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At CPAC and Depressed

I'm at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and I'm discouraged. I'm a pro-life, pro-gay, pro-market, pro-gun conservative who hates terrorists and central planning with equal vigor. In the past, going to CPAC has energized me. I've headed co-sponsorship efforts, served as an MC in general sessions, and appeared on panels. In the past, the conference has left me with the idea that a movement of freedom-loving Americans who respect tradition can really make a difference. Now, I feel like I'm watching a crackup in progress.There's no sense of unity here. It's also clear that marginal ideas--some good, others bad, but none of them practical--have captured far too much attention. Even if it were a good idea to abolish the Federal Reserve--and I don't think it is--I don't think that it's worth much energy to think about it since it's simply not going to happen. And even if the Earth were 6,000 years old (which it obviously isn't), I don't see the use in talking about it. Yes, CPAC has always attracted a fringe but it's a problem when it ONLY attracts the fringe. It's also a problem when the biggest speakers are more known for fringe ideas or mean comments than for intellectual discourse or real achievement. And that's also the case here. The big ideas that conservatives ought to value--markets, families, limited government--aren't really much on display. Maybe I'm just misreading things but I think this is pretty bad for the Conservative movement.