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The Logic of CPAC

All you need to know about why Chris Christie, GOProud, or anyone else isn’t invited to CPAC is that the American Conservative Union’s annual conference is a pep rally. Cognitive dissonance—as opposed to mere cheer contests between different Republican 2016 contenders—would defeat the purpose. Years ago the conservative movement was a place for intense debate, but now that it’s won and triumphantly proclaims every Republican presidential nominee or congressional boss a conservative in good standing, the time for debate is over. Celebrate and march forward—and keep writing checks, please, so the socialists don’t take over.

That all sounds harsh, but movement conservatism is so tied in knots about imaginary menaces and battles never to be won that the appeal of a single weekend of solidarity without the usual sense of crisis should be obvious. CPAC is a place where Republicans are ready for their comeback, where the war on terror is being won [1] (or will be once that comeback takes place), and where Donald Rumsfeld is a defender of the Constitution [2]. Why begrudge a man his fantasy?

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5 Comments To "The Logic of CPAC"

#1 Comment By Doug Bader On March 12, 2013 @ 5:20 pm

They are a private institution, they can do what they want.

#2 Comment By bayesian On March 12, 2013 @ 6:04 pm

@Doug Bader

That reads as a nonsequitur.

I don’t believe Daniel is saying that CPAC can’t “do what they want” (in terms of inviting or not inviting particular people or groups). However, given that the CPAC nihil obstat*, if not imprimatur**, is functionally essential to competing for a national level office in the GOP (anybody want to argue that McCain didn’t have a nihil obstat?), the dynamic Daniel describes is troubling to me. A pep rally is fine, I suppose, and certainly necessary for revving up the troops, but where then is is place for “intense debate”? FSM bless TAC, but it’s not the place for intense debate on the inside of the movement.

(I’m one of those many TAC-reading lefties who would still rather have sane Republicans, even though/assuming they’d win the general elections more often than the insane Republicans. I look forward to being able to vote in good conscience for Republican again, something I haven’t been able to do too often in the last twenty years. And given that I live in CA, the bar of being probably net better than the Dem candidate is often a pretty low one).

*”nothing hinders” – the first hurdle in having a book plubished under the auspices of the RCC.

** “let it be printed”.

#3 Comment By Scott Lahti On March 12, 2013 @ 7:27 pm


I’d say that Master Bader, being a privates citizen in turn, is himself entittilated to do as he, being made of Stirner stuff, will with his zone.

“having a book plubished under the auspices of the RCC”

Though I enjoyed the Bush-era films of the great director – e.g., The Student President; The Closed Policy Shop Around ‘The Corner’; Crony Brown – as much as anyone (I assume you were referring to the Roving cameras of Ernst Plubish), by the time of the breakdown of the old Sears Portrait Studio system, and his contract with, as you hint, the Republican Congressional Committee, and his reduction to filming such poorly-edited E.I.B.-movie westerns as Bright Bart and the aborted, trailer-only Palin Rider, his best work, most of it reduced to patching the cutting-room ceiling, lay above him.

#4 Comment By bayesian On March 12, 2013 @ 11:58 pm

[bayesian doffs his cap to the superior posterior probability of Dr. Lahti; indeed, the gulf 🙂 separating us is as wide as that of Bothnia]

#5 Comment By Scott Lahti On March 13, 2013 @ 6:06 pm

“bayesian doffs his cap to the superior posterior probability of Dr. Lahti”

Though Dr. Lahti, you presume, was likeliest to inject your intravenous prescription via back channels – in which case the cap you so doffed he for his part presumes would be what a member of musical royalties might call his ASCAP – he, not wishing to appear what a mondegreened Johnny Rivers would call a Secret Bayesian Man, has chosen to confine this week’s referential ration of needling, “pinprick holes in [the] colourless sky” (thank you, Moodies, that will be all) of blog-comment threads to his [3] beneath a more properly drug-related American Conservative Legion post, thus allowing your no-longer recumbent hinder parts to arise and graze postures new.

“the gulf separating us is as wide as that of Bothnia”

My favorite gulf course is in Bothnia – I used to play in a foursome* there with Franz Lizthp.

*As opposed to “stringed quartet”, as he used to call the online-gaming tennis-doubles group in which from the other side of the Internet our opponents had long since gotten used to returning his fearsome Bothnian serve.