CPAC – Conservative Political Action Conference. It is an annual event attended by conservative activists and elected officials from across the United States. Its purpose? It depends on who you ask, but for the most part, it has none. It is a networking tool, much the same as business conferences, most of which are events where people go to make connections, to see and be seen. This is not a policy-making event, nor is it an official GOP event. It is more a social event, and in 2013, Republican Newt Gingrich said, “I don’t know what the purpose of CPAC is anymore.” The official purpose, stated by the American Conservative Union (ACU) is “combines ideas with action to leverage the strength of grassroots activists to break the resistance of Washington’s elites.” See … little or no purpose … I told you.
Typically, a non-event such as this would not make it onto my blog, as I have no interest in social meet-and-greets for conservatives. This year, however, is a bit different. First, it began with controversy, and second, it may provide an opportunity for some conservatives to voice frustration or opposition to Trump & Co. So, I have loosely followed the events.
The starting controversy came early this week when one of the scheduled speakers, extreme right-wing idiot Milo Yiannopoulos, was caught on tape “advocating for sexual relationships between ‘younger boys and older men.’” The poop hit the fan, CPAC quickly backed away from Milo, as did Breitbart, where Milo was a writer/editor … note the use of the word ‘was’, as he was forced to resign his position on Tuesday. Publishing house Simon & Schuster rescinded a book deal with Milo. But Milo apologized … not for his comments, but he said he was sorry for the way his comments were perceived. Earlier this month, University of California at Berkeley canceled a speaking engagement of his because of intense protests, prompting Donald Trump to tweet, “If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?” If you feel so inclined, you can read more about Milo’s troubles here, but for now, let’s move on to CPAC.
CPAC is scheduled to last from 22 February thru 25 February, though for the life of me, I cannot imagine what the entire gaggle of right-wingers could possibly discuss for four days!
The big news of the day seems to have been a joint interview with presidential advisor Steve Bannon and White House chief of staff Reince Priebus – two men who have reportedly not exactly gotten along splendidly in the first weeks of the administration. The press has taken to referring to these two as “the odd couple,” while I prefer to think of them as the dysfunctional duo. At any rate … the interview was conducted with American Conservative Union President Matt Schlapp. Here are a few ‘clippets’, along with Filosofa’s trademark snark:
SCHLAPP: And that’s what Donald Trump has done to so many of us around the country politically. And you guys have put together an amazing operation. You know, I know you all know this, but the last time a president came to CPAC in his first year, it was Ronald Reagan.
(APPLAUSE) St. Ronald in 1981. And you’ve put together this — the president has put together the most conservative Cabinet we’ve ever seen according to our CPAC ratings and I think a few of us are pretty happy about what looks like is going to happen on the Supreme Court too, so it’s a… (shoot me now!)
PRIEBUS: And it’s — it’s actually something that you all have helped build which is, when you bring together — and what this election showed and what President Trump showed, and let’s not kid ourselves, I mean I can talk about data and ground game and Steve can talk about big ideas, but the truth of the matter is Donald Trump — President Trump brought together the party and the conservative movement. (This from the man who did everything in his power as DNC chairman to stop Trump???)
And I’ve got to tell you, if the party and the conservative movement are together, similar to Steve and I, it can’t be stopped. And President Trump was the one guy — he was the one person and I can say it after overseeing 16 people kill each other (huh???), it was Donald Trump that was able to bring this — this party and this movement together. And Steve and I know that and we live it every day. Our job is to get the agenda of President Trump through the door and on pen and paper. (God save the queen!)
r, attacked me, you can’t spend the money on Trump, go give it to the Senate. (Now wait one cotton-pickin’ minute, Reince! YOU were, as I recall, dead set against Trump and YOU wanted to more appropriately spend money on the down-ballots!!! Don’t be a worm!)
SCHLAPP: He’s even — he’s even leaving bathrooms alone, that’s kind of a nice, refreshing thing for a lot of people as well. (No. Comment. From. Fiilosofa.)
Okay, I cannot deal with more, and there are a couple of other issues to cover, but if you wish to read the entire, bullshit transcript, you can do so here.
Then there was Betsy DeVos … newly-minted Secretary of Education in the Trumpian regime, who was forced, earlier this week, to support anti-LGBT legislation or else resign. She toed the line, albeit reluctantly. At the CPAC, she shifted blame to President Obama, saying, “This issue was a very huge example of Obama administration overreach, one-size-fits-all approach to issues best solved at personal and local level.” She does a nice job at parroting the party line, don’t you think? And “one size fits all”, Betsy? Yeah, actually, when it comes to civil rights, one size DOES fit all … the size of full equality for all!
But the really big news concerns white supremacist, Bannon-pal, Richard Spencer, who was kicked out of the convention!!! Read that last line again … kicked out! Richard Spencer, a founder of the alt-right movement that seeks a whites-only state and that strongly backed Donald Trump for president, was expelled from the Conservative Political Action Conference after being criticized from its main stage, then giving interviews to a growing crowd of reporters.
“People want to talk to me,” Spencer told NBC News from outside the Gaylord National Harbor complex. “They don’t want to talk to these boring conservatives. They want to learn about ideas whose time has come, not whose time has passed.” (And those would be ideas akin to … lynching? slavery? cotton plantations, white women fanning themselves and sipping lemonaide? fat white men making the rules under which we should all live?)
Spencer was stopped by JP Sheehan, a CPAC attendee wearing a black-and-gold Make America Great Again baseball cap. “Praise kek!” said Sheehan, posing for a selfie with Spencer and repeating a meme that had been adopted by the alt-right. “He’s the coolest guy.” The growing crowd attracted more nervous attention from security, and after a few more minutes, they arrived to expel Spencer.
“I’m not welcome on the property?” Spencer asked. “I’m not going to debate this,” said the guard. “This is private property. They want you off the property.” After Spencer asked if he could stay if he would simply “stay out of trouble,” he said a hashtag — “Free Spencer” — into the cameras, and posed for another photo as he was taken outside. If ever there was a figure reminiscent of a Hitler-esque rally, it is Spencer. Even the far right apparently realize he is toxic.
One important part of the CPAC is the annual straw poll vote which traditionally serves as a barometer for the feelings of the conservative movement. During the conference, attendees are encouraged to fill out a survey that asks questions on a variety of issues. I am eager to see the results of this one!
Last, but not least … would you like to attend the conference? Sorry, you are too late this year, but there’s always next year. Here is a price list, so you can start saving now:
“We offer several packages, ranging from our Platinum Package to the Day Pass.
Premium – Platinum – Call for Price
Premium – Gold – $5,000
Premium – Silver – $1,600
General Admission – $300
Senior – $150
Veteran – $150
Student – $85
One Day tickets – $150
CPAC is not much more than a convention of conservatives, a social gathering, but I thought it worth at least a single post this year, as this is … well, shall we just say ‘not your average year in politics’? And now, I move on to topics that actually have relevance …