Here Come the Conservatives

This is a town full of rituals, such as introducing presidents at State of the Union addresses so many times that Harry Truman once started speaking before being told his presence had to be announced again. And you’ve got the media dinner rituals, the most famous being the White House Correspondents fest where big name journalists drool all over the pricey shoes of Hollywood celebrities.

There’s the egg roll on the South Lawn, the Supreme Court’s first Monday in October and whatever those Masons are always doing in secret (their main temple actually holds the personal effects of J. Edgar Hoover, so who knows what’s going on with that).

cpacIn recent years a new ritual has taken hold – the annual gathering of hundreds of conservative fire breathers at what we insiders simply call CPAC, or the Conservative Political Action Conference sponsored the American Conservative Union. You get it, liberals not allowed. This bunch is so anti-liberal they’re still seething that Ted Kennedy got away with Chappaquiddick. And some believe (not making this up, have their email blasts to prove it) that Chelsea Clinton got a facelift to conceal that Web Hubbell is her real father.

Spread across this weekend the conference concludes with a much-covered straw vote where they boost the prospects of a potential presidential candidate and dash the hopes for others pining to become the favorite conservative martyr. Of course this all comes after the obligatory vote to re-elect Ronald Reagan to a seventh term.

In recent years either Ron Paul or son Rand have won the day, except on those occasions when Mitt Romney swooped in with barrels full of cash to persuade these predominantly Christian conservatives that Mormons are OK so long as your kid doesn’t marry one. But of course they’re taking no chances with Atheists, who were officially banned this year (for real) after somehow sneaking a booth into their exhibition hall last year.

This year brings subplots below the radar of presidential campaigning. One the media will be closely watching (while quietly snickering at these proceedings): Who’s more unpopular, John Boehner or Mitch McConnell? The tea partiers and other faithful here are really mad at both congressional leaders because they got in the way of shutting down the government, allowing their archenemy Barack Obama to continue running the country he took away from them.

Anti-tax high priest Grover Norquist will likely rise to condemn any Republican who dares not take his pledge to abolish poor people and anyone elderly who isn’t rich enough to fund a SuperPac.

With Russia’s hijacking of Crimea in the news, this year’s CPAC will be fertile ground for hawks to sprout wing. Surely one among the cavalcade of speakers from the ranks of right-wing radio hosts will propose grinding Moscow to glass with a nuclear cocktail. And of course, NRA bossman Wayne LaPierre will surmise that if more underage Americans had assault rifles Putin wouldn’t even think of invading a neighboring country.

On the presidential front, our ever-so-inventive political media will be looking for bits of string to keep on weaving their thread of choice these days: Is Chris Christie DOOMED! Will he ever rise above bridge gate to breathe oxygen and engage in normal human activity? Or will these conservatives embrace him because one thing they hate more than a moderate Republican like him is MSNBC, which is leading the press posse to pound him down in case he might emerge as a threat to Hillary. Still, this group, which didn’t invite Christie last year, remains angry at him for traitorously working with Obama to rebuild New Jersey after superstorm Sandy.

A lesser event will be monitoring the so-called comeback of Rick Perry (he’s even tried wearing glasses in photo ops to look smarter). Another will be whether Marco Rubio can get out of the immigration dog house after galling this bunch by proposing eternal life for illegals.

Ted Cruz can do no wrong with this crowd. Even a rendition of “Green Eggs and Ham” will get a standing ovation. Don’t count out Rick Santorum, who always delivers a head-wrenching sound bite for the media in front of believers, usually something involving his strange obsession with gay sex acts.

In a disturbing sign that this group might not be the powerhouse it thinks it is, the one potential contender who could probably be the instant frontrunner if he goes for it, Jeb Bush, is ducking CPAC, citing through aides unspecified “previous commitments.” In other words, he has to wash his hair and do his laundry that day.

As rituals go this one is actually one of my favs, sort of like watching an auto race where everyone crashes. And the best part is C-SPAN carries it all, so I can safely hide in my bunker and avoid direct exposure to Rush Limbaugh.

25 thoughts on “Here Come the Conservatives

  1. Woo Hoo -- Repeating last item on last thread since it applies to a great number of the CPAC people

    I’m still stewing about Issa’s performance. Talk about people you wish you had never met. The man is an absolutely horrendous sleaze and unfortunately, his constituents love him. He doesn’t deserve to be elected dogcatcher as it would be unfair to the dogs, but the US Congress is stuck with the self-aggrandizing crook. Any relative claiming to think he’s swell is a brainwashed victim in severe need of a sanity exam.

    Next time I’ll tell you what I really think of the man.

  2. My favorite CPAC reporting was when Maddow got in and interviewed the birchers and other farther than right righties.

  3. Make the CPAC leadership the official delegation for the Special Olympics. Immediately after the opening ceremony, this group, we can call them the “Phalange,” can go visit Crimea as an “Action Committee of Concerned Americans.”

