The New Conservative Hierarchy
Ken Vogel previews CPAC by highlighting the new power and prominence of people like Erick Erickson of RedState, Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots, and Andrew Breitbart, who don’t share the baggage of the leaders who “flocked to Washington after their efforts culminated in the election of President Ronald Reagan in 1980.”
It’s worth reading the whole thing for quotes from standby conservative leaders like Grover Norquist and ACU’s David Keene acknowledging — for perhaps the last time — that the conservative movement blew it in the Bush years and the new blood is welcome. (Denying Bush and all his works was a major theme of CPAC 2009.) It’s also worth reading between the lines. For all of the chest-pounding about new leadership, really only Sarah Palin has tried to write the conservative establishment, represented at CPAC, out of the movement. Newt Gingrich, who horrified Tea Partiers in 2009 by endorsing Dede Scozzafava in NY-23, (and also endorsing TARP in 2008) is back at CPAC with a prime speaking slot. And Tea Party leaders are clearly relishing the chance to meet these leaders on new, solid footing — not really pushing them out of the way.