This year at CPAC there was no panel focused on the evils of gay marriage. NOM did have a small table in the basement of the hotel with the other exhibitors, though nothing as grand as the massive, expensive booths and tents of the gun-rights groups or the anti-tax activists.
While Rand Paul's victory in the CPAC straw poll means very little, there were some signals from the CPAC conference that have some bearing on American politics over the next 32 months or so.
Yes, we know it's all a show, that it's all about appealing to (appeasing) the NRA crowd, and demonstrating that a buttoned-down insider like Mitch McConnell is really one of the guys. Fine. But I have to say, there's something about it that just feels sinister.
Like at a family reunion, the infighting at this year's CPAC started long before anybody arrived. First, the group American Atheists announced that it would be sponsoring a booth at the conference, with the goal of bringing conservative nonbelievers "out of the closet." The religious right was not pleased.
Paul Ryan's politics dictate that those who are down on their luck -- even children -- are soulless, not the Wall Street bankers who continue to crush the American middle class, necessitating such assistance in the first place.
When listening to the fiery rhetoric and watching the enthusiasm at both AIPAC and CPAC, it becomes apparent that both groups retain the capacity to create problems for opponents. They may be down, but they are not out.
Modern day conservatives are fools. They have positioned themselves on the extreme end of the American political system, and they know they can't honestly say what they believe or voters will reject them out of hand. But their lies will catch up to them, and so will their lack of courage.
If you produce a deadly and dangerous product that needs defending, then Steve Milloy is your man. His business card might as well read "science denier for hire." Apparently, Murray Energy is the latest polluter to make the call to book the Junkman's disinformation services.
A lot has been said and written lately of what journalists call the "Republican Civil War." We need to remember that whenever Republicans have a party clash, journalists are happy to hold our coats.
Why wouldn't they support the right of gays to marry? Why wouldn't they support the legalization of marijuana? Why wouldn't they support a woman's right to an abortion? The Republican Party's problem isn't their ability to message; their problem is their message itself.
Before any substantial segment of the black electorate trusts the spirit of this new charm offensive or seriously considers a national Republican candidate, there are three simple things it has to do.
For the first time in decades -- perhaps since his father denounced Ronald Reagan's voodoo economics in the 1980 primaries -- the old Republican playbook has run its course. In the chaos of today's GOP, Jeb Bush can actually write his own script.
It is not youth and the so-called "demographic dividend" that will drive American economic growth in the 21st century. It is the U.S.'s aging population that must contribute to social and economic life for the U.S. to rise out of its prolonged funk and re-establish itself as the preeminent global leader.
Arianna Huffington and Mary Matalin discuss the two greatest cultural shifts in our lifetimes -- women at work and gays in society. Are Sheryl Sandberg and Rob Portman inflection points? Goodbye to Buchanan and Scalia?
CPAC, always showin' off the pride and joy of America. I was honored to attend such a sacred event. I had to make my accent less apparent because people are only used to the lame stream media Yankees askin' them questions.
The inescapable fact is that Paul's victory in Kentucky, his image as a maverick politician, and basically his whole act revolves around being the anti-establishment senator, the enfant terrible of Washington. The moment he stops doing that, he will no longer be authentic.