This year’s CPAC convention offered plenty of material for Jon Stewart to dig into, and throw some shade upon, from Paul Ryan’s dubious “brown bag” anecdote to Wayne LaPierre’s intro music (Huey Lewis’ “The Power of Love”).
To sum up Ryan’s point about the ills of giving free lunches to school children, Stewart recalled, “As Jesus once said, ‘If you give a man a fish, don’t, period, end of Bible.'”
But “The Daily Show” host simply had to hide from LaPierre’s description of America as a nightmare, GTA 5-esque landscape.
Fear walks the land, and the Tea Party Patriots are here to package and sell it.
Attendees at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) were reportedly thrilled by a short sci-fi video depicting a dictatorial near-future government and the underground “Movement on Fire” that springs up to resist it. The video, a thinly veiled advertisement for violent insurrection from the “Tea Party Patriots” group, boasts professional acting and Hollywood production values. But underneath its bright, professional sheen lurk dark overtones of End Times paranoia that will resonate with millions of American fundamentalists. Its apocalyptic imagery is as ancient as Revelations, its glossy look as modern as a Revlon ad, and its near-subliminal barrage of rapid-cut imagery rings with the terror-fueled sermons of 1,000 preachers.
Here’s the video:
It stands on its own as agitprop-cum-entertainment for the far right, which is filled with armchair revolutionaries whose favorite fantasies involve the same elements used in this video: attractive people, video-game-like locations, nightmarish bureaucracies and the world-changing power of their own oratory. “Let our lives be the spark that ignites the fire of liberty,” the protagonist shouts at one point. His words resonate with memories of historical heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice rather than yield to tyranny.
“I would so totally do that,” a right-wing fantasy rebel might mutter in response.
“We are a movement on fire!” the video’s hero shouts as a crowd cheers. “Will you take up the torch?” Absolutely, our viewer mumbles to himself … “Hey, I hear they’re serving free hors d’ouevres at the Pajamas Media booth….”
But this video’s imagery will have special resonance for American evangelicals who believe the End Times are near. “Movement on Fire” draws heavily on the so-called “Tribulation” films of the 1970s and 1980s. Among the earliest and best-known of these films are A Thief in the Night, Distant Thunder, Image of the Beast and The Prodigal Planet, all of which were made by Iowa-based Russell S. Doughten Jr.
Doughten’s previous film credits were limited to an associate producer credit forThe Blob (the original Steve McQueen version) and production duties for grindhouse productions The Hostage and Fever Heat. But Christian filmmaking proved to be his forte. Doughten’s website claims that “over six million have come to Christ through our motion pictures,” and while the figure can’t be independently verified, many Christians in their 30s and 40s recall being terrified by the films when they were young.
All but unknown outside evangelical circles, Doughten’s films became required viewing in many homes, religious schools, and churches. Other filmmakers soon followed in Doughten’s footsteps with films like Mark of the Beast and Years of the Beast.
In a display of “Huh?” worthy of Clint Eastwood and the Empty Chair, Donald Trump gave whatBusiness Insider is describing as “confusing and terrible:”
Trump said he was upset that President Barack Obama did not return his calls about a free ballroom he offered to build. He also made a strange statement about how he wants the U.S. to go back to Iraq to take some oil.
Conservative writer David Freddoso tweeted that the crowd stopped applauding before Trump had even left the stage. He also said:
Trump also claims to have been told by several high-ranking officials that we went to war with Iraq to get their oil and that we should go back and take it as payment for the hundreds of billions of dollars that we wasted there. It’s curious that Trump is so interested in the money to be had but has shown little to no concern for the thousands of American lives lost in Iraq, the tens of thousands maimed, to say nothing of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed in the crossfire. Sure, he wants to give the family of each dead soldier a million in oil money. How about not getting them killed for oil in the first place?
This year’s CPAC has many scratching their heads in that right extremists like Trump, Palin, Allen West and Dick Morris are headlining but more moderate voices have been completely ignored. If the conservative movement is planning on swaying Latinos, independents and moderates to vote for them, they’re not doing a good job of recasting themselves as the party of serious adults.
Perhaps CPAC is putting all the loonies on display to really show the right-wing how NOT to act? We should only be so lucky.
Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside of Washington on Thursday, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry decried immigration authorities for releasing several hundred detainees in response to sequester cuts.
President Obama’s handling of the sequester “would be laughable if he hadn’t taken it one step too far, dangerously releasing criminals onto our streets to make a political point,” he said. “When you have a federally sponsored jailbreak, –and don’t get confused that’s exactly what this is, a federally sponsored jailbreak — you cross the line from politics as spin to politics as a craven form of cynicism where everything goes.”
White House officials say the decision was made by ICE independently. Many detainees are not held on criminal grounds and Immigration officials say they only released low risk individuals, not anyone who was required to be held for serious charges.
If one defines the Tea Party as the GOP, then there’s a sure bet that Chris Christie is in fact toast. However, if the lesssevere conservative members of Congress and the Senate were to embrace Governor Christie and his policies, then the Governor doesn’t have a problem.
