I noticed a big change from prior years at CPAC, the nation’s largest conservative gathering. Specifically, the closing speaker, Tea-party endorsed freshman Rep. Allen West is a symbolic departure from the last two closers, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.
The choice of West is a turn away from conservatives who have as their base viewers rather than voters. Limbaugh and Beck have been anointed by the MSM as “leaders of the conservative movement,” even though they do not hold elected office. I don’t consider the “GOP base” to be primarily a set of TV and radio ratings; I consider the base to be registered voters.
What I like about having so many officeholders--or people who want to run for national office--speaking at CPAC is that it discourages empty rhetoric. People who hold elected office have some accountability for what they say. Unlike on talk radio or cable TV, in public office words seem to have more consequence. Choosing West to close the conference was a meaningful choice, and it sends a bit of a signal to conservative media about what the priority should be going forward: governing responsibly, rather just talking about it.