In relocating to Orlando last weekend, CPAC (Could Punks Actually Care?), in effect, hosted a mask-challenged, sycophants-only Trump (“Four More Years”) rally. One that was killing polemic-and-grandstanding time until the larger-than-strife Deus ex MAGA actually appeared on Sunday. The countdown included selfies with that garish Trump statue and stage time for post-Cancun, Ted Cruz one-liners.
There were notable,non-invited no-shows:Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, Liz Cheney. But Flori-duh, alas, was well represented, including Ron (“We will not go back to the failed Republican establishment of yesteryear”) DeSantis, Rick Scott, Matt Gaetz and Pam Bondi. “Stop the Steal”–certainly not “Stop the Fealty”–was still a crowd favorite.
Efforts to pass that pandemic-relief package and “Make America Grateful” were not priorities. Standing for something other than conspiracies, fake news, fat-cat tax breaks, disdain for the norms of civility, disingenuous definitions of “freedom” and Trump obeisance? Hell, this was CPAC, not C-SPAN.
And they got what they think will be a Trump reset in 2024, even if it came with a teasing dollop of equivocation. “I may even decide to beat them for a third time,” said Trump, as only a twice-impeached president who had lost two straight popular votes could say it.