The arrival of March Madness II so soon after CPAC’s March Madness I is forcing all of us to consider whether the floor games will be a more valid expression of  the soul  of America than the conservative fringe that went to the convention in hopes of a slam dunk.  The distractions for the bounty-hunters couldn’t have come at a worst time  as speaker after speaker tried to convince us that the former Republican Party lacked, um… relevancy and that Barack Obama was at least a socialist..

The delegates were upstaged by Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a conservative Republican who conceded that his notions about the malformity of same-sex marriage had been misguided, a painful late-inning conversion prompted by  a young son who informed his family two years ago that he was gay.

And a few days before the vengefully  noisy CPackers were to check into their convention site in  Maryland , it didn’t help their bid for relevancy to be crowded out by the vast coverage of a new pope.   At the same time, President Obama was preparing to be on his way to Israel with more media time guaranteed.

Still, the CPAC gang found some time to divide the GOP ancestors  into winners and losers  in defining their mission to root out the dead weight for a fresh start  on the party’s future.

Among the losers were dead-end party guru Karl Rove (and why not?), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York City Mayor Michael  Bloomberg, an independent who must have disdainfully wondered what the fuss was all about.  Although he wasn’t there, Gov. Kasich  had already lost ground in Ohio for his medicaid drift, so put him in the loser category.

The winners: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a new kid on the block who says so many dumb things that turn on his ecstatic followers; Marco Rubio and Sen. Rand Paul, who will doubtless spend the remainder of the  days to  the next presidential convention boasting that he won the straw poll of the delegates by a couple of straws, amassing 25 pct to Marco Rubio’s 23 pct.  Are you convinced of Paul’s stellar rise, particularly  when John McCain has already referred to him as a “wacko bird”?

Almost forgot Reince Priebus the GOP national chairman.  There’s no place to bracket  him since I doubt anybody pays any attention to him. Unless it is former RNC chaiman Michael Steele, who called Priebus a “Numbnuts”.

Oh, there was  also the convention’s court jester, Sarah Palin, doing an extraneous stand-up comedy routine with that  Big Gulp cup to spoof Bloomberg’s plan to ban oversized sugary soda.   It sent me to  bed happy that she was now an irrelevant soda jerk and not the vice president.