Do you go to CPAC? If so, why?
Maybe you go to CPAC to hear those you consider interesting or intellectually compatible with your political philosophy. Maybe you get a kick out of having your picture taken with those who make a career out of offering opinions or writing about politics or even being in office.
Maybe you go to CPAC because you think it's a good opportunity to network with those in the political world or with politicians and their staffers.
Maybe you go to CPAC for the parties and the social interaction. That's a lot of money spent to go to a party, but, hey, it's your money.
Maybe you go to CPAC because you think it makes you an activist.
I confess - I have never been to CPAC. I've never even wanted to go to CPAC. To me, CPAC represents all that is wrong with conservative politics. I know that is heresy to some believers but the history of the organization is one of nurturing those on the far right wing of the conservative spectrum and it's very successful at that.
Talk about being in a vacuum. I watch the speeches on C-SPAN like other political junkies. Until the Ron Paul revolution brought in scads of young people, the typical attendee was a seasoned citizen with the financial means and time to indulge in a few days in D.C. talking politics.
Don't get me wrong - there is nothing bad about firing up the base. The newbies into the political world love it. There is something wrong, however, with narrow-minded, hateful rhetoric that will only repel people away from my political party.
Because when anyone hears "conservative" they think Republican, not Democrat. You are kidding yourself to think otherwise.
Those who attend CPAC are fond of saying they are conservative, not necessarily Republican. That's cute and all but we are still a two party country. Even those running as Tea Party darlings ran as Republicans, not a Tea Party party.
I'm a political blogger so I attend gatherings on occasion. Frankly, I am at the point now where it seems to be a waste of my time and money. There are so many conservative gatherings now that they all blur together. Mostly they are viewed for the social aspects. What with the side adventures included in the form of sightseeing at the locale or field trips to do an activity, it's all so much fluff. Photos of the dinners with other bloggers fly onto Facebook pages. They scream, "look, I'm a cool kid, too".
Sorry. But you know exactly what I am saying here. The majority of those in attendance are bloggers with a good bit of experience under their belts listening to others say the same things over and over in what is described as "activist training".
CPAC's already questionable value has been damaged in recent years. From the obvious rigging of straw polls by the Ron Paul people without dispute to allowing and then not allowing a gay conservative group to be an event sponsor. This year the bigotry has risen to a new level of shame.
Enter Cliff Kincaid. Granted, I had no idea who this guy was when I read his despicable piece about gay conservatives. Not only is this guy broadcasting homophobia, he's just ignorant. Apparently quite proud of that, too.
HERE is his piece.
Yeah, I was stunned, too. If you aren't after reading that piece, you should check yourself.
You can read Kincaid's full bio HERE.
This is the face of CPAC now. This is the group you support if you attend CPAC. This is not how parties are grown. This is how parties go into the political wilderness and stay there for forty years.