The unrelenting anger in the ballroom was an extension of what’s been happening on the campaign trail. In the week preceding the Florida Republican primary, 92 percent of the political ads were negative, according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group. There was only one positive ad for Mitt Romney — and it was in Spanish.
The Republican candidates for president visited CPAC on Friday to deliver more of the same: “We’re going to win by making Barack Obama and his failed policies the issue in this race” (Rick Santorum); “History will record the Obama presidency as the last gasp of liberalism’s great failure” (Romney); and “My goal, with your help, is that by the time President Obama lands in Chicago, we will have repudiated at least 40 percent of his government on the opening day” (Newt Gingrich).
The dour message has contributed to low voter turnout and an enthusiasm gap among GOP voters — a worrisome development that the Washington Times’ Ralph Hallow tried to warn the CPAC participants about. “None of these things I see are particularly good,” he said during one of the conference panels. “Intensity and enthusiasm about voting is now with the Democrats.”