Why, as activists and students and journalists gathered for CPAC, was there a distinct sense that something was amiss?
Because the marriage at the heart of the conservative movement was falling apart.
...Will social conservatives continue to accept federally funded "character education" in lieu of education reforms that would let parents choose their children's schools? Will they continue to accept billions of dollars of government money channeled to religious charities in lieu of reducing the tax burden on Americans so that they could give more money to charity themselves? Will they continue to accept the idea of government as nanny, protecting children from sex and violence in TV shows, movies, video games and every other conceivable medium, in lieu of demanding a society in which parents are expected to be responsible for their own children? Will they continue to embrace the machinery of federal power that they once feared, simply because the "good guys" are the ones pulling the levers for the time being?
I gave a talk at the CPAC conference in 2005 to which Sager refers. I made a remark that tax cuts are like a teenage crush--they can go away quickly. I said that government programs are like pregnancy--they grow and last forever. It was a swipe at Bush-Rove policies, and at the time I thought it was surprisingly well received. Now I see that I should not have been surprised. The basis of my talk is here.