John Avlon of the Daily Beast tells us that CPAC (Conservative Political Action Committee) is set to hold its annual meeting tomorrow. Republicans anxious to run for President in 2012 will be there in full force. Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and more will be on hand.
The keynote speaker is Glenn Beck, the eminent conservative nutcase.
And guess what? The thing is being co-sponsored by the John Birch Society.
The John Birch Societyâa stridently anti-communist, paleo-conservative groupâwas exiled from the mainstream conservative movement back in the 1960s because of its penchant for conspiracy theories. The group had a starring role in Richard Hofstadterâs classic The Paranoid Style in American Politics, and founder Robert Welch infamously described President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a âdedicated, conscious agent of the communist conspiracy.â
That John Birch Society is a scary bunch. Way back, decades ago, when I was young and rather naive I was invited by a neighbor in Bakersfield to attend a Birch Society meeting at a movie theatre in downtown Bakersfield.
I went and listened. As green as I was I could see those guys were a bunch of rabid people that I wanted nothing to do with. All this was along about the time of Joe McCarthy and his communist witch hunt. Those guys never heard of a conspiracy they didnât like.
That the GOP leaders would immerse themselves into this CPAC business is nuts. Youâd think they would have better sense. But Presidential ambitions can affect ordinarily sane people in funny ways. Why they would connect themselves with the John Birch Society is beyond me.
Even William F. Buckley âleveled a 5,000 word condemnationâ in the National Review asking âHow can the John Birch Society be an effective political instrument while it is led by a man whose views on current affairs are, at so many critical points, removed from common sense?â In 1965, a coordinating committee of the RNC sought to formally disavow the Birchers as being a radical extremist group.
Of course that was way back then when the RNC seemed to have better judgment. After all, President Eisenhower wasnât a bad pick for President.
But now, the John Birch Society and even the current Tea Bag group and their influence on the RNC causes one to wonder about this âconservativeâ binge they are on. The Birchers included a
Michigan congressional candidate who was not only a member of the Birchers but also the KKK and the American Nazi Party.
They didnât support Ronald Reganâs revolution, calling himâgaspâa âlackey.â And Nelson Mandela is ânothing more than a communist, terrorist thug.â
When the John Birch Society announced that it would be co-sponsoring CPAC, its press release declared that âtrue conservative leaders are hard to find these days, especially in a movement dominated by neoconservatives and RINOs (Republicans in Name Only).â
Gadzooks Batman! What is going on in the United States.