Here’s a question: why was this year’s CPAC straw poll a “prediction” poll rather than a “preference” poll? In years past, as I recall, the conservative — well, Republican — activists in attendenance were asked to vote for their choice for the GOP’s next presidential nod. This year, they were instead asked who they thought would win, to which the answer was George Allen.
One plausible explanation is that the somebody wanted to make sure that Rep. Tom Tancredo (and by extension his signature issue of immigration restriction) didn’t show up too high in that straw poll. Apparently Tancredo’s people were well-organized at CPAC, but he went nowhere in the poll because nobody seriously expects him to be the nominee. Now comes news that Tancredo was kept out of this weekend’s Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Tennessee.
I’m not a great Tancredo enthusiast. But he’d add some much needed color and controversy to a very stale slate of Republican wannabes, and he represents an issue over which the GOP establishment has been bucking its base. The powers that be consider him dangerous, which is reason enough to want to see him in the pre-primary contests.
(By the way, take note that John McCain is urging his supporters at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference to cast their straw-poll ballots for Bush, as a show of support for the now widely reviled president. It’s another sign of the ongoing McCain-Bush rapprochement, a dangerous development indeed.)