At CPAC Still

ImageStill here. Sorry for the light coverage. I’ve been at CPAC since Wednesday. This afternoon, Newt Gingrich takes the stage.

There is a very strong sense here that Newt will run, but probably wait to announce until Brownback, Romney, and Huckabee have killed each other in the quest to be the anti-Rudy. McCain is a non-starter.

Usually at CPAC, Saturday is the dead day. There is a slow bleed of students and others out the door. It’s happened to some degree here. Things are slow today. But lots and lots of people are hanging around, waiting for Gingrich to speak at 4:45 this afternoon. There is a strong demand for his voice on the ’08 stage. Ironically, a lot of people want Gingrich to run, but they also don’t think he will win or really even should win — they just want him to pull everyone else to the right.


  1. rugby_fan says:

    I think I adequately expressed my opinions in the last thread, but, Erick, it seems as if “conservatives”, since Terry Schiavo have been doing everything in their power to repulse anyone who is not an ultra-hard-core American conservative and prevent them from joining their ranks.

    Is this an accurate portrayal or do “conservatives” think they are actually staking out positions anyone else likes or respects?

  2. Adam Fogle says:

    The final results from the Spartanburg, SC straw poll came in yesterday afternoon.

    Erick may try to paint Sen. John McCain as a “non-starter,” but he won the poll and is off and running in South Carolina.

    As most people know, no Republican has ever won the GOP nomination without winning the South Carolina primary.

    Spartanburg totals:
    McCain 164
    Giuliani 162
    Hunter 158
    Brownback 85
    Romney 80
    Huckabee 21

  3. Icarus says:

    The Duncan Hunter showing is interesting. McCain is clearly putting his eggs into the S.C. primary basket. Rudy has the name ID and momentum, but what’s up with Hunter? Did he target this with an organization? Romney clearly is organizing GA, but coming in 5th behind Hunter and Brownback shows he’s got some work to do across the river.

  4. I wouldn’t take any meaning out of one of these straw polls. You can truck people in to vote for you, and if that isn’t enough you can buy them drinks and food, or whatever else. Coming in 3rd in this poll is the political equivalent of buying a woman a drink and then watching her eventually go home with someone else.

  5. JRM2016 says:

    Has anyone on this thread lived in SC?

    Greenville-Spartanburg is the SC GOP. I wouldn’t discount the straw poll and would remind you all again that the Bush supporters in 2000 almost to a man are supporting McCain.

  6. Jason Pye says:

    I wouldn’t discount the straw poll and would remind you all again that the Bush supporters in 2000 almost to a man are supporting McCain.

    That should be enough for anyone to be running from the guy, not to him.

  7. Judge Learned Hand says:

    Regarding Gingrich, many are quick to describe him as unelectable. However, I wonder if people would be willing to move past his indiscretions and focus on his ideas. As far as I have known, he has never attempted to hide his past. Wouldn’t it just be old news? It seems that if he were in the race, his conservative and pragmatic(gasp) ideas would be more noteworthy. When was the last time a candidate made sense behind a podium and chose clarity and directness over meaningless rhetoric? Hmmm–perhaps Reagan? Any thoughts?

  8. Icarus says:


    I agree completely. Thus my above questions. At the end of the day, it’s just an early straw poll, but it’s in a key area of a key early state, so it’s one of the few tea leaves we have.

    Thus, curious to know how much effort Duncan Hunter put in here. Still don’t see a scenario where he can mobilize an organization large enough to replicate it. Think it shows that McCain may have underperformed, given his complete wrap up of the SC power structure. Also appears to me that Romney should have performed better.


    Agree completely about Gingrich. He’s the only one saying what I want to hear from a candidate right now. Now, if he could train Fred Thompson to repeat after him…

  9. elephantgirl says:

    Just for a minute—everyone try and forget you are a political junkie and imagine you are just the average American voter. Who are you going to vote for in 2008 if you don’t want Hillary Clinton to be your next president? Giuliani. These other people mean nothing to the average American. Rudy is the only one that has the star power to defeat Hillary, and sadly enough that is the way Americans vote.

  10. Bull Moose says:

    Okay, I’ve got some thoughts:

    The far right conservatives are desperate for someone to hang onto to carry forward the banner of their agenda. The leaders of the far right agenda are anything but deserving of such a loyal following. Their personal lives are flawed and they spout one thing publicly and live their lives in a far different way.

