Conservatives are darned if they do, darned if they don’t. No matter the ambience, crowd makeup or mood CPAC attendees are in, the New York Times will be critical of them, based on condescending CPAC coverage this year from the Times’ Lisa Lerer. 
Lerer opines: “the conservative confab used to be a wild event, a mash-up of religious leaders, Tea Partyers in colonial garb and all kinds of fringier parts of the right.”
Lerer asserts that CPACs of the past were more a collection of unsophisticated yokels who were also more independently contrasting with the Republican Party.
“Fast forward to 2019. Now, there’s only one attraction: President Trump,” Lerer writes. “CPAC is the place where conservative activists have long declared their priorities to the Republican establishment. But in 2019, they don’t need to make their agenda known to the establishment. They are the establishment.”
Lerer tries to drive wedges within the movement, somehow arguing that CPAC should be about conservatives arguing among themselves rather than working together. She also reports, without any evidence, that CPAC organizers have an anti-libertarian bias.
“The issues that could expose some cracks in the Republican Party — trade, economic populism, the emergency declaration over the border wall — got little attention compared to topics like abortion, censorship of conservatives and the rise of socialism,” she wrote. “In my tour through the conference, I found that it lacked the kind of freewheeling energy that once made it a must-see political show. The audience wasn’t nearly as raucous, the garb not nearly as gonzo. Some of that is because Republicans are no longer fighting for power in the same way, given that the party controls the Senate, the Supreme Court and the White House. Some is a result of how the organizers have worked over recent years to push out the raucous Ron Paul supporters who once overran the event.”