|CPAC: The Good—Ann Coulter||The Bad and The Ugly—ACU chairman Al Cardenas|
They have learned nothing. They have forgotten nothing. They are doing nothing. And they may win by default.
Thus is the state of “the movement” at the Conservative Political Action Conference 2014 Anno Domini.
Much was the same as the year before. Once again, ACU organizers did their best to prevent any dissent against their preferred policy of Amnesty. Once again, speakers used militant rhetoric on tangential issues. Once again, there were laughable efforts at minority outreach, greeted with hooting scorn by an openly hostile Main Stream Media. And once again, the only person who bluntly told the truth about the dispossession of the historic American nation was Ann Coulter.
One MSM mini-meme for this year’s CPAC: “sanity” (as defined by Leftists) has been restored to CPAC. This was duly dissected by VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow, whose appearance in 2012 seems to have been nominated as the nadir by whatever replaced Journolist.
The problem, of course: the goal posts for “racism” keep being moved. Thus the collection of clickbait clichés known as Gawker dispatched one Gabrielle Bluestone who duly kvetched that “on the second day of CPAC, all of the main speakers are white men.” [A Sea of White: Day Two at CPAC, by Gabrielle Bluestone, Gawker, March 7, 2013] (Like the demographic that created the country.)
CPAC did try its usual tactic of presenting a Great Black Hope—in this case, Dr. Ben Carson, who received a raucous reception. Conference organizers also tried to head off race-baiting stories with panels on minority outreach—unfortunately for them, no one showed up, at least not at the beginning of the panel. Thus, liberal journalists were able to write triumphalist stories about how CPAC is neglecting diversity. The smug John Hudak gloated
“The diversity panel is the path to the party being successful and making inroads into traditionally Democratic groups. If the GOP wants to see the Democratic Party struggle to elect a president, they should win 20% of the African American Vote or 50% of the Latino vote…If the attendance pictured above reflects the party’s future approach to diversity outreach, it is probably safe to say that for some the given future, the White House will be a solid hue of deep blue.”
[Live from CPAC: The Most Important Panel Everyone Missed, by John Hudak, Brookings Institution, March 6, 2014]
The deliberate exclusion of immigration patriots was intensified this year—as Rosemary Jenks of NumbersUSA put it, CPAC has become a “kind of the corporate elites playground instead of [about] conservative principles. [Immigration hardliners: No room for us at CPAC, by Jackie Kucinich, The Washington Post, March 7, 2014]. The Huffington Post celebrated that “Cuban-born lawyer and lobbyist Al Cardenas has invited several Latino activists and leaders to take part in panels and immigration and health care.” [CPAC, Once Again An Obstacle To GOP Attempts To Soften Message, Shows Signs of Moderation, by Jon Ward, Huffington Post, March 6, 2014]. (See here for more disgusting details on corruptocat Cardenas.)
However, there was an odd defensiveness about the entire conference this year. The organizers seemed to be just phoning it in. Thus the predictably-stacked immigration panel was largely a repeat of last year’s and the response was tepid.
More important than what was said was what was not said. Last year, Conservatism Inc. was obviously backing Senator Marco Rubio as its presidential favorite for 2016, even to the point of Al Cardenas saying ludicrously that he had “literally” tied with Rand Paul when he finished a close second in the straw poll.
In contrast, this year there were very few conference attendees promoting Rubio’s run in 2016. His straw poll showing utterly collapsed, declining seventeen points and finishing at a dismal 6%, behind the likes of Chris Christie and Rick Santorum. [CPAC 2014: Rand Paul wins the straw poll, as Marco Rubio’s support collapses, by David Weigel, Slate, March 8, 2014] A clearly cowed Rubio didn’t even mention immigration during his lengthy CPAC address.
More to the point, though immigration patriots were cut off, there were no explicit, enthusiastic appeals for Amnesty from any of the main speakers. Rand Paul, who is skillfully positioning himself as the 2016 favorite, stuck to safe territory of bashing eavesdropping by the NSA. Mike Huckabee talked about God, Rick Santorum talked about appealing to workers, Chris Christie faked opposition to Barack Obama and Newt Gingrich gave vague platitudes about big ideas. No one tried to position themselves as the candidate who could win Hispanic voters.
And it was still taken for granted by other speakers that opposition to Amnesty is a standard part of the conservative platform.
