CPAC

CPAC Anti-Choice Panel Pledges to "Drive" GOP's Agenda

CPAC’s anti-abortion rights panel “The Pro-Life Movement: Plans and Goals” was galvanized over the election of a Republican-led House, believing that the GOP leadership was committed to passing anti-choice legislation.

Hosted by Tim Goeglein, the head of Focus on the Family’s policy arm CitizenLink and a former Bush Administration staffer, the panel focused on attacking the health care reform law, Planned Parenthood, and Republicans who aren’t categorically anti-choice.

According to Goeglein, “the pro-life movement is becoming younger,” and the panel featured young leaders like Anna Franzonello of Americans United for Life, Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life, and activist Erin DeLullo.

Goeglein tried to balance his belief that the anti-choice movement was gaining support and energy with his fear that social conservatives may devolve into political obscurity and lose their place in the broader right-wing coalition. He said that smear-artist Lila Rose represents a “new generation” of the movement, but also anxiously insisted that the “pro-life and pro-traditional marriage” positions must “remain central to the conservative movement.”

DeLullo made the case that the anti-choice community needs to quickly mobilize against Republicans like Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels who proposed a “truce” on social issues. She maintained that the Club for Growth, a pro-corporate group best known for funding primary opponents against more moderate Republican incumbents, should serve as a model for a “permanent political organization” that is “dedicated fulltime to make sure the ‘anti-life’ vote is as suicidal as a vote to raise taxes.” “The right to life cannot be put on the backburner,” DeLullo said, arguing that the group must act now to stop “‘trucers’ like Mitch Daniels.” Of course, there are already a plethora of social conservative political action committees, but maybe DeLullo was making a plug for her own firm.

AUL’s Franzonello claimed that “abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women,” and discussed her vehement opposition to emergency contraception and legal exceptions for cases of rape and incest. She also floated the “death panel” conspiracy theory about health care reform, saying that the law jeopardizes the lives of “elderly and disabled persons,” along with pushing the debunked claim that it promotes taxpayer-subsidized abortions.

Later, Hawkins of Students for Life, a self-declared “abortion abolitionist,” discussed ways anti-choice groups can drive the conservative movement. She noted that while young voters tend to generally hold liberal and Democratic-leaning views, they tend to be more opposed to reproductive rights than prior generations. The abortion issue, Hawkins argued, gives right-wing organizations an opening among young voters. Hawkins said that young voters are increasingly opposed to legal abortion because “Planned Parenthood nearly snuffed us out of existence,” and then allegedly tried to coerce young women on college campuses to have abortions.

Hawkins lavished praise on “prayer warriors” and Lila Rose, calling her “a modern day muckraker” who will “go down in history” for her role smearing Planned Parenthood. She said that young anti-choice activists should embrace Rose’s tactics in order to get the attention of Republican politicians and Fox News, saying, “We can drive their agenda.”

CPAC Anti-Choice Panel Pledges to "Drive" GOP's Agenda

CPAC’s anti-abortion rights panel “The Pro-Life Movement: Plans and Goals” was galvanized over the election of a Republican-led House, believing that the GOP leadership was committed to passing anti-choice legislation.

Hosted by Tim Goeglein, the head of Focus on the Family’s policy arm CitizenLink and a former Bush Administration staffer, the panel focused on attacking the health care reform law, Planned Parenthood, and Republicans who aren’t categorically anti-choice.

According to Goeglein, “the pro-life movement is becoming younger,” and the panel featured young leaders like Anna Franzonello of Americans United for Life, Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life, and activist Erin DeLullo.

Goeglein tried to balance his belief that the anti-choice movement was gaining support and energy with his fear that social conservatives may devolve into political obscurity and lose their place in the broader right-wing coalition. He said that smear-artist Lila Rose represents a “new generation” of the movement, but also anxiously insisted that the “pro-life and pro-traditional marriage” positions must “remain central to the conservative movement.”

DeLullo made the case that the anti-choice community needs to quickly mobilize against Republicans like Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels who proposed a “truce” on social issues. She maintained that the Club for Growth, a pro-corporate group best known for funding primary opponents against more moderate Republican incumbents, should serve as a model for a “permanent political organization” that is “dedicated fulltime to make sure the ‘anti-life’ vote is as suicidal as a vote to raise taxes.” “The right to life cannot be put on the backburner,” DeLullo said, arguing that the group must act now to stop “‘trucers’ like Mitch Daniels.” Of course, there are already a plethora of social conservative political action committees, but maybe DeLullo was making a plug for her own firm.

AUL’s Franzonello claimed that “abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women,” and discussed her vehement opposition to emergency contraception and legal exceptions for cases of rape and incest. She also floated the “death panel” conspiracy theory about health care reform, saying that the law jeopardizes the lives of “elderly and disabled persons,” along with pushing the debunked claim that it promotes taxpayer-subsidized abortions.

