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The Talk of CPAC

National Harbor, MD – Let me give you the vibe that I’m getting from conservatives at CPAC. Not the kids. There are plenty of kids here, and they tend toward libertarian and they love Rand Paul. He will probably win the annual straw poll, although it’s not a certainty. He has a rival who has inspired lot of passion, whom I’ll get to in a minute.

Speaking with the adults here – the conservative journalists, analysts and various other seasoned activists and GOP veterans, the talk is about two people: Scott Walker and Jeb Bush. Attendees at the conference are already beginning to envision a primary race that has Walker running as the base’s favorite and Bush holding the banner of the moderates and the money, while trying to make inroads among conservatives.

Let me be clear here. I’m not telling you how the race is going to shape up or how I think it should shape up. It’s way early, and anything can happen. I’m just giving you the state of play, and the talk in the halls, at the most important meeting of conservatives in the country.

And frontrunners and favored candidates do win nominations. In the case of Republicans, they do it quite often.

That Bush held his own here shows his viability extends beyond his name and the money he is accumulating. And that Walker hit a home run here shows he is no mere flash in the pan.

Ted Cruz’s star isn’t shining brightly. I can’t tell you exactly why. At a meet and greet last night, Rand Paul spoke first and wowed the youngish crowd. When he finished, the announcer said Ted Cruz would be along any minute, and about a third to a half of the audience filtered out.

Nobody talks about Chris Christie. Floating around everywhere is Rick Perry, who is the governor of Texas, but you’d think he was the mayor of Shpinkleburg.

Carly Fiorina? Meh. She did well. But everyone thinks she’s really running for vice president. But I hear more talk of New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez as a potential distaff vice presidential choice.

Marco Rubio isn’t making any waves among anyone. Donald Trump? Superb comic relief. Bobby Jindal gave a wonky recitation Thursday and I haven’t heard his name mentioned since. Mike Huckabee isn’t here and doesn’t seem to be missed.

These things will change. But these things are not unimportant. Powerful interests, money, and advisors will get behind perceived winners. And while that hardly guarantees victory, it helps.

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31 Responses to The Talk of CPAC

  1. Thanks for your insight, Keith. I like Cruz, butt…in a media lens world, visuals are part of the package. Yeah, I know it’s shallow, but it’s a reality. I heard that there were several who walked out as Bush spoke. Was it noticeable or just reported to make waves.

  2. If Bush is the guy the Dems win either way. He is pro immigration and wall street. Probable a pro pan American like his brother W, where Mexico,Canada and the USA merge into one big mess.
    We are toast its all fake now.

  3. Sorry to be a killjoy but with the Republicans unable or unwilling to stop amnesty and Obama ordering green cards to be granted to family of all H1B visa holders we will have a bunch of new voters — citizenship and right to vote irrelevant. Obama has two more years and look at the wreckage of this week alone.

    That said I like Walker and a real tough VP and cabinet — lots of work to do.

  4. Great recap, Keith. So glad to hear Rubio and Cruz are not making any headway. The last thing we need is another minority prez and 4-8 more years of racial strife. Hyphenated Americans need not apply.

    Rand Paul worries me. The ‘kids’ are a big voting bloc and he does well with them. If he’s half as crazy as his father, we would be in serious trouble.

    Except for Walker, the rest of the herd might as well call it a day. Jeb will be the frontrunner…but I’m pulling for Walker. At least for now.

      • AFVet..you are correct.Trusting anything a campaigning politician says is like accepting a blind date…we are hesitant to believe the ‘personal bio’..but we think ..this may be the one ?? HA!!

  5. Veddy interesting, thanks for your info.
    SenCruz has that pesky Canadian thing and we are not going there.
    SenPaul will always get the very young with his anti(grownups) government stuff.
    GovChristie hugged his future away.
    MrPerry is from Texas, nuff said.
    The Donald is always fun, always says the right thing, but he’s not giving up his world to sit in the WhiteHouse.

    I’m on board with a Walker/Martinez ticket.

  6. Walker has shown how it is, in fact, possible to bust the Left’s chops, on its own turf, and still walk away with a win.

    Walker has executive experience, and if Hillary is the Democrats’ nominee, she has…what, exactly?

    The Clinton Foundation has gotten a lot of strange foreign money, Benghazi was on her watch, Hillarycare didn’t even survive an all-Democrat Congress, she’s exaggerated a war story or two herself, the only reason she even ended up in the Senate was because she carpetbagged a state there was no way for her to lose, and she already lost the nomination eight years ago to a first-term junior senator from Illinois.

    So what’s Hillary going to run on, exactly? Her lady parts? Hell, judging by how many affairs Bill has had over the years, she evidently has trouble running THOSE, too.

  7. IMHO, the country doesn’t need a senator as a candidate. If the Dems run Hillary or Warren, I believe they have the same issue that our country is dealing with……no management experience. That and Obama is evil. Well, I guess Hillary is evil as well….LOL.

    This is where…… Walker, Bush, Perry, Christie, Jindal and Huckabee have an advantage. Walker has done well in Government Reform. If Jeb had another last name he would be almost a lock. Perry has the strongest argument since Texas has been the only bright spot in the economy. Perry’s personality is his own worse enemy. Christie is done……he doesn’t look to have the drive. Jindal isn’t very smart man and will make a great Sec of Energy. Huckabee had his chance.

    I believe it will be either Walker, Jeb or Perry………….

    • I mentioned yesterday that he tried to make Common Core less of an issue. He said he was not aware of where CC was stemming from.
      I was very disappointed in that comment, because I was aware of where. (Note yesterday I left out the word: Not.)

  8. I go with the kids here, I like Rand Paul.
    Please, no more Bush. He will probably start World War III if Obama doesn´t manage before him. I guess it won´t help to reward Jeb with the Peace Prize early on.It sure didn´t help with the other one.

    • You may have to get in line, if I’m still in town. :P

      Don’t look for me there this year, though: work commitments being what they are, I couldn’t be there this year, alas.

        • I don’t drink alcohol: I’ve seen the damage it can do to bodies, families, lives, and societies, and I want no part of that. So please don’t take offense if all I ask for is a diet cola.

  9. I just saw the comedy skit that SNL did. The girl is saying goodbye to her dad, and he says be careful. She turns around and says it’s only ISIS.
    Don’t think that was funny.
    Just before they showed that skit, Fox was having discussion regarding the (lack)number of people in our airforce.
    Why didn’t SNL make a skit making fun of o not thinking having fine serviceman a skit?