Because I have friends in high places, I have a full-access press pass at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), and I am very impressed.
I am impressed because there’s a level of seriousness, passion, and intelligence that breaks every gross stereotype you might have about conservatives, Republicans, Neocons, and even Tea Partiers.
If you underestimate the Right, you’re a fool. The Right is collectively pulling a Matlock.
You remember the TV show Matlock, right? How Harvard-educated, Georgia-bred lawyer, Ben Matlock, intentionally indulged every good old boy archetype so as to woo the other side into a false sense of security before he ate their lunch.
His success was directly linked to how completely he was dismissed and underestimated. The Republican Party and its associated conservative groups are, collectively, doing the small town lawyer act.
And, as you may well know, if you ever run into someone who starts his argument with “I’m a simple man and I don’t know much,” be prepared to lose your shirt.
One powerful thing these men and women around me all day at CPAC have in common is that they really like each other.
Another thing is that there doesn’t seem to be any semblance of ageism — the young abound here, it is true, but their heroes are their also their elders.
And, finally, these are passion-driven men and women who are eagerly putting aside any petty disagreements they might have as to how their new America should look in 2013 because there are more important things than important things, to quote my own mother.
And, when it comes to the in-fighting between the social conservative, the fiscal conservatives, and the tea party, at CPAC 2012, the lion doth lie with the lamb.
Right now, as we speak, I am sitting in the hotel lounge for happy hour, and all I hear is passionate conversation, quite a bit of laughter, and even more smiling and hand-shaking.
And no, I am not suggesting that there’s any sort of conspiracy going on! No! But there is a lot of organizing, to be sure. To be certain. And if I were to make a gross stereotype myself, I would say that they Republican leadership doesn’t need to do the sort of cat-herding that often sandbags the Democrats.
These folks are aligned — or if not quite there, they’re quickly aligning, with the single-minded goal of reclaiming the White House this November.
Oh, another thing I have realized after spending one day here with my media credentials is that there is a lot more media-savvy in this crowd that many of us city slickers might believe.
There is a powerful self-awareness in the modern conservative. Everyone here’s suited up, even the young college crowd, who are wearing ties and heels and fitted suits and skirts.
The theatricality of the presentations may well be sentimental in the form high-patriotism, but long gone is any semblance of naïveté or artlessness.
I can guarantee you that every scrap of folksiness woven into the fabric of the campaign trail leading up to November is completely intentional. Mamma didn’t raise no fool.