CPAC – John McCain, MIA

CPAC 2007 Logo John McCain has decided to skip CPAC again this year. Numerous sources report that McCain has not attended in at least a decade and that George W. Bush has not made an appearance in quite some time, either.

Ed Morrissey argues, contra John Podhoretz, that McCain has made a huge mistake. Since Podhoretz echoed the remarks I made for FOX’s “It’s Out There” yesterday, I’ll have to side with him. McCain has as much chance impressing the crowd at CPAC as George W. Bush does at winning over the NAACP convention.

Now Ed has a point when he writes,

[A]ll this does is confirm that McCain has no business running for the Republican nomination. McCain has gone out of his way to stress his conservative credentials, especially on hot-button topics such as abortion and the war. If that’s true, then what does he have to fear from a conference of conservatives predisposed to his positions? In fact, if he claims to represent conservatives, why should he fear speaking in front of a group of them?

I suspect McCain would get a respectful hearing. His war hero cred has earned him that. The problem, though, would be that the mainstream media coverage would focus on the conflict–anti McCain reactions, questions, and the like. It would be almost impossible for McCain to get a bounce.

As Mike Krempasky observed last night, if you need to wear a name tag at CPAC, you have no business running for the Republican nomination. Yet, while McCain is a stranger at the CPAC conventions, he’s certainly as well known among the CPAC-ers as any of the candidates. He doesn’t need the publicity, especially with the odds being that it would be adverse.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. CPAC is one of the constituencies under the GOP big tent. One problem I see with them is they sometimes act like the left, enjoying the theater of politics more than the results.

    If they would stamp the 11th commandment on everyone’s hand when they enter, it would be a good first step. McCain or one of those attending CPAC is likely to be the GOP standard bearer. You may not like that standard bearer, but is there anyone in the democratic stable you would rather have?

    GOP candidates should be building themselves up talking about what they would do, not finding motes in their fellow candidate’s eyes.

  2. Geo11 says:

    McPain can not be trusted with the security of our nation. He is not a stable individual. A war hero yes, but not true to conservative values. This maverick does not hold any high cards.