And so CPAC has ended. Well, at least we still have the Winter Olympics for entertainment.
Conservatives met and put their best foot forward. We got Dick Cheney, who left office with a 13% popularity. We got Mitt Romney, former governor of one of the most liberal states in America who somehow convinced his supporters that he's right wing. We got one of the heads of Young America for Freedom showing a depth of galling intolerance that few would dare utter in public, let alone even think in private. We got Bob Barr booed for condemning torture.
We also got Glenn Beck, graduate of the University of I Don't Know, giving a history lesson in praise of Silent Cal Coolidge (yes, honest, Calvin Coolidge!) and condemning the previous Republican nominee for president.
And we got their presidential straw poll winner, Ron Paul (the conservative version of Dennis Kucinich) whose last attempt for president amassed him 41,905 votes - and whose CPAC victory with 31% was booed by the very convention that voted for him! Apparently CPAC attendees just like to boo.
(It should be noted that Mitt Romney, former governor of one of the most liberal states in America, finished second in the straw poll with 22% from the conservatives, who somehow actually think Mitt Romney is one of them. And amid this gathering of conservatives, the very base for whom Sarah Palin quit her elected job as governor, she received a paltry 7% of the vote.)
And so CPAC has ended. Somewhat like a short-track speedskating race ends, with a three-man pileup crashing into the boards, body parts tangled, and sharpened blades slashing into the participants and drawing blood.
And you thought Democrats ate their young.
In fairness, Democrats do eat their young and are much better at that than CPAC. But Democrats have a century of experience. Loyalty and the purity of one thought, one mind is supposed to be the core of the conservative soul. So, to be this disorganized, self-sniping and imploding was, in perspective, the equivalent of self-immolation.
It's sort of understandable, of course. While Mr. Beck is trying to build his TV audience, while Dick Cheney is trying to justify his 13% popularity, while conservatives are trying to convince themselves that they are the saviors of America...
...it's conservatives who got America into this mess in the first place.
For five years, conservatives had the White House, both houses of Congress, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. For eight full years, they had the White House. And all they ended up doing was get America involved in a war based on a lie against a country that didn't attack us or have WMDs. Turned a $128 billion budget surplus into a $482 billion deficit. Took a $3 trillion national debt and tripled it, to $9 trillion. Sat by as a city was wiped off the map. Sat by as we were warned that "Bin Laden to attack U.S. with airplanes." Wiretapped and spied on its citizens. And condoned torture.
And while Glenn Beck of the University of I Don't Know attempted to inspire his troops by crying that progressivism "is the disease here in America." That "It's eating the Constitution. It's designed to" -- the reality is that it was the conservative president George Bush was infamously dismissed that Constitution as "just a piece of paper."
And conservatives want America to return to its values?
No, thanks. Been there, done that. As the American philosopher Gomer Pyle said, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Shazam."
With a resume like the Bush Years, how else could we expect conservatives to act at their own convention? When you're trying to slam what's wrong with America, and you caused those very problems, of course you're going to end up shredding yourself.
When yours is a philosophy that believes progressivism "is the disease here in America," that it's designed to destroy America, then you are fighting a losing battle from Step One. After all, take a look at America since its birth.
To actually believe that progressivism is a disease, that it's destroying America -- as conservatives apparently do -- then you are saying that America hasn't progressed since 1776...and shouldn't.
You're saying we should still be driving horse-and-buggies. Still use whale blubber for lighting. Still have slaves. Still prohibit womenfolk from voting. Still have child labor. Still have an 80-hour work week. Still be without Social Security. Still be without Medicare. Still be without Federal Deposit Insurance for our banks. Still use leaches for bleeding diseases. Still have no health care -- I don't mean as a national policy, I mean actual, basic health care. You know, penicillin, aspirin, simvastatins, chemotherapy, CAT Scans, X-ray machines.
A philosophy that fights progress ignores the reality of life. A philosophy that fights progress wants to return to the past and stay there. A philosophy that fights progress would gladly welcome George Bush back.
Yes, yes, we can hear the conservative response. "We're not against progress. We're just against..."
What? Progressives? We get it. Try again. You're not against progress. You're just against progress that you don't like.
Here's a news flash: everyone is against what they don't like.
That's how Dick Cheney got a 13% approval rating.
Sorry your party is over. It was fun while it lasted.