Ron Paul has ended Mitt Romney’s three-year run as conservatives’ favorite for president, taking 31 percent of the vote in the Conservative Political Action Conference’s annual straw poll. – Fox News


How embarrassing, Ron Paul won the straw poll. Mitt Romney was second with 21% of the vote, with Sarah Palin (AWOL at CPAC) at a measly 7%, Pawlenty (he attended the conference) at 6%, Mike Pence at 5%, and Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee at 4%, with the biggest stars, after Romney, following well behind Paul.

But the most embarrassing performance I’ve seen so far was Andrew Breitbart leveling an unhinged diatribe in Max Blumenthal’s face. This just isn’t the way it’s done if you are sure of your case and want to engage in debate, but it’s Breitbart’s carnivalesque style. As is convenient for wingnut hit jobs, you can’t hear anything Blumenthal says, while Mr. Breitbart’s non-stop harangue is caught on tape perfectly, like what’s done in media hit jobs so familiar from Bill O’Reilly. Invoking Sidney Blumenthal, Max’s dad, Breitbart’s monologue seems stuck in a never ending loop. Max takes it in stride, as he’s been on the hunt for wingnuts, having also published a book on the “Republican Gomorrah.” His recent article on ACORN nemesis James O’Keefe for bringing a lot of attention as well, including correction’s of Blumenthal’s piece (though Mr. Breitbart ignored that fact). You’d think as a grown man Breitbart could confront Blumenthal in a manner that wasn’t reminiscent of the stalkerazzi.

It was Ron Paul’s win, however, that embarrassed the CPAC establishment. After all, Mr. Paul was against the Iraq war and is conservative on all interventionist, or Wilsonian, notions of foreign policy, something that clearly runs counter to the Cheney neoconservative wing of the Republican Party that has such a grip on movement conservatives from coast to coast and will certainly be represented in whoever the Republicans pick as their nominee. From Politico:

CPAC organizers were plainly embarrassed by the results, which could reduce the perceived impact of a contest that was once thought to offer a window into which White House hopefuls were favored by movement conservatives.

Even as opportunities abound, the conservatives, from Republicans to CPAC to the Tea Party, can’t find a direction to save their political souls. That they actually make Democrats look good tells you how utterly useless the main engines of American politics are right now.

Glenn Beck on fire.

Only the goal of electing a Republican House in 2010, but also a new president in 2012, holds the right together, even as the conservative Establishment have lost control over that process. Ron Paul’s win at CPAC reveals something is happening in the grass roots arena on the right. It continues to play out.

Too bad the left is stuck in reactionary mode, with neither Obama or Democratic leaders worthy of the power voters bestowed on them over the last two election cycles.

Disarray on the right.

Total incompetence on the left.

The playing field is ripe for an independent run in 2012.