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Monday, February 13, 2012

CPAC Should Be Labeled NeoConPAC

Written by John F. McManus  
Monday, 13 February 2012 16:31

Having spent time at the past two CPAC conventions as an exhibitor with The John Birch Society, and having had the Society officially disinvited to attend in 2012, some thoughts about the latest right-wing beauty contest seem appropriate. But first, some reminiscences about our presence at two previous gatherings are worthy of space.

Perhaps the most memorable point in the 2010 event for me occurred when a pleasantly dressed middle-aged woman stopped in front of our booth, looked up at the signs naming it occupants as John Birchers, and blurted loudly, "Finally, some substance!" The very perceptive woman had already toured through many aisles where scores of "conservatives" were manning booths pushing "How to Play Poker," the need for a Flat Tax (without any guarantee that the current income tax would be abolished), and an array of "Citizens" for this cause or that fund-raising scheme. None of this frightened any liberal or leftist who had probably sneaked into the gathering with an assumed name.

This astute lady obviously had some awareness about JBS. She stopped to chat, thanked us for injecting some needed perspective about the real issues facing our nation, picked up one of the thousands of JBS packets we gave away, and moved on. Her comment that it was rare to find a group presenting really important perspective at the conference hit the nail on the head. Other than the popular Ron Paul booth, there wasn't much "substance" at CPAC beyond our large JBS booth.

In 2011, we tried again to get many attendees to realize that the Republican Party and a desire for undefined "conservatism" wasn't the route to salvation. Nor, we would tell the many attendees who spent a few moments at the Birch booth, were the so-called "conservatives" who were mere dabblers in the political arena. "The Constitution," we said over and over again to all who stopped to chat, "is the standard for Americans, not the ever leftward-shifting conservatism de jour" being offered by so many of CPAC's stars.

During our 2011 foray into CPAC's jungle of punch-pulling conservatives, one of the DC-area's right wing heavyweights stopped long enough at our station to finger the prominently displayed JBS exposé of William F. Buckley. The 250-page book outlining Buckley's betrayals from his days in the CIA, and his backing of the Panama Canal giveaway, Henry Kissinger, legalized prostitution, Keynesian economics, foreign aid for the USSR, gun control, abortion, the Council on Foreign Relations (which he proudly joined in 1974), and more fills the pages of William F. Buckley, Jr.: Pied Piper for the Establishment.

The well-known Washington Insider especially didn't like the very presence of our book about the man deemed a great hero by CPAC-type conservatives. He said, "You shouldn't be displaying this." I asked why and noted that no one had ever pointed to an error in its heavily document pages. I gently asked, "Have you read it?" His response, accompanied with a sneer, was, "No, and I don't intend to." Off he went in a huff. Did he have a role in the decision to disinvite JBS for the 2012 event? Probably.

Several months before this 2011 CPAC extravaganza, I attended its planning session in DC chaired by the then-CPAC chairman, American Conservative Union's David Keene. (The ACU sponsors the annual event.) After 2011, Keene stepped aside and has been succeeded by Al Cardenas, a member of Miami's Cuban-American community. It was a member of the Cardenas staff whose letter disinvited JBS without any reason for the move being given.

At this 2011 planning session when all kinds of issues and individuals were being proposed for inclusion at the coming event, I listened for almost two hours and finally raised my hand to offer a suggestion. Identifying myself as an executive with The John Birch Society, I stated to the 50-plus attendees, "I've listened to all the suggestions for the conference and I haven't heard one word about the danger to our nation posed by membership in the United Nations. I think there should be at least a panel devoted to the need to 'Get us out'  [of the UN] and I'll be very happy to speak about the world body." I was immediately told, "That's a great suggestion. Let's talk more about it later." But later never came. As my suggestion descended more deeply into CPAC's memory hole, I began to wonder whether JBS should even lend its good name to this less-than-substantive gathering,

Whether to attend or stay away in 2012 having been decided for us, we didn't go to CPAC this year. Instead, we read reports about the bickering going on among GOP front-runners Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich from the podium. Obama's team surely took notes. After winning the conference's straw pool in 2004 and 2008, Ron Paul wasn't in attendance this year, spending the weekend in Maine prior to that state's caucus where he placed a close second to Mitt Romney. This year's CPAC straw poll showed Romney winning a squeaker with 38 percent to Santorum's 31, and Gingrich's 15. Romney desperately needed a win after upstart Santorum's three-state triumph earlier in the week. The former Massachusetts governor got his victory — barely.

