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The Right Resistance: Phony Anti-CPAC meeting only serves to make Trump’s cause stronger

If it’s the waning days of February (or early March), conservatives in and around the nation’s capital know that it’s CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) time, an annual set of dates on the calendar where leading defenders of liberty and all things good and true

gather to hash over the leading issues of the day as well as hear from many of the movement’s major leaders and personalities.


Last week’s CPAC meeting featured former president and de facto 2024 Republican nominee Donald Trump, among a host of other notables. As has become customary, Trump delivered the concluding address to a packed house full of enthusiastic conservatives anticipating a hard-fought campaign, and, hopefully, a victory for the MAGA agenda.


Notably absent from the festive occasion were a group of eternally disgruntled losers who chose to hold an alternative conference to showcase just how angry they are about everything and, at the same time, attempt to steal a modicum of attention away from the real conservative confab across town.


The “anti-CPAC” party featured a murderer’s row of Never Trump infamy. In an article titled “Fourth 'Anti-CPAC' Summit Packed With Trump Critics”, Mark Swanson of Newsmax reported before the event:


“The fourth annual Principles First Summit bill[ed] itself as an alternative to CPAC and it features a speaker's list marking a who's-who of anti-Donald Trump Republicans — former Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former RNC chair Michael Steele, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Trump critic George Conway and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, to name a few.


“Principles First defines itself as ‘principled Americans on the right and center-right who were concerned about the health of American democracy organized a series of meet-ups around the country to serve as an alternative to the Conservative Political Action Conference.’"


How noble of the “Principles First” group to consider the few Republicans and conservatives who still think like they do and throw their own party opposite the always sullen and downtrodden (not!) CPAC! After all, the Never Trumpers have lives too, don’t they? Why should the Trump backing CPAC-ers have all the fun to themselves! People who hate Trump and would never vote for him like booze and late-night shenanigans too!


Swanson’s list of anti-CPAC attendees was only partial. According to the group’s website, George W. Bush A.G. Alberto Gonzales, former congress people Joe Walsh and Barbara Comstock (who was my congresswoman at one point), “The View” co-host Alyssa Farah, January 6 Committee "star" Cassidy Hutchinson, Michael Steele, Bill Kristol, Jonah Goldberg and the Bulwark's Mona Charen were also slated to expend spit and expel carbon dioxide there.


It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why the Never Trump movement would organize a counter-CPAC meeting, but it is mighty difficult to figure on who would actually pay to go to this place and hear people like John Kasich and Cassidy Hutchinson and Adam Kinzinger speak. What would they possibly say? That, unlike the tens of millions of fervent Trump supporters, the Trump haters alone have a corner on wisdom and virtue?


The Never Trump effort has never made much sense, if you think about it. They’re formed in opposition to one man, which is fine – everyone’s entitled to their opinion. But party primaries are held just so voters can assess a field of candidates and select the one the people, individually, like the best. Who among conservatives was happy when John McCain won the 2008 Republican nomination?


Or in 2012, when wishy-washy RINO flip-flopper extraordinaire Mitt Romney outlasted a fairly weak field of candidates and won the right to challenge incumbent Democrat Barack Obama? Were there great celebrations? Perhaps I just don’t remember them.


Yet, relying on memory here, conservatives put their concerns – and in many instances, principles – aside to support the Republican party’s choice. Liberal Republicans in the northeast and various blue states had selected McCain and Romney, but either of these two would’ve been vastly superior to the candidate Democrats had put forward. Though it’s challenging to say how much of an improvement they would’ve been, since the damage they would’ve inflicted on the conservative cause might’ve been just as catastrophic as having “The One” in power.


Here's guessing many in the “Principles First” Never Trump crowd primarily depart with Trump over foreign policy simply because the career real estate developer, tabloid celebrity and reality TV star had the gumption to speak out against the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney notion of aggressive (and expensive) American interference everywhere to “safeguard democracy” and stand up to the world’s bullies who stomp on human rights and thumb their noses at western intellectuals who supposedly know better.


It's not being an “isolationist” to hold realistic foreign policy views, which Trump does. But the Never Trumpers don’t care. They see Trump as the devil because he took what they saw as rightfully theirs -- the Republican party – and they don’t like it.


So, someone like Cassidy Hutchinson is now a figurehead for the “Principles First” conglomerate? Talk about a naked (not literally) opportunist.


