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Friday, March 15, 2013

From hero to zero: Romney CPAC appearance anticipated with yawns


Indifference awaits Mitt Romney Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference as he delivers his first public speech since election night.

The base moved on four months ago, and most Republican activists don’t really care what their failed nominee thinks any more.

The apathy that pervades the halls at the Maryland resort hosting the meeting is born not so much from hostility as a desire to turn the page.

During the heat of the 2012 primaries, CPAC is where Romney described himself as a “severely conservative governor” in an ad-libbed effort to shore up his right flank that only raised fresh doubts about his authenticity.

“He’s kind of last year. I’m ready for some new blood,” said Laurie Pettengill, 55, a former New Hampshire state representative. “The Beltway doesn’t want to let go of a lot of things … You shake your head and say, ‘C’mon!’”

Of course, you have to imagine a lot of this stems from the perception that Mittens let them down. But the big let-down they all felt on election night wasn’t entirely Romney’s fault. They’d all bought into this stupid “unskewed polls” thing and they were convinced that Mitt was a shoe-in. When reality failed to join in and make wishful thinking fact, it was time to start giving Mitt the old cold shoulder.

Granted, there was plenty wrong with the Romney campaign, but what was wrong with it was exactly the sorts of things the sort of people who attend CPAC demanded; the bass-ackward economic policies, the immigrant bashing, the gay bashing, War on Women frootloopery, an environmental policy so contrary that it practically rewarded pollution, etc. Mitt lost because he decided to lead these fools by following them — and now they blame him for arriving at where he was led.

[photo via Gage Skidmore]

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