    With that said, Romney is the latest person that they’ve chose to carry their agenda. They don’t care that he basically changed all of his positions to fill the far right void.

    There are some people on the far right that are very very scared of John McCain. They will make up many lies to try and detract others from supporting him. Similar to Ralph Reed in 2000, they will even stoop to outright lies.

    As for me, I’m for McCain. And if he stumbles, Giuliani, but I don’t think McCain will stumble.

  11. Icarus says:

    We’ve got at least 6 months before we have to worry about average American voters. This is the time we political junkies have exclusively for ourselves…

  12. Bull Moose says:

    Again, as for Romney, he’s going to come in 3rd or 4th in Iowa, 3rd or 4th in New Hampshire, maybe worse than that in South Carolina and then what?

    He may be getting some grass tops in Georgia, but those tops don’t reach the ground.

    Giuliani has a Savannahian working on his campaign. McCain has Alec Poitevint.

    McCain is the leader who has been vetted and can win. If you scrub 9/11 from Giuliani’s background, most Americans aren’t going to like what they see…

  13. Bull Moose says:

    Let me also say that we need a mainstreet common sense response organization to that of CPAC. I went to one of those conventions. Interesting stuff, but those people are really really conservative…

  14. bowersville says:

    If what the blogs are saying about the events across the river in Spartanburg are true, that Giuliani had no organization and that McCain had an organization that made an all out effort, Rudy wins.

    People are always looking for hope in troubled times, Rudy exudes it.

    After Letterman, what will McCain handler’s do next, have him toot a saxaphone on Leno?

  15. Icarus says:


    Six months ago, I really thought McCain had things moving in his direction. Since then, exact opposite. I think he’ll be the first of the big three (Rudy, McCain, Mitt) out of the race. Can’t include Gingrich, since he isn’t “in” yet. And if he can’t raise some real money soon, it may be before the end of spring.

    Do you see something in McCain’s immediate future to make him the presumed front runner again, and thus be able to raise money?

    Not being overly critical, as a few months ago was trying to decide if I could get behind him. But I don’t objectively see a scenario where he comes out on top right now.

  16. Bull Moose says:

    I don’t know the status of McCain’s fundraising prowess. I know that he has a lot of consultants, maybe too many. I also think that some of those consultants gave him really bad advice early on.

    I think McCain could have done just well to have pulled out his 2000 game plan and built onto that.

    However, sometimes, you just have to take the talent off the field so that others don’t get them and that may have been the case here.

  17. Some Republicans support Newt Gingrich on the basis because he was born in Georgia like they were. That would me saying I support Former Mayor of Saint Paul and US Senator Norm Coleman because I was born in Minnesota. There is faulty logic in this mindset. I believe not all Republicans are the same like some GOP members think this is another example of faulty logic. Romney-Care is not the platform of Ron Paul’s Presidential Campaign thank god it isn’t. That’s what makes Ron Paul a true Republican.

  18. Jeff Emanuel says:

    Ah yes, good ol’ “conservative” Ron Paul. Besides his statement on the floor of the House that the President was plotting to “trick Iran and the public into a Gulf of Tonkin-type incident,” and then immediately follow up with a “full-scale nuclear attack,” he’s a great choice.

    And no, this comment doesn’t mean that I’m “scared” of Ron Paul, any more than the statement “McCain’s currently a dead man walking in this race” signifies “fear” of said dead man walking. (Sorry, BM.)

  19. That is one poll in a town in South Carolina. We need a Libertarian Poll. I would like to see the Libertarian Party of Georgia poll at a town here in Georgia of which of the Libertarian Candidates they would vote for. heck try it in Gwinnett or Forsyth.

  20. Cobb County is the perfect place for the Libertarian Presidential poll. Garrett Hayes and David Chastian are always saying in radio interviews that Cobb County has a rapidly growing Libertarian base.

  21. bowersville says:

    There may be a growing Libertarian base, I’m a Libertarian leaning Republican myself.

    Let me give you a clue, run an outside Libertarian for the 10th Congressional district, and see if the Libertarians even get in the runoff. Why are the libertarians showing themselves as a bunch of carpet bag nuts?

    Ron Paul, Pltthth!

