The Washington Post

Silly things said at CPAC

It’s more important to stand for something than win the White House.” Not really. If you think President Obama is endangering our national security, could appoint multiple Supreme Court justices and could permanently affix Obamacare to the economy, any candidate who would be better on those and other vital interests would be positive. Conversely, leaving Obama in office is the worst of all words.

Controlling Congress or Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s recall is more important than defeating Obama.” Puleez. See above. See nuclear-armed Iran.

The most conservative candidate who excites the base the most will be the most electable.” See Barry Goldwater.

Because conservatives now see [earmarks/individual mandate/TARP/Head Start funding/Arlen Specter/debt ceiling increases] as abominations, those who supported these in the 1990s along with other conservatives aren’t trustworthy conservatives. And even if the accuser was silent on these issues, it’s still a disqualifier for the opponent.” See Republicans run out of candidates.

You win elections by painting bold contrasts.” See Santorum 2006 re-election campaign.

Santorum has the momentum. But Romney could get the momentum back.” There is no momentum in this race.

Did you see today PPP poll?” The significance of polls diminishes in direct proportionality to the volatility of the race. Remember when Herman Cain was the front-runner?

Severely! He said ‘severely.’ ” The media obsession about a single word or phrase only emphasizes the cluelessness of the press and the gap between what they latch onto and how voters assess the candidates.

Now, I don’t mean to pick on those who attended the Conservative Political Action Conference. They are among the most politically literate voters. But in a race as unpredictable as this one, most of the conventional wisdom becomes silly group-think, and many of the arguments campaigns employ against opposing candidates appear less and less compelling as time goes on. Listening to the herd of media pundits pronounce with great certainty what will happen next — after getting most of what has transpired completely wrong — is a bit tiresome.

Every week, it seems, there is a new narrative and a new conventional wisdom about who’s ahead and why. Sometimes you just have to wait and see — and watch the voters’ reaction. If CPAC was any indication, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are formidable candidates whose flaws are not as apparent to party enthusiasts as they are to the media.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.


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