Later, Hawkins of Students for Life, a self-declared “abortion abolitionist,” discussed ways anti-choice groups can drive the conservative movement. She noted that while young voters tend to generally hold liberal and Democratic-leaning views, they tend to be more opposed to reproductive rights than prior generations. The abortion issue, Hawkins argued, gives right-wing organizations an opening among young voters. Hawkins said that young voters are increasingly opposed to legal abortion because “Planned Parenthood nearly snuffed us out of existence,” and then allegedly tried to coerce young women on college campuses to have abortions.

Hawkins lavished praise on “prayer warriors” and Lila Rose, calling her “a modern day muckraker” who will “go down in history” for her role smearing Planned Parenthood. She said that young anti-choice activists should embrace Rose’s tactics in order to get the attention of Republican politicians and Fox News, saying, “We can drive their agenda.”

CPAC: Unions are ‘Enemies’ that are ‘Bleeding America Dry’

At a Saturday CPAC panel attacking public sector unions, the crowd cheered the news that the new Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, has set out to destroy public sector unions by moving to strip employees of collective bargaining rights.

Steve Malanga, an author affiliated with the right-wing Manhattan Institute, expanded the target list to include union allies -- community organizers and social service advocates who he decried as part of the “big government coalition.”
 
Tom McCabe from the Building Industry Association of Washington warned of the dangerous consequences of taking on unions and complained that unions and their political allies resisted and retaliated when his association began working to elect conservative politicians.
 
Vincent Vernuccio of the Competitive Enterprise Institute was incensed by the fact that public sector unions – which he urged people to call “government sector unions” – were actively engaged in the last election on behalf of their members. About the unions’ spending, he raged, “It’s the taxpayers’ money and you have no right to spend it to bloat state and federal budgets.”
 
Donald Devine seemed to spend most of his time recounting his glory days in the union-bashing Reagan administration. He reveled in the firing of the air traffic controllers, and said of unions and their supporters in business and academia, “We know who the enemy is – what we need in so much of public life is courage.” He urged CPAC attendees to give lawmakers courage to take on unions.
 
In a separate presentation on "Government Gone Wild," panelists complained about government spending and celebrated New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for "conducting a national seminar on how to beat the unions and the liberals."
 

CPAC: Unions are ‘Enemies’ that are ‘Bleeding America Dry’

At a Saturday CPAC panel attacking public sector unions, the crowd cheered the news that the new Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, has set out to destroy public sector unions by moving to strip employees of collective bargaining rights.

Steve Malanga, an author affiliated with the right-wing Manhattan Institute, expanded the target list to include union allies -- community organizers and social service advocates who he decried as part of the “big government coalition.”
 
Tom McCabe from the Building Industry Association of Washington warned of the dangerous consequences of taking on unions and complained that unions and their political allies resisted and retaliated when his association began working to elect conservative politicians.
 
Vincent Vernuccio of the Competitive Enterprise Institute was incensed by the fact that public sector unions – which he urged people to call “government sector unions” – were actively engaged in the last election on behalf of their members. About the unions’ spending, he raged, “It’s the taxpayers’ money and you have no right to spend it to bloat state and federal budgets.”
 
Donald Devine seemed to spend most of his time recounting his glory days in the union-bashing Reagan administration. He reveled in the firing of the air traffic controllers, and said of unions and their supporters in business and academia, “We know who the enemy is – what we need in so much of public life is courage.” He urged CPAC attendees to give lawmakers courage to take on unions.
 
In a separate presentation on "Government Gone Wild," panelists complained about government spending and celebrated New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for "conducting a national seminar on how to beat the unions and the liberals."
 

CPAC Immigration Panel: Readying the Fight to Save the GOP and White America

If there is one message to take away from CPAC’s panel on immigration, it’s that White America is in serious jeopardy and may soon succumb to immigration, multiculturalism, and socialism. The panel “Will Immigration Kill the GOP?” featured former congressmen Tom Tancredo (R-CO) and Virgil Goode (R-VA), Bay Buchanan of Team America PAC, and special guest Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA). The group Youth for Western Civilization sponsored the panel, and its head Kevin DeAnna was also a panelist. Youth for Western Civilization is a far-right group that regularly criticizes affinity groups on college campuses, especially those that represent black, Hispanic, LGBT, Native American, and Muslim students.

Tancredo, a star among anti-immigrant activists, started the event by claiming that he wasn’t bigoted against Latinos and that the majority of Hispanic Americans support him and favor Arizona’s draconian SB-1070 law. “I have a lot of people who have Hispanic last names who support me,” Tancredo told the jam-packed room, “I speak for most Americans.” The former congressman, who in 2010 received just 37% of the vote in his bid for governor of Colorado, claimed that the GOP should embrace his nativist politics because immigration is the “ultimate economic issue,” and even claimed that Hispanics supported him over his Democratic opponent, Governor John Hickenlooper.

