Mitch Perry Report 3.10.14 - Reading CPAC's tea leaves

click to enlarge Mitch Perry Report 3.10.14 - Reading CPAC's tea leaves
Mitch Perry Report 3.10.14 - Reading CPAC's tea leaves

Happy Monday to you all. I hope everyone got the opportunity to enjoy some parts of a very nice and vibrant weekend in the Tampa Bay area. Between attending a Tampa Bay Lightning game on Thursday night (where I ended up taking a puck home courtesy of an NHL ref) and walking about a mile to my car after the Gasparilla Music Festival Sunday (after the shuttle that took me to my car earlier in the day was nowhere to be found), I was able to catch most of Sarah Palin's keynote address at the CPAC convention that aired late Saturday afternoon on C-SPAN.

What can I tell you about that? It wasn't as memorable as her "hopey-changey" speech from a few years back at the conservative confab, but did include a reference this time around to President Obama's acknowledged consumption of pot in high school, saying,“You’re not just sitting back just hanging, hanging with the choom gang – I hope you’re not."

But what caught my interest was results from the CPAC straw poll, announced just before the former Alaskan governor took the stage. In fact, possibly many of those cheering on Ms. Palin have been in their own versions of what President Obama called his group of stoners back in the day.

You may have heard that Rand Paul won the CPAC-ers' presidential poll for the second year in a row. And while the freshman Kentucky senator definitely should be considered a serious 2016 candidate for the GOP nomination, let it be noted here that Rand's dad, Ron, also won CPAC twice, and never won any delegates in the race to the White House in either 2008 or 2012. Most observers say the CPAC crowd is predominantly filled with college students and skews Libertarian.

But still I was surprised by some of the other survey results at CPAC announced by pollster Tony Fabrizio. On the issue of weed, 41 percent of the attendees believe it's time to fully legalize marijuana and tax it, while another 21 percent said it should be legalized only for medicinal purposes. Just 31 percent said it should remain illegal in all cases. 

Again, while trying not to make too much of the survey, CPAC head Al Cardenas bragged throughout the three-day session that these are the GOP leaders of the future. If that's their thinking about the issue, the move toward outright legalization as in Colorado and Washington appears to be spreading throughout the nation.

We checked out the usual Sunday morning programs. The only interview that really caught our attention was Charlie Crist's appearance on CNN's State of the Union, where the once and possibly future Florida governor pretty much had a "don't worry, be happy," attitude about the issues regarding the Affordable Care Act, which, according to the media narrative, all Democrats are supposed to be terrified to speak positively about.

But somebody forgot to send that memo to Crist, who said essentially the law was great and other Dems needed to "strengthen up" when discussing it.

And we were in St. Petersburg on Friday to check out a relatively ho-hum Tiger Bay appearance by Tampa-based Democratic Representative Kathy Castor, who gave a 20-minute recap of all the major events that have happened in Washington over the past seven years since she made it to Congress. She didn't have any predictions of who would join her in Washington after the CD13 race ends tomorrow night, but did have some gracious words to say about the man who held that seat for over 42 years, Bill Young.

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