRLC.” Texas for Sarah Palin. Retrieved February 19, 2010 from: http://texas4palin.blogspot.com/2010/01/sarah-palin-says-no-to-keenes-cpac-yes.html
Smith, B. (2010, February 19). “The new Mitt Romney.” Politico. Retrieved February 21, 2010 from: http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0210/The_new_new_Romney.html?showall