CPAC 2010

Tags ››› CPAC 2010
  • Former Bush speechwriter Gerson takes apart Beck's attacks on Teddy Roosevelt, modern American government

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From Gerson's February 26 Washington Post column headlined "TR: The conservatives' new demon":

    So Glenn Beck, speaking recently at the Conservative Political Action Conference, identified a great enemy of human freedom as . . . Teddy Roosevelt. Beck highlighted this damning Roosevelt quote: "We grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used."

    Ah, you don't discern the scandal in this statement? Look closer. "This is not our Founders' idea of America," explained Beck. "And this is the cancer that's eating at America. It is big government -- it's a socialist utopia." Evidently, real conservatives defend wealth that is dishonorably gained and then wasted.

    The problem with America, apparently, is not just the Great Society or even the New Deal; it is the Square Deal. Or maybe Beck is just being too timid. Real, hairy-chested libertarians pin the blame on Abraham Lincoln, who centralized federal power at the expense of the states to pursue an unnecessary war -- a view that Ron Paul, the winner of the CPAC presidential straw poll, has endorsed.

    Lincoln doesn't need defenders against accusations of tyranny -- the mere charge is enough to diagnose some sad ideological disorder. But the Rough Rider also does not deserve such roughing up.

    TR picked a number of fights with conservative Republicans, fight-picking being his favorite sport. But Roosevelt hated socialism. "It would spell sheer destruction," he said.

    After stating that "few today would wish to return to 19th-century labor, health and antitrust standards," Gerson added:

    All those few, however, seemed to be in attendance at CPAC, determined to sharpen an ideological debate. In the name of constitutional purity, they propose a great undoing. Not just the undoing of Obamaism. Undo Medicare and Social Security. Undo the expansive American global commitments that proceeded from World War II and the Cold War. Undo progressive-era economic regulations. Undo the executive power grab that preserved the union. Undo it all -- until America is left with a government appropriate to an isolated, 18th-century farming republic.

    This is a proposal for time travel, not a policy agenda. The federal government could not shed these accumulated responsibilities without massive suffering and global instability -- a decidedly radical, unconservative approach to governing.

  • Pam Geller and Robert Spencer: CPAC's third rail

    Blog ››› ››› CHRISTINE SCHWEN

    A couple of days ago, Media Matters for America senior fellow Karl Frisch described his notes from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) as "Postcards from the edge." If CPAC is the edge, then here are my notes from the edge of the edge, better known as "Jihad: The Political Third Rail;" an event created by Atlas Shrugs' Pam Geller and Jihad Watch's Robert Spencer.

    Geller's and Spencer's event was so controversial in fact, that CPAC organizers made sure to tell Fox News that the event was "unofficial," and "sponsored by outside groups." However, it was official enough to be listed on CPAC's agenda.

    In announcing the event, Geller stated that she found it "most distressing that the largest gathering of conservatives in America does nothing to address the single greatest threat to our national security, our Constitution, our very way of life." Indeed she and Spencer both expressed dismay that CPAC did not more fully embrace their point of view, which Spencer summed up by saying that "[i]t's absurd" to think that "Islam is a religion of peace that's been hijacked by a small minority of extremists:"

    So what was the goal of this "unofficial," yet coordinated event at CPAC? Geller previously noted that the event was "designed to educate Americans about the Muslim Brotherhood's infiltration at the highest levels of the U.S. government, as well as its war on free speech." A pretty heavy goal to be sure, but it wasn't all serious. Geller kicked it off by displaying her trademark humor:

    After that brief introduction it was time to get down to business, with a non-stop parade of anti-Islam rhetoric.

    The first speaker was former Muslim Wafa Sultan, who declared that "Islam is a not merely a religion, but an agressive and dangerous political ideology which aspires to world domination":

    Then came Austrian Elisabeth Wolff, who told the audience that she has been indicted in Austria for anti-Muslim hate speech. In decribing the incident, Wolff explained that whatever words she used, she was simply trying to convey the message that "Islam is supremacist, it is against women's rights, it's against human rights, it's against everything you and I believe in" (transcript available here):

    Next up was a speaker who has said things that even Geller apparently thinks are too extreme. Despite having put what she says is the "full video" of the event on her site, Geller actually cut out several comments made by Anders Gravers, the Danish Leader for the Stop the Islamisation of Europe. For instance, Geller's video edits out Graver's assertion that "[r]ape is also a part of" Muslims' efforts to convert non-Muslims in Europe, and that "[d]emocracy is being deliberately removed" from the European Union by "incorporating Muslim countries of North Africa and the Middle East in the European Union." Gravers went on to explain (in a portion of the speech that Geller did include) that the purpose was to gain "some European control of oil resources" at the cost of the "introduction of Sharia law and removal of democracy" in Europe. No, really. Check out this exclusively un-edited portion of his remarks (transcript available here):

    With a panel like that, CPAC probably should have worked harder to separate itself from Geller and Spencer's event.

  • Newsbusters shoots and misses with Netroots Nation attack

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Upset that members of the media sought "anything potentially embarrassing to fling at conservatives" (the digging wouldn't be hard if this were true) in its coverage of CPAC's annual gathering in Washington last week, Newsbusters' Candance Moore is up with a post attempting to make the case that the press ignored the "left-wing tone of Netroots Nation in 2009."

    Moore's examples of loony-left-wing panels the media failed to cover is quite absurd:

    The archive section of the official site of Netroots Nation revealed shocking material largely ignored by the national media. Below is a list of some of the ridiculous discussions that took place:

    • Tearing down the wall between church and state to advance "faith based" progressive agendas.
    • Stacking SCOTUS with progressive judges to circumvent the Constitution.
    • Why Democrats are not pro-abortion enough.
    • A panel sponsored by the United Nations Foundation to criticize America for taking the world's food supply.


    • Using the EPA to bypass Congress.
    • Coaching teens on how to educate their parents.
    • Fighting "science denial" on the right.

    Did you hear about any of those topics last year from the mainstream media.

    All of the above subjects were covered in official panel discussions, not just obscure information booths from fringe attendees. Readers are encouraged to watch the archive footage to see how rationally such things were being discussed.

    Wow, how did I not hear about these discussions last year? And when did Netroots Nation start letting Jason Mattera and the XPAC brigade name its panels with such colorfully nutty right-wing rhetoric?

    It would be funny if it weren't so sad and intellectually dishonest. Moore's framing of these discussions don't appear to bear any resemblance to what actually transpired because -- I assume from reading her post -- she didn't actually attend Netroots Nation.

    Mark Leon Goldberg points out the way Moore portrays one panel in particular - a panel that he actually moderated:

    For the record, I moderated the panel sponsored by the United Nations Foundation. Needless to say, the panel did not "criticize America for taking the world's food supply" (whatever that means). Rather, the panel was called Global Solutions for Global Poverty and was a discussion of ways the United States and the world can come together to fight extreme global poverty. At no point did any panelist criticize American for taking the world's food supply. Candance Moore seems to have made that up out of thin air.

    Making things up "out of thin air" is nothing new for the folks at Newsbusters and this one misses the mark entirely like many of its other sloppy attacks.