In The '30s There Was No CPAC But Propaganda Presented The Nazis As Victims Of Jews & Liberal Elites
One Damn Thing After Another is William Barr's 600-page tome about his time as Trump's Attorney General. It took him long enough but he now concludes that Señor Trumpanzee has "shown he has neither the temperament nor persuasive powers to provide the kind of positive leadership that is needed." He urges the GOP to move on since Trump was incapable of exercising just "a modicum of self-restraint, moderating even a little of his pettiness... The election was not 'stolen.' Trump lost it." That isn't how the neo-fascist zombies at CPAC see it this week. They may be excited by lesser Trump world figures like Mike Pompeo, Ron DeSantis, Kristi Noem, Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, but there was never a moment's doubt who the real headliner was.
Meridith McGraw reported that "Back in Washington, the GOP might be at odds about whether or not the party’s future should prominently feature the ex-president. And within Trump world, there’s been some angst about his current standing. There were fears he might not play as well with the CPAC crowd after being out of office, especially at a conference held in the backyard of another 2024 frontrunner: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. But among the activists at CPAC, it turns out, diehard conservatives [McGraw doesn't ever differentiate in her reporting between what she calls "diehard conservatives and fascists; she's too young to understand] remain more excited about the prospect of a Trump reelection than anything else. Trump flags hung from right-wing media booths where the former president’s allies and former White House officials talked about 'America First' policy, raged against culture war issues and railed on the Biden administration. Attendees sported 'Trump was Right' buttons, and bedazzled MAGA hats were seen at every turn. Supporters clamored for the chance to attend a free VIP reception with Trump, and a buffet of his favorite McDonalds fast food. For all the chatter that Trump’s influence over the Republican Party is growing weaker, that others in the GOP tent are feeling more emboldened to break with him, there were few signs of it here. Inside the confines of CPAC-- a conference that provides a pulse read for the conservative movement [the fascist movement]-- there was little sense that the former president was anything other than the center of attention. The cavernous ballroom was, for the first time all weekend, completely full when Trump took the stage to roaring cheers on Saturday night."
CPAC's top grifter, Matt Schlapp, boasted how he didn't invite Mike Pence or Nikki Haley to attend. "It’s unclear," wrote McGraw, "if either politician, both former CPAC headliners who fell out of favor with Trump, would have met an entirely friendly crowd in Orlando."
CPAC, which may be the heart of the fascist movement inside the GOP, was all about the culture wars-- policy took a backseat to white, privileged grievance. A couple of days ago Reid Epstein and Astead Herndon reported that neither the war in Ukraine nor the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson were as big a deal at CPAC as they were in the real world. "Instead," they wrote, "the focus was on cultural grievances, former President Donald J. Trump and the widespread sense of victimization that have replaced traditional conservative issues. Like so many of the Republican officials who have remade themselves in his image, Trump, in a speech to the conference on Saturday night, sought to portray himself as a victim of assaults from Democrats and the news media. He said they would leave him alone if he were not a threat to seek the presidency again in 2024. 'If I said "I’m not going to run," the persecution would stop immediately,' Trump said. 'They’d go on to the next victim.'"
CPAC attendees were more interested in a "woke dystopia unleashed by liberal elites" than in traditional conservatism. In fact, old line conservatives were generally denounced-- exactly the kinds of people Barr's book urged the party to turn to for leadership. Fascists like Charlie Kirk are looking for Nazis to run the GOP, not conservatives like Kevin McCarthy, let alone Mitch McConnell, members of what he called in his speech, "the Republican Party of old... Conservative leaders can learn something from our wonderful 45th president of the United States. I want our leaders to care more about you and our fellow countrymen than some abstract idea or abstract G.D.P. number."
On Capitol Hill, Republican senators are debating whether to release an official policy agenda at all ahead of the midterms. The lack of urgency was encapsulated in a statement by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, who dismissed a question about what Republicans would do if they took back Congress in 2022. “That is a very good question,” McConnell said. “And I’ll let you know when we take it back.”
In lieu of a united policy, Republicans are hoping that a grab bag of grievances will motivate voters who are dissatisfied with Biden’s administration. At CPAC, Republicans argued that they were the real victims of Biden’s America, citing rising inflation, undocumented immigration at the Mexican border and liberal institutions pushing racial diversity in hiring and education.
...John Schnatter, the pizza magnate who in 2018 resigned as chairman of the Papa John’s franchise after using a racial slur in a comment about Black people during a conference call, mingled among the crowd, saying he was among those unfairly canceled. Senator Rick Scott of Florida warned of “woke, government-run everything.”
And former Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who in 2020 ran for the Democratic presidential nomination but has adopted right-wing positions and become a darling of conservative media, labeled the government a “secular theocracy” because of its efforts to fight misinformation.
Eight miles from CPAC, an even angrier right-wing gathering, the America First Political Action Conference, took place at another Orlando hotel with Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia as the main attraction and Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona appearing by video.
The commentator Nick Fuentes, head of the group that hosted the conference, said Putin had been compared to Hilter. He laughed and added: “They say it’s not a good thing.”
After Russian forces invaded Ukraine, the attention-starved Fuentes wrote on the fascist-leaning messaging app Telegram, "I am totally rooting for Russia," and called Putin "my Czar." In the wake of Trump's counter reality mass consciousness, this is a perfectly acceptable face of the new Republican Party. Get used to it. Marjorie Traitor Greene had no concerns whatsoever about headlining Fuentes' Orlando white nationalist show for the Nazis thinking that CPAC is a little too mainstream for them.
At CPAC and beyond, focusing on the negative can be strategic as well as visceral. Polls show Republican voters have a more favorable view of Putin than of Biden, and one lesson of the backlash against the party holding the White House during the last four midterm elections is that an intense distaste for a president of the opposing party is more than enough to propel sweeping victories.
“The conservative movement is always evolving, and as it evolves and reacts to the radical ideas of the progressive left, the issues that really matter to people shift a little bit,” said Charlie Gerow, a Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania. “The one unifying factor for conservatives is Joe Biden and his henchmen out in the states.”
It was only seven years ago that Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, told the CPAC crowd that “it’s good to oppose the bad things, but we need to start being for things.”
Just as Trump excised Bush-style conservative politics from the Republican Party, so has it been removed from the annual CPAC gathering.
Playing to feelings of resentment and alienation is a far safer bet for Republicans than advancing a policy agenda when the party remains split on taxes, foreign policy and how much to indulge Trump’s lies about the 2020 election.
...As the incentives in conservative politics increasingly reward figures caught up in controversies that can allow them to be portrayed as victims, leading to more face time on conservative cable television, some veteran Republicans are lamenting that there is little to be gained by a focus on policy.
Former Representative Mark Walker of North Carolina, who is running for the Senate against a Trump-endorsed candidate, can’t get much attention, he said, when he touts his record working for veterans during his three terms in Congress.
“Some of the new people entering the political world, they get 12 press secretaries and one policy person,” Mr. Walker said in an interview. “There’s a problem with that, right?”
He was referring to Hitler-loving, publicity-crazed little Nazi, Madison Cawthorn. but Cawthorn is hardly alone among the loud and proud Know Nothings and outright Nazis taking over the Republican Party.