— billmon (@billmon1) March 9, 2014
“Bring out the Hellmouth, and bring out the BEST!”
Dana Milbank, in the Washington Post:
… The annual CPAC gathering, conservatism’s trade show, provides a snapshot of the anarchy: The group’s much-celebrated straw poll of presidential candidates listed no fewer than 26 prospective contenders on the ballot this year — a sign of just how fractured the party is in advance of 2016….
It isn’t so much a split — the “establishment” has gone so far to co-opt the tea party that the lines between them are blurry — as a lack of agreement on who should be leading the party and in which direction. Should it be the uncompromising Cruz (he also was on the agenda at the “Uninvited” splinter convention)? The get-it-done Christie? The internationalist Marco Rubio? The libertarian Paul? The anti-union Scott Walker? Or Ryan the social engineer?…
When you have 26 conservative combatants, you don’t have war; you have mayhem.
Dave Weigel, at Slate, wraps up his usual extensive & excellent coverage, under the title “Conservatism in America, 2014“:
… Poor Rick Santorum. On Friday, the probably 2016 presidential candidate whom the media isn’t quite sure how to cover gave a well-received, condensed version of a speech he’s been giving to Republican groups. Its theme: Republicans should not, could not simply talk about “job creators” and who “built that” business. They needed a positive economic agenda; they needed to realize that government had the power to organize and persuade, just as anti-smoking laws cut down the numbers of smokers to unthinkable lows.
And then Sarah Palin closed out the conference by telling “beltway Republicans” (like her 2008 ticket partner John McCain) to back off of immigration reform because “that victory you won in 2010? You didn’t build that!”
Palin’s speech was a pretty typical collection of memes, alliterative insults, and sentence fragmentation, but the one thing that stuck with me was her endorsement of the theory that Ted Cruz’s demand that the CR not include funding for Obamacare was itself the reason that Obamacare had become unpopular. Also, that Cruz had acted on this demand with a “filibuster.’ To every pollster and (cough) beltway Republican, the two-week government shutdown was an obvious and predictable disaster, a real-time bailout of the Demo- crats that distracted from the absolute nadir of healthcare.gov’s problems and gave the president a poll boost, and to everyone familiar with Senate rules, Cruz’s marathon speech was not actually a filibuster.
It does not matter. On the activist right, the reality is closer to what Palin said.
And I am probably just a nasty old cynic, but when Repubs like Rick Perry and Grover Norquist start talking about prison reform and civil liberties, I immediately assume they — or their paymasters — have been notified that they’re about to come under indictment.
For the closer, as always, the irreplaceable Charles P. Pierce:
By now, and by god, it should have settled permanently in the consciousness of the nation what a huge and untoward gamble with the country John McCain and his campaign took in 2008 when they elevated Sarah Palin from her rightful place on the tundra to the political celebrity she currently enjoys. McCain should pay a heavy price for unleashing this ignorant, two-wheeled bilewagon on the country’s politics. If you think she’s a legitimate political leader, you’re an idiot and a sucker and I feel sorry for you.
Yesterday she gave a wildly received speech to ring down the curtain at CPAC. The applause, as far as I know, may still be going on. It was as singularly embarrassing a public address as any allegedly sentient primate ever has delivered. It was a disgrace to politics, to rhetoric, to the English language, and to seventh-grade slam books everywhere…
A friend bailed on the speech, making the very plausible case that Palin is simply another political celebrity freakshow, like Donald Trump. I can see the point there but, with Palin, and watching the hysterical reception her puerile screed received, there is something more serious going on. She is the living representation of the infantilization of American politics, a poisonous Grimm Sister telling toxic fairy tales to audiences drunk on fear, and hate and nonsense. She respects no standards but her own. She is in perpetual tantrum, railing against her betters, which is practically everyone, and volunteering for the job of avatar to the country’s reckless vandal of a political Id. It was the address of a malignant child delivered to an audience of malignant children. If you applauded, you’re an idiot and I feel sorry for you.