Mike Huckabee opened the second day of CPAC with a predictable message for a packed room: Don't forget social issues! The backlash against the administration's conscience rule nix-out had proven how important these issues were.
"Thanks to President Obama," said Huckabee, "we are all Catholics now!"
But after that, Huckabee -- who has remained neutral between candidates, and come off as warm towards Mitt Romney -- linked together the legality of abortion with the rise of economic uncertainty. Revisiting an old pro-life trope, he wondered how much stronger the economy might be if 50,000,000 fetuses hadn't been aborted. The failure to recognize life as starting at conception bled into all sorts of social norms.
"Workers are expected to be loyal to their companies," he said. "What happened to the idea that their companies would be loyal to them as well? There is now an attitude that very worker is expendable and exposable."
It sounded a little bit like the attack on Bain Capital leveled, with the predictable shuddering from libertarians, at Mitt Romney. If so, it's a preview: There is no way whatsoever that CPAC will be good for Mitt Romney. He could deliver the Sermon on the Mount remixed with the Time for Choosing speech and he would still be overrun in this event's straw poll by the Rick Santorum supporters handing out stickers at populous hotel intersections. There will be no Ron Paul surge to nullify the straw poll narrative: Ron Paul's campaign, for the first time since 2007, is not trying to win this poll, and his supporters are noticeably absent in a quieter hotel.