CPAC, the Spring Break for extremists

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Spring Break has sprung and by golly, college kids are off to points south and warm for some sun, drinking and activities they’ll live to regret, when mom and dad call — or email — demanding, “What on Earth were you thinking!”

That’s after seeing their young college kids in videos that pop up on YouTube and Vimeo. Some of them have to be on Vimeo because YouTube doesn’t allow nudity. Or better yet they’re featured in a Girls Gone Wild video streaming live online from South Padre Island, TX and Dear Old Dad is gettin’ a little thrill while Mom is at the hairdresser. Or maybe mom and dad are Twitter Tweeters and follow said young’uns and, OMG! Someone tagged young Becky getting it done at a wet T-shirt contest.

  • “Listen mom, relax. She won the trophy, got to drink free all night and is getting paid for her featured GGW video! So what if she completely removed that thong bikini you had no idea she owned. It was all for a good cause!”
Joe Francis, the man behind Girls Gone Wild. He ought to learn to pay his bills and his taxes.
Joe Francis, the man behind Girls Gone Wild. He ought to learn to pay his bills and his taxes. (Publicity photo)

I really admire Joe Francis’s entrepreneurial spirit. For decades people spoke of the wild hijinks and regrettable acts of hedonism performed while drunk for a week in Fort Lauderdale, FL or some such place.

Once in a while we’d see a picture, but unless you were there, you could only imagine or watch some B-rated movie about Spring Break: the ups and downs of awkward relationships and losing one’s virginity, all in the setting of college kids getting their freak on.

But then Joe Francis brought a video camera and Girls Gone Wild was born! Girls (and boys) had been getting wild at Spring Break for decades before Joe Francis, he just had the idea to make it into a cash cow. Whatever you think of GGW — exploitation, harmless fun or epic displays of sinful behavior — he did what America was designed to do: generate business and he generated a lot.

  • Yes, he is sleazy and his minkies have engaged in questionable and illegal behavior to get girls on camera so he should be held accountable. But like Hugh M. Hefner and Larry Flynt before him, Francis created a very successful business that offered a product that is still very popular here in America. Francis has made hundreds of millions from his video cameras. Like it or not, that’s at the heart of “American Values.” As a society we value wealth first and foremost.

Anyway, Spring Break is upon us. The more adventurous take trips into ski country and do basically the same things that take place in sun-filled locations, but those college kids go skiing and snowboarding. Drunken snowboarding: what could be more fun? I have a nephew who is going through Canyonlands National Park in Utah. He ain’t even drinking to excess. He and his friends are hiking and bonding with nature. Go figure.

The really wild and crazy kids are the ones that eschew American values and give their Spring Break to altruism and humanistic values by working with youth groups in impoverished areas, trying to improve the lives of others. I won’t even joke about that: may they be blessed forever. My nephew in Canyonlands did that a few times. He’s a good kid. Unfortunately no one will ever get rich in this country making videos called “Girls and Boys Gone Altruistic.”

And then there’s the Republican Party — or should we say, the conservative wing of the GOP. Their Spring Break is called the Conservative Political Action Conference — CPAC for short.

It used to be the GOP’s unofficial yearly convention, when Republicans high and low would gather somewhere in the Washington, DC area (This year in National Harbor, MD) and wax poetic about how they were the masters of the world! During the Bush years they crowed about their superiority over the Democratic Party, so much so that GOP strategist and Bush confidant — “Turd Blossom” to the former Commander in Chief — Karl Rove predicted the GOP would rule American politics forever.

And in the middle of the Bush years one could make that argument. In 2004 Bush beat then Senator John Kerry to keep his job as president and the GOP fully controlled both houses of Congress. But then the reality of Republican control of everything washed up on our shores with Hurricane Katrina. As the cycle of life so often proves, hubris will be rewarded accordingly.

