By CHARLES BABINGTON and LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press
WASHINGTON – This is not John McCain’s Republican Party.
Three years and one tea party revolution after the self-described maverick won the GOP presidential nomination – but lost the White House – conservatives now rule. This week’s gathering of the Conservative Political Action Conference, opening Thursday, will underscore the growing clout of the political right.
David Bossie, president of the conservative group Citizens United, happily agrees. “This is unlike previous years when you had moderates hiding as conservatives to win the nomination,” he said, singling out McCain, Bob Dole in 1996 and George H.W. Bush in 1988 and 1992. This time, Bossie said, “they’re all virtually identical on the big global issues that conservatives care about. They’re all pro-life. They’re all for smaller government. They are all for lower taxes. They’re all for a strong national security. They’re all pro-military.”