This year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) could have been titled President Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Don. For the first time in years, most of America’s premier conservatives gathered to find themselves the proverbial dog who chased and caught the car. With the White House, Congress, and most likely SCOTUS in the near future, the big question seemed to be “What the hell do we do now?”
Clearly, one of the answers was drink, and there was plenty of that. The bars were only lightly packed this year because a lot of familiar faces were missing. Conservatives seem to thrive on threats, and if Hillary had been elected or – shiver – Jeb, the place would have been packed. One can easily imagine #Fail Bush having started off his term by building a bridge to the people who hate us by re-nominating Merrick Garland. Don’t laugh – that’s not a joke.
After all, there is a tiresome strain of conservatism that loathes the thought of victory and revels in the delicious ecstasy of submission to the liberal master caste. Those guys weren’t here. John McCain and Lindsey Graham didn’t show up, and most of the diehard Never Trumpers didn’t bother coming either. But then, what could they say? “Gorsuch. Mattis. Pruitt. See, I told you Trump was terrible!”
Very few senators and congressjerks showed up either, probably because they didn’t want to be mocked. We all know the current crop of doofy leftist clowns being bussed into town halls are paid shills hoping the GOP legislators are stupid and cowardly enough to be intimidated. And that bet is kind of like doubling down on an ace when the dealer has a six showing. The astroturf goofs are one thing; showing up here, they know they’d be raked over the coals for what is becoming increasingly clear is their burning desire to not do what they promised yet again.
“We can’t repeal Obamacare until we get the Senate.”
“Okay, we have the Senate, but we don’t have the White House.”
“Sure, we have the White House, but Jupiter and Mercury aren’t in alignment.”
The president hinted he’s not inclined to let these dorks slither their way out of helping him keep his promises. This convention was a message. CPAC showed that relevant hardcore conservatives are making peace with a president who is not ideologically pure – irrelevant ones stayed away, probably fearing wedgies.
Even McMullin didn’t show up, at least I don’t think he did. I assume I would have heard one of the many awkwardly-dressed college students saying something to the effect of “Hey, isn’t that the guy my dad listens to? I think his name was Moby.” There was no George Will, no Bill Kristol. The old guard knew it wasn’t welcome – to the extent it was even remembered – and, in Fredocon fashion, it was too gutless to come looking for a fight. Instead, they no doubt retired to their studies with a warm cup of tea to read their own forgotten books and look back on the days when they mattered, back when talking a good game was enough. Back before all this rabble showed up demanding results.
This is no longer their conservative movement, and the rejection stings. From here on, they’ll be on the sidelines whining because Trump is so uncouth, while he turns the Supreme Court red, rebuilds our military, and motivates Congress to get off its collective Boehner.
Conservatives are sick of excuses, and sick of movement timeservers whose primary goal isn’t upending the establishment but securing their comfortable place in it.
President Trump entered the ballroom like a rock star, at least up front with the attendees. In the back in the media area, there was stony silence – except for me and my pal Stephen Kruiser. As opinion folk, we aren’t bound by the whole fake objectivity thing that only applies when it’s a conservative. Looking around at the collection of geebos and durwoods who made up the majority of the press, you could almost see the tracks of their tears on their sad faces from their abject boo-hooing when Hillary lost. And when Trump laid into them, they were most unhappy.
Of course, we were giddy. This annoyed the media tools even more.
Naturally, about three minutes of trashing the trashy, lying media became the entire story of a fairly long speech. If you weren’t there, the real story was that President Trump absolutely intends on keeping his promises. Obamacare will be repealed. There will be a wall. We are deporting illegals. We are cutting taxes. The clock is ticking. Congress better understand – this guy’s patience is not unlimited. If they think they can slide back into the big talk in election years/big walks in off years mode, they are going to find Trump in their districts rallying for their primary opponents.
My Never Trump pals – not the weak, whiny folks but the people truly concerned because Trump is not a conservative ideologue – seemed to have entered the acceptance stage. Of course, a Secretary of Defense nicknamed “Mad Dog” makes Trump a lot easier to swallow. They have not abandoned the party or the movement. They are adapting. They even enjoyed CPAC. Maybe they don’t yet love the Don, but they are at least tolerating him.