Live From Washington: Conservatives Clash at CPAC's Political Circus
I already posted about this amazing interaction I observed: a conservative Jewish man gave me this “Obama and the War Against the Jews” book, and then three minutes later he got into an argument with two old-time straight-up-bigot-style conservatives who said, “Jews are the most oppressive people ever” and other ethno-religiously disparaging remarks. The right-wing pro-Israel guy then threatened to beat up the anti-Semites and the anti-Semites, who looked like traveling salesmen and were wearing Ron Paul Campaign for Liberty stickers, threatened to call security and “have his booth shut down in five minutes.”
CPAC is a political circus, and an odd and tenuous ceasefire is observed between more old guard and neo-con conservatives and the legalize-drugs-stop-the-war-gold-standard Ron Paul youth mob. And many many other stripes.
Lots of USA flag-themed clothing. But also a woman with purple hair and a sticker for antiwar.com, a conservative anti-war website and lots of libertarian college students. I saw another woman wearing a t-shirt that reads “Cops Say Legalize Drugs—Ask Me Why.”
Amongst the more traditional conservative crowd, aspiring young men address their elders with “sir!” The big, free, and yellow NRA tote bags look very closely modeled on the ones that you shop with at Ikea. Iowa Representative Steven King, who is currently leading a House investigation of American Muslims, regrets the Founding Father’s priorities, arguing that the “Second Amendment should have been the first.”
There is a man in one session who pronounces “legislature” like it begins with the word “leg”—maybe seven times.
The lamestream-mainstream liberal media came in for a lot of abuse, of course, suggesting that the teeming masses of journalists in attendance are gluttons for the punishment. “The media ought to be ashamed of itself,” many many many speakers blared. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa. But there’s free coffee, pastry and bananas.
Walking into the Citizens United (the massive right-wing film operation that won the Supreme Court case overturning campaign finance rules) blogger lunch, I’m looking for the free lunch but am instead greeted by a man in an ape suit wearing a sign that says “Debt.” I get that this is a sign opposing deficit spending but I just don’t get the concept overall—but no matter. Food. I pick up the bag marked veggie, though I’m slightly concerned that I am outing myself in a pretty obvious way. “I eat meat,” I would say. “I just also like vegetables.” Are these bags poisoned? Newt Gingrich is talking.
How to make it into Hollywood as a right-wing person. At this session, there are whispers back and forth. “There are so many cars that they’re sending people down to the zoo and making them take the shuttle.”
“Oh! I saw your tweets!” another girl exclaims.
I always hate sitting in a room waiting for a meeting or event to start. But never as much as this. The room is small and packed with at least forty people, and the atmosphere is chummy. I’m dreading the moment the young woman in the seat next to me makes an introduction.
My last event was interrupted by a live feed of Donald Trump’s surprise speech, where he announced that he might run for president. Because he is successful. And successful people should notbe scared away from seeking higher office by jealous and defeated people. That is what’s wrong with America. He suggested that we raise taxes on “other countries” instead of on Americans. I’m not sure how that squares with other countries’ taxation authority, but it was an applause line—though not for Ron Paul people. Trump made a promise: elect him president and the rest of the world won’t have America to kick around anymore.
He then he said, “By the way: Ron Paul cannot be elected. I’m sorry to tell you that.”
Boooo!!!!! I was near the Ron Paul youth mob.
Finally, Dick Cheney presented Donald Rumsfeld with a “Defender of the Constitution” award, which qualifies the Bush Administration for second time as farce.
I have only heard George W. Bush mentioned once by name, unlike Reagan. Reagan. Reagan. Birthday cakes, stamps and commemorative lectures. Visit the ranch!
And unlike Reagan, whose face is everywhere, Bush’s visage is just not here. Anywhere.
Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were both met with thunderous applause save for grumblings and a few heckles from the Ron Paul crowd. It seems that people on the right have thrown Bush under the bus: they blame W for whatever went wrong and can then conserve people like Cheney and Rumsfeld as movement icons.
I don’t even have time to delve into Rep. Michelle Bachmann’s opening remarks. More reporting soon.