OXON HILL, Md. -- Sometime after 5 p.m. today, a winner will be announced in CPAC's annual straw poll. Every year, the media builds up to the poll with a healthy amount of cynicism; when the result comes out, the cynicism is replaced by breaking news chyrons. This year's especially lengthy poll contains 17 names, with an option to choose none of them. In the order they appear on the ballot:
Whoever wins will have conquered the mellowest CPAC in many years. Under the leadership of Matt Schlapp, elected to run the American Conservative Union after turns with George W. Bush's presidential campaign and Koch Industries, the conference has been low on intra-party on-stage fights, low on heckling, and totally absent some of the media debacles that have won coverage in the past.