As we discussed last week, the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, is the year's biggest event for Republicans and the right in general. The speakers' list for the multi-day event reads like a who's who for conservatives, and the more ambitious the GOP candidate, the more he or she desperately wants to win CPAC attendees' approval.
With this in mind, it's interesting to see who gets invitations to the gathering and who gets snubbed. Last week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) was told he would not be welcome at CPAC 2013. Today we learned that that Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), suddenly and inexplicably the target of far-right ire, was also deemed unworthy of the CPAC stage.
Chris Christie may not be solid enough a conservative for CPAC organizers, but Donald Trump apparently is.The real estate mogul will be a speaker, announced the American Conservative Union today.
I suppose this means the strange television personality has an unlimited future in Republican politics?
Trump, incidentally, defended retired basketball player Dennis Rodman yesterday, despite his bizarre cozying up to North Korea's regime, telling Fox News that Rodman is "probably better than what we have" when it comes to international diplomacy.
But in the larger context, we're not just looking at a misguided conservative movement; we're also looking at a shrinking one. In 2013, after another rough electoral cycle for the Republican Party, CPAC envisions a landscape in which popular Republican governors are to be kept at arm's length if they fail any part of a lengthy and undefined litmus test, while clownish conspiracy theorists like Trump are embraced, despite several years in which the man has positioned himself as a national laughingstock.
I suspect many on the left who'd like to make CPAC look ridiculous in the eyes of the American mainstream are delighted to see organizers giving liberals a hand.