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March 06, 2014 10:18 AM Scary Times: CPAC ‘14 Begins

By Ed Kilgore

So the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) kicks off today in Washington—three days of right-wing fellowship, jockeying for attention, factional infighting and red meat consumption. As always, there will be a presidential straw poll announced at the end, but this year, attendees will choose among 26 names before probably endorsing Rand Paul, unless organizers have found a way to limit attendance by local college students from the Revolution.

This morning’s session should start with a bang, with Ted Cruz first up, followed by John Bolton—who can be expected to go completely bonkers on the Obama administration’s handling of the Ukraine crisis. But MSM folk covering the conference are riveted on just one speaker today: Chris Christie. The thinly veiled hope is that the New Jersey governor will revive his presidential viability by rallying hard-core conservatives to his side, presumably by attacking the self-same MSM that is so invested in his success. Yes, it’s all a little twisted.

Just in time for CPAC, WaPo/ABC have released new poll findings on how Americans of varying hues feel about potential ‘16-ers. The big headline news is that 30% of self-identified Republicans say they “definitely would not” vote for Christie, a higher level of “resistance” than that facing any other named pro to-candidate.

Another newsy item from the poll, which I find more interesting than Christie’s numbers, is that 48% of Americans generally say they “definitely would not” vote for Jeb Bush. Of the named candidates, only Mitt Romney with 49% does worse (by comparison, the “definitely would not” number for HRC after a billion years of being demonized is just 32%). So once again, the “Republican Establishment’s” two faves aren’t doing so well.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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