Responding to a questioner who believed that Democrats would drop their support of immigration reform if immigrants were stripped of their right to vote, Tancredo said that even immigrants without voting rights still pose a grave danger to the country.

“No more of this multiculturalism garbage,” Tancredo said, adding that “the cult of multiculturalism has captured the world” and is “the dagger in the heart” of civilization.

Not to be out done, Goode maintained that immigration in general “will not only kill the GOP but will kill the United States of America.” He went on to say that Democratic politicians support undocumented immigration only in order to introduce “socialized medicine” and gain future voters. The Virginia firebrand maintained that the majority of Americans favor his fervently anti-immigrant views, and wanted every state to emulate Arizona’s SB-1070. He asked, “Who could really be against doing away with birthright citizenship?”

Both Tancredo and Goode agreed that U.S. citizens are now being treated unfairly as undocumented immigrants reap all the benefits of American society.

Tancredo claimed that undocumented immigrants “get better health care in detention centers than some of my constituents,” and Goode argued that “today, being a citizen means you’re second class.”

Later, Bay Buchanan said that Tancredo and his dogmatic Nativism represent a model increasingly followed by Republican politicians, including Sen. John McCain, once an advocate of reform, who she said became a “Tancredo disciple when he ran for reelection.” Buchanan also pointed to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s reelection to demonstrate that anti-immigrant politics can lead to Republican success at the polls, and said that every state should have a governor like Brewer.

DeAnna of Youth for Western Civilization gave a much darker outlook on the success of the Republican Party, and the country as a whole. He said that the “system is stacked against” the anti-immigrant movement, maintaining that an alliance of corporate and Republican elites is preventing the party from moving farther to the right on the issue of immigration. He warned of the rising tide of multiculturalism, especially among young people. “The Left gets power from multiculturalism,” DeAnna said, and “when you lose the culture you lose the policy too.”

He also argued that the GOP is “dead” in California because of the rising population of Latinos, and said that the Democratic Party and their allies in organized labor want further immigration to strengthen their electoral clout.

Rep. Lou Barletta was the final speaker before questions, and he discussed how he saved the city of Hazleton as mayor by cracking down on employers and landlords who do business with undocumented immigrants. “I stood up for the rule of law,” Barletta said, even though his anti-immigrant ordinance was declared unconstitutional. The congressman has a long history of partnering with Nativist groups, and he asked the audience to support him as he pledged to take his case to the Supreme Court.

But while many panelists like Tancredo and Buchanan began their speeches by saying that they were absolutely not bigoted or racist in any way, participants at the event asked many racially-tinged questions.

A questioner asked Goode how to “control immigration from the Islamic and Arab world,” and said that unless that happens there could be “more Keith Ellisons.” Ellison is a Democratic congressman from Minnesota who converted to Islam as an adult, and is not an immigrant, but Goode did write a letter to his constituents saying, “The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration, there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran.”

Another questioner discussed how astounded he was that “in the northeast, majority-Caucasian communities” tend to back “support ‘amnesty,’” or at least pro-reform politicians. He asked the panelists how he could turn more “Caucasian communities” against amnesty, and Buchanan assured him that even voters in Massachusetts oppose reform efforts like the DREAM Act.

One member of the audience wondered if Congress could “defund the National Council of La Raza,” a Latino civil rights group, which he said was “just like the Ku Klux Klan.” Goode appeared to agree, and demanded that Congress end the organization’s funding. Asking if “it’s possible that [American] society devolves into South Africa,” one questioner discussed the declining population rate of “European Americans” and floated the idea of ethnic groups living separately. While he directed the question towards Barletta, the congressman ignored the question.

Evidently, while the panel’s speakers see unrepentant Nativism and immigrant-bashing as the way for the GOP’s electoral success, it mainly appealed to the CPAC attendees who feared the demise of White America and the emergence of a more diverse population. All four panelists agreed that unless the Republican Party embraces their hard line anti-immigrant stance, the GOP will become inextricably weakened and the country will dissolve into multicultural dystopia.

Although the panelists all said that it wasn’t about race, it’s easy to see why many audience members thought it was.

CPAC Immigration Panel: Readying the Fight to Save the GOP and White America

If there is one message to take away from CPAC’s panel on immigration, it’s that White America is in serious jeopardy and may soon succumb to immigration, multiculturalism, and socialism. The panel “Will Immigration Kill the GOP?” featured former congressmen Tom Tancredo (R-CO) and Virgil Goode (R-VA), Bay Buchanan of Team America PAC, and special guest Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA). The group Youth for Western Civilization sponsored the panel, and its head Kevin DeAnna was also a panelist. Youth for Western Civilization is a far-right group that regularly criticizes affinity groups on college campuses, especially those that represent black, Hispanic, LGBT, Native American, and Muslim students.

Tancredo, a star among anti-immigrant activists, started the event by claiming that he wasn’t bigoted against Latinos and that the majority of Hispanic Americans support him and favor Arizona’s draconian SB-1070 law. “I have a lot of people who have Hispanic last names who support me,” Tancredo told the jam-packed room, “I speak for most Americans.” The former congressman, who in 2010 received just 37% of the vote in his bid for governor of Colorado, claimed that the GOP should embrace his nativist politics because immigration is the “ultimate economic issue,” and even claimed that Hispanics supported him over his Democratic opponent, Governor John Hickenlooper.

Responding to a questioner who believed that Democrats would drop their support of immigration reform if immigrants were stripped of their right to vote, Tancredo said that even immigrants without voting rights still pose a grave danger to the country.

“No more of this multiculturalism garbage,” Tancredo said, adding that “the cult of multiculturalism has captured the world” and is “the dagger in the heart” of civilization.

Not to be out done, Goode maintained that immigration in general “will not only kill the GOP but will kill the United States of America.” He went on to say that Democratic politicians support undocumented immigration only in order to introduce “socialized medicine” and gain future voters. The Virginia firebrand maintained that the majority of Americans favor his fervently anti-immigrant views, and wanted every state to emulate Arizona’s SB-1070. He asked, “Who could really be against doing away with birthright citizenship?”

Both Tancredo and Goode agreed that U.S. citizens are now being treated unfairly as undocumented immigrants reap all the benefits of American society.

Tancredo claimed that undocumented immigrants “get better health care in detention centers than some of my constituents,” and Goode argued that “today, being a citizen means you’re second class.”

Later, Bay Buchanan said that Tancredo and his dogmatic Nativism represent a model increasingly followed by Republican politicians, including Sen. John McCain, once an advocate of reform, who she said became a “Tancredo disciple when he ran for reelection.” Buchanan also pointed to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s reelection to demonstrate that anti-immigrant politics can lead to Republican success at the polls, and said that every state should have a governor like Brewer.

DeAnna of Youth for Western Civilization gave a much darker outlook on the success of the Republican Party, and the country as a whole. He said that the “system is stacked against” the anti-immigrant movement, maintaining that an alliance of corporate and Republican elites is preventing the party from moving farther to the right on the issue of immigration. He warned of the rising tide of multiculturalism, especially among young people. “The Left gets power from multiculturalism,” DeAnna said, and “when you lose the culture you lose the policy too.”

He also argued that the GOP is “dead” in California because of the rising population of Latinos, and said that the Democratic Party and their allies in organized labor want further immigration to strengthen their electoral clout.

Rep. Lou Barletta was the final speaker before questions, and he discussed how he saved the city of Hazleton as mayor by cracking down on employers and landlords who do business with undocumented immigrants. “I stood up for the rule of law,” Barletta said, even though his anti-immigrant ordinance was declared unconstitutional. The congressman has a long history of partnering with Nativist groups, and he asked the audience to support him as he pledged to take his case to the Supreme Court.

But while many panelists like Tancredo and Buchanan began their speeches by saying that they were absolutely not bigoted or racist in any way, participants at the event asked many racially-tinged questions.

A questioner asked Goode how to “control immigration from the Islamic and Arab world,” and said that unless that happens there could be “more Keith Ellisons.” Ellison is a Democratic congressman from Minnesota who converted to Islam as an adult, and is not an immigrant, but Goode did write a letter to his constituents saying, “The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration, there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran.”

Another questioner discussed how astounded he was that “in the northeast, majority-Caucasian communities” tend to back “support ‘amnesty,’” or at least pro-reform politicians. He asked the panelists how he could turn more “Caucasian communities” against amnesty, and Buchanan assured him that even voters in Massachusetts oppose reform efforts like the DREAM Act.

One member of the audience wondered if Congress could “defund the National Council of La Raza,” a Latino civil rights group, which he said was “just like the Ku Klux Klan.” Goode appeared to agree, and demanded that Congress end the organization’s funding. Asking if “it’s possible that [American] society devolves into South Africa,” one questioner discussed the declining population rate of “European Americans” and floated the idea of ethnic groups living separately. While he directed the question towards Barletta, the congressman ignored the question.

Evidently, while the panel’s speakers see unrepentant Nativism and immigrant-bashing as the way for the GOP’s electoral success, it mainly appealed to the CPAC attendees who feared the demise of White America and the emergence of a more diverse population. All four panelists agreed that unless the Republican Party embraces their hard line anti-immigrant stance, the GOP will become inextricably weakened and the country will dissolve into multicultural dystopia.

Although the panelists all said that it wasn’t about race, it’s easy to see why many audience members thought it was.

Herman Cain: "Stupid People Are Ruining America"

After two straight days of watching every speaker at CPAC, fringe presidential candidate Herman Cain became the first person to say something that I actually agreed with: "stupid people are ruining America."

