Hey, know what happened at CPAC this weekend? I sure do. Apparently a bunch of has-beens said the stuff they said back when we cared more about them, for the most part. Also we discovered for the first time that white supremacists in the movement long for the good ole days of Jim Crow and the Republican Party’s only problem is messaging. Clearly we need massive coverage of this phony news event, which up until a few years ago could come and go like the proverbial ghost in the night with only FOX News and a wisp of media attention.

Yeah, I’m a little bit cranky and it’s Monday, but somebody has to question all this attention. Now, I get that someone like Dave Weigel does this for a living, so he obviously should be there reporting. It’s his beat, his specialization. But dozens of discrete items in my RSS feed for days? Really? Quite a few sources find this blow-fest absolutely newsworthy with seemingly little pushback that I can see. So here’s the argument against all this attention.

  1. The CPAC audience isn’t representative of the conservative base
  2. Their straw poll is pretty much worthless. Come on, Rand Paul is not going to be the 45th President of the United States. Neither was Mitt Romney in 2008, or Ron Paul in 2012. My guess is that Rand Paul’s campaign ends about when the filing deadline for his Senate re-election comes up, and he’ll maybe beat his dad’s numbers in the primaries before then. But, you know, it’s just not going to happen.
  3. Nobody really cares about the thoughs shared by Mitt Romney, Palin, Rick Santorum, or whatever other losers showed up to take a defeat lap this year. Santorum is the only one of these three who might conceivably run for president in three years, but the idea that he’d be well positioned in that contest is laughable. Santorum was so many choices removed from first or second in 2012, he was sort of the last other man standing by the time the primaries occurred. His second fifteen minutes are nearly done. 2016 will see him a decade out of public office, with that many more questionable utterances and sartorial choices inbetween. All three are merely trying to extend their time in the limelight, and there’s no reason to humor them.
  4. Any liberal who writes about Sarah Palin at this point in history would be better off just sitting in their chair for an hour playing internet Hearts. That would be a more productive use of time than writing about Sarah Palin. She’s like the Westboro Baptist Church at this point. The word is out, the verdict has been delivered, critical mass has long been attained in the fight against them, and liberals who “keep the pressure up” are merely helping feed the sense of controversy the shockingly small fan groups of these entities cherish. The Palins don’t even cut the mustard on cable reality television anymore. Either it’s lazy people writing stories or desperate people trying to find something, anything, interesting going on there. But really.
  5. Every speech–every speech–was chock full of boilerplate red-meat attacks. It wasn’t like we didn’t get enough of them over the last year, where there was this never-ending presidential election, now, right? It was deja-vu to such an extent that they probably just delivered the same ones they did five months ago.
  6. The two conservative Republicans who might actually have some strong appeal among non-rightwing voters weren’t even invited to participate. Given how focused the event was on the presidency, that is silly. Could you imagine a Democratic 2016 forum that didn’t invite Hillary Clinton or, let’s say, Andrew Cuomo to participate?

Admittedly, the Scott Terry white supremacy story is awful, and bizarre, and newsworthy in its own right. But this is my point. I have no objection to covering legitimately newsworthy events that happen at CPAC. But it doesn’t seem like very many actually newsworthy things actually happened at CPAC! But we got volumes of coverage because it’s CPAC!! It’s now a bona-fide press event like a party convention. Clearly this is because it’s been built up that way deliberately, but the reason why Scott Terry popped so much is probably because, well, it’s really just an event where the same people we always see say the same things they always say. Why don’t we just go back to the way it was?

  1. Dennis N says:

    I appreciate the extra coverage Right Wing Watch gives it. I don’t need CNN.com giving it more than a few mentions.

  2. Metavirus says:

    You have a fair point. I guess I’m pulled in a few different directions.

    On the one hand, it’s always good news for John McCain when idiots low-information “independent” voters get a window into some of the hardly-veiled cuckoo for cocopuffs shit that conservatives get away with saying most other days without anybody knowing.

    on the other hand, it’s also good news for john mccain when the msm plasters up endless CPAC stories because it makes it seems like conservatives are doing HARD WORK thinking up IDEAS, and STRATEGIES, and tackling their demographic problem by throwing leftover beignets at brown people.

    on the third hand (quaid!), it’s inevitably good news for john mccain when low-information voters see conservatives doing all sorts of things, and saying all sorts of stuff, with perhaps the mirror-image for democrats is — um, occupy wall street?

    now that i’ve run out of hands, i’m still not sure where i land. but no matter the result, at least its good news for john mccain

  3. Matmos says:

    My 2 cents: Train wreck + Event! the musical — ie, you can count on CPAC events to deliver 3-headed babies, and it’s a political event that helps fill column inches.

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