Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

The CPAC-Right Left Behind as America ‘Moves On’

“The country’s conservative, Republican-dominated strongholds have shrunk to the Deep South, the Plains and talk radio. []
“This is the first time since the aftermath of Watergate that conservatives have known what it is like to be so completely out of power, out-funded, out-organized and arguably irrelevant to national governance.”

— Joel Achenbach, “The Conservatives’ ‘Cleansing’ Moment,” Washington Post, March 1, 2009.

It’s said when it rains it pours and what’s currently happening to the ultra right-wing remnants who still call themselves conservative Republicans is no trickle-down sprinkle they have put themselves in the path of monsoon season, apparently trying to hasten their status as a fringe political cult akin to the People’s Temple or the Moonies.

The new Know-Nothing Party, assembled in Washington for the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) Conference last weekend, proved both its penchant for blockheaded obliviousness and rare talent for unintended hilarity by honoring as ‘conservative intellectuals’ (that whirring sound you hear is William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater spinning in their graves) a nerdy little wimp, a has-been simp and a bloviating blimp, also known as, respectively if not respectfully, 13-year-old annoyance Jonathan Krohn; long over-The-Hill GOP retread Newt Gingrich and, of course, the Master of Disaster, the rotund right-wing radio bleater Rush Limbaugh.

While adorable future drug addict Krohn studiously and without irony recited to appreciative hoots and ringing applause the common themes tilled up by most of the CPAC speakers conservatives stand for respecting the Constitution; respecting life, (at least the unborn kind as opposed to that in uniform or in jail); less government; personal responsibility, and protecting the freedoms and rights of the people neither he nor his big brothers Newtie and Rush bothered with a brief history lesson of America under conservative Republican rule. Not surprising, since it pulls out the rug from beneath their empty claims. For example:

— Respect for the Constitution and the rights of the people: Every Republican administration since Eisenhower has violated the Constitution: Nixon illegally bombed Laos and Cambodia, secretly supported anti-democratic right-wing regimes such as Augusto Pinochet’s in Chile, and flagrantly violated the Fourth Amendment for political purposes; Reagan secretly funneled arms to Iran to finance an illegal war with the Contras, directly disobeying the powers invested in Congress to service his own political agenda; Bush the Elder refused to prosecute any of those involved in Iran/Contra he pardoned them all — and encouraged Saddam Hussein to start the first Gulf War, as well as later supplying him with weapons to use against his own people, among other things; and his son, Bush 43, has a list of violations of his oath of office that are as long as your arm, starting with illegally detaining and wiretapping Americans, and torturing prisoners of war. [Note: I’ve left off the pathetic and mercifully short term of President Jerry Ford; he generally continued Nixon’s policies, at any rate.]

Respecting life: Every Republican president since Eisenhower has expanded or started wars that cost lives. Nixon sent more troops into Vietnam; Reagan started worthless wars with little nations like Grenada, and supplied weapons to both Iraq and Iran during their war in the 1980s; Bush 41, through his ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, gave Saddam Hussein the green light to invade Kuwait, and Bush 43 is responsible for the quagmires of death in Iraq and Afghanistan.

— Less government: Every Republican president since Eisenhower has increased the size and cost of the federal government, and amplified the government’s intrusiveness into the private lives of US citizens; Reagan and Bush 43 to alarming degrees.

Personal responsibility: No Republican president since Eisenhower has been held to account for violating the law, except Richard Nixon, who quit in disgrace and was later pardoned by Jerry Ford. Rush Limbaugh did not receive the usual prison sentence meted out to ordinary drug addicts in possession of felony narcotics such as OxyContin; Karl Rove was not charged with perjury after changing his story five times during the Valerie Plame outing case and he has yet to answer for his role in Don Siegelman’s jailing in Alabama, among other things; Sen. David Vitter has yet to be held responsible for his use of prostitutes he even retains his office, unlike fellow hooker-booker Eliot Spitzer; and the list goes on with a parade of conservative Republicans evading paying the price that average Americans would for their vices and criminal behavior.

