CPAC

GOProud The CPAC Beaver

GOProud, a group for gay conservatives, was bounced from the American Conservative Union’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference in 2012 when a coalition of social conservatives pulled out in protest of the group’s participation. This year the group has been “welcomed” back – not in the sense of having a table or other visible presence, but in the sense of GOProud leaders being allowed to attend, according to some news reports, as guests of the ACU.  GOProud co-founder Chris Barron criticized the group’s current leaders for touting the conditional return as a victory, saying they were letting themselves be used as “stooges” for anti-gay conservatives.

But even this mild and invisible welcome is too much for Tradition, Family, and Property, the far-right Catholic organization whose members sport bright scarlet capes.  Walk by TFP’s table and someone will eagerly hand you a flyer explaining “Why GOProud Does Not Belong at CPAC.”  GOProud is memorably portrayed as a rainbow-colored beaver, gnawing away at the social conservative leg of the conservative movement (the other two legs being fiscal and defense-oriented conservatives).

Why is GOProud a welcomed and official guest at CPAC, when it advocates the legalization of same-sex “marriage,” thus undermining the votes and dreams of millions of God-fearing Americans?

How can GOProud consider itself conservative when it directly opposes the work of social conservative activists and contributes to America’s moral ruin, through the weakening of the family – the first and fundamental building block of society?

TFP’s flyer says it protests against GOProud’s efforts to “cast itself as a bone fide member of the conservative movement.” TFP believes:

To be true to itself, the conservative movement must battle on all three conservative fronts (defense, fiscal, and social).

That individuals and organizations who subscribe to only one or two of the conservative movement’s three legs are still welcome to join the coalition, but should refrain from publicly opposing the rest of the movement’s efforts on the leg or legs they disagree on.

TFP says welcoming GOProud into the conservative movement would be like a communist or socialist organization seeking admittance to the conservative movement by claiming to be against abortion. As part of the evidence that TFP marshals to prove that GOProud is not conservative, it notes that the group’s website says it encourages “committed stable, relationships between two people, regardless of sexual orientation, that promote healthy families and create value within our society.” Mercy!

TFP does have some kind words for the ACU, applauding the decision to deny American Atheists a booth at CPAC. But that didn’t prevent American Atheists from distributing a CPAC flyer that says “Christianity’s influence on conservatism is pushing away almost 20 million voters – more than enough to swing an election.”

Trump: Immigrants A Threat To America, 'They're Taking Your Jobs'

In his speech to CPAC today, Donald Trump attacked advocates of immigration reform, including on-and-off supporter Marco Rubio, arguing that undocumented immigrants shouldn’t be given a pathway to citizenship because he thinks they won’t vote Republican.

The faux-presidential candidate said that immigration will actually destroy America: “Immigration, we’re either a country or we’re not, we either have borders or we don’t; you have a border, you have a country and if you don’t have a border, what are we just a nothing? A nothing.”

Trump added that he understands why many people at CPAC are “so conservative you don’t even want to be a Republican.”

“If you let the 11 million — which will grow to 30 million — people in, I don’t care who stands up, whether it’s Marco Rubio and talks about ‘let everybody in,’ you won’t get one vote, every one of those votes goes to the Democrats,” Trump said. “Of those 11 million potential voters, which will go to 30 million in the not too long future, you will not get any of those votes no matter what you do, no matter how nice you are, no matter how soft you are, no matter how many times you say ‘rip down the fence and let everybody in,’ you’re not going to get the votes.”

“So with immigration, you better be smart and you better be tough and they’re taking your jobs and you better be careful.”

Behold Wayne LaPierre's Nightmarishly Paranoid Vision Of America

There are few regular CPAC speakers who can match the NRA's Wayne LaPierre when it comes to peddling wholesale paranoia and nightmarish visions of the future as he did while speaking today when he warned that neighborhood streets that were once filled with laughter and freedom now sit ominously silent because Americans are in fear for their lives, which is why they are loading up on all the ammunition and weapons they can get.

"In the world that surrounds us," he proclaimed, "there are terrorists, and there are home-invaders, drug cartels, car-jackers, knockout-gamers, and rapers, and haters, and campus killers, airport killers, shopping mall killers, and killers who scheme to destroy our country with massive storms of violence against our power grids or vicious waves of chemicals or disease that could collapse our society that sustains us all."

"Do you trust this government to protect you?" LaPierre asked the crowd, which responded with a resounding "no!"

"We are on our own. That is a certainty":

Donald Trump Thinks Jimmy Carter Is Dead

Donald Trump joined many other conservative activists at CPAC today in comparing President Obama to Jimmy Carter, although Trump seems to think that the former president is deceased, as he likened Obama to “the late, great Jimmy Carter.”

