Grumblings from backstage at CPAC 2010
Having returned from my 8th annual broadcasting pilgrimage to CPAC (Conservative Political Action Convention 2010) in the Logic Free Zone (Washington, DC), I am amazed and appalled how severely at odds otherwise professed Freedom Lovers remain over matters of what should be reflexive agreement and simple definition.
Despite their avowed philosophical common denominators of Liberty, Limited Government, Lower Confiscatory Taxes, Firearms, Free Markets, Individual Responsibility and Constitutional Integrity, Republicans, Libertarians, Conservatives and the new "Tea Party" kids remain passionately conflicted over what really really constitutes the basis for their not-so-peaceful co-existence (or "movement") and mutual efforts to change the course of the Republic.
Subsequent to the "largest CPAC ever" (10,000 attending), rather than rejoice in the — dare I say — diversity of political brotherhood, Conservative spokesfolks, Talk radio’s Most-Listened-To Hosts, achieved lift-off, going postal on the audacity of (gasp!) Libertarians in their midst! Mt. Limbaugh erupted Monday afternoon, "They’re not just a bunch of Libertarians over there, ya know!" with dire pronouncements and stuttering fulminations about 3rd Parties and wack-o candidates (aka Ron Paul). He snorted contemptuously at the failure of speakers to follow his un-proffered but infinitely more loquacious oratory and surely more brilliant prose the Great He expectorated as Most Beloved Keynote Speaker a mere year ago. (Just to make sure everyone remembered how brilliant, he inflicted clips of his self-assessed Sterling and Positive Speech into adoring dittoheads. During the ensuing commercial break, I’m certain he gave himself a Standing O.)
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Listening to Mark Levin after my own show, I was actually shocked to hear his venomous opinions of the event he did not attend (because the John Birch Society had purchased a booth!) "Shocked" because I have generally admired Levin’s "No Compromise" commentaries about the sanctity of the Constitution being trashed by blithering, dithering idiots, both in and out of government. Levin was most rapacious in his references to Libertarians, singling out "the constant and silly promotion of Ron Paul" for special denunciation. (He made other disparaging remarks about Paul but I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t recall the particulars; the 18-wheeler jack-knifing on the snowy Interstate before me had become a distraction.)
I missed the string of Hannity pearls — but his excoriating of Paul during the last campaign has an enormous shelf life. Since Glenn Beck was the keynote speaker, I’d like to believe his Monday morning reviews were just as self-fawning as Limbaugh’s sans the vitriol. If O’Reily, the only media tyrant who can make Limbaugh look humble, had anything to "opine," the back-up from the wrecked big rig kept my morbid curiosity from subjecting me to the excruciating insult of watching.
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I don’t listen much to the Lesser Luminaries, my "Third Tier" colleagues in syndication. But I heard enough to know Talk Radio and most of Punditsville was very unhappy with "those Libertarians" insinuating themselves into the CONSERVATIVE Political Action Convention. It was like…Trespassing. When it was announced Ron Paul won the hallowed Straw Poll, it morphed into spittle-flecked heresy.
Since we’re all on the same Constitutional page, can’t we hearken to Rodney, the Lesser King’s plaintive wail, "Can’t we all just get along"? After all, don’t we all have the same Constitution upon which to base our case for governance?
A clue why not may languish in the oft-mentioned criticism of Liberals’/Progressives’ Basic Tenet: "The Constitution is a Living Document; changing (via SCOTUS) to reflect the vicissitudes of Society." Colloquially, I’ve referred to that philosophical mutation as "writing on a Magic Slate." Individually, Republicans, Conservatives and the Tea People hold this truth to be self-evident: they — and only one of "they" — are the Keepers of Originalist Constitutional Integrity. Unfortunately, let the record show whenever it is their ox up for a legislative goring, that Magic Slate comes in real handy. Could it be: only applied Libertarian philosophy maintains a monogamous relationship with that Old Parchment?
You are America. You have a choice of riding in 2 vehicles: The "D Racer" or the "R Mobile." Both are speeding toward the brick wall of Tyranny. The only difference — the "D Racer" is going 150 mph; the "R Mobile" 125 mph. In which would you care to meet your certain demise? What? Oh — that OTHER one? The Libertarian "Freedom Machine"? But that one is heading in the opposite direction, toward Liberty. What’s more, Ron Paul and a bunch of Libertarians are driving! How could that be? He is so…so… unelectable!
The R’s, C’s and TP’s would have us believe the Constitution is the highest law of the land; that the Rule of Law is the centerpiece of the Republic and thus forms the principled core of our system of governance and society. (Actually, I’ve never actually heard an R, C or TP say that out loud but it’s in all their brochures.) Each touts the mission of fielding and/or supporting candidates who are 100% steadfast for Constitutional Principles. Funny thing, those "principles." Ya either have ’em or ya don’t; ya live by ’em or ya don’t. Right? Anything less than strict adherence is Constitutional adultery.
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So what did we learn at CPAC 2010 this year? Who among the Genuine Republicans, Righteous Conservatives and Fresh Young Tea P’s and vile, interloping Libertarians gets the Gold Medal for Constitutional Integrity?
Oh — and did I mention Ron Paul won the Straw Poll?
We also learned that Republicans and too many Conservatives continue devolving into "Constitutional Darwinists." That is, their Constitution is "alive," too and slowly devolving from the Original to accommodate the same cultural, societal and governmental changes Liberals do, just in different areas at different speeds for different preferences. Rumor has it, someone saw Newt Gingrich carrying a Magic Slate.
Republicans and Democrats alike always add “but” to their support of the Constitution.
The Good News is, as long as the Ruling Parties continue with their stultifying warfare, political gridlock will hold back some of the serious damage.
The Bad News is — not for long.
As Dionysius said to Damocles: Bon appetite.