  22. Bowersville,
    I do not know why people in the GOP dislike libertarians reguardless north or south. It is one of the traditional factions of the GOP. I wish Dr. Jim Sendelbach the best in his campaign for the 10th district congressional seat. Why are purdue neo-cons showing themselves as Hee-Haw fanactics. There are plenty of Northern Libertarians and Libertarian leaning Republicans. The GOP was founded as a Northern Party and traditional conservative Republican presidents like Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, and Regan are all from the North. Regan was born in Illinonis, lived rest of his life in California.

  23. RuralDem says:

    Surprised that no one has mentioned Ann Coulter’s jab at John Edwards.

    Anyway, as a Democrat, the GOP candidate I worry about the most would be Giuliani. I actually think he could get some social liberals to jump to his side. Although Hillary is socially liberal, the anti-hillary wing of the Democratic Party seems to be growing, so I could see those voters possibly supporting Giuliani.

  24. SouthernConservativ says:

    In general, and this may be naive in todays political climate, I think it is too early for any “serious” candidate discussion. It is my approach to stay out of “politics” until the fall.

    So much will happen in the next 6 to 7 months that the face of the political scene in the fall will be 180 degrees from today. I will be interested to see what the comments are then versus what the thoughts were today.

    I personally think Newt has the right idea of staying out of “battles” today and wait to enter the “war” in the fall as the rest of the “contenders” devour each other in this “war” of attrition.

    Agreed, the straw poles are fun, if we remember in Memphis, TN I believe the top 2 contenders for the 2008 GOP nomination were George Allen and Bill Frist, neither a serious candidate today.

  25. rugby_fan says:

    I think McCain could have done just well to have pulled out his 2000 game plan and built onto that.

    Well he ran away, no sprinted, away from his 00 campaign a long time ago.

    Flipfloppers in this race are McCain and Romney.

  26. bowersville says:

    Dr. Sendelbach(L) is from CONYERS, it is not in the 10th. No reasonable person will vote for any candidate from outside the district. Sendelbach will garner no more votes than Pulliam(R) from CONYERS.

    You can support Sendelbach all you wish, but you can’t vote for him from Buford. I vote in the 10th, and I assure you, I will not vote for any Congressional candidate residing outside the district.

    Look for 3-4% max for Sendelbach. Sendelbach, Pulliam are carpetbaggers because they do not reside in the district and are seen as opportunist, not their heritage.

    I am in the Libertarian wing of the Republican party and fight the fight every day, don’t hand me that Hee-Haw garbage, I’ve been around these parts for decades and if you want to refer to my type as Perdue neocons, so be it!

    I simply don’t understand why the Libertarians are squandering this opportunity for equal access to the ballot. But then again, you are so smart, but you’ll see June 19.

  27. bowersville says:

    And as far as Ron Paul, giving a Murtha type speech, he can forget me!

    I expect that from the Democrats, but not Paul.

  28. Jason Pye says:


    I completely agree with your assessment of Sendelbach’s campaign. The LPGa should be focusing on non-partisan races and the vacant State Senate seats that are result of the vacancy in the 1oth.

    Of course my opinion means little because I resigned as chair of the LPGa in January.

    But I disagree with your assessment of Ron Paul.

  29. flusman007 says:

    I find the results of the CPAC straw very suspicious and misleading especially regarding the results for Sam Brownback.
    Asked “who would be their first choice to be the Republican nominee for president,” CPAC attendees responded as follows: Romney 21%, Giuliani 17%, Sen. Brownback of Kansas 15%, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich 14%, and Sen. McCain of Arizona 12%.”
    CPAC probably thinks that Brownback is their best choice representing conservative values. But Brownback may not be as conservative as many would think. He’s a conservative about abortion and gay marriage but not much else. He supported the non-binding resolution on Iraq and supports amnesty for illegal aliens.

    In order to broaden his appeal he has been sucking up to some radical feminists and other lefties. He fell for the whole spin and smear campaign of the Tahirih Justice Center the lead proponent of the International Romance Regulation Act of 2005 (IMBRA). This law Senator Brownback sponsored (with his radical friends) requires American men who use International matchmaking organizations to provide hard copy criminal and personal background information before they can communicate with a foreign lady. Now when he speaks on the subject he spouts the radical’s whole line almost verbatim: Men who go for foreign wives are mostly violent abusers who need to be controlled, yada yada. But the truth reveals the radicals used a few isolated examples of abuse cases coupled with their usual rumor mill anecdotes painting a false image that all American men who seek foreign wives are serial rapists and abusers.

