Send Back the Clowns

Depending on the source, Jeb Bush was either a triumph or a joke at CPAC. As Steve M documents, Chris Cillizza was fairly gaga over Jeb and called his appearance at CPAC a “win.” CNN also gave him a mostly glowing review. Other reports say he was booed robustly and survived only because he had bussed in his own supporters to cheer him, allegedly from K Street.

Michael Dougherty of The American Conservative probably has it right:

Bush didn’t give a speech. He was booed throughout the conference. And he was booed some more when tackling Sean Hannity’s immigration questions. Bush was also hit with reports that he bussed in supporters from Georgetown and K Street. It was reminiscent of Romney’s 2007 performance at CPAC, including the massive party after his speech. By the next year, Romney was the great anti-McCain hope of the conference.

In other words, CPAC really is just a circus. Jeb is the choice of the establishment. The odds are he’s going to be the nominee in spite of what the base wants, and most of news media will go along with the narrative that he’s the man of the hour and the people’s choice. In short, he’s the Right’s Hillary Clinton.

On the other hand, Rand Paul won CPAC’s generally meaningless straw poll, even though Dougherty made Paul out to be in the second tier. The next four winners were Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and Jeb. Chris Christie was tenth, beaten by the likes of Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina. The New Jersey Titanic is in his post-iceberg phase. Notably, Rick Perry did even worse.

Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the candidates appear to be preparing to run on foreign rather than domestic policy. This is probably smart. Not that they know anything about foreign policy, but with the American electorate it’s a lot easier to fake. The CPAC crowd was actually impressed with Walker’s “I can beat teacher’s unions so I can beat ISIS” remark. Charles Pierce wrote,

It is now conventional wisdom that CPAC this year has been a triumph for conservative hawks, and that, while Rand Paul is still popular in the hall, his extended moment as the lead act in that particular hootenanny finally may have passed. Folks are up there wanting to get their war on, and the laptop bombardiers in the audience are lapping it up. (This shebeen is in the market for any photo of the audience taken at that moment when Princess Dumbass of the Northwoods asked for all the veterans in the house to stand.) ISIS is coming for all of us, and most of the potential Republican candidates are waiting for it with Leadership, Authenticity, Exceptionalism, and a vast arsenal of featherweight banalities. But all of this substance-free talk is driven by a serious — and rather dingy — new argument that was best summed up by the Princess herself, and by Dakota Meyer, the Medal Of Honor winner who introduced her yesterday. Ostensibly, the two were there to talk about how our veterans need better care and better job opportunities. (Oddly enough, neither of them mentioned that bipartisan veterans benefits bill that Bernie Sanders shepherded to a vote last year only to have the Republicans in the Senate kill the bill dead.)

I’d love to know how many in the audience actually stood to identify themselves as “veterans,” and what percentage of the standees had really served in the military and were not just imagining it.

Elsewhere, a session on racial tolerance revealed why people of color are distrustful of Republicans.

Scott Terry of North Carolina, accompanied by a Confederate-flag-clad attendee, Matthew Heimbach, rose to say he took offense to the event’s take on slavery. (Heimbach founded the White Students Union at Towson University and is described as a “white nationalist” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.)

“It seems to be that you’re reaching out to voters at the expense of young white Southern males,” Terry said, adding he “came to love my people and culture” who were “being systematically disenfranchised.”

Smith responded that Douglass forgave his slavemaster.

“For giving him shelter? And food?” Terry said.

At this point the event devolved into a mess of shouting. Organizers calmed things down by asking everyone to “take the debate outside after the presentation.”

However, by the end of the session the group had united in anger against Kim Brown, who clearly was not One of Them.

Charles Blow actually bothered to tell us that the content of CPAC was “hackneyed and hollow,” which sounds generous on Blow’s part. Of course no one at an American conservative gathering is going to offer anything of substance. Wingnuts don’t do substance. Wingnuts do chest-thumping, foot-stomping, and talking points.

15 thoughts on “Send Back the Clowns

  1. In other words, CPAC really is just a circus.”

    Yes, a circus overstuffed with clowns and of red-meat eating animals – in search of a new Ring Master. *

    And, as far as the audiences reaction, it doesn’t take much to made the stupid, ignorant, and bigoted GOP base cheer, whoop, and give a standing-O!

