I could spend only 24 hours at CPAC because of another commitment, but what I did see told me all I needed to know. Lots of events going on in half-empty rooms of silver-haired attendees. (Not that there’s anything wrong with having silver hair.) The really packed events, including my own talk, were the ones sponsored by Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty, and full of young faces. Young Americans for Liberty (not Young Americans for Freedom, naturally) had a huge presence as well. Every single copy of Rollback, my new book, sold during my book signing; it took a full hour of signing at breakneck speed to get to everyone.

We know Ron Paul won the straw poll, of course, with 30% of the vote. Another 7% chose him as their second choice. This is terrible, say the seriosos, for why should Ron Paul’s supporters “hijack” the poll? A better question, never asked, is why the drones competing with him can’t inspire anyone to come vote. And as a friend of mine put it, it says something about the state of conservatism that Ron Paul is viewed as a hijacker of the movement, while Mitt Romney and Donald Rumsfeld are cheered and celebrated.

I often use the term “public servants” mockingly, when I refer to politicians. This critic of Ron Paul’s win at the poll uses it in deadly earnest, horrified that anyone would speak badly of “public servants” like Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney (the context makes clear that this is who he means). Note the dumb-guy arguments (e.g., libertarians think we shouldn’t be “fighting terrorists”).

While waiting to be seated for lunch, I made note of someone wearing a Mitt Romney 2012 sticker and told a friend I genuinely couldn’t believe such a person existed. I actually shouted over to the guy, “Absolutely nothing would change!” To which my friend replied that such a person didn’t care if anything changed or not. He just wants an easy career path.

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