  4. Good on Senator Reid for pointing out the Koch Brothers are unamerican
    and Elijah Cummings for pointing out so his Daryl Issa

    The Ronan Farrow show isn’t bad

  5. Why tks champ, have been in a writing mood lately, but this too shall pass when the snow melts and i can wander the streets again for groceries. Enjoying your radio link.

  6. The appeal of conservative ideas is simple: they rationalize and justify selfish behavior, greed, aggression, religious fanaticism, racism, and sexism.

    For people who resent it when they are criticized for behaving in this way, conservatism creates places they can go to an feel at home.

    The problem is that they then find themselves surrounded by like-minded people, people who would happily stab them in the back if it served their self-interest.

    A room full of conservatives is like a room full of hungry wolves.

  7. Christie was the first speaker at CPAC.

    The GOP should take note: if he runs they are going to need a bigger clown car.

  8. from thedailybeast

    CPAC: Come for the Crazy, Stay for the Party

    Virtual rifle ranges! Tug-o-war! Storm Troopers! And that was just the appetizer portion of what was served up at CPAC. For the main course, conservatives got a tasty helping of The Donald and the NRA’s gun-loving head honcho Wayne LaPierre. Ka-pow!

    Ever been to a wedding or family reunion where the event starts out reasonably genteel, then, as the hours roll by and the attendees start to get tired and/or drunk, things start to get weirder and rowdier? The opening day of CPAC was a lot like that. Plus firearms.

  9. more from that beastly funny article inked above

    ….when Mitch McConnell showed up on stage brandishing a rifle. (It was a gift for colleague Tom Coburn, who is retiring this year because of health problems.) The crowd was delighted. Alas, that was pretty much all that McConnell did that delighted them, because a) everyone at CPAC knows the minority leader increasingly loathes the right-wing of the party and is desperately smooching their backsides only because of that unfortunate primary battle brewing back in Kentucky, and b) McConnell is about as charismatic as a box of stale prunes.

  10. and your daily, also beastly funny, daily show

    Big Vladdy

    As troops enter Crimea, Vladimir Putin explains how easy it is to acquire Russian military uniforms

  11. Craig…. this column could be a script for a soap opera. The reason why soap operas can be so fun to watch is because they have no connection to reality.

    You just penned… As The Conservative Turns…

  12. CPAC, proving yet again that testosterone and tin foil hats are a dangerous combination.

  13. chloe, sorry for the birthday belatedness. here’s to you

    (and may those of us whose b-day’s not today share in these unbirthday wishes with you?)

  14. hope you stayed tune for the 2nd part of the daily show, the one titled

    Big Vladdy -- Semi-Delusional Autocrats

    Vladimir Putin brazenly invades Crimea, inspiring conservative pundits and making Obama seem like a weak, mom-jean-wearing dictator king. (05:26)

    fits in with the cpac discussion

  15. jamie, utsandiego story re your favorite critter

    Issa apologizes, skirts censure

    Vista rep says he has personally apologized for cutting off Rep. Elijah Cummings during hearing

  16. Craig can you explain the following: The Earned Income Tax Credit has recently become the darling of the conservatives as an alternative to raising the minimum wage, SNAP (food stamps) AFDC, WIC and every evil anti-poverty program devised by those socialist democrats and LBJ. (I say ‘recently’ but it was a fav of Ronald Reagan as well)

    But of all the anti-poverty programs, it looks to me like the EITC has the highest rate of fraud and overpayment — 23 to 26% compared to Snap’s rate of about 2%, for example. And to reduce this fraud and overpayment would require increased oversight by the IRS, which conservatives oppose, in fact they want to reduce funding of IRS enforcement (partly as a result of the phony IRS 501 C scandal.) And, of course, the EITC is a tax expenditure, which adds to the dreaded deficit.

    SO, what’s the big attraction for EITC among the right? Or is it just like the individual mandate, an idea they promote before they decide its a communist plot?

  17. Ha! I knew there would be something good to read today, what with CPAC in session.

    The airwaves here are, thankfully, free of Ted Cruz’ whining in support of a candidate.

    At CPAC, his instance that moderating speech (if not beliefs) to win a campaign had done no good for Dole, McCain or Romney, well, look for a landslide Dem win if they pick the most Tea-baggery-ist candidate for their nom.

    Now, Jeb Bush may run this time…sure, why not?..but get prepared for George III.

    That’s right, George P. Bush has won the nom for TX Land Commissioner, which, here we go again with the gas & oil gangsters.

    It’s only a matter of time before he moves on up & eventually, runs for the WH himself.

    Heck, I do believe I saw his baby foot/handprints in the Childrens’ Garden at the WH, along with a half dozen other Bushes.

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