    Senator Brownback’s 15% rating is totally inaccurate representing a fantasy. More accurate polls have consistently placed Brownback at 1-2%. Senator Brownback is a foolish politican whose “backdoor” deals with radical feminist are just now being exposed that will destroy any chance of being the Republicans choice in 2008.

  30. sndeak says:

    Looks like the righties are gonna give (M)Ann Coulter another free pass. The hypocrisy of it all.

    I am sooo tired of her senseless screeds.

  31. drjay says:

    so clearly you are not a brownback fan–hunter did well in the sc straw last week and signifigantly outperformed his polling–it was a straw poll–and considering the activist nature of a group like cpac, sen. brownback may actually have support there that outpaced his support among the huddled masses. everyone keeps saying oh these are just straw polls they are just for fun and such–i am curious however if these endeavors–esp. those that may take place later in the year will be accorded more signifigance as something to look too for guidance or “news” about the candidates heading into what appears to be shaping up to be a de facto national primary on 2-5-08

  32. JRM2016 says:

    The Republican Party has a long tradition of backing those who it is perceived have waited their turn for the nomination. Let’s start with 1976, Ronald Reagan was clearly a star, but the Party hung tough with Gerald Ford in the last real convention fight we will see in our current system. In 1980, Reagan, having earned his conservative bona fides in 1976, won nomination over Connolly, seen by many as the more electable candidate at the time. 1988 again saw this at work, with the failed 1980 candidate George H.W. Bush being nominated after dutifully serving in the Reagan administration for 8 years. 1996 saw Bob Dole, the failed opponent of George H.W. Bush in 1988 nominated without much difficulty. 2000 was wide open, with the Party being out of power for 8 years, and the GOP chose the son of its last President and Governor of Texas to carry our standard. The loser that time? John McCain. The last several nominating cycles have shown Iowa and New Hampshire to be largely irrelevant to the GOP nominating process. South Carolina has picked the winner (Lee Atwater’s famed firewall for George H.W. Bush constructed in 1988 held firm in 1996 for Dole and in 2000 for George W. Bush). South Carolina is for McCain, at least those folks who have stood like a stone wall in these contests for the last 20 years. Now this analysis is subject to change depending on how the calendar is at last drawn up. But history shows us that it is McCain’s turn and the behavior on the ground in SC reflects that. I am still undecided for President at this time and am not suggesting McCain should be our man. I just think given the history and the calendar as I understand it to be today that he will be our nominee.

  33. Jeff Emanuel says:

    sndeak, see whatever you want to. If things such as the denouncement of her comments by every presidential candidate who was at CPAC (on the front page of the NYT), and every single conservative blog on the planet blasting her from here to kingdom come for her idiocy and narcissism, mean “giving her a pass,” then yep.

    Interesting that the right has to apologize and to denounce so many more times than the left for something like this — and it still doesn’t count.

  34. rugby_fan says:

    Jeff, drop the cant for a second, everyone on either side apologizes for the idiotic statements they make.

    No one side gets a free pass.

    My apologies for being so confrontational.

  35. drjay says:

    The Britney Spears Of The Right
    By Cliff Kincaid
    March 5, 2007

    The political equivalent of Britney Spears shaving the hair off her head, Ann Coulter made headlines at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) by calling Democrat John Edwards a faggot. Wearing a leather dress and a Christian cross around her neck, Coulter must be a liberal infiltrator whose purpose is to give conservatism a bad name.

    I really felt sorry for those Republican presidential candidates who attended CPAC and were forced by the liberal media to respond to Coulter’s remarks. It’s guilt-by-association, but Coulter had to know that making such a remark would put those candidates in an uncomfortable, even embarrassing, position. As a former staffer and contributing editor of Human Events, I can’t understand why this conservative weekly publication continues to feature her on the masthead as a “legal affairs correspondent” and puts her columns on page one.

    this was in an email i got today from a conservative outfit that i get regular emails from…

  36. Jeff Emanuel says:

    by the way, sndeak, perhaps you shouldn’t give things like this a free pass and then whine about “hypoicrisy” — unless you’re talking about the left, that is.

  37. JasonW says:

    Actually Ron Paul did speak at one of the many different smaller events at Cpac. He spoke at an event sponsored by the leadership institute, however it was open to the entire CPAC crowd.

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