But, it turned out, that he wasn't referring to the attendees at CPAC but rather "the liberals" who do nothing by lie because they want to "destroy America" and have three tactics for doing so which Cain calls "the S.I.N. tactics": shift the subject, ignore the facts, and name-call:

Herman Cain: "Stupid People Are Ruining America"

After two straight days of watching every speaker at CPAC, fringe presidential candidate Herman Cain became the first person to say something that I actually agreed with: "stupid people are ruining America."

But, it turned out, that he wasn't referring to the attendees at CPAC but rather "the liberals" who do nothing by lie because they want to "destroy America" and have three tactics for doing so which Cain calls "the S.I.N. tactics": shift the subject, ignore the facts, and name-call:

Meet The Newer, Tougher, CPAC-Version of Tim Pawlenty

One of the most entertaining things about watching CPAC every year is witnessing generally milquetoast Republicans show up and turn into right-wing bomb throwers in an attempt to prove the conservative bona fides to the ultra-right wing activists who attend the conference.

This year it was Tim Pawlenty's turn to remake himself into a tough guy who is willing to stand up to America's enemies ... and he actually gets a forty five second ovation for simply saying that America needs to project strength: 

Meet The Newer, Tougher, CPAC-Version of Tim Pawlenty

One of the most entertaining things about watching CPAC every year is witnessing generally milquetoast Republicans show up and turn into right-wing bomb throwers in an attempt to prove the conservative bona fides to the ultra-right wing activists who attend the conference.

This year it was Tim Pawlenty's turn to remake himself into a tough guy who is willing to stand up to America's enemies ... and he actually gets a forty five second ovation for simply saying that America needs to project strength: 

CPAC: Merit Selection for Judges is an Evil Leftist Plot

A group of right-wing legal advocates warned CPAC participants – or more accurately, a tiny subset of CPAC participants – about “The Left’s Campaign to Reshape the Judiciary.”

Panelists discussed the meaning of “judicial activism” and why the kind of right-wing judicial activism we’ve seen from the Supreme Court doesn’t qualify. (Overturning health care reform? Also not judicial activism.) But the main thrust of the panel was the supposedly dire threat posed by efforts at the state level to replace judicial elections with a merit selection process. 
 
The increasing tendency of judicial elections to become big-money affairs funded by individuals and groups who regularly appear before judges has increasingly raised concerns about judgeships – including state supreme court justices – being for sale to the highest bidder, such as corporate interests looking for courts that won’t hold corporations accountable for misconduct.
 
But today’s panelists – Liberty Institute’s Kelly Shackleford, American Justice Partnership’s Dan Pero, the Center for Individual Freedom’s Timothy Lee, and the American Civil Rights Union’s Ken Klukowski, warned against merit selection, a nonpartisan alternative that is employed in a number of states and under consideration in others. Pero called merit selection “a power grab by the liberal left,” citing People For the American Way, among others he said were liberals trying to use the courts to impose their vision on America.
 
Timothy Lee, perhaps mindful of the small crowd drawn to the panel, urged participants to explain to others why the courts were important, no matter what other issue they cared about. For example, he said, the Citizens United decision overturning Supreme Court precedent and substantially crippling the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law rested on the fact the Samuel Alito had replaced Sandra Day O’Connor on the high court.
 
Klukowski echoed Lee’s call, saying that the fight for “constitutional conservatism” can’t succeed without the right judges in place: “The U.S. Constitution is only as good as the justices on the U.S. Supreme Court that interpret it.” He complained about the Supreme Court’s rulings that Guantanamo detainees have habeas corpus rights and about other federal courts recognizing marriage equality and ruling against the ban on gay servicemembers.
 
And while panel members celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the District of Columbia’s handgun ban, Klukowski said it’s not clear that there’s a majority in the Court for overturning other gun restrictions. He specifically complained that it is a felony for someone who went through a “messy divorce” and was under a restraining order to have a gun.
 
Klukowski said that he and Ken Blackwell have written a book called Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservativism can Save America and made an appeal for all stripes of conservatives – social, economic, and national security – to stop fighting each other and work together.

CPAC: Merit Selection for Judges is an Evil Leftist Plot

A group of right-wing legal advocates warned CPAC participants – or more accurately, a tiny subset of CPAC participants – about “The Left’s Campaign to Reshape the Judiciary.”

Panelists discussed the meaning of “judicial activism” and why the kind of right-wing judicial activism we’ve seen from the Supreme Court doesn’t qualify. (Overturning health care reform? Also not judicial activism.) But the main thrust of the panel was the supposedly dire threat posed by efforts at the state level to replace judicial elections with a merit selection process. 
 
The increasing tendency of judicial elections to become big-money affairs funded by individuals and groups who regularly appear before judges has increasingly raised concerns about judgeships – including state supreme court justices – being for sale to the highest bidder, such as corporate interests looking for courts that won’t hold corporations accountable for misconduct.
 
