Over the weekend, former President Donald Trump won the annual
Conservative Political Action Conference's straw poll with 59% of the vote. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis finished with 28.4%. While the media portrayed this as a great triumph of Trump's dominance within the GOP, I was shocked at how poorly Trump did in the poll. CPAC attendees could not be more pro-Trump. Yet, 41% of those polled preferred another candidate besides Trump. It is also significant that the former president's support dropped from 70% at the 2021 CPAC event to 59% this year.
CPAC in recent years has been a gathering of the most Trumpy, and crazy, Republicans in the country. Being "conservative" is no longer the price of admission. Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, which runs the event, admits CPAC is no longer "conservative." After all, CPAC's keynote speaker Friday night was former Democratic Hawaii representative Tulsi Gabbard. Gabbard's last year in Congress, Schlapp's ACU gave her a 9% rating. It seems that the only reason for Gabbard's invitation is that she is very pro-Putin.
Oh, and Marjorie Taylor "Jewish Space Lasers" Greene was also a main speaker at CPAC. Fortunately for her, Greene's speaking duties did not stop her from attending a white nationalist conference the same weekend.
But while the straw poll of the candidates got the most attention, what I found perhaps more significant were the answers to a question about the three most important issues asked of CPAC participants. Finishing 1-2-3 were election integrity, immigration/border wall and constitutional rights. Unbelievably, "inflation/cost of living," almost certainly the No. 1 issue for Republicans heading into the 2022 mid-terms, finished a distant fourth in the poll. "Taxes, Budget & Spending" and "Improve Economy," also Republican strengths, were listed seventh and eighth in importance.
CPAC has become a Republican embarrassment. It's time to shut it down. Unfortunately, the CPAC event has become a cash cow for Schlapp and he wants to keep the money flowing. At least, CPAC should be stripped of the "conservative" designation in its title. It is anything but.
Speaking of conservative, last weekend also featured the Principles First Summit. The PFS speaker list featured intellectuals and activists who actually live up to the conservative principles they espouse, unlike the unprincipled, and often fake, conservatives who spoke at CPAC.
OOP's short takes:
- Does anyone seriously believe that NATO would be as unified in its response to Russian aggression under a President Trump as opposed to President Biden? Trump was set to take the United States out of NATO in his second term, and he spent his first term undercutting NATO at every turn. Further, Trump was, and still is, a great admirer of the Vladimir Putin. The fact Putin is willing to kill innocent civilians in Ukraine and violently put down dissent at home simply means he is "strong" and "smart" to Trump.
- Fortunately for the United States and the world, Trump's initial cheerleading of Putin's advance into Ukraine did not find much support (outside of white nationalist groups). So now Trump has changed his tune, trying to get ahead of the parade. He is now saying Putin wouldn't have gone into Ukraine if he had been in charge. Yeah, right. Putin was no doubt planning to invade Ukraine during Trump's second term in order to take advantage of Trump's infatuation with him and his weakening of NATO. Unfortunately for Putin, but fortunately for Americans, Trump never got his second term.
- And let's not forget those Javelin missiles used by Ukraine in its defense against Russian aggression were the weapons Trump refused Ukraine unless it announced a fake investigation of Joe Biden that Trump could use in his re-election campaign.