Bob Barr, Jim Gilmore, Viet Dinh, and Rep. Dan Lundgren are in the midst of an interesting debate on security policy and liberty at CPAC. There have been some fireworks; when Barr declared that “waterboarding is torture” the room split between boos and cheers. This is really great to see. I was depressed at last year’s CPAC to see so little time spent hashing out ideas.
The mood at CPAC this year is much more positive than it was a year ago, as you would expect given recent Republican victories in special elections and the legislative quagmire that the Obama administration’s domestic agenda is sinking into. I don’t think it’s entirely coincidental that the political health and intellectual health of the conservative movement seem to be improving concurrently.