Organizers of CPAC can wear a happy face, but the liberal media are bound and determined to paint this year’s conference as one with vast division among the right wing. But even I’m beginning to see truth to some of the liberal media reports about the conference — and Vice President Cheney’s speech last night was a clear example.
There is considerable disappointment that Bush has not tamed the federal deficit. His immigration plan has divided hard-line conservatives, who oppose his guest-worker proposal, from more moderate business interests which rely on immigrant labor. Even the administration’s policies in the war on terrorism have created controversy.
In one of the conference’s first sessions, conservative former Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) argued that the National Security Agency’s warrantless eavesdropping on the international communications of people in the United States violated the 4th Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable search and seizure.
While the president struggles to regain his political footing after the downturns of 2005 — sliding approval ratings, reversals in Iraq, rising oil prices and the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney’s now resigned chief of staff in connection with the disclosure of a CIA agent’s identity, among others — he has been pummeled in recent days: Some conservatives, Barr at the top of the list, have challenged the eavesdropping as crossing a boundary that protects Americans’ privacy.
Others expressed dismay that his State of the Union address did not mention opposition to same-sex marriage.
And there were deep disagreements Thursday with Bush’s proposal to designate foreigners “guest workers” for a specified period to fill jobs for which employers can’t find U.S. citizens.
Today could bring an entirely new attitude to the conference. After all, CPAC organizers packed Thursday with debates and speeches that pitted some conservatives in attendance against the Bush Administration — whether it was on immigration or national security.
Friday’s agenda features topics that will be less divisive — with the possible exception of an Ann Coulter speech this afternoon. Coulter can easily turn the tables on the White House as she often does in her column (published first by HUMAN EVENTS). Remember, this is a woman who criticized Bush for his selection of John Roberts as chief justice of the United States.