Sunday, March 01, 2015

Scott Walker could possibly, maybe, be for real

It is true that the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) attendees tend to be younger (with about half of those in attendance in the past few years college-aged), and more libertarian than the GOP base more generally, but the results of their recent straw poll are instructive.

Sen. Rand Paul polled the highest for the third year in a row with 25.7%, which was entirely expected, but Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who came in fifth place last year, managed to garner 21.4% of the vote to come in a strong second.

As a politically successful, union-bashing governor of a blue state, Walker has been getting noticed by Republicans who are sick of losing the White House to the Democrats.
And though Walker had a weak ground game at the conference, his speech was generally well received (apart from that whole "unions are like ISIS routine).

In any case, CPAC is the county's biggest confab of right-wing grassroots activists and provides a lot of energy for the conservative cause.

Early days, but the GOP has to know they need someone conservative enough to make it through the primary process, but mainstream enough to compete in the general election. If not Walker, I'm not sure I see an alternative.

All of this is not to say that Republicans won't nominate another loser, but, as I said, even they must be getting tired of that.

For those who want to fill in the rest of the CPAC score card.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, finished third with 11.5%, followed closely by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 11.4%.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush — perhaps the most criticized candidate at this conservative conclave — finished fifth at 8.3%.

Other potential presidential candidates — including Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, and Rick Perry — had less than 4% in the straw poll. Paul also won CPAC contests in 2013 and 2014.

Let the games, er, continue.

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