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Posted at 12:26 p.m. on March 18, 2013
I’ve been unexpectedly called away from Washington for a couple of weeks, so blogging here might be light during that time. But my CQ Roll Call colleagues have generously offered to pick up the slack during my sequester, so please keep stopping by.
Meanwhile, feel free to examine my recap from the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference, which concluded on March 16 with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s victory in the event’s presidential straw poll. (Florida Sen. Marco Rubio finished a close second.) There was much focus on the internal divisions that the conservative movement and the Republican Party are currently grappling with.
But it would be too simple to characterize conservatives, and the GOP, as a group at war with itself on the myriad issues currently before the country, whether it be immigration policy, same-sex marriage or how to approach fiscal matters. What I found at CPAC, more than anything else, were grass-roots conservatives trying to figure out which direction to take in the aftermath of a 2012 election cycle that was largely disappointing, and whom to follow on whatever path they choose.
To underscore that point, here’s what one activist, 60 year-old Micheline Doan of Vancouver, Wash., told me on March 15:
“It’s not fighting,” she said of what conservatives are engaged in now. “But it’s strong and passionate discussions and I think that it’s great for us. And, not only that, it helps the Republicans to have that passionate discussion. … We’re still looking for the one that enlightens us — that lights us up again. I think that’s the fight. Who is going to be the one that’s going to come in and regenerate us like [Ronald] Reagan?”