Former Reasoner Michael C. Moynihan, now hanging his byline at The Daily Beast, has an engaging column about the upcoming Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) annual hoo-hah, which starts tomorrow in D.C.—at a hotel called The Gaylord, if you can believe it.
…a look at the 2013 CPAC speakers list doesn't suggest the [main organizer, the American Conservative Union] ACU is particularly worried about conservatism's future. There's a smattering of new blood—including the insurgent triumvirate of Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio. But attendees also will get a large serving of stale ideas from Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Allen West, Rick Santorum, Mitch McConnell, Wayne LaPierre, Rick Perry, and, of course, Mitt Romney. One revealing ideological omission, and one that has largely passed without comment, is the lack of neoconservative voices at the conference, save one panel discussion on Iran. And it's perhaps indicative of the party's drift toward more libertarian ideas that CPAC kicks off with a discussion called "Too Many American Wars? Should We Fight Anywhere and Can We Afford It?" Try getting that past the ACU in 2007.
Yet, concludes Moynihan, CPAC is mostly about enforcing a narrow definition of what it means to be a conservative and a Republican. That explains not allowing the gay rights group GOProud to participate and keeping Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) off the dais.
Here we are, in 2013, and conservatism's biggest gathering wants to ensure that the Republican Party maintains ideological purity and the ability to consistently lose elections.
In 2012, Reason TV talked with CPAC attendees and Occupy protesters (remember them?) at the event. Take a look: