Michele Bachmann denounced immigration reform in her speech at CPAC today, warning that "Wall Street and big business" are "clamoring for amnesty" in order to turn the US into "a country of dependency and the welfare state."
South Dakota state representative Jenna Haggar gave a spectacularly awkward speech to CPAC yesterday, in which she said that President Obama and his "big government progressive policies" are using "handouts and welfare" to make "generations of Americans dependent on the government."
Haggar, who serves alongside her father in the State House, said that unlike Americans today, the people who settled South Dakota and the Midwest never needed government aid (she may want to read about the Homestead Acts).
Obama is changing American values, Haggar added, lamenting that "we live under the imperial president His Highness Barack Hussein Obama, mmm mmm mmm."
Right-wing talk show host Michael Medved told a CPAC panel sponsored by Focus on the Family today that same-sex marriage has never been banned. While debating the issue of marriage equality with Alexander McCobin of Students for Liberty, Medved claimed, “There’s never been a state in this country that has ever banned gay marriage, that’s a liberal lie.”
Medved seemed to be citing the Religious Right talking point that marriage bans aren’t discriminatory since a gay person could marry someone of the opposite sex, which is the same arguments once made by opponents of the legalization of interracial marriage.
Billionaire Foster Friess, the conservative mega-donor who propped up Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign and suggested that women put aspirin between their knees as a form of contraception, introduced Rick Santorum at CPAC today, where he said that the former Pennsylvania senator was the most persecuted man there: “If any of us in this room has received more persecution than Rick Santorum, I don’t know who you are. This guy just knows what he believes, knows his heart and is willing to take the grief that people throw at him.”
RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.
This week, here at Right Wing Watch we have been monitoring the Conservative Political Action Conference, the American Conservative Union’s annual summit that has been packed with typical right-wing blustering over taxes, Benghazi, Ronald Reagan, not to mention plenty of good old fashioned anti-government conspiracy theories:
5) Wayne LaPierre’s American Nightmare
NRA head Wayne LaPierre told CPAC attendees yesterday that “political and media elites” have conspired against gun owners and conservatives in general, working to “punish anyone who disagrees.”
“The media's intentional corruption of the truth is an abomination and NRA members will never, and I mean never, submit or surrender to the national media,” he said.
Even though crime rates have been falling steadily since the 1990s, LaPierre described his dark vision of an America in which happy and peaceful neighborhoods have been transformed into places of violence and death filled with “knockout-gamers.”
4) IRS Just As Bad As Deposed Leader Of Ukraine
Plenty of CPAC speakers have mentioned the crisis in Ukraine as a supposed failure of President Obama, but Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch went as far as comparing the Obama administration to the government of overthrown Ukrainian president and Putin ally Viktor Yanukovych.
Andy Kroll of Mother Jones reports that Fitton told attendees of CPAC’s “IRS Targeting Scandal: Protecting the Voice of the People” panel that Obama’s IRS, which has been falsely accused of targeting conservative groups, is operating much like how the Yanukovych government violently suppressed anti-government protesters: “People are dying in the streets in Ukraine. People being oppressed by the political regime. That's what the IRS was doing.”
3) Trump’s Immigration Solutions
Donald Trump seems to think Jimmy Carter is dead, and that the US may die too if Congress passes immigration reform. The real estate mogul told CPAC yesterday that immigration reform would mean that America would no longer exist, as immigrants flood into the country, destroy the GOP and “take your job.”
2) Muslim Brotherhood Infiltration of CPAC
Anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney hosted an alternative CPAC event yesterday, prompted in part by worries that the right-wing gathering has been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood through Republican activists such as Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan. Gaffney joined other conservatives in denouncing Norquist and Khan as Muslim Brotherhood agents who are advancing “civilization jihad” and undermining America.
Diana West yesterday took to WorldNetDaily to warn CPAC that Norquist and Khan are “a pair of influential men with track records of working with America’s enemies – Islamic organizations the U.S. government has linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and larger world of jihad.” She claimed that they are allied with those who hope “to destroy the United States and transform what is left into an Islamic-ruled land,” and pushed the Muslim Brotherhood “straight into the inner sanctum of the Bush White House.”
1) President Obama Is George Wallace
When the Justice Department challenged Louisiana’s voucher scheme over evidence that the program would resegregate the state’s schools, conservatives were unsurprisingly outraged. At CPAC today, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Religious Right leader Ralph Reed likened President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to segregationist Alabama governor George Wallace.
Dinesh D’Souza came to CPAC today to promote his new movie, “America,” and explain how President Obama is implementing an anti-American, anti-capitalist agenda.
D’Souza told the conservative conference that Obama believes “the free market system is based on theft” and seemed to be under the impression that Obama came up with the entire system of taxation: “Think about this, it’s almost like here you are at home, you’re watching TV, and a bunch of government guys show up at your door and they start taking your furniture and taking your car and you’re like, ‘What are you doing?’ They’re like, ‘You know your paycheck that you got last month? You didn’t earn that, you stole it, it doesn’t really belong to you.’ This is what, in a sense, we are up against.”
Speaking at CPAC, today, Ralph Reed defended Louisiana’s constitutionally dubious voucher program -- which the Department of Justice warned was resegregating schools -- by comparing President Obama to notorious segregationist George Wallace.
