Like Dr. Evil, did the GOP just steal Obama’s mojo?
Tea partiers and RINOs mingle at energized CPAC convention. President Obama’s policies have galvanized conservatives, but will the GOP have the answers that key independents want to hear?
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“While there has always been a crazy streak in the conservative movement … the most wild extremists have never taken over the movement lock, stock and barrel before,” writes Mr. Lux. “Today they are thoroughly in control.”Skip to next paragraph
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And Obama himself seemed to sense the divide between partisan cheerleading and dire realities in Washington this morning when he invited Republicans to a healthcare summit but added, “I don't want to see this meeting turn into political theater.”
More middle-of-the-road critics say Republicans are ultimately hawking the same tired small government message, seemingly oblivious to the fact that deficit reduction may require tax increases along with spending cuts.
“Intellectually honest conservatives are homeless,” writes the Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder.
Ground shifting for CPAC
Nevertheless, the ground does seem to be shifting for conservatives at CPAC.
Founded in 1974, CPAC is today a sort of culture war relic, epitomized by Gov. Pawlenty on Thursday citing God as the first of four conservative principles. Nothing wrong with that, except many Americans might read that as commentary on divisive social issues such as abortion and homosexuality.
“We're in the fight for fiscal discipline and limited government, and we are on the side of the American people,” Mr. Pence said. “This is our moment.”
Mr. Pence wasn’t the only one to witness the tent poles getting wider at this year’s CPAC.
“[I]t was striking to see in speech after speech many of the wedge issues that so preoccupied the most recent GOP majority – Terry Schiavo, abortion, stem cells, gays, family values, religion in government – sublimated to the GOP's laser-like focus on the economy and to see the CPAC's attempts … to widen their tent,” writes Jay Newton-Small in Time.
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