If you think of the CPAC crowd not as an isolated gathering of the right's freakishly hateful and pitiably infantile, but as the perpetual core of the GOP's primary base, then you already know how things will turn out for the Republican Party in 2016.
Audience reaction to Jeb Bush's "center-right," "be more inclusive" and "stop alienating potential supporters" speech "was fairly muted" and "got very little applause and cheering," while Sarah Palin's "fiercely anti-establishment speech" and "punchy one-liners ... received the strongest response yet from a packed auditorium."
Inclusiveness isn't exactly a political program, but it's something--something positive, something forward-looking, something to grab hold of as at least a guide to a political program. Punch one-liners are meant only to amuse the slow kids and rowdy delinquents in the back--when punchy one-liners are all you've got. Palin yelped that "if we truly know what we believe, we don't need professionals to tell us"; yet she herself revealed nothing of discernible convictions.
What is it she and the crowd seemed to believe? In blanket againstism. For three days they and other assorted nihilists vented hatred against pretty much everything except the idea that they were standing strong for something which in fact never got articulated. They were simply, intensely against--against this and against that, and their entire, incomprehensible goo of puerile disgruntlement just slithered and slimed to nowhere ...
... that being the precise location to which the GOP primary base will again thrust the party in 2016.