CPAC: Day One

Well, I just got back to the room from the first day of CPAC in Washington, D.C. I can tell you that the Republicans are very much fired up. They’ve found a fight, and from the looks of this organization, they’ve been training for the big match since the first tea party. The Republicans are getting organized. They’re beginning to hold their Congressmen accountable, and those Congressmen are taking notice.

House Minority Leader John Boehner gave a speech this afternoon, of which I regrettably only caught the last half. What I did hear, though, was a reflection of what the newly-vocal Republicans have been screaming for the past year. In his speech, there were plenty of references to the purging of RINOs and getting “back to the basics”. Whether or not this is truly heartfelt or merely an attempt to rally the troops for 2010 is still a mystery to me, though I hope most sincerely that it is the former. That’s the only way that the Republicans will be able to win big in the 2010 midterm elections.

There was a curious mention of Boehner’s intention for the Republican party to stay separate from the tea party movement. I found it odd that he would mention this, not because it wasn’t a wise thing to say, but because it was awkwardly placed and was the subject of Karl Rove’s latest op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today. Right at the end of Representative Boehner’s speech, he announced that he would not try to merge the Republican Party with the tea party movement, but understand them, listen to them and “walk among them”. This is the same general approach that Rove advised in his article, and one I wholly agree with. CPAC is about as cozy as Tea Party and Republican Party need to get. There needs to be a healthy distance between the two, because without it, the tea parties are simply an astroturf puppet tool of the Republicans, which severely discredits them.

On an only somewhat unrelated note, Mitt Romney is the strongest candidate for the Republicans in 2012. His public speaking skills, and general political persona far outmatch those of Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee. I think that despite the resurgence of Christianity in the Republican Party in the last year, they would unite behind Mitt Romney if he could lead them to the White House. And his experience as a governor, background in business and general smoothness that at least matches Obama’s are enough to get him there.

If you want to see my pictures from the first day, you can go to my Flickr page.
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