The Conservative Political Action Conference is over now, and there were some ups and downs, as any event will inevitably have. There were great speeches, lots of news stories, and pictures of Steve Stockman at a hot tub party (seems he was fully clothed, so thank Heaven's for small miracles).
Overall, there were many things to take away from CPAC. Rick Perry and Ted Cruz proved that everything is really bigger in Texas, even the standing ovations. The youth are becoming more active on our side, which is fantastic to see. Sarah Palin is still capable of teasing crowds. And, of course, much like Woodstock, the charge in the air is electric, and there is free love.
Ultimately, it all led up to the CPAC straw poll, where the attendants voted on who they would like to see as president. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky won, I guess despite McConnell's safe handling of that rifle. Paul, of course, has some things going for him. He's got youth support, a libertarian streak, and he is willing to work with people. Those people include his support of Mitch McConnell for Senate, which he says was due to the fact that, at the time, there were no other candidates.
The youth rocked out during CPAC, and it showed. The libertarian streak of the youth was evident in the straw poll. The content of some of the speeches were toned down a lot from the strong conservative rhetoric and ventured into libertarian... no, that's not quite right. It ventured into millennial thought. There is very little that's actually conservative about calling for so-called marriage equality, but it was on display at CPAC this year. I say "so-called" because it is becoming increasingly obvious that the struggle for the rights of homosexuals to get married is not about their happiness, but to spit in the face of traditional marriage. Hence, business owners are being forced to provide services by the government for gay wedding ceremonies, a clear violation of traditional libertarian thought.
There is a cultural battle currently underway in the Republican Party. The dynamic between the conservative and the establishment exist now and the youth versus the traditional could be on the way. 2014 and 2016 will be big years in determining how those fights turn out.
The biggest lesson that we can learn from CPAC is that the base, like Bonnie Tyler, is holding out for a hero. He's gotta be strong. He's gotta be fast. He's gotta be fresh from the fight. Their choice was Rand Paul, but will he be the fighter, ultimately that they want? I have my doubts, especially considering the NRSC announced this morning that Paul would be a guest on one of their upcoming podcasts.