I guess it should come as no surprise that the establishment conservatives are dismissing Ron Paul’s victory in the CPAC straw poll as meaningless.
While Paul sees his victory as “significant,” others do not:
Jason Mattera, spokesman for the Young America’s Foundation (YAF), was a speaker at the event where more than half of the attendees who voted were between the ages of 18-25.
“Ron Paul, his supporters almost have a cult-like allegiance to him,” Mattera comments. “They are a vocal minority. It was, I believe, less than 3,000 people who voted in the straw poll, even though there [were] 10,000 people at CPAC. It means nothing in terms of a favored candidate.”
According to the YAF spokesman, the big draw at CPAC is not the politicians and their “canned speeches,” but rather the “culture warriors” like Andrew Breitbart, Ann Coulter, and Glenn Beck, who “really inspire the crowd to take action.” Mattera says he wishes Ron Paul would retire because he “has some very wacky, wacky ideas.”
Keep in mind that Mattera is the one who spent his speech at CPAC accusing President Obama of using cocaine and called him “scrawny street agitator” and “jack-ass.”
But it’s not just Mattera dismissing Paul’s win … Gary Bauer is as well, arguing that Paul’s supporters are Truthers and that Paul’s views encourage that sort of “dangerous and deranged mindset”:
[T]hen came surprising news that Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) won CPAC’s 2012 straw poll, which according to one report elicited “a cascade of boos” from the audience.
Let me add some perspective to this. First, not every attendee voted. The number of total votes cast was around 2,500, and Paul won 31% or roughly 775 votes out of the eight to ten thousand people there.
Second, it’s difficult to consider Ron Paul within the mainstream of American conservatism. While his views on limited government have some appeal, his voting record on values issues is abysmal. Paul opposed the marriage protection amendment, has voted against key pro-life legislation and critical national security issues, such as military tribunals for terrorists.
The producer of the Bauer and Rose radio show was at the CPAC convention all weekend, and he gave me this disturbing report: The Paul supporters were overwhelmingly young. That’s great. But Paul supporters of all ages were often “9/11 truthers.” That’s very bad. Many were openly spouting conspiracy theories that were favorites among leftists during the Bush years, accusing our own government of attacking us on 9/11.
Paul’s rhetoric and his many appearances on alternative radio shows often encourages this dangerous and deranged mindset. It is way beyond time for Ron Paul to publicly denounce the 9/11 truther movement and reject the support of those who adhere to such nonsense.
Paul was interviewed on CNBC this morning and said, “Why should we be looking for a war with the Iranians? What have they done to us? What are they capable of doing to us?” Let me remind Rep. Paul that Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. We know Iran is responsible for the deaths of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its leaders routinely refer to the United States as “the great Satan.”
When the CNBC hosts said that the regime was pursuing nuclear weapons, Paul denied it three times, adding “Nobody’s proven that.” Somehow convinced that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s apocalyptic views will lend themselves to rational dialogue, Paul repeatedly insisted that we should follow Obama’s policy of reaching out diplomatically to our enemies, including the Iranians. This degree of delusional thinking is on par with that of European leaders who thought they could negotiate in good faith with Adolf Hitler.
I cannot fathom how any Ronald Reagan conservative could share these views, but I’d be happy to hear from those who think Paul is right.
If it’s “difficult to consider Ron Paul within the mainstream of American conservatism,” then how did Paul just win CPAC’s straw poll, which Bauer himself describes as the quintessential gathering of mainstream American conservatism?
“It’s a free country and a free conservative movement,” Mr. Bauer, a Christian conservative leader and former White House domestic policy adviser, told The Washington Times. “The people at CPAC represent the three legs of the conservative coalition – traditional values, economic- libertarian and strong national defense.”
It seems that even Gary Bauer doesn’t seem to know what to make of the fact that the conservative movement appears as if it is being taken over by right-wing fringe activists.