CPAC Once Again Shuts Out Gay & Atheist Groups, Welcomes White Nationalists

The Institute For Research & Education on Human Rights points out today that the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is once again welcoming a white nationalist group, even while shunning organizations that represent LGBT and atheist conservatives.

IREHR reports that ProEnglish is sponsoring a booth at this week’s CPAC, which costs exhibitors $4,000 in exchange for official recognition and promotion from conference organizers. ProEnglish is an anti-immigrant “English only” group led by Bob Vandervoort,  who previously headed a white nationalist group and who has fretted about the “cultural and racial dispossession of the West’s historic people” and the coming of a “post-Western America.” Vandervoort has also written about supposed “racial differences” in “intelligence and temperament.”

ProEnglish is part of the network of anti-immigrant groups connected to white nationalist John Tanton. The Center for New Community explains:

ProEnglish was established in 1994 with the oversight of its founding chairman, the white nationalist John Tanton. In fact, it is Tanton’s second English language interest group, formed after he left the first, U.S. English, after a racially charged memo that surfaced in 1988.

While Vandervoort’s group was apparently not too controversial for the conference, two other groups were. Late last month, the American Conservative Union, which organizes CPAC, abruptly canceled the exhibition booth of the group American Atheists after an outcry from Religious Right groups. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said of the planned inclusion of the atheist group, "Does the American Conservative Union really think the liberties and values they seek to preserve can be maintained when they partner with individuals and organizations that are undermining the understanding that our liberties come from God? Thomas Jefferson warned against such nonsense."

CPAC’s organizers also prevented the gay conservative group GOPround from sponsoring a booth, although they magnanimously allowed GOProud’s leaders to “attend as guests,” causing a cofounder of the group to resign.

Similar dramas have played out in each of the last few years. In 2012, CPAC banned GOProud but allowed two white nationalists, including Vandervoort, to appear on an anti-multiculturalism panel. Last year, GOProud was banned once again but ProEnglish was allowed to host a booth.

Interestingly, one of CPAC’s “participating sponsors” this year is Facebook, which has been working to push GOP toward immigration reform. We wonder how they feel about sponsoring a conference that welcomes the participation of an anti-immigrant white nationalist group?

Scalise: Reagan Reagan Reagan Reagan Reagan

CPAC wouldn’t be complete without unceasing, perpetual praise of Ronald Reagan, and a great example of that today was how Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) managed to fit in as many mentions of Ronald Reagan as he possibly could during his closing remarks in a panel on conservative approaches to income inequality.

Scalise, who chairs the right-wing House Republican Study Committee, said that Republicans should model themselves on Reagan since he made America great, “brought down the Soviet Union” and was simply the best ever.

Reagan’s supreme Americanness, Scalise explained, caused the left to “revile” him “because of how he transformed this country in such a great way.”

Scalise added that unlike Reagan, President Obama “apologizes for American exceptionalism” while Secretary of State John Kerry is “drinking merlot and singing let’s all be friends.”

Jindal: It May Be Time To Revisit The Assumption That Obama Is A Smart Man

It is always entertaining when milquetoast Republican governors who harbor dreams of running for president decide to try to toughen up their image by throwing red meat to the crowd at CPAC. We saw Tim Pawlenty do it several years back and Bobby Jindal do it again today when he kicked off his remarks by sarcastically offering an apology to former president Jimmy Carter for having mistakenly called him the "worst president of this great country in my lifetime."

Apparently having totally forgotten the eight-year debacle that was George W. Bush's presidency, Jindal said the title of worst president now belongs to Obama who, quite frankly, is just not very bright.

"We have long thought and said this president is a smart man," Jinda declared. "It may be time to revisit the assumption":

Christie: Democrats 'The Party Of Intolerance,' Unlike The GOP

Chris Christie told CPAC attendees today that Republican “intolerance on social issues” is nothing but a myth. He insisted that Republicans are the truly tolerant party because they have allowed pro-choice politicians such as Condoleezza Rice and Tom Ridge to address their nominating conventions.

“Tell me, sir, the last pro-life Democrat who was allowed to speak at a Democratic convention – and by the way, don’t strain yourself because there’s never been one,” Christie continued. “They’re the party of intolerance, not us.”

Even if we accept Christie’s definition of “tolerance,” his claim is still false: the 2012 and 2008 Democratic conventions included speakers who opposed abortion rights, while 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin refused to share the stage with pro-choice Republicans.

CPAC Entertained By Right-Wing Folk Singer

We have literally watched every CPAC conference held over the last ten years and this is the first time we've ever seen organizers schedule a break in the middle of program so that a right-wing folk singer could perform conservative protest songs on the main stage. But that is exactly what happened today when Big Dawg Music Mafia ("Where Conservative Is Cool") was given a few minutes to promote singer Chip Murray who entertained the crowd with insightful lyrics like:

"Obama's in the White House now, you'd better grab your honey,

God and guns are all we need, let's let 'em take the money":

John Bolton Vows That Conservatives Will Never Let The Issue Of Benghazi Go Away

Former ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, spoke at CPAC today where he predictably railed against the Obama administration over the attack on Benghazi, saying that it show our enemies around the world that "under Barack Obama, you can murder his personal representative and get away scot-free."

