CPAC's Popularity Contests Tell Us A Lot About The Right

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The above chart, taken from the straw poll of attendees at last weekend's zany Conservative Political Action Conference, really tells us pretty much everything we need to know about the kind of people who attend these things.

And for some perspective on how completely out of synch with the rest of the American public they are, remember this:

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And just how narrow a slice of the right-wing pie are we talking about? Well, 52 percent of the voters were students.

Of course, most of the news surrounding the straw poll was that Mitt Romney again won their presidential endorsement:

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Not that this necessarily means a lot; Mittens won last year's straw poll too. And Bobby Jindal, whose GOP star appeal seems to be fading, was a distant second.

But more noteworthy, perhaps, are the two candidates who came in tied for third at 13 percent: Ron Paul and Sarah Palin. Paul's showing suggests his pseudo-libertarian followers are not going to fade away into the woodwork; while Palin's weak showing suggests her 15 minutes of right-wing fame are just about up.

However, both candidates represent the right-wing populist bloc of the GOP -- and their combined support would have been 26%, or the largest single bloc at the convention.

These are the folks who have been the most vocal about calling Obama's economics "socialism," as they were at CPAC:

This gloomy hour for the right is probably most akin to 1965: Routed at the polls, the bedrock conservatives see their worst dreams of big government becoming a legislative reality. One word that has surfaced repeatedly here in speeches and interviews has been "socialism."

"Lenin and Stalin would love this stuff," Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told a packed ballroom on Thursday.

"We now have moved a major step in the direction of socialism," Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) said Friday, adding: "We are close to a fascist system where the government has control of our lives and our economy."

Which inspired the following observation over at Fox Forum:

From the likely nationalization of Citigroup to centering power in the White House by politicizing the Census to using American taxes to promote abortion around the world, Obama’s policies are more like Mussolini than Lenin.

Sure, just like we liberals had trouble discerning whether George Bush's policies were more like Ted Bundy's or Hannibal Lecter's.

But which kind of totalitarian state is it that Obama is bringing about? A fascist state, a communist state, or a socialist state? Because ne'er the three shall meet ... unless one wanders into the fetid swamps of Jonah Goldberg.

Which I think is where indeed we're heading, judging by their favorite media figures:

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Glenn Beck -- who suffers from a groaning case of Jonanism -- is now their second-favorite figure. The guy who's forecasting Road Warrior militias for post-Obama-failure America. The one running "Comrade Updates", predicting impending economic apocalypse, and comparing Al Gore's global-warming efforts to the Hitler Youth.

How long, one wonders, before Palin and Paul combine forces? They share the same constituency. And considering the direction the conservative movement is gradually taking, it may only be a matter of time.

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