Despite a large number of speeches at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) today, one statement from Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has dominated headlines and social media buzz.
“Don’t tell me Democrats are the party of the future,” McConnell said, “when their presidential ticket looks like a rerun of the Golden Girls,” making a reference to the 1980s sitcom starring Betty White.
Could it be true? Well, considering the show, which premiered in the middle of Reagan’s presidency, addressed topics such as gay marriage, immigration, and women’s reproductive rights, it looks like the Golden Girls are much more progressive than any speaker at CPAC.
What makes McConnell’s statement particularly ironic is that he is either the same age or older than either of the possible presidential hopefuls—Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden—to whom he made the reference. (McConnell is 71; Biden is 70; Hillary is 65) And it may be particularly misplaced considering his opponent in the next Senate race could be Ashley Judd.
This constant rhetoric about a youth-empowering, changed conservative movement seems dishonest, especially if you refer to their stances on social issues. For example, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) one of the conservatives widely hailed as a new, young face for the movement, said, “Just because I believe that states should have the right to define marriage in a traditional way that does not make me a bigot.”
Rubio went on to deny that conservatives needed to make a change in their policies or values.
“We don’t need a new idea. There is an idea called America. And it still works,” he told a cheering crowd.
If the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference is any sign of the future of conservatism, perhaps the Golden Girls are exactly who are needed to show them what real progress means.