This Politico article is pretty funny. Certainly gives you a sense of the sort of legacy Bush has left behind: even the folks who swore by him for 8 years want nothing to do with him. Keep in mind when reading this that Bush addressed CPAC every year of his presidency.
...if there's one thing those attending the annual Conservative Political Action Conference this week agree on, it is this: They don't want another George W. Bush.
Few come out right out and say it, but they don't have to. There's no nostalgia for the past eight years, no tributes to Bush and no sessions dedicated to exploring his presidency.
Indeed, for a president who publicly embraced conservative principles, there is little evidence that the movement returns the sentiment.
The disdain for Bush, particularly of his profligate spending habits, is fueling a new talking point that Obama is just a continuation of Bush. Right.
Conservative icon Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker, railed against the "Bush-Obama continuity in economic policy" and the "Bush-Obama big spending program" in a speech Friday.
"We had big spending under Bush and now we have big spending under Obama," Gingrich said. "And so now we have two failures."
Throwing Bush under the bus isn't really new. Conservatives have been spitting up the Bush Kool-Aid since 2005 when the left's consensus about Bush -- i..e epic FAIL -- began to become THE consensus. I mean, c'mon, they couldn't have a failed president be a conservative president; that would mean conservatism itself would have failed.
The fact is, Bush's failure WAS the failure of the conservative movement, not an aberration from it. Cronyism over competence, enriching the private sector while starving the public sector, redistributing wealth upwards, it's all precisely what they've been working toward for 30 years. Believing otherwise is just the latest in a long string of conservative delusions.
This actually is a fairly weak showing for Romney, barely beating out two people who, while they are superstars of the conservative movement such as it is, were absent from CPAC this year.
Stein has some further context on who exactly voted in this straw poll:
More than 1,700 people cast ballots in the 2009 CPAC poll, 57 percent of who were between the ages 18 and 25. Of the respondents, 95 percent said they disapproved of the job that President Obama was doing, only four percent approved. Meanwhile, 70 percent approved of the job Republicans in Congress were doing, 29 percent said they disapproved.
Update [2009-2-28 18:15:6 by Todd Beeton]:If you have any doubt about who the real leader of the GOP is, just watch CNN. They've been airing Rush's keynote speech for its hour and a half duration. Amazing.
CPAC ends today, with a 2012 presidential preference poll. Who do you think will win? I think it'll be Romney, probably by double-digits, over everyone else. Here are the choices:
The choices were: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist; former House speaker Newt Gingrich; former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; Texas Rep. Ron Paul; Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin; Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty; former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney; South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, and "Undecided." There's also space on the ballot for a write-in candidate.
Though I think Palin will play a large role in the '10 midterm, I don't think she'll run yet-- neither do I bet that Jindal runs in '12. Romney vs Huckabee is their '12 nomination battle, with a place for a third option, which right now looks like Crist, Sanford or Pawlenty. It'll be interesting to see if Crist has any support at CPAC, as he's probably the strongest in their field.
The Conservative Political Action Conference may not have A-list Govs. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) or Bobby Jindal (R-La.) this year, but it has Samuel Wurzelbacher.
Wurzelbacher, better known as "Joe the Plumber," is getting the rock-star treatment at CPAC, mobbed by attendees seeking autographs, handshakes and photos.
"Oh my god, there he is," one flustered young woman shouted, holding her hand over her mouth upon spotting the McCain campaign icon.
Michael Steele's hilarious attempt at "off the hook" and Joe Wurzelbacher's meteoric rise into the Jindalsphere highlight this year's conference, which could mark the Republican Party's final, rigor mortis-generated hurrah. By all accounts, CPAC has been a circus befitting of the GOP's clownish efforts to remain relevant. From the plumber's own mouth:
The CPAC meetings in DC have been showing up on television: on Fox News (which I watch as an equivalent to Comedy Central - as Craig Ferguson has said, it's a channel where they make things up), on MSNBC, on CNN, and even on C-SPAN. They have given us much to consider:
- Romney's resignation, where he actually stated that what Obama and Clinton wanted to do was "surrender to the enemy" after which Al Quaida would invade the US... and he didn't want to stand in McCain's way of preventing those occurances.
-Tom DeLay being interviewed at the CPAC saying that there was no way that people have caused or even contributed to Global Warming (and this from a guy who once made his living spraying poisons into the Texas air).
- James Dobson came out and endorsed Huckabee, showing how fractured conservatives really are.
- McCain, despite boos on his immigration policies, kept insisting that he was a conservative, too... a footsoldier in the Reagan Revolution... and, as we know, the one candidate that wants to really be the fottsoldier of the George W. Bush war machine.
While covering CPAC, a lot of TV commentators are saying that the Republicans, if they gel behind McCain, have a real chance of winning. Is America really ready for this?