CPAC Craziland

Notables of the Republican Party meet this weekend in Orlando, Florida, in their annual showcase of conservatism, The Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC. In keeping with the latest Republican buzz-phrase, “cancel culture,” the theme for CPAC2021 is “America Uncanceled.” Judging by the offerings on this year’s CPAC Agenda “Uncanceled” is code for Republican whining that Trump’s Big Lie that the election was stolen from him isn’t accepted as God’s truth by the entire populace. The forces “cancelling” his Big Lie consist of some sinister cabal of a Deep State that happens to include Republican-appointed judges, Republican Secretaries of State, and pedophilic, baby-eating, and, worst of all, socialist Democrats. I’ve never been a fan of CPAC, but at least in its early years (founded in 1974), back when featured speakers included the like of Ronald Reagan, there were ideas expressed from the podium, not just grievance at having been shunned by reasonable people.

If you are puzzled by “Why [it’s] ‘cancel culture’ when Josh Hawley loses his book contract after cheerleading an insurrection, but not when Colin Kaepernick gets drummed out of the NFL for protesting racism?” then I strongly recommend reading Doug Muder’s article, “Why You Can’t Understand Conservative Rhetoric.” 

The webpage for the agenda of CPAC2021 loaded properly for me only once despite multiple attempts using two different browsers. That one time allowed me to confirm several of the CPAC sessions highlighted in John Fea’s post of February 23rd, “What you can expect at CPAC this weekend” that I have pasted below. You can’t make this stuff up. This is craziland. But remember that prominent Republican Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) recently still could not bring himself in an interview to allow that Joe Biden won the election. (Did the injuries he suffered in the shooting in 2017 affect his ability to reason or has he always been this way?)

Yes, Trump will be at the big MAGA event this weekend. If you’re going, you can choose to attend one of these sessions:

Ted Cruz’s talk is titled “Bill of Rights, Liberty, and Cancel Culture.”

Deroy Murdock of Fox News will speak on “Voting is Democracy: Why we Must Protect Elections”

Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama will join a panel on the subject “Protecting Elections: Other Culprits: Why Judges & Media Refused to Look at the Evidence”

Fox News’s Jason Chaffetz’s talk is titled “The Left Pulled the Strings, Covered It Up, and Even Admits It”

Radio talk show host Ben Ferguson will “emcee” a session titled “The Left’s Assault on a Free People: How Government, Big Tech, and Media are Colluding to Deprive Us of Our Humanity.” Matt Gaetz and Charlie Kirk will also be part of this session.

Florida Senator Rick Scott’s talk is titled “The Way Forward: Unlocking Our Churches, Our Voices, and Our Social Media Accounts.”

Donald Trump Jr. will give a speech titled, “Reigniting the Spirit of the American Dream.”

Former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kirk will be part of a session titled “Same Badge, Different Beat: To Protect and Serve Or Socialist Social Workers?

Two Congressman, Mark Green and Jody Hice, will be part of a session titled “Who’s the Boss, Where’s My Applesauce? Who’s Really Running the Biden Administration?”

Devin Nunes will be featured in a session titled “California Socialism: Promising Heaven, Delivering Hell”

Utah congressman Burgess Owens will be part of a session titled “In the Left’s Own Words: ‘Disrupting the Nuclear Family.”

Kevin McCarthy will be part of a session titled “Winning Back America”

Several attorneys will be part of a session titled “Did Your Vote Count? Ask the Experts”

California congressman Darrell Issa will be part of a session titled “The Only Thing We Have to Fear is…Neera, Herself: How to Block a Tyrannical Administrative State.”

Someone named Jeff Brain will lead a session titled “So You’ve Been De-Platformed–What Now/

A session titled “Failed States” will focus on the election results in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Nevada.
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was founded in 1974 by the American Conservative Union (itself founded in 1964) and Young Americans for Freedom (founded in 1960). William F. Buckley Jr. (1925-2008) features prominently in the founding and intellectual underpinnings of these two organizations and of the last 70 years of American conservatism. A Yalie (like several articulate and some inarticulate conservatives, think GW Bush), Buckley was also the founder of the National Review in 1955, a magazine that became the intellectual flagship of American conservatism. To understand Buckley is to understand the trajectory of the Republican Party for the last 70 years. Throughout his life Buckley managed to hold off the extremists upon whom the Republican Party now depends. Buckley had a falling out with Robert Welch, the founder of the John Birch Society in the 1950s over Welch’s assertion that Dwight D. Eisenhower (a Republican) was part of  a communist conspiracy. Until Buckley died of a coronary in 2008, he succeeded in keeping the John Birch Society and like-minded conspiracy theorists at arms length from the Republican Party. It is more than a little telling that only two years after Buckley’s death, in 2010, one of CPAC’s sponsors was the John Birch Society–and now the Republican Party under Trump is rife with lies and conspiracy theories. 

Local hook: Caleb Collier, a man who figures prominently with Ken Peters and Matt Shea at the Covenant Church on Spokane’s near north side also serves as the executive field coordinator for the John Birch Society in 11 western states. (Collier is also a former council member of the City of Spokane Valley’s City Council.)

Keep to the high ground,