Conservatives Showcase Diversity And Divisions At Annual CPAC Rally

Republicans are holding their breath Thursday at the start of the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, the big annual Washington gathering that is expected to air divisions within the GOP four months after President Obama’s reelection.

The roster of speakers tells the story: From movement-conservative keynote speaker Ted Cruz, the outspoken new Republican senator from Texas, to libertarian Sen. Rand Paul (R) of Kentucky and Sen. Marco Rubio (R) of Florida, an establishment favorite, different strains of conservative thought will be on full display.

Other speakers will shift the focus to the recent, uncomfortable past. Mitt Romney, not a beloved figure in conservative circles, will make his first public address since losing to Mr. Obama last fall. And Sarah Palin, the GOP’s vice presidential nominee in 2008, will return to the spotlight after her recent split with Fox News.

“For a party seeking to rebrand and expand its tent, CPAC couldn’t come at a worse time,” says Republican strategist Ford O’Connell.

Even if the public isn’t paying close attention to politics right now, the media are – and they will focus on conflict, not consensus. “The only thing we agree on is free markets,” says Mr. O’Connell. 

Read more from Linda Feldmann at The Christian Science Monitor

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