The American Conservative Union must have its staff on call this week, because they keep getting last-minute RSVPs for the CPAC event that starts Thursday. No, I don’t mean attendees, I mean speakers — especially those who want the Republican nomination for the Presidential election next year.
In the past couple of days, almost every GOP candidate announced and presumed have been added to the CPAC agenda. Today both Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo announced their addition to the list of impressive speakers addressing conservative activists:
ALEXANDRIA, VA—The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) announced today that California Congressman Duncan Hunter will address the nation’s oldest and largest gathering of conservatives on Saturday, March 3, 2007 at 8:30 a.m. in the Omni Shoreham Hotel’s Regency Ballroom in Washington D.C.
“For more than a quarter of a century, Congressman Duncan Hunter has been a strong and reliable voice in the U.S. House for conservatives, fighting the good fight to keep our military up to speed, up to date, and up to the dangerous tasks our nation asks of them,” said J. William Lauderback, Executive Vice President of the American Conservative Union (ACU), CPAC’s lead sponsor. “What some conservatives may not know is that also during that quarter century Congressman Hunter has proved himself as a Member of solid conservative credentials on a host of other issues important to conservatives, as reflected by his ACU Lifetime Rating of 92. We look forward to hearing from our friend and ally,” concluded Lauderback. …
“Few Members of Congress consistently display the brand of conservative leadership Tom Tancredo exhibits,” said J. William Lauderback, Executive Vice President of the American Conservative Union (ACU), CPAC’s lead sponsor. “He is a man of principle, honesty, and distinct courage. While Tom’s Lifetime ACU Rating of 99 makes him an obvious friend of ACU and CPAC, it is his willingness to stand up and fight for what he believes in that makes him a hero to so many of our 5,000 grassroots activists. We look forward to hearing his views on the state of the border enforcement debate in Congress and other important issues of our day,” concluded Lauderback.
They join other late arrivals, such as Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee, Jim Gilmore, and frontrunners Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney. As this is the last CPAC conference before the primaries begin, it makes sense for the presidential hopefuls to make their case to the activists they hope to engage in the primaries. For Rudy and Mitt, it makes the most sense; they have some work to do in building bridges to the conservatives in the party, and they will never have a better chance to win them over than at CPAC.
All of which makes the absence of John McCain even more curious. McCain has argued that he has the most solid conservative record of all the major contenders, and with some cause. Yet it is hardly a secret that the Senator has a rocky relationship with conservatives in the Republican Party. After the McCain-Feingold assault on political speech, his work with Ted Kennedy on immigration, the Gang of 14 rebellion that allowed the Democrats to filibuster judicial nominees for appellate assignments for the first time in American history, and a generally hostile attitude until just recently towards social conservatives, McCain has more work than most to convince conservatives to support him.
That’s why his absence makes little sense. If he wants to win conservatives, he needs to make an effort to meet them — literally. CPAC provides a golden opportunity to do so. It’s one of the oldest conservative forums in existence, and it gathers opinionmakers on the Right from across the country. If he can’t be bothered to go out of his way to face conservatives there, where exactly does he plan on addressing them?
A pass on CPAC would be a bad mistake for McCain, especially since all of his competitors have already committed to being there. I’m guessing that the Senator will see that by tomorrow and make the necessary efforts to join the conference and engage with those he claims he best represents. Otherwise, it will be hard to see how conservatives will take his refusal as anything but a badly-timed snub — and whatever one thinks of John McCain, he’s smarter than that.
Addendum: I’ll be traveling tomorrow night to DC for the CPAC conference. I’m one of the credentialed bloggers and will be reporting constantly during the event. Here’s a list of the other terrific bloggers I’ll meet there.
4 thoughts on “Look Who’s Coming — And Not Coming — To CPAC”
Look Who’s Coming — And Not Coming — To CPAC
Duncan Hunter would make the best President of anyone who’s shown any interest. Unfortunately there’s little chance he could win a head-to-head battle against Clinton or Obama. Giuliani/Hunter ’08! Hunter/Sessions ’16!
Look Who’s Coming To CPAC
Full disclosure: Old War Dog Larry Bailey is actively involved in the Duncan Hunter campaign; I hope he’s not going to be angry with me for saying I don’t thing Hunter can win in ’08.
CPAC 2007 Round Up
Today begins CPAC 2007. CPAC is the annual 3 day Conservative Political Action Conference. Every known Republican presidential candidate for ’08 will address the large crowd…except John McCain, who has trouble gaining traction with conservatives, so …
CPAC 2007 Round Up
Today begins CPAC 2007. CPAC is the annual 3 day Conservative Political Action Conference. Every known Republican presidential candidate for ’08 will address the crowd of approximiately 5,000 conservative activists…except John McCain, who has trouble…
Comments are closed.