Now the Spring Break confab known as CPAC doesn’t represent the GOP — it represents the most virulently extreme right wing that is fighting to take full control of the GOP. Ten years ago Karl Rove was a sought after speaker at CPAC. Five years ago even. This year he was the butt of Sarah Palin’s whiny one-liners.

  • This will keep liberals and establishment Republicans up at night: Rove and President Obama have something in common: they are the center of Sarah Palin’s humor.
Sarah Palin and her Big Gulp. The men in the audience cheered for her rack.
Sarah Palin and her Big Gulp. The men in the audience cheered for her rack. (Public Domain)

Sarah Palin the losing GOP vice presidential candidate, the half-term governor — the quitter — was the number one speaker at CPAC 2013. She got 20 minutes to jabber away at the assembled congregation of Obama haters and throw out the red meat CPAC is known for; Palin even pulled out a Big Gulp and gave a little dig to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

She called President Obama a liar, to great applause and cheering. She said the president’s push for universal background checks should have started with his background, to rousing cheers from the CPAC faithful. Everything you ever wanted to hear from a famous Obama-hater and more.

Then there were the lesser known, but rising stars of the “new” GOP, like Ted Cruz of Texas. His answer to keep “winning,” as he put it, was to defend the Constitution and liberty!

The thrust of the Tea Party has been this phony idea that the Constitution and liberty are under attack from the Democrats and the president in particular. Oh man! If you were a devout Teabagger and were in the audience when he said that, my gawd, you would have probably had multiple orgasms.

  • Of course self respecting male CPAC attendees would have had their multiple orgasms when the half-term governor dropped this one-liner about her and hubby Todd: “He’s got the rifle, I got the rack.” OMG! She was wearing that tight black top and those skinny jeans when she said it!

Marco Rubio, he of the gulping GOP-slash-Teabagger response to the State of the Union address, said the GOP doesn’t need new ideas! “We don’t need a new idea. There is an idea. The idea is called America and it still works.”

Gosh darn it! I’m a frikkin’’ patriot! Every time these Teabaggers say stuff like that I just cream all over with nationalistic pride!

Then Rubio, like Cruz and every other CPAC speaker, went ahead bashing President Obama and the GOP establishment.

Rand Paul, with the transcript from his 13-hour filibuster, went after the GOP establishment more than the other speakers. As you may recall, Paul staged that idiotic filibuster last week and was called out by two stalwarts of the establishment: Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. But Paul didn’t need to mention them personally, “The GOP of old has grown stale and moss covered. I don’t think we need to name any names, do we?”

Tea Party darling Rand Paul. If you're interested, and who wouldn't, you can get a copy of the transcript from his filibuster.
Tea Party darling Rand Paul. If you’re interested, and who wouldn’t, you can get a copy of the transcript from his filibuster. (Screenshot)

Of course not Senator, wink-wink, nod-nod. Them old farts need to get out of the way and let the Teabaggers take over. Get Republicans — real conservatives — who are willing to stand up for liberty and America … eh, well liberty for people who think as we do, that God’s law trumps human law and our human laws should be God’s laws, just like Founders intended in the alternate universe where history reflects what little they know about our Constitution and the events that led to its creation. And that means no rights for gay people!

Donald Trump spoke … no seriously, he got 20 minutes! He said, to great applause, “We’re run by either very foolish or very stupid people.” And then he went on to suggest we reinvade Iraq and take that nation’s oil reserves. He said when he was first told of the Iraq War by a Bush insider — un-named of course — and that it would be for the oil, Trump said he understood that! Invading Iraq was an economic issue!

And then Chris Christie … oh wait, he wasn’t invited. The most popular Republican in the country, the one best suited to win the White House in 2016, well he just isn’t right wingy enough to speak at CPAC. Even Anne Coulter, who was once for Christie before she was against him, bashed the New Jersey governor. He’s off her list and Governor Christie probably doesn’t give a rat’s ass. But you gotta wonder: they invited Dick Morris and Allen West, the crazy Teabagger from Florida who lost his bid for re-election to be a Congressman, but not Chris Christie — go figure.