What emerged from CPAC in 2012 were claims by the three on-stage candidates that no one is a more intensely "conservative" than they. Romney, whose compulsory medicare law in Massachusetts became the template for ObamaCare, portrayed himself as "severely conservative" and a man who "has lived conservatism" throughout his life. He boasted that he's the only candidate in the GOP race "who has never worked in Washington." Romney's waffling over the years about bailouts, abortion, gay marriage, immigration, and continues to make many back-home voters wonder if he can be trusted, while the kind of record he has delights the Democrats planning Obama's reelection campaign.

Santorum continued providing talking points for Democrats with his attacks on his GOP opponents. He insisted that he is the undisputed champion of conservative "principles," but he carries such baggage of having a less-than stellar record as a senator for 12 years. When in office, he relied on earmarks and supported arch-liberal Arlen Specter in a Pennsylvania senate primary over a man even more conservative than he is. As for the "principles" he claims are his and conservative's bedrock, there really aren't any because neoconservatism's socialists and internationalists have taken over what used to be the issues for topmost conservatives. Undeclared wars, enormous indebtedness, and continued socialistic meddling in the affairs of every American are some of the identifying neocon stands.

Gingrich, who earlier had stated that no "decent American" should support Ron Paul, took a big hit a few days before CPAC with a poor showing in Florida. He has made Americans from coast to coast wonder about the $10 million his campaign received from a Las Vegas casino mogul. He should be remembered as the war-hawk who wanted immediate U.S. military strikes against Libya and then claimed "I would not have intervened." Over recent years, he accepted $1.6 million in fees from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac only to insist as he became a candidate that the two mortgage giants should be examined and downsized because they operated under "insane" policies. That each should never have existed in the first place isn't the position of the former House Speaker. A veteran member of the sovereignty-compromising Council on Foreign Relations, Gingrich can hardly claim to be an alternative to the ruling Establishment. His leftist leanings started early when a conservative stalwart like Barry Goldwater sought the GOP nomination in 1964. Gingrich was an up-front supporter of Nelson Rockefeller, the epitome of what is now known as the neoconservative.

CPAC for 2012 closed with a crowd-pleasing speech from Sarah Palin who attacked Obama, not fellow Republicans. Her stands for God, strong defense, guns, and the sanctity of babies in the womb drew lots of applause. There were some who wished she had thrown her bonnet into the 2012 race. At the mention of John McCain who brought her to national intention as his running mate in 2008, a fairly large chorus of boos could be heard.

All in all, it was another conservative celebration where most of the participants failed to realize that being conservative isn't what Americanism is all about. For decades, conservatism hasn't been defined. True Americans rely on the Constitution whose definition is clearly presented in its few pages. Once having these under one's belt, the deficiencies in most who call themselves conservatives today become obvious.

The Constitution makes clear that federal involvement in education, energy, commerce, and other expensive and destructive bureaucratic nightmares isn't something to reform, it's something to abolish. The Constitution, occasionally referenced by most GOP candidates and a few at CPAC, has neither been studied nor obeyed by most, and also doesn't allow for a Federal Reserve. These are the issues that Ron Paul wants discussed, but they rarely got mentioned throughout the debate season and during CPAC.

CPAC's new leaders were surely happy that he stayed away this year. And they must have enjoyed not having The John Birch Society injecting "substance" into what has become a neoconservative celebration.
Source @TNA

Related: Ron Paul Exposes Neo Conservatives A.K.A. NEOCONS (2003) - video