Undeniably, I watch CPAC from a certain vantage point. Probably fairly different from that of the attendees. But I’ve watched it remotely and had a roll in covering it for the last five years at least. And this year has a different feel to it.
Most of what I watched so far was the panel on Benghazi, which was bracing to say the least.
The first thing I noticed or felt was, ‘Wow, this is where you guys have been!’
It was like the first time I’d heard from the real Republican party since November.
The Benghazi stuff was truly curdled. Obama wasn’t just busy watching TV on the night of the attack (and thus couldn’t be bothered to do anything about it) but also apparently made up the riot story to attack midwestern gun owners. And that was just for starters.
Yet somehow the festivities seemed both more sectarian and yet more anemic and energyless. Sort of content to be off the radar but deeper than ever into The Crazy.
On the other hand, Benjy Sarlin, one of our two reporters at the event, says that beside that there were basically wall to wall immigration panels and speeches all with the universal message of “We Love Us Some Immigrations!” Even conservatives noting that they’re “center-right”. (He’ll have a piece on this coming later.)
The whole atmosphere strikes me as listless, going through the motions.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.