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The only ones who didn't seem to think there was a problem, in fact, were Romney himself ("I utterly reject pessimism," he said in his bland pep talk to CPAC) and Republican officials trying to keep their jobs.
"I'm a little tired of the hand-wringing," proclaimed McConnell. "I know folks have a lot of opinions about what happened in November. But seriously, how many conferences and lunch panels do we really need to have about it? I'm starting to wonder if the caterers' union is behind it."
McConnell's advice was to "put this election behind us" quickly. "If you get your tail whipped, you don't whine about it. You don't look for somebody to blame. You stand up and you punch back."
The CPAC conservatives were isolated -- literally: Instead of the usual in-town location at the Marriott in Woodley Park, CPAC assembled at the Gaylord, at out-of-the-way National Harbor in Maryland. Omitted from the invite list were some of the more popular national Republicans, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, for being insufficiently doctrinaire.
The result was a conservative caricature, to judge from the CPAC exhibit hall: an NRA laser-shooting tent, two life-size Transformer action figures marching about, the Right to Life's larger-than-life fetus photos, and a profusion of stickers and posters ("I'm a bitter gun owner and I vote").
On the ballroom stage, the soul-searching continued.
"Maybe conservatives could get a sense of humor," proposed publisher Tucker Carlson.
"You'd be amazed at what just knowing 50 words of Spanish will do," suggested journalist John Fund.
Yep, that should do it.
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