The Family Research Council, the Heritage Foundation and Liberty University have all pulled out of this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, citing CPAC’s inclusion of GOProud as proof of “how committed they are to advancing the homosexual agenda.” Props to Ben al-Fowlkes for the link. Obviously, the Republican Party has been taken over by a gay conspiracy; any schoolchild will tell you that. What you may not know is that several members of the CPAC board are also under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood. So says Pamela Geller and several other conference participants, who claim that directors Suhail Khan and Grover Norquist, of all people, are secret Islamic supremacists. Seriously. I’m not saying that contemporary conservatism is defined by conspiracy theories, bigotry and religious persecution, but I am saying that if you put a bunch of spiders in the same jar, don’t be surprised when someone gets his liquefied organs sucked out.
First of all, you can tell Fox News is a real journalistic organization by the top-flight writers it attracts. Consider the massive syntactic bumout that is “Conservatives riding a new wave of momentum thanks to the strength of the Tea Party movement and big wins in the November midterm election should be riding high ahead of this year’s CPAC, scheduled to take place in Washington on Feb. 10-13.” Come on, son, Kelley Vlahos. Your first name has a typo in it.
Second of all, Geller’s accusation instructs us in just how sharp the other edge of the conservative sword has become. And I quote:
I have long been aware of the stealth Islamization of CPAC leadership, but held my events there in the hopes that we might snatch back leadership. David Keene has stacked the board with Islamic supremacists, and their chief diabolical Islamic apologist is none other than the infamous Grover Norquist.
It turns out that Pamela Geller* always knew about the terrorist conspiracy in which she now implicates several high-ranking Republicans, but she kept quiet to get cheap venue space. Or—and I’m only spitballing, here—she’s a Hofstra dropout who called Ayn Rand “the greatest philosopher in human history” and loves truth the way Ronald McDonald loves hamburgers, and she made the whole thing up with no damn evidence at all. Whichever. The point is, Fox ran with it, and so did several of CPAC’s largest historical supporters.
That big segments of the movement consider Suhail Khan a terrorist because of his religion—or Grover Norquist a conspirator because he co-founded the Islamic Free Market Institute, or the CPAC a tool of the “homosexual agenda” because they let GOProud attend their conference—is a testament to the degree to which “conservative” has become a synonym for “Christian,” or maybe just “bigot.” For all their discussion of free markets and individual liberty, much of the Republican Party is composed of groups like the American Family Association, who called homosexuality “a bridge too far” and chucked the whole conference simply because it included a group that split from the Log Cabin Republicans because they had gotten too liberal, for Chrissake. That’s not political conservatism; that’s something else. For much of the contemporary movement, systematic opposition to gays and Muslims is more important than any particular policy agenda.
Or maybe it’s just a useful excuse. As Vlahos points out, many of the groups now boycotting the CPAC over its gay Muslim overlords didn’t participate last year, either. Conference spots cost money, and ours is an inhospitable environment for charitable giving, even with the current boom in Islamophobia. Who knows how much cash the Heritage Foundation took in this year, but I suspect the number is down. It’s entirely possible that “you guys are secret terrorist homos” simply sounds better than “we don’t have enough money to go to old religious guy Burning Man this year.”
I’ll leave it to you to decide which explanation is more depressing. Or we could table the questions and sit back to enjoy the spectacle of professional conservatives turning the same dirty weapons that they wield in American discourse upon one another. Gay-baiting, unfounded accusations of conspiracy, old-fashioned religious bigotry—it’s all onstage at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Caution: you will get wet.