You can’t really understand CPAC from what you see on TV. First of all only some of the speeches were covered. Even if they were all covered, the speeches in the main ballroom are only part of the program. There are other speakers, movies and presentations going on throughout the building. To really understand the mood and tone of CPAC, you really need to walk the halls, speak to the attendees watch the movies etc. Its one of the things most of the people who covered the event tried to do.
Mike Huckabee, however is special, he didn’t attend the event, nor did he see all the speeches, speak to the attendees, or walk through the exhibit hall, but he knows all about CPAC and he didn’t like it.
Speaking to Fox News’ token liberal Jerry Rivers (AKA Geraldo Rivera) bashed CPAC saying the conference was outdated, nearly corrupt and unrepresentative of the conservative movement. Strong words for the former governor of Arkansas who’s conservative credentials are questionable.
Huckabee, a 2008 Republican presidential contender and potential 2012 candidate who had spoken at the conference for years, said the reason he blew it off this year was that the meeting has become dominated by libertarian activists.
“CPAC has becoming increasingly more libertarian and less Republican over the last years, one of the reasons I didn’t go this year,” Huckabee said in an interview with Fox News, where he is a paid analyst and has his own show.
Maybe it was just a childish reaction for not finishing first in the “straw poll.”
He was responding to a question about whether he was upset by his single-digit showing in the conference’s poll, which was won by libertarian-leaning Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).
Actually only 25% of the conference voted in the straw poll, and Paul received 1/3 of that number which means only 8-9% of the people at the conference were allies of Ron Paul. In fact most of the people I met looked derisively on the Paul supporters, called them either Ron-ulens after the Star Trek aliens or Paultards.
Huckabee said the rise of the tea party movement had “taken all of the oxygen out of the room,” rendering the venerable conference far less relevant than it had been in previous years.
“Where CPAC was historically the event, the tea parties are having their own events all over the country and a lot more truly grassroots people are getting involved because of the tea parties,” said the former governor.
If it sounds a lot sour grapes….
“Because of the way that it solicits sponsors, it’s almost becomes a pay-for-play,” he said. “It’s kind of like, who will pay money to be able to be a sponsor and get time in the program. That’s one of the things that has hurt its credibility in the last couple of years.”
Dating to his failed 2008 run, Huckabee has had tense relations with the Washington-based conservative leaders who run the conference. The conservative establishment types questioned his fiscal bona fides and the former governor was annoyed so few of them took his campaign seriously – even after he won the Iowa caucuses.
I don’t understand how Huckabee could know what happened at a meeting he did not attend, maybe its something like Pat Robertson, you know, God has him in his Cell Phone’s favorite five. Or maybe its that Huckabee is trying to play up to his liberal host. There is the possibility that he is trying to suck up to the “progressive wing” of the party. Allow me to suggest that the real answer just may be “all of the above.” At the very least can someone tell the Governor that CPAC is a Conservative convention not a Republican convention.