27 February 2009

CPAC Day 2

So I guess this is going to be more end-of-the-day review than RNC periodic update. Blame it on the fact that I have few NewsBusters duties and the limited internet access. You'd think they would have wireless access in every conference room so that anyone could sort of liveblog whatever was happening at the moment. To my mind, that would improve the connectedness between the conservative community at large and whatever is going on at CPAC.

I passed my opinion along to people who have marginally more clout than me. Which is to say that they have "no" clout rather than "negative" clout.

Let's see, what was interesting about today? We started off with a blogger meeting with Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell. Nothing earth shattering emerged from that meeting. The Leader, as he is known, pointed out the obvious--that it is hard to oppose the Democrats and maintain the filibuster with just 41 Senators.

We (Matt & I) attended a luncheon with Tony Blankley. I interviewed Tony at the RNC and he was as gracious today as he was then. He encouraged Republicans to quit being so earnest & make fun of the opposition. His point was that we sometimes get so caught up in the principle and winning the point, that we lose the debate and are unpersuasive. If we can poke fun at the other side--especially if it is genuinely humorous--then that can be an effective tool. I think he's right, I am sometimes guilty of being too earnest in my advocacy.

In the afternoon we listened to Ron Paul (why do so many people love this guy?) and Mitt Romney. Dear readers, the CPAC folks love Mitt Romney. We missed Newt because of the luncheon (free food), so I can't say without absolute authority, but Mitt received louder & more sustained applause & more standing ovations (several, throughout his speech) than any other person at the conference. And in line, while we waited to get into and out of the various convention rooms, everyone was talking about Romney.

Patrick, a friend of mine and a non-Mormon fan of Romney's believes that if the election were this year, Romney would, without a doubt, have been the Republican nominee and he probably would have beaten Obama. Given the current economic climate and Romney's perfectly suited skills, I find it hard to disagree.

I still have my doubts re: whether or not a Mormon can be elected President in this country, but if one is ever to be elected, Romney seems to me to have the best shot. He is a talent.

After Romney, I went to a reception with Ward Connerly (anti-Affirmative Action initiative guy) and Evil Genius Karl Rove. Connerly is one of that rare species of political being--the conservative African-American. Not only is he that, he is a leading opponent of Affirmative Action. Very impressive guy.

And of course I loved listening to Rove. He talked about his experience, sort of "growing up" in conservative politics and how much fun it had been. He gave lots of anecdotes and said that one of the best parts of the whole experience was the development of good relationships and friendships.

He said that he used to read the WaPo and NYT op-ed pages first thing every morning and then go in to talk about them with the President. He said he was the "hot head" of the White House and that the President used to get a kick out of how upset those editorials would make him. Everytime Rove would start to tell the President about how one of those papers got something wrong, Bush would say something to the effect of "in 50 years, the history books will get it right and we'll be vindicated and in 50 years we'll also be dead, so don't worry about it."

Yes, I asked Karl about the ongoing book challenge he had with the President and told him that we had taken it up. He said that they (he & the President) were giving it a rest this year because they were both busy writing their own books but that he was glad to see it was inspiring fellow challenges. My parting shot to him was that BYU would be Utah in the bball game Saturday. He just laughed.

More tomorrow.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.