CPAC 2013 Wrap Up: The Libertarians Take Over

-By Warner Todd Huston

On Saturday after noon they announced the winners of the straw poll giving us an idea of who the attendees of the event would like to see run for president this far out of 2016. Interestingly, no “establishment” pols appeared anywhere on the list.

The Results Board

Here are the results:

  • KY Senator Rand Paul (25%)
  • FL Senator Marco Rubio (23%)
  • PA Senator Rick Santorum (8%)
  • NJ Gov. Chris Christie (7%)
  • WI Congresman Paul Ryan (6%)
  • WI Gov Scott Walker (5%)
  • Doctor Ben Carson (4%)
  • TX Senator Ted Cruz (4%)
  • LA Gov Bobby Jindal (3%)
  • AK Gov Sarah Palin (3%)
  • Others (14%)
  • Undecided (1%)

So, what does this mean? As one person noted, the libertarians took over CPAC.

Note that all those above were non-establishment people with Rand being the most un-establishment of them all. But Rubio was opposed in his primary by both the Florida and national establishment (they all supported Charlie Crist who ended up switching parties to a Dem. after he lost), Santorum is no establishment guy, neither is Carson or Cruz. Christie is as close to establishment as it gets and even he isn’t totally “one of those” in many ways. I wouldn’t call Ryan an establishment guy, either, as he’s brought them to him–via his expertise on the budget–as opposed to him bending over backwards to join them as most do.

Interesting results. However, remember we are nearly 2 years away from ramping up for the 2016 run for president. So, this may be meaningless as to that race. It does, though, show that conservatives are drifting from Republican powermongers this year.

In the end, the only two speeches that had any real thrust to them were Rand Paul’s, Ben Carson’s, and Ted Cruz’. These were speeches with meat and an agenda–especially that of Ted Cruz. The sad thing is, most of these speeches are simple boilerplate. About the only way any of these speeches could have gotten any notice is if they were delivered poorly. It certainly isn’t because of what was in them.

This year’s speeches were nothing you couldn’t have heard at any Reagan Day dinner or some patriotic holiday rally. Nice for what they were, but instantly forgettable.

Anyway, it was an interesting event and, since I’ve done a lot of these conferences –and this is my fourth COAC–it is always great to see friends that I only get to see at these things.

I’ll leave you all with some random photos.

The Capitol at Night

A private meeting with Sen. Rick Santorum

Rep. Greg Waldon, NRCC, and me

Private meeting with WI Gov. Scott Walker

WI Rep. Paul Ryan

“The Donald,” Donald Trump

AK Gov. Sarah Palin

GOP Legend, Phyllis Schlafly

Doctor Ben Carson

WA Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Author Ann Coulter

TX Sen. Ted Cruz

“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

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