    All you need, is to talk about the treasonous, traitorous, evil of Libtards, how you want to turn immigrants into Soylent Green, bomb the shit out of the Middle East, and then turn the corpses into Toasted Soylent Green.

    Oh, and the evil of those mooching and dependent “Ni-CLANG!”

    And, of course, your love of Jesus, “The King of Peace.”
    Conservatives suffer from a major “Irony Deficiency.”

    *And Rudy as “The Bearded Lady.” (Rudy often cross-dressed at parties when he was Mayor, as, I sh*t thee not – Marilyn Monroe.
    I’m sure she was spinning like a centrifuge in her grave.

  2. “Trump The Race Card”

    I figured that was a class on how to get a racist named Trump elected? I don’t think Jeb will make it through the primary, I’d bet on Walker, the dimwittedteabaggers seem to like him as well as the Koch’s. The guy dropped out of college but seriously being considered for President? The large multi-national I work for requires a Bachelors degree for every position, administrative assistant all the way up to CEO no exceptions?

    • The large multi-national I work for requires a Bachelors degree for every position, administrative assistant all the way up to CEO no exceptions?

      Education is for elitists, dontcha know? There have been warnings coming from the Left to not make Walker’s lack of a college degree an issue, because it makes us look like snobs. Reminds me of how they went after Adlai Stevenson for being an “egghead,” to which Stevenson replied, “Via ovicapitum dura est,” or “the way of the egghead is hard.” Or something. Real He-Men don’t get things done with smarts; they get things done by intimidating other people to do those things, which may be really stupid things to do, but that’s what gets done. Or something. That should be the Republican Motto.

  3. I would provide Scott Terry with all the Slim Jims he can eat, and he can sleep in the garden shed, if he will come do some pruning and planting here on the ol’ estate in Nawth Cakalacky. He should be able to get a lot done, since I will let him use my tools, and the whippings will be kept to Saturday evenings so he has Sunday to heal up for Monday’s pruning and planting. I have some neighbors who will probably want to have me rent him out to them, but I will make sure they realize they must feed him on those days. I am quite benevolent.

  4. I try so hard not to think of the American Right as evil, and they keep proving me wrong. Based on comments I see on our local TV and newspaper websites, the views of Scott Terry are sickeningly common. I seem to remember even Crazy-Eyes Bachmann, a northerner, espousing something similar about “benevolent” slavery. Because heathens converted to Christianity or somesuch. Gaaah.

  5. “There have been warnings coming from the Left to not make Walker’s lack of a college degree an issue, because it makes us look like snobs.”

    That could certainly happen given the distain for education on the right. A ruckus can and should be made at the fact that he dropped out, you know that whole finish what you started, personal responsibility, oh wait Sarah Palin never mind…………

  6. uncledad,
    To her credit – FSM, how I hated writing that – somehow or other, after many tries, Sarah found some college to give her a degree.

  7. I just hope it wasn’t in “Communications” – because that’s what MY degree is in!
    It’s bad enough O’RALLY graduated from the same college, now, to think that Sarah has a degree in the same Major as I have, makes me want to tell my mother to hide the knives, and find the cabinet locks we use to put on, when her Grandkids used to come over.
    I was never very good with locks.
    But better than at apostrophes (apostrophe’s? OY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. “Sarah found some college to give her a degree

    Right, I was referring to her dropping out of the governorship!

  9. Swami,
    I was thinking more along the lines of The Hindenburg, the blimp that actually went down in flames in NJ.

    Oh, the humanities……………….

  10. The Frederick Douglass bit was two years back – I thought I remembered it from before. But I did have to follow the link! I was willing to believe it happened again!

  11. I just hope it wasn’t in “Communications” – because that’s what MY degree is in!

    Sorry, but it was. OTOH, if you managed to get yours by only going to five different colleges, you’ve got her beat by one.

  12. JDM,
    Nope, only one.

    And, unlike Sarah who could see Russia from her house, I Minored in Russian – which was an easy A, since that was my first language, and I’m still fluent in it.

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