The Faith and Freedom Coalition head told CPAC today that Obama was harming black children and lifted from the spiritual “Go Down, Moses,” to tell Obama: “Let those children go!”
Reed also chastised “left-wing bullies” for defeating Arizona’s right-to-discriminate bill and completely misrepresented the Little Sisters of the Poor case.
Reed, who has been embroiled in an ethics scandal over conning Native American casinos, also demanded that Attorney General Eric Holder face impeachment for his pro-marriage equality stance.
In an appearance at CPAC today, Oliver North denounced President Obama for treating military service members like “laboratory rats in some radical social experiment” and “apologizing” for America. North insisted that the US “has nothing ever to apologize for, not once” in its entire history.
Later, North said that the GOP must remain firm in working to ban marriage equality and abortion rights just as abolitionists fought to end slavery, warning that “if we as conservatives cease to be a place where people of faith and those who believe in strong moral values can come, we will cease to be a political force in America.”
Mike Huckabee was only given ten minutes to speak at CPAC today, so he wanted to get right into talking about "the things that I know," foremost of which is that God created the United States and if the nation does not repent, it'll deserve to be destroyed just like Sodom and Gomorrah.
"If this nation forgets our God," Huckabee warned, "then God will have every right to forget us."
"There is no other way to explain our history," he continued, "other than by His hand of providence," adding that deep down in our hearts, most Americans know this to be true:
Speaking with Family Research Council president Tony Perkins on Washington Watch yesterday, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) explained that the recently unveiled Pentagon budget “has the effect of killing our young Americans in combat.”
He said President Obama is to blame for spending cuts because he probably doesn’t want to have a military anyway: “A real liberal in his heart doesn’t think you need a military anyway, I know people that would never admit that, but people I have served with here in the United States Senate, that’s the crisis we’re up against.”
A leading climate change denialist, Inhofe also took issue with spending on environmental projects.
“We really need global warming right now; we’re setting all kinds of records out in Oklahoma,” Inhofe joked, before arguing that federal funds “wasted on the global warming stuff” should have gone towards the military instead.
Perkins responded by arguing that President Obama and other Democrats “despise the military” because they support policies that have allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly.
“If you think back, the president set his sights on the military from the very beginning, pushing the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which was the beginning of the end of the military,” Perkins said.
He then repeated the false claim that end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is responsible for an increase in sexual assaults.
National Journal’s Alex Seitz-Wald reported yesterday on the high visibility at CPAC of those who want Ben Carson to run for president. The Draft Ben Carson for President Committee has a booth in the exhibit area and the shuttle bus I rode between the suburban Maryland conference center and downtown D.C. was plastered with a large banner urging Carson to run.
Carson, an African American pediatric neurosurgeon, has had a fervent right-wing following since he used his appearance with President Obama at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast to denounce political correctness and suggest that the Bible supports a flat tax. (He made the same case as CPAC last year.) Carson appeals to anti-government conservatives by calling to phase out government poverty assistance and let churches and other charities deal with the fallout. And he appeals to Religious Right activists by claiming there is a "war on God" in America and by denouncing homosexuality and opposing same-sex marriage. He has claimed that the IRS has targeted his family and associates and says the Obama administration is like the Gestapo and wants to shut down Fox News.
The National Journal quotes committee director Vernon Robinson saying that if Carson can draw just 17 percent of the black vote, “the Roosevelt Democratic coalition is destroyed” and it will be impossible for Democrats to win the White House.
Robinson makes the same case in a direct mail piece I received this week. The mailer itself unfolds into a Ben Carson poster, and includes letters from Robinson and from the group’s “national chairman” John Philip Sousa IV. “I am convinced that no 2016 Republican ticket can win without Ben Carson on it,” writes Robinson. “Only Ben Carson can get enough black votes to keep the Democrats from winning the White House.”
Sousa’s letter says Carson is the only candidate who can defeat Hillary Clinton, heal America and unite Americans. “Don’t just sit back and let the Republican establishment pick the next GOP nominee!” Sousa urges, taking direct aim at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie:
Besides, do you really want a candidate for President who is just another big spending Republican like Christie? And, can you really trust Christie who was pro-abortion before he was pro-life to nominate pro-life judges to the U.S. Supreme Court?
The simple truth is that moderates like McCain and Christie are sure to lose, while conservatives like Ronald Reagan and Ben Carson are sure to win.
Seitz-Wald reports that the committee to draft Carson raised $2.83 million in its first six months of operation.
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.”
Bryan Fischer threw down the gauntlet on his radio program today, declaring the fight against homosexuality to be the defining battle of our time.
Asserting that America's future will be determined by "whether the forces of light or darkness will prevail in the battle over special rights based on sexually deviant behavior," Fischer asserted that "everywhere that Big Gay gains ground, Christ is forced into retreat."
As such, everything hinges on this battle and if the "forces of sexual normalcy" win, then America will once again become a beacon of morality and decency for the entire world. But, Fischer warned, "if the forces of sexual deviancy prevail ... every part of our culture will be corrupted, it will be contaminated beyond repair and America ... will plunge the world into a moral abyss of darkness and depravity":
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.”
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":