Behind the Egypt headlines this week has been the annual Conservative Political Action Conference and its showcase of the right's stable of presidential hopefuls. Running against an incumbent President is a daunting task and we don't have to have the memory of an elephant to recall the shakeout of the 2008 campaign season. The front runners quickly morphed into drop-outs and also-rans with an occasional never-was thrown in for good measure.
When it was over the mantle had gone, as it always seems to with the GOP, to the good ol' boy who had waited his turn patiently. Then the pack turned on the nominee and declared him inadequately conservative and without redeeming social graces. I still remember those who steadfastly declared that an Obama victory would teach the RNC a lesson. How's that working out for ya?
The Republicans have some talent in the minor leagues and the only hope is that there can be support for a new generation candidate with experience, charisma, fresh ideas and no skeletons in the closet.
The speakers at CPAC through the week said the right things. They threw some meat to the hungry lions and they presented an image of confidence in the future coupled with a faith in American exceptionalism. There are several that would make strong contenders.
But, CPAC chose to end the week with a meaningless straw poll which showed little awareness for electability and relative ignorance on the part of what should be a knowledgeable audience:
And The Winner Is...
I lean toward libertarian, but don't abandon the role of America as a world power. I like minimalist government but I also recognize that we have institutionalized some functions and can't easily abandon them. I also am enough of a realist to know that you can't do a single thing with regard to policy until you get elected. If you can't get a majority of Electoral College votes you can't be President.
Ron Paul is not going to be elected. He is not going to be the candidate. Neither is Mitt Romney.
CPAC would be better served by not conducting such futile and self-destructive exercises in the future. They are not only irrelevant, they are detrimental.