Then dance on hisgrave.
There is a major shift gathering in the Republican Party toward the moderates and away from the conservative base, and Vice President Dick Cheney’s speech to conservative activists Thursday proved a clear marker.
Any other year, Cheney’s speech to the influential Conservative Political Action Conference would be big news. This year, both he and the conservative activists were overshadowed and sidelined by moderate forces from outside.
It was a case of the old guard addressing the true believers in a shared movement that is losing steam. Even Cheney’s speech seemed exhausted.
“A welcome like that is almost enough to make me want to run for office again, almost,” Cheney said to the cheers of the conservatives — a line he has used in countless speeches before.
Speeches by Romney and McCain were carried live on cable networks from CPAC. Cheney, like a misty figure receding into the past, was not.
“Cheney is still very popular with the base of the party,” said Clark Kent Ervin, a former Bush administration appointee from Houston. “The question is whether the base of the party is the future of the party, and I would argue it isn’t.”
“Many of the old mantras don’t seem to have much weight out there with voters in this election cycle,” said Richard Murray, University of Houston political scientist. “This is a period of real change.”