Oh Say Can You CPAC...
I have had a chance to digest the rumblings from the latest Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) right-wing love fest. I am not sure of the demographics for those who attend (getting to and partying at the Gaylord National Resort is not cheap), but for most of those who are featured at CPAC the demographics are easy – middle-aged white guys who have a lot of money and who seem to want to lead a government that they don’t think should do much of anything. It seems that protecting the security of the beloved homeland is an OK function for the US Government as long as that means getting out front by killing people in the name of the USA before they can kill us or take away our oil or our guns. If they do kill us because the left-wingers have screwed up, dropping bombs seems to be the least the US Government should do. After that, in their world, the US Government should butt out and let the rich guys and their bustling marketplaces take over.
Most of these guys have been in charge of something for a while in their lives; many are or have been governors of states. While it isn’t completely clear, surely they must have practiced much of what they preach while in charge at the state level and surely their confidence in less government resulted in something other than earlier tee times for them. Surely those bustling marketplaces free of government interference worked in overdrive to upgrade healthcare, education, and infrastructure (transportation, power, water). But wait, what happened – Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and South Carolina, not to mention Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia are among the nation’s least healthy and least educated states, each with crumbling infrastructure. Yet each of these places has a significant element of the population that seems attracted to these clowns whose beloved marketplaces have produced more misery than access to healthcare and more overall ignorance than enlightenment. Right-wing “think” tanks provide the talking points, and CPAC offers a stage that cheers them on.
If all we, as a nation, had to do to confront these right-wing profits of the marketplace was accept the earlier offer of the Southern states to secede from the union, moving forward for the rest of us would be simple. Even those benighted states probably don’t favor slavery anymore, seemingly preferring a poverty-level minimum wage. So, while the rest of us could move on, the folks in the old Confederacy would be free to choose McDonalds or Burger King and Walmart or K-Mart, and to enjoy the blessed freedom to enter any and all such establishments fully armed.
Of most importance, the rest of us would be free to have a functioning government with leadership that believes in governance. This is no small point – it is the height of arrogance to seek public office by pandering to those who seem to believe that undermining the function of the office being sought is their highest calling. Further, it should not escape notice that those who shout loudest about government overreach are among the first to call the government when disaster strikes. The newly-minted Governor Christie seems to have turned on FEMA, but has yet to release his initial post-Sandy calls to corporate giants seeking rapid market-based response to those in need in his state after the hurricane ravaged the coast of New Jersey. This is because he didn’t make those calls – instead, he called the President of the United States and hoped that he would find him in and fully prepared to deploy the tools of government to aid folks in need.
I fervently hope that the CPAC right-wingers get their wish and that the Paul/Cruz ticket becomes a Republican reality. These guys will make Romney look like a public spirited citizen whose country club mentality got in the way of a truly inspired guy. For fun, it could be the first time that the presidential candidate and the vice presidential candidate from the same party actually run against each other. This would really confuse Wolf, Candy, Gloria and the rest of the CNN political team, but it would make me very happy.