But today’s panelists – Liberty Institute’s Kelly Shackleford, American Justice Partnership’s Dan Pero, the Center for Individual Freedom’s Timothy Lee, and the American Civil Rights Union’s Ken Klukowski, warned against merit selection, a nonpartisan alternative that is employed in a number of states and under consideration in others. Pero called merit selection “a power grab by the liberal left,” citing People For the American Way, among others he said were liberals trying to use the courts to impose their vision on America.
 
Timothy Lee, perhaps mindful of the small crowd drawn to the panel, urged participants to explain to others why the courts were important, no matter what other issue they cared about. For example, he said, the Citizens United decision overturning Supreme Court precedent and substantially crippling the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law rested on the fact the Samuel Alito had replaced Sandra Day O’Connor on the high court.
 
Klukowski echoed Lee’s call, saying that the fight for “constitutional conservatism” can’t succeed without the right judges in place: “The U.S. Constitution is only as good as the justices on the U.S. Supreme Court that interpret it.” He complained about the Supreme Court’s rulings that Guantanamo detainees have habeas corpus rights and about other federal courts recognizing marriage equality and ruling against the ban on gay servicemembers.
 
And while panel members celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the District of Columbia’s handgun ban, Klukowski said it’s not clear that there’s a majority in the Court for overturning other gun restrictions. He specifically complained that it is a felony for someone who went through a “messy divorce” and was under a restraining order to have a gun.
 
Klukowski said that he and Ken Blackwell have written a book called Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservativism can Save America and made an appeal for all stripes of conservatives – social, economic, and national security – to stop fighting each other and work together.

Texas Think Tank Toasts GOP Freshmen

Early risers got a chance to start the second day at CPAC by quaffing champagne mimosas and rubbing shoulders with a group of freshman GOP representatives. The reception was hosted by the Texas-based Institute for Policy Innovation, a think tank founded in the 1980s by Dick Armey and dedicated to “Advocating lower taxes, fewer regulations, and a smaller, less-intrusive government.”   Greeting the mimosa drinkers was IPI President Tom Giovanetti, who once complained that Republicans “blew it” in the 1990s when they got a congressional majority and failed to fire all the Keynesians from the Congressional Budget Office.

IPI pushes a libertarian economic agenda: no estate taxes, privatized social security, etc. Giovanetti urged the new members of Congress to rely on his scholars for free expertise on free-market-oriented health and technology policies. Incidentally, Newt Gingrich spoke at the group’s “Reclaiming Liberty” event last November, at which he lavished praise on Rep. Louie (“a terrific national asset”) and evangelist James Robison (“an amazing person.”)Gohmert
 
But I digress. The CPAC reception featured several GOP freshmen who took turns talking about why they ran for office. Most said they ran to secure America on behalf of their children and/or grandchildren; two had personal beefs with the Obama about family car dealerships that were lost when GM was reorganized as part of the federal bailout.
 
Not surprisingly, each of the members praised National Republican Campaign Committee chair Pete Sessions for overseeing the big GOP gains in the House. Sessions’ remarks were notable primarily for what may be the single least inspiring evocation of “American exceptionalism” ever uttered: “an idea and a thought process that we need to buy into.”

Texas Think Tank Toasts GOP Freshmen

Early risers got a chance to start the second day at CPAC by quaffing champagne mimosas and rubbing shoulders with a group of freshman GOP representatives. The reception was hosted by the Texas-based Institute for Policy Innovation, a think tank founded in the 1980s by Dick Armey and dedicated to “Advocating lower taxes, fewer regulations, and a smaller, less-intrusive government.”   Greeting the mimosa drinkers was IPI President Tom Giovanetti, who once complained that Republicans “blew it” in the 1990s when they got a congressional majority and failed to fire all the Keynesians from the Congressional Budget Office.

IPI pushes a libertarian economic agenda: no estate taxes, privatized social security, etc. Giovanetti urged the new members of Congress to rely on his scholars for free expertise on free-market-oriented health and technology policies. Incidentally, Newt Gingrich spoke at the group’s “Reclaiming Liberty” event last November, at which he lavished praise on Rep. Louie (“a terrific national asset”) and evangelist James Robison (“an amazing person.”)Gohmert
 
But I digress. The CPAC reception featured several GOP freshmen who took turns talking about why they ran for office. Most said they ran to secure America on behalf of their children and/or grandchildren; two had personal beefs with the Obama about family car dealerships that were lost when GM was reorganized as part of the federal bailout.
 
Not surprisingly, each of the members praised National Republican Campaign Committee chair Pete Sessions for overseeing the big GOP gains in the House. Sessions’ remarks were notable primarily for what may be the single least inspiring evocation of “American exceptionalism” ever uttered: “an idea and a thought process that we need to buy into.”

