By Matt Welch
"CPAC has becoming increasingly more libertarian and less Republican over the last years, one of the reasons I didn't go this year," Huckabee said in an interview with Fox News, where he is a paid analyst and has his own show.
He was responding to a question about whether he was upset by his single-digit showing in the conference’s straw poll, which was won by libertarian-leaning Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).
The Politico article also contains this section after the jump:
But for all the enthusiasm in the hotel's corridors, much of the rhetoric on stage felt oddly dated. For every Marco Rubio – the young Florida Senate candidate who is seen as by many conservatives as their future – there was the NRA's Wayne LaPierre, rambling about Clinton-era gun control battles and showing decade-old video clips of himself jousting with TV hosts on the big screens in the ballroom.
Worse, at least in the eyes of CPAC organizers, hearty supporters of Paul showed up in part to ensure the quirky Texas septuagenarian won the straw poll.
What was seen in the past as an indicator of who conservative activists preferred in the next presidential race became ratified as all but worthless as boos rained down in the ballroom when it was disclosed that Paul had won the contest.
It certainly is interesting to watch Republicanism become more outwardly libertarian, in ways not seen since at least 1998, if not before. Is it the dying gasp of a party going the way of the Whigs, as Huckabee suggests? Will the libertarians who soured on the GOP under CPAC heroes George W. Bush and Dick Cheney ever come back? Will Ron Paul ever win a straw poll that will not post-facto be declared "all but worthless"? These are some of the questions.
Some Reason Huckabusiness from seasons past, in reverse chronological order:
* Radley Balko's "Clemency on Trial."
* David Weigel's "Mike Huckabee vs. the Libertarians."
* Jacob Sullum's "The Thin Man Goes to Washington."
* Kerry Howley's "Does Mike Huckabee have a prayer?"
* Nick Gillespie's "The Dog Days of David Huckabee."
* Ronald Bailey's "Choosing Between Science and God: The Mike Huckabee Story."