The popular New Jersey governor angers conservatives — again — by announcing he’ll go along with ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, still in the GOP dog house for saying nice things about President Obama’s handling of Super-storm Sandy mere days before the November election, angered conservative critics once again this week by announcing that he would expand Medicaid under ObamaCare. The news came as the organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the annual enclave of the nation’s conservatives, said they didn’t invite Christie to this year’s gathering because he has a “limited future” in the Republican Party, in part because of his backing of gun-control legislation, which is toxic to many conservatives.
Christie had criticized Obama’s expansion of Medicaid, but his reversal “was a political no-brainer for a politician running for re-election in a blue state,” say Maggie Haberman and David Nather at Politico. Christie may find it to be a pyrrhic victory, though, as this could make CPAC’s prediction more likely to come true. Last year, Christie was a featured speaker at CPAC and a rising GOP star widely considered to have presidential potential. Even if he coasts to another term in his home state, as expected, his warming to this key provision of ObamaCare could sabotage his chances of becoming one of the party’s national standard bearers.
CPAC, for its part, says Christie just isn’t a real conservative. And that kind of assessment often spells defeat for many primary candidates in today’s GOP. Much of the right sees Christie’s Medicaid maneuver as “just one more deal breaker in a series,” says Jill Lawrence at National Journal. He praised Obama after Hurricane Sandy. “He thinks climate change is real. Also he has a man crush on Bruce Springsteen, the Democrats’ go-to entertainer to fire up crowds before elections.” Still, Republicans should think twice before tossing him aside.
Christie, saddled with his Northeastern pragmatism and — the horror — extending health insurance to tens of thousands, will be a non-starter in 2016 if the political climate is the same then as it is now.
The irony is that Christie has a record 74 percent approval rating in his blue state, and 71 percent of his constituents think he deserves to be re-elected. That suggests broad appeal and a national future — but only if his party figures out how to embrace rather than shun people like him. [National Journal]
With all the flak Christie is taking, it’s tough to argue with CPAC’s assessment of his future, says Allahpundit at Hot Air. Then again, this feuding might not hurt him in the long run. One of the biggest beefs fiscal conservatives have with Christie was his “cheap, demagogic” battle with the House GOP over uncorking Sandy relief funds. Conservatives think they’re going to chasten him by keeping him at arm’s length over this, but they’re probably really just “doing him an incredible political favor.”
Sandy relief is the biggest reason why his approval rating in Jersey is upwards of 75 percent; it’s likely also the biggest reason he polls well nationally even with Democrats at the moment. His whole post-Sandy nonpartisan brand is built on the idea that he’s less ideological and just more goshdarned caring than those heartless conservatives in the GOP congressional caucus. And now here’s CPAC proclaiming that, indeed, his Sandy relief support is cause for (temporary) banishment from conservatism. He’ll be crowing about it for weeks. It’s practically an in-kind contribution to his gubernatorial campaign. [Hot Air]
And when it comes to Medicaid expansion, Christie is not the only Republican rolling the dice. He’s joining seven other Republican governors — so far — who have chosen to go along with the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion to get health-care coverage for many of their uninsured constituents. How that plays out for them politically depends on how many other governors go along, says Jonathan Bernstein at The Washington Post.
The remaining question is: Will Republican governors pay any price in national politics for accepting Medicaid expansion? For any governor who has national ambitions, the hope has to be that the expansion rapidly shifts from a betrayal of Republican principles to something that almost all the states are doing. Otherwise, it’s almost certainly going to be a weapon used against them. [Washington Post]
It can’t get any clearer than the words straight from Grover Norquist‘s speech at CPAC and Mario Piperni‘s illustration and analysis of Norquist’s suggestion that Romney should be the GOP’s presidential nominee because he’ll do what he’s told…
Grover Norquist, in his CPAC speech, revealed exactly why the GOP establishment favors a Romney win.
All we have to do is replace Obama. … We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. … We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate.
Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans: the House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.
How’s that for in-your-face honesty?
Choose Rick Santorum and Republicans are stuck with a Christian Taliban leader whose top priority will be to enact a ‘Sex For Procreation Only‘ law.
Go with Newt Gingrich and and they’re facing an ego of untold proportion who takes orders from a single god. Clue: initials are N.G.
Ron Paul and they have a man who has no intention of listening to anyone or anything except the intergalactic voices in his head – the very same voices that have commanded his every move of the last four decades.
And then, of course, there’s Mitt Romney – the man who will in all likelihood become the Republican nominee in the general election. If ever there existed a politician lacking any trace of core convictions, a man more than willing to say whatever it took to be accepted by those from whom he craves recognition, a man who would strap the family dog to the hood of his car if it helped him get to where he so desperately wanted to go…if that’s what Republicans want or need, then Mitt Romney is their man.
If I was running the DNC ad campaign to reelect Barack Obama, I would have that Norquist quote playing every day between now and November.
Alas, CPAC 2012 is no more. If you skipped days one and two because you were saving yourself for the main event – Palinmania – then today is your lucky day.
The conservative faithful rose as one to salute their idol – someone who spent half a term as governor before making money riding round the country in a bus.
Amongst all that, Mitt Romney, who’d spent much of the week suffering barbs about not being a “real conservative,” won the conferences two polls. Oh, and Grover Norquist spoke. Now we have to wait till CPAC 2013 to experience the joys all over again.