If winning over CPAC is a lost cause, wait until he tries Limbaugh. The making of a conservative:

The effort to win over, or at least blunt the opposition, of talk-radio hosts and other movement figures who resent McCain’s maverick style and past departures from conservative orthodoxy involves both high-level surrogates and the candidate himself.

Its targets include the most influential talk-radio voice, Rush Limbaugh, who has been contacted in recent days by a McCain emissary, according to Republican sources.

The McCain campaign is also wooing Sean Hannity. At least two top McCain supporters, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), made the pitch to Hannity, who has a radio show in addition to co-hosting his nightly Fox News television program.

The point man on outreach is a guy known among the right wing as “Grahamnesty”? Does McCain understand conservatives at all? He used to be one of us; it shouldn’t be that hard to project backward.

Supposedly he’s got a bunch of cred-earning endorsements lined up, including Frist, George Allen, Haley Barbour, and Ken Mehlman. Good luck, Maverick:

[Phil] Gramm last week told members attending a retreat of the House Republican Study Committee — influential among congressional conservatives — that McCain is far more their ally than their opponent.

But one lawmaker in attendance, who recounted the scene on condition of anonymity, said that when “someone asked for a show of hands of those other than his Arizona colleagues who are backing McCain, of the 20 or so in the room, only one did.”

Exit question: Will CPAC disgrace itself like these little rats did by booing an American hero whose politics they disagree with? The boss, perhaps fearing a fiasco, pleads for calm.

Update: CPAC organizers are pleading too.