Feb 11th, 2012
The annual Conservative Political Action Conference is always interesting to watch. In this election year, it's essential viewing. Coinciding with the ugliest primary battle the GOP has had in living memory as well as a rapidly widening disconnect between Republican elites and their own base, the 2012 gathering is predictably reactionary.
As TPM reports, there is a lot of gloom in the room. Reinforcing what we've seen over the last week, the elites who have hijacked the mantle of American conservatism are intent on using CPAC 2012 to reignite the American "culture wars" of the 1990s.
If there is any unifying theme, it is that of "conservative" and white victimhood. Marco Rubio kicked off the conference and made a point to continue misrepresenting the Constitutional issues involved in the recent contraceptive flap.
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) compared governmental regulation of things like food safety and the environment to the former East-German secret police. Rep. Michele Bachmann promoted the popular falsehood that President Obama is an enemy of Israel. Former Presidential hopeful Herman Cain called for a "revolution" of "brains." The irony is rich.
Brian Tashman reported on Thursday about a particular panel which Rep. King participated in:
"Today at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the group ProEnglish organized the panel, "The Failure of Multiculturalism: How the pursuit of diversity is weakening the American identity," and host Robert Vandervoort thanked CPAC for hosting the panel despite the work of "leftist thugs" who are trying to "shut down freedom of speech and freedom of assembly." Vandervoort is a former leader of the White Nationalist group Chicagoland Friends of the American Renaissance, a racist magazine published by fellow White Nationalist Jared Taylor. Presumably, Vandervoort was referring to the efforts of theInstitute for Research & Education on Human Rights, which issued an alert on his background, and People For the American Way, which called on Republican leaders attending CPAC to denounce another panelist, Peter Brimelow, founder and head of the White Nationalist hate website VDARE.
In 2009, Brimelow reflected on CPAC after "Obama’s racial-socialist coup" and expressed his fear that the U.S. is doomed to face a "minority occupation government." He called on the Republican Party to start focusing on becoming the party of white voters by attacking "ethnic lobbies," affirmative action, bilingual education and "taxpayer subsidies to illegal aliens."
Indeed, since the ascension of CPAC's new Chairman, Al Cardenas, the gathering has devolved to the point that gay Republicans have been excluded... but white nationalists and racial supremacists get a panel.
TPM has a wrap of day one here
Progressives should take heart. There is no way to pivot back to the center from the positions presented this year.