CPAC 2013 was a rally for the extreme right and the establishment GOP was not welcome. Even Phyllis Schlafly, herself an octogenarian, attacked the establishment, the political machine she helped create and promote. But this is 2013 and the establishment ain’t cool anymore. They gave the GOP losers, like Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney, who also spoke at CPAC. And she bashed President Obama of course. You have to do that if you’re going to speak at CPAC.

Besides the speakers, CPAC has workshops, book signings, movie screenings, roundtable discussions and panels on a variety of topics like:

  • “Too Many American Wars?” The collective answer is, “Never.”
  • “Iran and the Islamist Threat to America and the West.” Bomb the hell out of the place or at least let Israel do it.
  • “Should We Shoot All the Consultants Now?” Hell yeah!
  • And this little gem: “Trump the Race Card: Are You Sick and Tired of Being Called a Racist and You Know You’re Not One?”

So, it was in that last one that things got a little out of hand. Conservative African-American K. Carl Smith, a Frederick Douglas Republican, said that Douglas had written a letter to the slave owner who had put in bondage, forgiving the man for all the wrongs he had put on Douglas. At that point a White man in the audience, Scott Terry asked, “For giving him shelter and food for all those years?”

Well wouldn’t you know it. That sparked some controversy when an African-American woman, Kim Brown (a journalist apparently), objected to Terry’s comments and the shouting match ensued. Not between Smith, the speaker and Terry the racist, but between Smith and the woman who objected to Terry’s remarks. From the start of the panel, Terry’s comments were tinged with racism. He first promoted the “separate but equal” policy that was the hallmark of Jim Crow.

You’d think, and who wouldn’t, K Carl Smith and the management of CPAC would be appalled by the comments of Terry and his colleagues from the White Students Union of Towson University. But you know, these young people, they’re the future leaders of the party and gosh darn it, they have a right to their opinions. It was that damn liberal reporter, Kim Brown! She was the real problem with the panel, not the racists! Apparently she doesn’t have that same right to her opinions and Terry said as much when he suggested she should learn she isn’t allowed in a proper White male culture to talk back to men.

Makes me wish I had been there, just for that.

The Chairman of the Republican National Committee thinks all the GOP do to woo minorities and women is to change the way they deliver their message about the anti-freedom agenda.
The Chairman of the Republican National Committee thinks all the GOP do to woo minorities and women is to change the way they deliver their message about the anti-freedom agenda.

The best part of all this though came Monday Morning when RNC Chairman Reince Preibus held a press conference to announce the publication of the GOP’s review of what has gone wrong with the party that no longer receives the majority of the votes in this country. According to Preibus the GOP needs to reach out to women and minorities, including homosexuals. The GOP doesn’t have to change any of its policies, according to Preibus, just change its messaging. Good luck with that.

Right now the so-called “grassroots” of the GOP, the Tea Party, is in control of the GOP’s image and CPAC only strengthened their control. Obama haters and young White supremacists all of whom are in love with guns, that is what the rest of America sees when we look at the GOP.

CPAC was just the latest display of a party in conflict. The GOP holds the House of Representatives only because of gerrymandering. More votes were cast for Democrats in 2012 than Republicans. If the Tea Party takes full control of the GOP, with its racists, birthers and secessionists, not even gerrymandering can save the Party of Lincoln. The rank and file doesn’t even make that claim anymore. Hell, I haven’t heard or seen any Republican call it the Party of Reagan in months. That should tell us a lot about how far right the GOP has shifted.

And the kicker is these Tea Party people want to drag the party even further to the right.

One last note: today, March 19, 2013, is the tenth anniversary of the War in Iraq. Every analyst tells us we will be paying for this travesty for six to seven decades. Let’s remember all the veterans who served (and continue to serve) in Iraq, especially the tens of thousands who were wounded and the 4,488 who gave their lives.