Skip to comments.Conservatives, off their leash, are a frightening bunch (The Economist's view of CPAC)
Posted on 02/08/2003 8:19:16 AM PST by P.O.E.
The right, unrestrained
Guys and dolls
Feb 6th 2003 | WASHINGTON, DC
From The Economist print edition
Conservatives, off their leash, are a frightening bunch
Do you wish that George Bush would quit pussyfooting around with the United Nations and simply march into Baghdad? Do you regard the recent tax cuts as nothing more than a prelude to the biggest chop of all, the abolition of the income tax? Do you wish that America would unleash Ariel Sharon?
You are not alone. Last weekend more than 4,000 conservative activists1,700 of them college studentsgathered in Arlington, Virginia, for the 30th annual meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the biggest audience the organisation has ever attracted. The delegates were pumped up and ready to do battle. They brimmed with hatred at the dastardly liberal establishment: grasping bureaucrats who want to steal your money; liberal professors who want to indoctrinate the young with black Marxism and teach them how to be gay; peaceniks who want to undermine the nation's will to defend itself. And they positively glowed with pleasure at the thought of another Republican victory in 2004.
Delegates crammed into a huge hall to hear Dick Cheney, Katherine Harris and other conservative heroes speak from a stage draped in red, white and blue and backed by 18 American flags. They listened to speeches on Islam: religion of peace?, Myths, lies and terror: the growing threat of radical environmentalism and Hollywood needs adult supervision. They wore Fry Mumia T-shirts (referring to a cop-killer who, for some reason, has become a cause célèbre for the left); held up posters saying Give war a chance: peace through superior firepower; sold badges saying Fight crimeshoot back; and purchased Wipe out Saddam lavatory paper. The Traditional Values Coalition offered the chance to fling beanbags at grotesque trolls called Saddam Hussein, Hillary Clinton, the liberal media and the homosexual agenda.
That said, for many fresh-faced men there was one love that dared speak its name. The exhibition hall was a temple of Bushophilia, from photographs of his inauguration for $175 to cups, hats, badges, key-rings and Pray for him T-shirts. You could even buy talking George Bush dolls that repeat his classic lines, such as, We will not allow our enemies to hold our nation hostile. With their hero on their pillow, the young right will spare nothing to keep him in the White House in 2004.
But love for Mr Bush has not blotted out their hatred for his predecessor. Anti-Clinton memorabilia was almost as popular as the pro-Bush sort. One of the most visited exhibits was for the Counter-Clinton Library. The proposed institution will be within walking distance of the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arkansas, and will try to tell the story of the Clinton years as conservatives see it. Exhibits will include the Hillary Hall of Shame, the Clinton Casualties, the Grifters' Gallery and the Department of Domestic Affairs. The exit foyers will remind people how the Clintonites trashed the White House when they left. Dick Erickson, the man who thought up the counter-library, says that several people, including Dick Morris and Gary Aldrich, have already promised to donate material to it, and that money is flooding in from anti-Clinton activists.
Two other figures dominated the conference: Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Arab fanaticism now plays the same role for conservatives that Communism played until the fall of the Berlin Wall: it justifies both a vigorous foreign policy abroad and an ever-vigilant approach to potential subversives at home.
One activist stopped selling his No Muslims = No terrorism stickers when the vice-president's office complained. But there was no shortage of anti-Islamic ware: T-shirts mocking the idea that Islam is a religion of peace, mugs hinting that Islam is a new form of Nazism. A company called Decisive Action, proclaiming its devotion to our conservative Judeo-Christian heritage, sold water purifiers and body armour. The police have it; the military have it; and now you have it.
CPAC no doubt regarded the conference as a triumph. But surely the organisation missed one trick. Why hold the conference in Virginia, where conservatism is in the drinking water and liberal-baiting a sport? Next year, try Paris.
ANYway, I'm awfully proud of the showing you folks put up at CPAC, and I guess it must be having an impact for the international press to be making such a fuss.
How unAmerican of these conservatives.
Do you regard the recent tax cuts as nothing more than a prelude to the biggest chop of all, the abolition of the income tax?
Do you wish that America would unleash Ariel Sharon?
You are not alone.
So what's the problem?!
Sounds like progress to me.
Why? Do the French need another spanking? We'll send Rummy, don't get excited.
Funny how that wall just fell down, all of a sudden.
" ...it justifies both a vigorous foreign policy abroad and an ever-vigilant approach to potential subversives at home. "
Such extreme notions. Afterall, those towers in New York city were garish displays of capitalism (and those in it were just capitalists).
Is he saying that Communism wasn't a real threat?
Is saying that Radical Islam is just a made-up enemy of American Freedom?
Is he saying that a vigorous foreign policy abroad and vigilance at home are BAD things?
The Economist has really gone over to the Dark Side on this "reporting".
And here I thought it was just the arsenic that W was poisoning me with.
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