Amidst wild applause, Ron Paul supporters got rowdy. When it got quiet, a shout of “war criminal” could be heard.

When Donald Rumsfeld started speaking, as recipient of the “Defender of the Constitution” award, a laughable honor to bestow on this man, according TPMDC and other reports, some in the Paul contingent walked out.

“Uh, Defender of the Constitution?” Justin Bradfield of Maryland scoffed when I caught up with him after he walked out of Rumsfeld’s speech. “Let’s see: he expanded the Defense Department more than pretty much any other defense secretary and he enforced the Patriot Act.”

“[Speaking] as a libertarian, that’s not really the type of person who should be getting Defender of the Constitution,” he added.

The Tea Party is doing many things for the Republican Party, some of it Sharraon Angle-esque, with Sarah Palin’s part giving it celebrity. However, the main mission of the Tea Party initially came from Ron Paul and his people back during Bush’s reign. Republicans who actually resemble real conservatism instead of the neoconservative bastardization that dragged us into Iraq, of which Cheney and Rumsfeld are the bookends.

As much as I enjoy seeing Cheney and Rumsfeld hear pointed dissent amidst large applause for what the engineered under their watch, I’m also reminded that it’s a small minority against the dangerous right-wing that still champions Cheneyism, which is championed by Rush Limbaugh and his wingnut band.

The events at CPAC on Thursday are put into perspective through Donald Trump’s bluntness about Ron Paul’s chances to win the presidency, which also reveals the bottom line for all Republicans looking to 2012. They are only interested in someone who can beat Obama, with no one so far coming close to proving they can. Via The Hill:

“By the way, Ron Paul cannot get elected, I’m sorry to tell you,” Trump said at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Thursday. “I like Ron Paul, I think he’s a good guy, but honestly he just has zero chance of getting elected.”

Donald Trump may not be taken seriously by the Republican insider and intellectual elite, but he’s certainly taking himself seriously. How delicious it would be if he actually jumped in.

CPAC is just getting started, with more fun to come.

Oh, and as an aside, CNN has brought Tea Party activist Dana Loesch, talk radio host and editor-in-chief of Big Journalism, on board. It’s all in the name of giving voice to all sides, proving that 2012 will be a much bigger circus on the Right than anything they could muster in ’08.