Tea Party Leader: "I Don't Want To Speak Chinese"

CPAC has been remarkably dull so far today, but the Tea Party Express' Amy Kremer livened things up a bit by proclaiming that Tea Party and CPAC activists need to ensure that conservatives retake the White House in 2012 because she doesn't want to have to speak Chinese:

Tea Party Leader: "I Don't Want To Speak Chinese"

CPAC has been remarkably dull so far today, but the Tea Party Express' Amy Kremer livened things up a bit by proclaiming that Tea Party and CPAC activists need to ensure that conservatives retake the White House in 2012 because she doesn't want to have to speak Chinese:

Horowitz Condemns CPAC for Purported Islamist Ties

Following in the footsteps of right-wing pundit Frank Gaffney, David Horowitz is accusing CPAC of having connections to radical Islam. Horowitz spoke at a CPAC panel in 2009, where he was introduced by notorious anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller, and the David Horowitz Freedom Center is a CPAC participating organization. But Horowitz, who recently defended Glenn Beck in his linking of the progressive movement to the Muslim Brotherhood and claimed that public school teachers encourage the indoctrination of students into “Jihadist doctrines," has now joined other CPAC detractors like Gaffney to blast the involvement of Suhail Khan. Khan is a board member of the American Conservative Union, which hosts CPAC, and tomorrow is leading a panel on inclusion in the conservative movement.

Gaffney first charged Khan with ties to extremist groups in early January. Now Horowitz and another anti-Muslim activist, Robert Spencer, are joining a coalition of anti-gay Religious Right groups in boycotting the conference.

Rick Scarborough, the head of Vision America, recently placed an ad in The Washington Times attacking CPAC for including the gay conservative group GOProud, and today condemned the gathering for supposedly slighting Religious Right groups (a fear also present at the conference).

The American Family Association’s OneNewsNow, which supports the CPAC boycott, reports:


A full-page ad in The Washington Times -- placed by Vision America -- challenges the direction of CPAC. Vision America president Pastor Rick Scarborough, who initiated the project, notes that the "driving force" in the conservative movement, generally speaking, has been Christians.

"Right now [though], libertarians are trying to force us out -- and I just simply decided that enough is enough," says the longtime Christian activist. "So we're trying to speak out, and we're finding that it's resonating with a lot of folks."

...

Islamic influence within CPAC?

Meanwhile, a terrorism expert who is also advocating for a drastic change in the leadership of CPAC believes the event has been compromised by radical Islamic influences. Author and activist David Horowitz says a CPAC board member by the name of Suhail Kahn has not been forthcoming about his ties to extreme Muslim groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

"Suhail Kahn is a member of the board of the American Conservative Union. He's moderating a [CPAC] panel," Horowitz explains. "His father created an Islamist mosque in California that held fundraisers for Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number-two [man] in al-Qaeda. This was in the [19]90s."

Terrorism expert Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, comments as well on Kahn.

"Suhail Kahn has also spoken about how Muslims should be eager to die for the Palestinian question, using the same kind of language that suicide bombers have employed," he notes. "This is not really somebody who should be considered moderate or certainly not conservative."

Spencer is calling for changes. "There needs to be a drastic overhaul at the top of CPAC -- and [for] the American Conservative Union that runs it," he says.

Horowitz Condemns CPAC for Purported Islamist Ties

Following in the footsteps of right-wing pundit Frank Gaffney, David Horowitz is accusing CPAC of having connections to radical Islam. Horowitz spoke at a CPAC panel in 2009, where he was introduced by notorious anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller, and the David Horowitz Freedom Center is a CPAC participating organization. But Horowitz, who recently defended Glenn Beck in his linking of the progressive movement to the Muslim Brotherhood and claimed that public school teachers encourage the indoctrination of students into “Jihadist doctrines," has now joined other CPAC detractors like Gaffney to blast the involvement of Suhail Khan. Khan is a board member of the American Conservative Union, which hosts CPAC, and tomorrow is leading a panel on inclusion in the conservative movement.

Gaffney first charged Khan with ties to extremist groups in early January. Now Horowitz and another anti-Muslim activist, Robert Spencer, are joining a coalition of anti-gay Religious Right groups in boycotting the conference.

Rick Scarborough, the head of Vision America, recently placed an ad in The Washington Times attacking CPAC for including the gay conservative group GOProud, and today condemned the gathering for supposedly slighting Religious Right groups (a fear also present at the conference).

The American Family Association’s OneNewsNow, which supports the CPAC boycott, reports:


A full-page ad in The Washington Times -- placed by Vision America -- challenges the direction of CPAC. Vision America president Pastor Rick Scarborough, who initiated the project, notes that the "driving force" in the conservative movement, generally speaking, has been Christians.

"Right now [though], libertarians are trying to force us out -- and I just simply decided that enough is enough," says the longtime Christian activist. "So we're trying to speak out, and we're finding that it's resonating with a lot of folks."

...

Islamic influence within CPAC?

