10 Crazy Things Heard at CPAC, the Giant Right-Wing Confab
Photo Credit: © Jenny Warburg
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At the Conservative Political Action Conference, the large annual gathering of right-wing activists and followers, people say a lot of crazy things -- too many, in fact, for me to cram into a single story. So I’ve picked a random 10 -- random insofar as they were among those I came across both in my own time at this enormous conference in Oxon Hill, Md., at the Gaylord National Harbor Convention Center just outside of Washington, D.C., and in reading the work of my fellow journalists and muckrakers. The conference took place March 14 - 16.
Presented, in no particular order, are 10 statements worthy, at least, of an eyeroll.
1. Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana: Torture is funny. A featured speaker on CPAC's main stage, Jindal chose to make light this way of the barrage of political rhetoric CPAC attendees signed up to subject themselves to:
If the choice was to hear 70 political speeches or to go waterboarding, well, I’d have to think about that.
2. Charles Butler, conservative talk show host: Single-parent households the fault of women with an agenda "on the booty call." At a breakout session titled "Fatherless America: The Headwaters of Poverty, Crime & Social Dysfunction," Butler laid the problem of single-parent families squarely at the feet of women, who, he suggested, are essentially tricking men into have children they don't want (because apparently most men have never heard of condoms):
I’ve had two instances that were very close to me where this fatherless thing comes into play. Michael Jordan is a personal friend of mine -- Michael Jordan the basketball player, and a woman just filed a paternity suit against him for supposedly having this child out of wedlock. You have to understand that this woman that he had this child with, supposedly, was a sex instructor, so she clearly knew how babies got here. But she chose to have a baby because of money: Michael Jordan’s a multimillionaire. How many of you remember the slide on Sports Illustrated with a picture of a little baby and the caption, "Where’s my daddy?"
Well, these women chose to have babies on their own on the booty call. I just hate to break it down like that, but that’s exactly what happened. There was not two words mentioned: “love” or “marry.” Now, believe me, black men know how to ask someone to marry them...I’ve seen too many times when they’ve either been forced into marrying a woman they didn’t want to marry, or being an absentee father.
3. Pamela Geller, professional Islamophobe: I am the queen of substance -- unlike you birthers. Her claim to fame is the fearmongering she spearheaded over plans for an Islamic community center that was to have been built in a repurposed department store several blocks from the site of the World Trade Center, whose buildings were destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and more recently for hateful, anti-Palestinian ads she placed in bus shelters.
So when Geller was denied a speaking slot on the CPAC stage, she immediately claimed that Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, one of the conference sponsors, was in league with the Muslim Brotherhood, and her absence from the stage was evidence of the spread of Shariah law throughout America. And we haven't even gotten to the real crazy yet.
That happened when Orly 'Queen of the Birthers' Taitz turned up at the sideshow breakout panel to which Geller had been relegated, demanding to know why Geller's panel wasn't addressing the urgent issue of President Obama's birth certificate. Salon's Alex Seitz-Wald was in the room, and captured some of the excitement on video. From Salon's Jillian Rayfield: