A few tidbits from the piles of stuff picked up at CPAC 2011:
CPAC Leftovers – Peacemaking Pleas and Tea Party Coffee Table Books
The CPAC “Resource Guide,” a spiral-bound booklet with info about sponsors and participating organizations, included several essays, some of which were pleas for peace between libertarian-leaning economic conservatives and social conservatives. Some of the latter, of course, dropped their sponsorships and trashed CPAC leaders over the participation of GOProud, whose leader in turn derided the Religious Right groups as “loser” organizations. Former Reagan official Donald Devine contributed “Why We are Conservatives,” which includes:
Western civilization has been a harmony of both. Not a simple uniform tune, but a harmonic masterpiece, not simple libertarianism nor univocal traditionalism but both…The price of a successful conservatism must be a gracious acceptance of the traditional live and let live formula. If the modern scourges of brutal egalitarianism, debilitating fatalism and feckless progressivism are to be transcended, traditionalist and libertarian conservatives must learn again to work together in bold harmony.
Focus on the Family’s Tom Minnery contributed “Social and Economic Conservatives Have Much in Common,” which notes (correctly) that there is much overlap between the Tea Party and Religious Right movements. And he warned libertarians that they should embrace the social conservatives’ morals-based policies as the only bulwark against chaos:
In the West, these principles find their source in the Judeo-Christian moral tradition, and if we lose that collective sense of “oughtness” then individual liberty degenerates into selfishness, and eventually into social chaos. And at that point it is only the loaded gun and the barbed wire fence that can preserve order.
On the lighter side, among the countless books available to CPAC participants were “Grandma’s Not Shovel-Ready,” a picture book of signs from 9-12 and Tea Party protests in 2009, and “The New Democrat,” a Dr. Seuss-style parody of “The Cat in the Hat” starring a Marxist-insignia-wearing Barack Obama as the chaos-provoking interloper. The editors of the picture book were clearly not worried about soft-peddling the movement’s message: the book is replete with signs depicting Obama as a Communist thug bent on destroying America and killing off the elderly. Other signs attack the patriotism of the movement’s targets (“Beware of liberals posing as Americans”) or threaten violent revolution (“A Revolution is brewing. We will not subsidize tyranny. Violate our Liberty at Your Peril.” and “Now Look!! Nice people forced to protest!! This must be serious we came unarmed…this time”). There are a few signs joking about anal sex (“Obamacare. Bend Over. This is gonna hurt.” and “Taxation without lubrication!!!”). The “Cat in the Hat” parody includes explanatory information that Dr. Seuss – Theodor Geisel – was a leftist who injected his progressive polemics into the books on which our current leaders were raised.
I haven’t yet had the time (or stomach) to read Phyllis Schlafly’s latest attack on feminism (The Flip Side of Feminism: what conservative women know – and men can’t say written with Suzanne Venker, a columnist for David Horowitz). Not helping is the list of people blurbing the book, which includes Horowitz, Ann Coulter, David Limbaugh, and the shouldn’t-be-treated-seriously-ever-again-after-his-latest-book Dinesh D’Souza.