Meanwhile, a terrorism expert who is also advocating for a drastic change in the leadership of CPAC believes the event has been compromised by radical Islamic influences. Author and activist David Horowitz says a CPAC board member by the name of Suhail Kahn has not been forthcoming about his ties to extreme Muslim groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

"Suhail Kahn is a member of the board of the American Conservative Union. He's moderating a [CPAC] panel," Horowitz explains. "His father created an Islamist mosque in California that held fundraisers for Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number-two [man] in al-Qaeda. This was in the [19]90s."

Terrorism expert Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, comments as well on Kahn.

"Suhail Kahn has also spoken about how Muslims should be eager to die for the Palestinian question, using the same kind of language that suicide bombers have employed," he notes. "This is not really somebody who should be considered moderate or certainly not conservative."

Spencer is calling for changes. "There needs to be a drastic overhaul at the top of CPAC -- and [for] the American Conservative Union that runs it," he says.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • PFAW: Tell Justice Clarence Thomas to Recuse Himself.
  • Slate: The Abortion Tax.
  • Alvin McEwen: Peter Sprigg, Family Research Council Comes Out With Another Distorted Study.
  • Adam Serwer: Peter King’s Muslim HUAC Hearings Are A Scene From His Own Personal Thriller.
  • Think Progress: NRA Head Wayne LaPierre On Tucson Shootings: ‘Government Policies Are Getting Us Killed.’

Right Wing Round-Up

  • PFAW: Tell Justice Clarence Thomas to Recuse Himself.
  • Slate: The Abortion Tax.
  • Alvin McEwen: Peter Sprigg, Family Research Council Comes Out With Another Distorted Study.
  • Adam Serwer: Peter King’s Muslim HUAC Hearings Are A Scene From His Own Personal Thriller.
  • Think Progress: NRA Head Wayne LaPierre On Tucson Shootings: ‘Government Policies Are Getting Us Killed.’
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CPAC Posts Archive

Josh Glasstetter, Friday 02/10/2012, 4:16pm
There’s already been substantial coverage of yesterday’s CPAC panel on multiculturalism featuring not one, but two, prominent white nationalists – Peter Brimelow and Bob Vandervoort. That may have just been the warm-up act for tomorrow morning. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and David Rivera, both Republicans from the Miami metro area, are scheduled to appear on stage at CPAC with Vandervoort on an immigration panel entitled “High Fences, Wide Gates: States vs. the Feds, the Rule of Law & American Identity”:   Vandeervoort is currently the head of ProEnglish,... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 02/10/2012, 2:44pm
Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association uncovered a "massive Obama conspiracy" during his remarks at CPAC, explaining that the administration hasn't done anything on gun rights in the first term intentionally in order to lull gun owners in a false sense of security and keep them from voting so that he can win a second term and finally "destroy the Second Amendment": MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 02/10/2012, 1:52pm
There is something truly remarkable about watching Mitt Romney address the audience at CPAC and lecture them about what it means to be a conservative as he tries to convince them that he has been a champion of conservative values throughout his political career ... leading to situations such as this where he takes credit for preventing Massachusetts "from becoming the Las Vegas of gay marriage": MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 02/10/2012, 12:55pm
This year's CPAC has been an extremely disjointed event as conservatives keep trying to come to grips with the fact that they dislike their Republican choices for president only slightly less than they dislike President Obama. Nothing better exemplifies this fundamental tension than the fact that perennial CPAC favorite Ann Coulter could barely even muster tepid applause from the crowd as she half-heartedly tried to make the case for Mitt Romney. But she did still manage to throw out some vintage Coulter-esque red meat to the audience, like when she compared President Obama to... MORE >
Josh Glasstetter, Friday 02/10/2012, 12:44pm
How times have changed. Last year, white nationalist Jamie Kelso attended CPAC looking for European-American allies in his quest to keep America genetically pure and lily-white. However, his potential young recruits weren’t having any of it: As Ed Morrissey reported on Hot Air: A group of young attendees, and a few older conservatives as well, at first politely rebuff Kelso’s racist arguments, and then begin aggressively arguing with him in the hallway. Ron Paul supporters told him four times to take off his Campaign for Liberty button and paraphernalia. The Daily Caller... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 02/10/2012, 12:22pm
Addressing the crowd at CPAC, Rick Santorum attacked the idea that there is any sort of right to health care, saying that the passage of healthcare reform legislation is a form of enslavement and the ultimate loss of freedom: MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 02/10/2012, 11:15am
During a panel at CPAC on "The Role of Faith, Life, & Family in Our Culture & the 2012 Elections," the panelists claimed that the slippery slope toward gay marriage all began when people started accepting the idea of recognizing the legitimacy of gay relationships by granting civil unions, and Andy Blom, Executive Director of the American Principles Project, blamed it on the fact that Christians just don't want to be mean and called on Christians to be aggressive in defending their values and refuse to compromise: MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 02/10/2012, 10:23am
Mike Huckabee kicked off day two of the annual CPAC conference by voicing his outrage that President Obama thinks he's a theologian for daring to cite Scripture and proceeded to lecture Obama on what it means to be a real Christian: MORE >