Regardless of my personal opinion of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, I couldn’t hold back a smile when he stated that the Republican Party has to stop being the “stupid party” when it comes to the wide array of issues facing the American public.
Even my personal disdain of Jindal could not help but agree with the Louisiana Governor who continues to seemingly harbor Presidential ambitions. He’s clearly not wrong (even if he is not the greatest messenger) as the Republican Party received plenty of scorn over some of their candidates opinions on rape, abortion, gay marriage, immigration, Iraq, Medicare, healthcare, Social Security, taxation, spending, Tim Tebow, etc.
Nonetheless though, one of the major conservative events on the calendar is the annual CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) which is a conference that is supposed to bring together all the rising and current conservative stars. CPAC has been seen as a stepping stone for conservative activists such as Richard Mourdock, Marco Rubio and even the ego of Donald Trump. While their annual Presidential straw poll doesn’t hold much weight, it still serves as a decent barometer on conservative thought.
If CPAC loves you, you can probably say you will be a good bet to win a Republican primary. For outsiders, CPAC serves as a warning for those you will have to watch out for but mostly it’s an excuse for activists to show off their case.
But ready for some of CPAC 2013’s guests? Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and yes, Donald Trump.
Clearly CPAC has yet to heed Governor Jindal’s advice over being the “stupid party”. I’m not too shocked about the invitation of any of these individuals. Romney was probably done against CPAC’s will but seeing as he was the standard bearer of the Republican Party last year, they probably had to extend an invitation out of courtesy.
Sarah Palin fits in perfectly with the CPAC audience but isn’t her 15 minutes of fame long gone? The half-term Governor, losing 2008 vice presidential candidate and the two-year Fox News analyst is toxic amongst anything but ardent conservatives. Palin may have electrified the Republican base in 2008 and 2009 but ever since she has dabbled in reality television, punditry and irrelevancy. She has to be considered a pariah amongst independents but also can she really re-electrify the base enough to be considered relevant again? There’s really no benefit to her getting a speaking slot other than to appease an ego that is certainly waning as quickly as her star.
But at least former Governor Palin was a Governor and the Vice Presidential candidate. She does have political chops to speak of, regardless of her views and the controversy surrounding her, and was at one point a relevant political star. On the other side, Mitt Romney got 47% of the popular vote and over 200 electoral votes. Sure he wasn’t “close” but he could’ve very well have been President.
Then there is Donald Trump. The one-time hotel magnate who now moonlights as a hate-spewing, conservative demagogue who continued to spout falsehoods regarding the President’s birth. Sending an invite to Donald Trump, which he will always gladly accept given his need to be heard, provides no benefit to conservatism or humanity in general. Sure, he might be able to rile up a few of the tinfoil hat wearers that need someone famous to validate their baseless opinions but what has Donald Trump done politically?
Still waiting. He led that one poll eight months or so before the first primary happened, right? Then he fell from potential political candidate to national laughingstock as Barack Obama showcased his long-form birth certificate and roasted Donald Trump that same night.
CPAC will be a big deal for a couple days as plenty of speeches will earn plenty of attention and both praise and criticism depending on the news network you watch. Nonetheless though with all the attention that is surrounding the three guests of honor, so to speak, the onus of CPAC has turned to individuals again. The GOP may not want to be the “stupid party” any longer but it clearly isn’t doing a great job at it as they embrace these failed candidates (and Trump).
The GOP should look forward, everyone should, but by inviting the stars of yesterday CPAC has indicated that they are unwilling to change and will instead try to slip into irrelevancy.