"I want to let everybody know," Bolton declared, "that conservatives are not going to let this issue go away":

Sen. Pat Toomey Praises The Smear Campaign Against Debo Adegbile

As Miranda noted yesterday, the Right had launched a full-scale smear campaign Debo Adegbile, who had been nominated by President Obama to serve as head the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, over the fact that Adegbile was in charge of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund when it helped provide legal representation to Mumia Abu-Jamal.

That campaign against him succeeded as yesterday the Senate failed to confirm his nomination and Sen. Pat Toomey could not be more proud, making the case against Adegbile the focus on the remarks he delivered a CPAC today, asserting that the effort to defend Abu-Jamal was part of an "international campaign to lionize a cop-killer" that "was based on hatred for America, contempt for our criminal justice system, and the goal was to indict America as a hopelessly racist country."

And Toomey was not going to accept that, which is why he launched the fight against Adegbile's nomination because "nobody should be able to make a mockery criminal justice system, fan the flames of racial strife in America, join a dishonest international anti-American campaign, along the way drag the family of a fallen police officer through three decades of hell and then be confirmed to a high post in the Justice Department":

Is This Woman ‘Fracking’ Crazy? – Ann McElhinney of Frack Nation at CPAC

Ann McElhinney is very upset about dumb, lying environmentalists and very excited about fracking, which is a miraculous gift from God. She’s making a film about it – Frack Nation – and she pitched the CPAC crowd last Saturday on her right-wing response to the critically acclaimed documentary Gasland.
 
The thesis of McElhinney’s manic, meandering speech is that fracking is the best thing to ever happen to us, but it could be squandered by ignorant and dumb people who have been tricked into opposing it by scheming, dishonest environmentalists who agree with Vladimir Putin and secretly hate the Bald Eagle.
 
During the course of her screed, and in between all the “fracking” puns, she suggested that drinking water in the US has always been flammable and that renewable energy sources only work while, for instance, the sun is out or the wind is blowing.
 
Here is a highlight reel for your viewing pleasure:
 

 

CPAC: A few more scenes from off-Broadway

The main themes from this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference were not terribly surprising to anyone paying attention to the GOP presidential primary.  According to CPAC speakers, President Obama is a “socialist, Marxist president” bent on destroying the country and the Constitution, and the nation will not survive if he is re-elected.  “Compromise” is a four-letter word. Health care reform is tyranny. Contraception is tyranny. TSA searches are tyranny.  You get the idea.

But there were also moments of insight into aspects of the conservative movement, often coming from smaller rooms and panels, like actor Stephen Baldwin’s declaration that “separation of church and state can kiss my ass” and the anti-multicultural, anti-diversity discussion which featured the founder of a white-nationalist website. Here are a few additions to the excellent RWW coverage of CPAC by Kyle and Brian.

Screw the Vote

As we have reported, Republicans are waging aggressive voter suppression campaigns across the country, including voter ID laws and voter registration restrictions supposedly needed to prevent “voting fraud.”  At CPAC, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton hosted a press conference to talk about the group’s  “Election Integrity Project,” which is suing states that Judicial Watch says have not done enough to clean up their voter registration lists.  Panelists claimed that “rampant election fraud” took place in the last two election cycles – there’s no real evidence to back up that claim – and complained that the Obama administration’s Justice Department is selectively enforcing the Voting Rights Act.  Fitton said that having the DOJ meet with representatives from Project Vote and ACORN is “like having the mafia running the FBI.” Another speaker represented True the Vote, an outgrowth of Houston Tea Party group King Street Patriots, which hosted a fundraising event last year with a speaker who believes:

Registering [poor people] to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals.  It is profoundly antisocial and un-American to empower the nonproductive segments of the population to destroy the country — which is precisely why Barack Obama zealously supports registering welfare recipients to vote.

True the Vote is backing states whose voter ID laws have been challenged by the Justice Department and recruiting volunteers to challenge signatures gathered by those seeking to recall Wisconsin’s anti-labor governor Scott Walker.