Freedom: The current crop of Limbaugh ‘conservatives’ believe in a very narrow definition of the word. For instance, they are dead-set against the freedom of women to choose what goes on in their own bodies; they are opposed to low-paid workers having the freedom to organize for higher pay and better treatment; they are against the freedom of two people of the same sex to enjoy the same rights as any other American; they are opposed to a freedom of choice alternative to our overly-expensive for-profit health care system; they are against the freedom of adults to ingest whatever substances they see fit, and on and on. They apparently really only advocate freedom for themselves, media blowhards who agree with them, and for corporations to operate without regulation or taxation.

So in a few short paragraphs, the hypothetical raison d’鳲e of modern conservatism ceaselessly advanced by the speakers at CPAC has been reduced to so much self-serving drivel disguising the true nature of this pernicious strain of right-wing ideology: The ruthless accumulation of power and money for its own sake, as exemplified by the squalid, hypocritical careers of Gingrich and Limbaugh. John Kenneth Galbraith best explained this type of unprincipled ‘Gordon Gecko’ conservative:

“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

But in the shining eyes of the true-believer CPAC attendees, and in their delusional, reality-free comments and reactions they even booed the hapless Tucker Carlson for saying conservatives should be more factual — one detects the true nature of the followers of Newt, Rush and the rest of the high-profile GOP ‘leadership’ they are best described as a cult, as the following warning signs, with my comments in brackets, elucidate:

Warning Signs of a Destructive Cult

1. A destructive cult tends to be totalitarian in its control of its members’ behavior. [Just look at the CPAC convention.]

2. A destructive cult tends to have an ethical double standard.
[Limbaugh’s drug use, Abramoff’s corruption, Bush and Cheney’s lies, Larry Craig, Mark Foley, Ted Haggard, David Vitter, et al all good conservative Republicans.]

3. A destructive cult has only two basic purposes: recruiting new members and fund-raising.
[Look at Michael Steele and the ludicrous campaign he’s on to attract younger people and minorities.]

4. A destructive cult appears to be innovative and exclusive.
[I’ve heard more than once the right-wing claim that the GOP is the party of ‘new ideas’ and that only Republicans are ‘real Americans’.]

5. A destructive cult is authoritarian in its power structure. [You don’t get much more top-down authoritarian than the Republican Party.]

6. A destructive cult’s leader is a self-appointed messianic person claiming to have a special mission in life. [Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, et al, have all professed that they are on a self-appointed mission to save the country from its liberal/Democrat ‘enemies’; James Dobson, Pat Robertson, the late Jerry Falwell, Sun Myung Moon, et al, have all claimed that only they know ‘the truth’ and are saving America for their interpretation of Christianity.]

7. A destructive cult’s leader centers the veneration of members upon himself or herself. [Three words are sufficient: Bushies, Dittoheads and Coulterites.]

8. A destructive cult’s leader tends to be determined, domineering, and charismatic. [While he may not be charismatic, Rush is definitely determined and domineering; most of the other media wingnuts try to emulate him with varying success.]

And there’s this:

The language of the totalist environment is characterized by the thought-terminating clich笠The most far-reaching and complex of human problems are compressed into brief, highly reductive, definitive-sounding phrases, easily memorized and easily expressed. These become the start and finish of any ideological analysis.
— Robert Jay Lifton, “Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism.”

Examples of Thought-Terminating Clich豼/a>:

“Love it or leave it!”

“Why do you hate America?”

“Why do you hate our troops?”

“You are either with us or against us.”

“We are fighting them there so we don’t have to fight them here.”

“Freedom is not free.”

“The Bible says”

“Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!”

“We are all here to fulfill God’s purpose.”

“Liberals hate God.”

“Liberals hate American and love the terrorists.”

“Liberals are all either socialists or communists.”

“I want everything he’s doing to fail!”
— Rush Limbaugh, as quoted by Media Matters, referring to Obama.

“By confusing, intimidating and silencing their victims, those who profit from these systems evade exposure and prosecution for actions recognized as harmful and which are illegal in most countries such as: fraud, undue influence, intentional infliction of emotional distress [fearmongering], outrageous conduct and other tortuous acts.”
Dr. Margaret Singer, Ph.D, from “Coercive Mind Control Tactics.” Dr. Singer is a world-renowned authority on cults and the brainwashing techniques they use.


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15 years ago

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