Chris Christie

Even though many conservatives don’t want to admit it, a majority in this country now favors same-sex marriage. And for a moment, LGBT conservatives had their day in the CPAC spotlight. Some apparently thought they had reached a turning point. No longer would non-heterosexual conservatives be shoved into the closet!

This year, GOProud isn’t even allowed into the closet.

But while pundits bicker over trivial matters, the country is facing far more dire problems. Despite the Great Recession having supposedly bottomed out in 2009, most Americans remain less than optimistic about the economy.

When was the last time that CPAC earnestly addressed the issues most Americans care about? When was the last time that it focused on solutions instead of abstract ideas? When was the last time that it was a forum for political strategy rather than feel-good rhetoric?

I have no idea what the Obama-era conservative movement is supposed to represent. Right now, it seems fractured between social rightists and libertarians, with pro-fair-trade traditionalists cast out into the wilderness. Are sociopolitical realists such as myself welcome? What about those who hold fiscally leftish and socially rightish views, and vice-versa?

If the CPAC crowd can’t provide a clear set of answers, they might as well unplug the microphones, dim the lights, and go home.

In 1960, Barry Goldwater famously urged conservatives to “grow up.” The conservative/libertarian movement delivered him the Republican nomination four years later. The movement’s modern participants should carefully consider his words.

They might not want to do it in a ballroom, though, while hanging on the words of people who have been paid to tell them what they want to hear.

 

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