These pompous know-it-alls strut around the stage, declare themselves masters of the universe and representatives of all that is virtuous and knowledgeable. They forecast doom for the GOP, the downfall of the world and the collapse of the American political system if Trump gets elected again. And Never Trumpers keep hoping against hope that Trump can be stopped.


Bad news for them: Donald Trump has become virtually “October Surprise” proof because everything that could possibly have been dredged up, made up, invented, fabricated, pieced together or shaped to fit a narrative about the man has already been done. Imagine the desperation of the Democrats later this year when they’re searching through their tranche of Donald Trump opposition research and come up empty with anything that remotely resembles something new and stimulating.


Gee, Donald Trump has already been accused of paying off a porn star? And an enterprising Democrat Attorney General (through so-called “Special Counsel” Jack Smith) has already ordered a complete search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home to try and find incriminating documents of some sort? Or how about a local prosecutor in a swing-state going after the man for “conspiring” like a mafioso to steal an election? No way! You’re not serious!


And then there’s the bit about a sitting president of the United States giving a public speech where he instructs backers to assemble peacefully to protest an official government action? Well, just twist it into suggesting that, because some of them – a comparatively token few, by the way – got out of hand and started doing not-so-acceptable things that said chief executive is guilty of inciting an insurrection?


Brilliant! There’s only one problem – we can’t actually cite Trump for “insurrection” or treason, because he wouldn’t meet the criteria. And those bumblers in Congress already impeached the man twice in a year’s time, so that remedy is gone, too.


“What do we do then?”


“Find some more boxes! Keep digging! Call Dan Rather and see if he still knows the people who put together the Bush/National Guard documents – they can try for another scandal! Call up Joy Reid on MSNBC and see if she’ll devote an entire show to an unsubstantiated rumor that implies that Trump is a cad! It’s the silver bullet! Try and book Adam Schiff on Stephen Colbert’s program! He knows how dangerous Trump is! How about Alec Baldwin? Or Whoopi Goldberg on ‘The View’”?


The Never Trump forces probably won’t be as visible in their opposition to Trump in the fall, most likely because the concept of Joe Biden not being “as bad” as Trump has already been disproved. Though it should be said that senile Joe has been very vocal about desiring to perpetuate the fighting in Ukraine and his hope that Congress would put their principles aside to pass more funds for the anti-Russia side, regardless of accountability.


Ukraine and the neoconservative mindset is one of the biggest reasons why Nikki Haley’s campaign caught on last summer after what some pundits labeled several strong debate performances. Trump wasn’t there at the time to address the topic, which granted Nikki license to recite the standard arguments about “fighting them over there instead of here” and other half-baked rationales for keeping America dumping billions into the defense of far away populations while NATO allies pontificate about “security” and still withhold their own spending.


With South Carolina having turned out to be a resounding Trump victory, and another likely today in Michigan, the Nikki Haley campaign parallels the “Principles First” cause – basically hopeless, leaderless and devoid of much value.


With polls showing Donald Trump doing well in a hypothetical matchup with senile Joe Biden, the atmosphere at CPAC was full of resolve – and joy. I didn’t see any coverage of the anti-CPAC show, but here’s guessing it was chock full of phony tenacity and vows to fight on until “Principle” is restored. Who knows, maybe senile Joe hosted some of them at a post-event picnic.


Political experience teaches that it’s hard to sustain a movement based solely on a negative. While it’s easy to oppose something or someone, it takes more effort to favor someone or something. Trump’s backers like their candidate because they feel he’ll equal positive improvement – Make America Great Again. The Never Trumpers aren’t sure of anything except the fact they don’t like Trump. What’s their agenda? What’s their reason for being?


The anti-CPAC boosters no doubt spent a lot of money to make the point, again, that they don’t like Donald Trump. CPAC is over – and so is the “Principles First” gathering. CPAC will be remembered as a good time and a chance to hear Donald Trump the candidate one more time. “Principles First” will be forgotten by this weekend. Who ended up better off?

  • Joe Biden economy

  • inflation

  • Biden cognitive decline

  • gas prices,

  • Nancy Pelosi

  • Biden senile

  • January 6 Committee

  • Liz Cheney

  • Build Back Better

  • Joe Manchin

  • RINOs

  • Marjorie Taylor Green

  • Kevin McCarthy

  • Mitch McConnell

  • 2022 elections

  • Donald Trump

  • 2024 presidential election

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