Sarah Palin said, “No Republican lawbreaker can get elected promising… rewarding lawbreakers—Amnesty.” [Sarah Palin bashes establishment GOP in CPAC keynote speech, by Breanna Deutsch, Daily Caller, March 8, 2014]
And Michele Bachmann
“Was greeted with roaring approval Saturday when she warned conservatives not to engage with Democrats seeking a bipartisan immigration plan. ‘The last thing conservatives should do is help the president pass his number-one goal, and that’s Amnesty,’ she said.”
[As CPAC ends, rival Republican factions remain adamant in opposition, by Robert Costa, Washington Post, March 8, 2014]
Even Donald Trump, given (or buying?) a main stage speaking slot, ripped Marco Rubio for wanting to “let everyone in” and asserted: “Immigration. We're either a country or we're not. We either have borders or we don't.”
Hostile reporters, who come to CPAC explicitly to point-and-splutter at quotes like this, have been howling ever since. [Trump Attacks Rubio For Supporting ‘Amnesty’ in Front of Entire CPAC Audience, by Igor Bobic, Talking Points Memo, March 6, 2014]
And finally, Ann Coulter launched a devastating attack on mass immigration that managed to get past the CPAC gatekeepers. After her performance last year, the ACU made sure that she would be forced into a debate. Luckily, her liberal interlocutor was Mickey Kaus—which allowed both panelists to laugh about the stupidity of mass immigration and how it obviously hurts the GOP.
Democrats have a perfectly good reason to be for Amnesty, which is craven ethnic pandering that's going to ensure our power for the next two generations, but what is the Republican excuse?
Coulter daringly pointed out that only MSNBC seems to have noticed—and celebrated—the "browning of America," adding "but if you don't celebrate it, you're a racist."
Missing the point, the Huffington Post and author Elise Foley (who has built a career out of point-and-splutter) are shrieking that Coulter is condemning the “browning of America,” which can only be noticed by those who support it. [Ann Coulter At CPAC: Democrats Want Immigration Reform For ‘Warm Bodies, More Votes,’ March 8, 2014]
Coulter ended with:
“Amnesty is for ever, and you gotta vote for the Republicans one more time, but just make it clear, ‘If you pass Amnesty, that’s it. It’s over. Then we organize the death squads for the people who wrecked America.’”
[Where is the C in CPAC, by Jared Taylor, American Renaissance, March 8, 2014]
As gratifying as this was to hear, it may have been pearls before swine. There was some applause, but the crowd seem mostly confused. To many older CPAC goers, the main priority is winning elections. To younger Paulista CPAC attendees, immigration is an irrelevant issue, far behind drug legalization, gay marriage, and making sure Republicans are not called racist.
The result was a kind of strange malaise, an ideological emptiness at the center of CPAC. The young libertarians who are taking over CPAC have open disdain most older members of the “movement,” loudly sneering and hissing during speeches by Rick Santorum and rolling their eyes at the antics of Sarah Palin and the like. The kind of implicit whiteness that the Beltway Right has depended on won’t work much longer, because many young movement activists believe they have no attachment to anything but a Politically Correct abstract code of “liberty.” This is paradoxical, of course, because the Paul movement is itself implicitly white.
As for Tea Party activists and older conservatives, they are leaderless. Despite the GOP’s advantage heading into the midterm elections, conservatives are hard pressed to say what they are for, rather than what they are against.
Nor was there enthusiasm (except for Rand Paul) in CPAC exhibit halls this year, something not helped by the ACU’s over-the-top money grubbing, which discouraged side panels and independent discussion of ideas. While 2,930 registrants voted in the CPAC straw poll last year, just 2,459 participated voted this year, almost 500 fewer.
But it may not matter. Barack Obama’s flailing second term and the unappetizing prospect of another Clinton Administration means that the GOP may win by default. CPAC’s reduced emphasis on Amnesty this year suggests that Conservatism Inc. has given up trying to convince the base and is hoping to finesse it with repression and sleight-of-hand, perhaps in the lame duck session. And the contradiction between neocon-coached Establishment hawkishness and Paulista isolationism—even though Rand Paul has been trying to appease the Israeli Lobby—is muted by the fact that Paulistas see Russia as white and anti-gay, thus more suitable for intervention.
The unedifying spectacle of CPAC 2014 revealed an opulent ruin. The historic American nation is on the brink of demographic disaster, but this is resulting in no soul-searching on the part of the Beltway Right.
Instead, Conservatism Inc. is operating like it is business as usual.
If there is hope for the historic American nation, it will not be found at the Gaylord National Resort.
James Kirkpatrick [Email him] is a Beltway veteran and a refugee from Conservatism Inc.