Let’s hope that Anne Coulter’s de- (you fill in the blank) remark doesn’t overshadow everything else at the CPAC meeting. Power Line’s Paul Mirengoff rather liked Mitt Romney’s speech, as did his colleague John Hinderaker.
At the risk of reopening a major league can of worms (at least at this site), I want to call attention to this WaTi article, which contains the following passage about Rudy Giuliani:
In interviews afterward, some attendees said Mr. Giuliani lost momentum when he heaped lavish praise on Abraham Lincoln.
While many conservatives regard the Civil War president as the spiritual founder of the Republican Party, others deeply resent him as a man who ruthlessly suspended constitutional rights and freedoms in order to militarily challenge the South’s belief in its right to secede. Some saw similar disdain for individuals’ rights in Mr. Giuliani’s successful war on crime in New York City.
Mr. Giuliani took the side of the Bush administration on an issue that troubles civil libertarian conservatives, saying that "you need the tools like the Patriot Act and legal intelligence surveillance."
"Rudy thought he was addressing a Republican audience," said Mike Long, chairman of the New York State Conservative Party. "Mitt understood this is an audience of people who are conservatives first."
If invoking Lincoln (the man who conserved the Union) is "un-conservative," then I’m not a conservative. Yes, Lincoln--reluctantly, in the face of a foundational challenge to the preservation of the rule of law--temporarily expanded executive powers (saying something about not acquiring a taste for emetic you take when you’re sick, as I recall), but his goal was to preserve something worth preserving, something defenders of slavery wanted to dismantle, on a principle that would permit anyone and everyone to secede whenever it suited their particular interests. As Lincoln noted, on that principle, government is impossible. This might approach a libertarian position, but surely not a conservative one.
By the way, the best recent articulation of Lincoln’s "faith-based" conservatism that I’ve read is the conclusion of Patrick Deneen’s
Democratic Faith, which reads Lincoln’s Second Inaugural in tandem with John Winthrop’s "A Model of Christian Charity" (excerpts here; full text here). Here’s a representative sample from Deneen’s conclusion:
Lincoln’s culminating speech seeks to temper the impious belief in personal or national superiority, and thereby chasten the human temptation toward individual or national self-glorification. While Lincoln called the United States "the last, best hope on earth," it was in the light of his recognition that Americans were an "almost chosen people." His high estimation of America--one held throughout his life--was not because, in his view, America was superior to other nations owing to its greater approximation to God’s will, but because, as a democracy, it was organized politically in recognition of the fact that man was not, nor could become, God. Even in his most patriotic and triumphal moments, Lincoln was congizant that the "superiority" of democracy rested most fundamentally upon the humble recognition of human imperfection.
There’s much more, but you just need to buy the book.