Thursday, April 05, 2018

Ye Good Olde Days of CPAC

CPAC 2013?

At the end of this episode of Pod Save America, Ana Marie Cox laments that 2018 became the year when CPAC lost its innocence.  She is launching the second season of her wing of their Podcast Empire by documenting her experiences at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, which appalled her, and which she juxtaposes against what she remembers as the good old days of CPAC: a nobler age just a few years ago when she recalls it as mostly a nerd club of earnest Libertarians who she might have disagreed with but who she admired for their idealism, the nobility of their goals and the purity of their hearts.

And maybe that's what she saw down in the Dealer's Room among the flat tax geeks trying to outbid each other for the last John Galt 20th Century Motor paperweight, or the Ayn Rand Genuine Saber of Pure Capitalism. 

But it sure reeks of wishful nostalgia to me.  A powerful, almost-narcotic desire to misremember the actual history of modern Conservatism because for some it is unbearable to face the fact that the Right really has been a  racist shitpile for decades.  I myself have never attended CPAC in-person and never will, so I cannot claim any first-hand knowledge. 

However, like millions of other Americans, this is how CPAC was reported to me by the Most Trusted Man in America back in the day. 

And what makes this clip especially tangy and delightful is that it's from a critical moment in history.  February 2009, immediately following the Last Days of the Failed Administration and the Republican loss of the White House to the Kenyan Usurper.  This is just one month after the leadership of the Republican party met at Caucus Room to plan their conspiracy of greeting anything the incoming Obama administration proposed with total, lockstep obstruction and sabotage.  

And you can you can see that cynical strategy already taking root among the faithful.

This is the moment when you can actually watch the earliest seeds of the Fake Tea Party being sown -- the earliest examples of Strategic Forgettery as speaker after speaker shamelessly pandered to the mob's desperate need to pretend the previous eight years of Republican treason, catastrophe and failure somehow had nothing to do with them. 

This is the moment when, instead of looking at themselves in the mirror and beginning to heal themselves of their racism, paranoia and depravity, the Republican Party chose instead to smash the mirror, embrace their Inner Klansmen and go all in on the Big Lie of their own purity, righteousness, and aggrieved innocence.

This is the moment when that Big Lie became inviolable holy writ and defending it at all costs became the Republican prime directive, and so this also became the moment when scapegoats for their failures had to be rounded up in record numbers.  When heretics were hunted down and cast out.  When anyone or anything that threatened to crack or shatter the Big Lie had to be drowned out by ever louder voices bellowing ever Bigger Lies.

In other words, this is the moment when the rise of a Republican monster like Trump became inevitable.

Behold, a Tip Jar!


RossK said...


On the plus side (for the crooked boys at least), Ms. Cox's POV will very likely make it easier to sell the multitudes with moola in the lifeboat building business presenting sponsorships.

Or some such thing.


Robt said...

Ana Marie

Can't lose what you do not have.

There are some humans with deficiencies. deficiencies they never filled.

Unknown said...

Great piece, and while I appreciate the point you were making with the video, I do not miss the daily show with Jon Stewart. He loses any credibility when it's only 1 min 45 seconds into the piece and he's already made two jokes which draw on fatphobia and transmisogyny. Ugh.

Chris said...

In other words, this is the moment when the rise of a Republican monster like Trump became inevitable.

Can't agree more. I've seen a huge number of voters in the last year "wake up" to what Trump and the GOP really were and become politically engaged, and while it's heartwarming, in my case, that conclusion was already reached eight years earlier, with the rise of the teabaggers, not the rise of Trump.

Robt said...

Not inevitable,


trgahan said...

"...recalls it as mostly a nerd club of earnest Libertarians who she might have disagreed with but who she admired for their idealism..."

OR, as suggested by the CPAC speakers list since at least 2000, "earnest Libertarian" has been code for Aspiring Grand Wizard for sometime now.

From my own experience, the overlap between Libertarianism and White Patriarchal Christian Nationalism is too large to be ignored as Cox does. It isn't a coincidence that former CPAC straw poll repeat winner Ron Paul employed the Southern Avenger as his newsletter editor.

Large swaths of "earnest Libertarians" see the political theory as the quickest route to getting "their earned stuff" back from "THOSE undeserving brown people" and returning to a Jim Crow society.

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