Donald Trump joined many other conservative activists at CPAC today in comparing President Obama to Jimmy Carter, although Trump seems to think that the former president is deceased, as he likened Obama to “the late, great Jimmy Carter.”
The Institute For Research & Education on Human Rights points out today that the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is once again welcoming a white nationalist group, even while shunning organizations that represent LGBT and atheist conservatives.
IREHR reports that the white nationalist group ProEnglish is sponsoring a booth at this week’s CPAC, which costs exhibitors $4,000 in exchange for official recognition and promotion from conference organizers. ProEnglish is an anti-immigrant “English only” group led by Bob Vandervoort, who previously headed a white nationalist group and who has fretted about the “cultural and racial dispossession of the West’s historic people” and the coming of a “post-Western America.” Vandervoort has also written about supposed “racial differences” in “intelligence and temperament.”
ProEnglish is part of the network of anti-immigrant groups connected to white nationalist John Tanton. The Center for New Community explains:
ProEnglish was established in 1994 with the oversight of its founding chairman, the white nationalist John Tanton. In fact, it is Tanton’s second English language interest group, formed after he left the first, U.S. English, after a racially charged memo that surfaced in 1988.
While Vandervoort’s group was apparently not too controversial for the conference, two other groups were. Late last month, the American Conservative Union, which organizes CPAC, abruptly canceled the exhibition booth of the group American Atheists after an outcry from Religious Right groups. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, said of the planned inclusion of the atheist group, "Does the American Conservative Union really think the liberties and values they seek to preserve can be maintained when they partner with individuals and organizations that are undermining the understanding that our liberties come from God? Thomas Jefferson warned against such nonsense."
CPAC’s organizers also prevented the gay conservative group GOPround from sponsoring a booth, although they magnanimously allowed GOProud’s leaders to “attend as guests,” causing a cofounder of the group to resign.
Similar dramas have played out in each of the last few years. In 2012, CPAC banned GOProud but allowed two white nationalists, including Vandervoort, to appear on an anti-multiculturalism panel. Last year, GOProud was banned once again but ProEnglish was allowed to host a booth.
Interestingly, one of CPAC’s “participating sponsors” this year is Facebook, which has been working to push GOP toward immigration reform. We wonder how they feel about sponsoring a conference that welcomes the participation of an anti-immigrant white nationalist group?
CPAC wouldn’t be complete without unceasing, perpetual praise of Ronald Reagan, and a great example of that today was how Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) managed to fit in as many mentions of Ronald Reagan as he possibly could during his closing remarks in a panel on conservative approaches to income inequality.
Scalise, who chairs the right-wing House Republican Study Committee, said that Republicans should model themselves on Reagan since he made America great, “brought down the Soviet Union” and was simply the best ever.
Reagan’s supreme Americanness, Scalise explained, caused the left to “revile” him “because of how he transformed this country in such a great way.”
Scalise added that unlike Reagan, President Obama “apologizes for American exceptionalism” while Secretary of State John Kerry is “drinking merlot and singing let’s all be friends.”
It is always entertaining when milquetoast Republican governors who harbor dreams of running for president decide to try to toughen up their image by throwing red meat to the crowd at CPAC. We saw Tim Pawlenty do it several years back and Bobby Jindal do it again today when he kicked off his remarks by sarcastically offering an apology to former president Jimmy Carter for having mistakenly called him the "worst president of this great country in my lifetime."
Apparently having totally forgotten the eight-year debacle that was George W. Bush's presidency, Jindal said the title of worst president now belongs to Obama who, quite frankly, is just not very bright.
"We have long thought and said this president is a smart man," Jinda declared. "It may be time to revisit the assumption":
Chris Christie told CPAC attendees today that Republican “intolerance on social issues” is nothing but a myth. He insisted that Republicans are the truly tolerant party because they have allowed pro-choice politicians such as Condoleezza Rice and Tom Ridge to address their nominating conventions.
“Tell me, sir, the last pro-life Democrat who was allowed to speak at a Democratic convention – and by the way, don’t strain yourself because there’s never been one,” Christie continued. “They’re the party of intolerance, not us.”
Even if we accept Christie’s definition of “tolerance,” his claim is still false: the 2012 and 2008 Democratic conventions included speakers who opposed abortion rights, while 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin refused to share the stage with pro-choice Republicans.
In a speech today to Breitbart News’ alternative CPAC conference today, Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly reminisced about her early work pushing immigration restrictions, boasting that she was active in promoting the 1952 McCarran-Walter Act as member of Daughters of the American Revolution.
“The DAR at that time was a strong, pro-American organization,” she said.
We aren’t sure how Schlafly thinks that DAR has become less “pro-American” in the past 60 years. But we will note one way in which the organization has changed dramatically: while by 1952, the DAR had reversed its 1939 decision to ban African-American singer Marian Anderson from performing at its Constitution Hall, the group did not admit any black members until 1977.
Even after a congressional Republican report debunked the myth about a Benghazi “stand down” order, Family Research Council executive vice president Jerry Boykin told the alternative CPAC gathering today that the order did in fact take place and that the Obama administration is covering it up.
This is about American character. If we don’t get to the bottom of this, there are a lot of other things in America that don’t matter. If we let this go, if we do not doggedly hound elected representatives in this nation to get the answers out, to get to the bottom of this, then a lot of other things simply don’t matter because this is so fundamental.
We have literally watched every CPAC conference held over the last ten years and this is the first time we've ever seen organizers schedule a break in the middle of program so that a right-wing folk singer could perform conservative protest songs on the main stage. But that is exactly what happened today when Big Dawg Music Mafia ("Where Conservative Is Cool") was given a few minutes to promote singer Chip Murray who entertained the crowd with insightful lyrics like:
"Obama's in the White House now, you'd better grab your honey,
God and guns are all we need, let's let 'em take the money":
In a video address to the alternative CPAC conferenced hosted by Breitbart News today, Center for Immigration Studies executive director Mark Krikorian claimed that Democrats support higher levels of immigration so that they can “import voters” and “create the conditions, such as increased poverty, increased lack of health insurance, that lead even non-immigrant voters to be more receptive to big government solutions” and to vote Democratic.
Former ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, spoke at CPAC today where he predictably railed against the Obama administration over the attack on Benghazi, saying that it show our enemies around the world that "under Barack Obama, you can murder his personal representative and get away scot-free."
"I want to let everybody know," Bolton declared, "that conservatives are not going to let this issue go away":
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