The Federal Government’s War on Clean Underwear

It is an article of faith among many right-wing activists and candidates that health, safety, and environmental regulations are oten unconstitutional and are destroying the American economy.  Americans for Tax Reform and its affiliate Cost of Government Center sponsored a panel dubbed “The Red Tape War: How the Regulatory Burden and Growing Nanny State Threaten Prosperity.” The group’s Mattie Duppler described regulation as an ongoing “war on consumers and taxpayers.”  Sam Kazman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute said that energy efficiency regulations had caused a steep decline in the quality of top-loading washing machines, and talked about a campaign his group had run to have people send virtual underwear to the undersecretary of the Department of Energy. (Turns out that campaign was in 2007 during the George W. Bush administration)

Beyond Obstructionism to Nullification

One Newt Gingrich campaign theme has been pledging that as president he would ignore Supreme Court decisions he disagrees with and abolish the jobs of federal judges who don’t share his view of the Constitution.  A couple of groups at CPAC – the Tenth Amendment Center and the Foundation for a Free Society – held a series of events to promote nullification, the idea that the states should similarly ignore federal laws that they believe are unconstitutional.  In fact, they want to go far beyond ignoring such laws.  Speakers introducing a documentary on nullification praised an Arizona bill that would not only declare the federal health care law null and void in the state, but would also make any agent of the government who tries to enforce the law guilty of a felony.  The documentary featured state legislators as well as speakers from the Oath Keepers and the John Birch Society.

Here Sharia Comes!

Pamela Geller hosted a panel on Sharia, at which speakers complained about the room they were given and about their supposed mistreatment at the hands of CPAC – though other panels met in the same room and the “Islamic Law” panel was listed in the conference program.   Geller and fellow panelist Robert Spencer attacked panelists from a previous, more thoughtful, panel on religious liberty which defended the religious rights of American Muslims.  Also speaking was North Carolina congressional candidate Ilario Pantano, who said he was once charged with murder for killing terrorists in Iraq [charges were dropped] and who denounced “political correctness run amok.” Pantano praised discredited “historian” David Barton for telling the “truth” about America’s founding and called the misnamed “Ground Zero Mosque” a “desecration of an American holy site and an American national battlefield.”

Civics Education = David Barton, the Bible, and American Exceptionalism

In a panel on civics education, Matthew Spalding, VP for American Studies at Heritage Foundation praised the battle over textbook standards in Texas, in which David Barton and other Religious Right activists pushed to infuse far-right ideology into social science books.  

Those are the battles that matter, especially big states because they control the textbooks. Texas had a great battle, and the media hated it, the left went crazy, but it’s an extremely reasonable curriculum improvement, and they focus on very good things. It’s a solid, good model….Civic education is not just in the classroom. You must understand the effect that public discussion about these questions, about history and about the meaning of our country affect politics, politics affects elections, elections affects state boards and things that make the curriculum.

Another panelist, Larry Schweikart, author of Patriot’s History of the United States, argued that civics education must be grounded in “American exceptionalism.”

All of the founders understood that the bible and biblical virtues were necessary to a good education, and a civic order. So once again it comes down to those four pillars of American exceptionism: common law, a predominantly Christian religion, property rights, and free markets.

 Limit Government, Not Campaign Speeches

One of the final sessions before Sarah Palin’s closing remarks was intended to give a number of congressional candidates challenging Republican incumbents the chance to make 5-minute speeches.  A couple candidates were shortchanged by the fact that Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock, running to unseat Sen. Richard Lugar, took about twice as much as his allotted time and Ted Cruz, running against Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the GOP Senate primary, ran even longer. 

Mourdock devoted his speech to the need for conservatives to “conquer”  - conquer the media, educators, advocates of reproductive choice, big-spenders, anyone who thinks America is just an “average” nation, and all who “wish to crush our traditional American values,” presumably including 35-year Senate incumbent Lugar.  Repeated Mourdock again and again, “Conquer we must!”

Cruz, who was also given time at last year’s Awakening Conference at Liberty University, argued that liberty is under assault like never before, that President Barack Obama is the “most radical president this country has ever seen,” and that the U.S. Senate is the key battleground.  Cruz, who hopes to follow in the electoral footsteps of Florida’s Marco Rubio, is like Rubio the child of Cubans who came to the U.S. in the 1950s.  Cruz brags that he is the only candidate this year supported by all four of his favorite senators: Jim DeMint, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Pat Toomey, and called his primary “ground zero” in the battle between the Tea Party and the GOP’s “moderate establishment.”

 

Michael Keegan Speaks with Al Sharpton about White Nationalists at CPAC

On Wednesday, PFAW sent out an alert urging the GOP presidential candidates speaking at this week's Conservative Political Action Conference, to denounce the views of a white nationalist leader who had been invited to speak on a panel at the same event.

No GOP leaders have spoken up yet.

Last night, PFAW president Michael Keegan joined Rev. Al Sharpton on MSNBC's PoliticsNation to discuss why a figure like Peter Brimelow is welcomed to the premier event of the conservative movement:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

 

PFAW's researchers and bloggers will be monitoring the conference through Saturday...you can follow their reports over at Right Wing Watch.

PFAW
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