Comments on CPAC 2021

I have too many things to do in whatever life I have left, and not enough life left to do all of them, to have wasted one second of my time watching this year’s Trump sore losers’ denial party that self-mockingly called itself “CPAC” (Conservative P….something, whatever). I am therefore unbesmirched enough to comment on this lost boys festival and its meaning.

Donald Trump’s speech, they say, involved a “hit list” of various Republicans he wants his adulators to hate and destroy for him. The fans obediently booed each of the evil Goldsteins on cue, and vowed to hate each of them forever — which of course means until their fearful leader reattaches himself to any of those figures, at which moment they must and will transfer their undying hatred to whichever substitute devil Trump tells them they should now hate instead.

Given the current climate within the Republican Party, and the fervor of Trump’s true believers — “fervor” is my polite way of saying “cultish irrationality,” to spare the feelings of readers who continue to fear the unvarnished truth — it should be obvious that those who qualified for this hit list may in general be regarded as the most principled and courageous members of the party, since they chose a path that they knew would place them at odds with the largest and most violently angry faction of their own voters, and did so out of a simple desire not to trap themselves eternally on the wrong side of history and decency. (I make an exception for the GOP leadership group, most notably Mitch McConnell, who are merely playing the game as they have done throughout their careers, and will suffer no great loss for opposing Trump, just as they suffered no great loss for propping him up five years ago — they win either way in their own cynical game, and are therefore risking nothing.)

In other words, the men and women being booed and targeted by Trump’s slavering minions at CPAC and beyond are exhibiting exactly the kind of character and chutzpah that Trump pretends to exhibit, and that those minions cited as their primary reason for supporting their paper tiger champion from the outset.

I see that Joe Scarborough, an MSNBC host who was briefly a Republican congressman, is pandering to his Democratic television audience by “tearing into” the current posturing of senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley as hypocritical condescension from Ivy League elitists. The awkward problem with Scarborough’s obvious performative outrage aimed at elevating his audience numbers is that his criticism is exactly right. And that, as I have said for five years, was always the greatest landmine in the GOP’s Trump folly. By embracing a man — the man — who most perfectly personified every ugly epithet and condemnatory cliché that the left ever spewed (unfairly) at a Republican or “conservative,” the party has done the Democratic left the greatest possible favor, essentially converting their insupportable lies into verifiable truths. The GOP, at last, really is the party of “capitalist pigs,” hypocritical power lust, unprincipled greed, and — as Scarborough correctly says of Cruz and Hawley — the manipulative, self-promoting abuse of middle American desperation by phony elites with Ivy League pedigrees pretending to be “regular guys” for the sake of nothing but the advancement of their own wealth and career.

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