CPAC 2013 begins March 14. But today, prominent Republicans are applauding themselves after pulling off an incredible filibuster of John Brennan as the director of the CIA. Leading the charge was Senator Rand Paul, (R-Ky.). What does this have to do with CPAC? Everything. In just 24 hours, it has rejuvenated a Republican Party brought down by the fiscal cliff debacle and other partisan garbage.
This is proof that the GOP is innovating. Paul spoke at CPAC last year and will be a speaker again this year. But he's riding a wave right now. He is fighting back against a brutish Democratic establishment and is at this moment, beating them at their own game.
In an instant, Paul became CPAC's greatest innovation of 2013. He's a fighter, not afraid to use the filibuster, which has been a topic of contention recently, as many have fought to limit its use. It hasn't been used like this since 1992. And while Rand's filibuster might not break any records, it's his valiant effort that will be remembered in the end.
Paul is set to speak at CPAC. No doubt he will be riding high from his filibuster effort. He had support from Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), among others. Cruz is the keynote speaker at CPAC. Cruz's delivery of the keynote speech is proof that the GOP is innovating. Cruz is a Tea Party favorite and has been an outspoken critic of Obama and his nomination of Chuck Hagel for defense secretary. He's a firecracker and a desperately needed spark within the party.
Dr. Ben Carson, famed neurosurgeon who single handedly socked President Obama in the gut at the prayer breakfast last month, will give a major speech. This could be the beginning of stellar political career for him. At CPAC, diversity will be the name of the game. Women, including Sarah Palin, Crystal Wright, Senator Kelly Ayotte, and others will be represented.
Chris Christie was snubbed and Donald Trump was invited. Undoubtedly, there is a bizarre element to CPAC this year, in spite of Paul's stirring success. In those attending and not attending, you see the rift going on in the party.
One noted absence is anti-Islam activist Pam Gellar. This is interesting in that she has been there the past four years, but was turned away this year. Why? I think she has every right to be there, as she is a major presence in the conservative movement and a watchdog in an area where we have grown lax. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will speak, as he has before.
But of all the attendees, the story here is Paul. Tonight we took notice of a man who may not have won the war, but he won a decisive moral victory. Do conservatives have a chance? Maybe, if we cling to individual liberty and the Constitution.