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CPAC: A carnival of kooks

poster child for America's vapid right
poster child for America's vapid right
Getty Images

Maybe it's me, but it seems the far right-wing has these conventions multiple times a year. Be that as it may, it was time over the past week for another Conservative Political Action Convention. Otherwise known as CPAC, it's a time when a convention hall packed full of extreme (mostly) white right-wingers get together and make up history, infer mind-altering information not based in reality, and just lie. It's all done with a sense of fun, frivolity, and of course some jokes bordering on racism when it comes to discussing America's first black President. That last comment is my opinion, but I would bet money that it occurs. To give a specific example of what I'm talking about with some of my charges, consider the comments of Texas Senator Ted Cruz. He's the big star of the right lately, along with the Senator of another state known for its cerebral deep thinking, Kentucky, Rand Paul. Cruz said recently that it was Obama's weakness that caused Vladimir Putin to go into the Ukraine with the cover that it was to protect and control the Crimean Peninsula. As with all right-wingers, they either don't know history, or rewrite it to fit their absurd agenda. For Cruz, that agenda means holding power and making money. Russia, and the then USSR, never needed an excuse to invade other nations. They've been doing forever. In 2008, Russia invaded the former Soviet state of Georgia. That was after President George W. Bush stated he looked into Putin's eye and saw a solid soul he could work with (I'm paraphrasing). In 1968, the USSR invaded Czechoslovakia when that country's citizens attempted to break out of the Soviet orbit. In 1956, Hungary also tried to break free of the USSR and was invaded by the Soviets. Many were killed as the Soviets did whatever they had to in stopping a rebellion for freedom. Those stories read just like what's happening in the Ukraine today, and under various presidents-Republican and Democrat. Eisenhower, Johnson and Bush could not really do anything since the Russians were putting down rebellion in their own back yard. Our ability was limited to say the least. Cruz or any other right-winger don't care about facts-they care about gaining and holding power.To them, facts get in the way of a good line or catch phrase.

Luckily for the right-wing power mongers, they appeal to a base who know virtually nothing about history-much less real facts. That's why it's so easy to manipulate, mainly an all white crowd so easily scared by the boogeymen created by the far right. Joe McCarthy had an easy time doing this in the 1950's and I say easy because he had the "communist menace" that very much scared the hell out of most Americans. In his pretense at "protecting" the average American, McCarthy constantly made charges that were completely false, and ruined countless people's very lives and their careers in the process. Facts mean nothing when the far right attempts to scare the witless citizens into believing something that will, in turn, make heroes out of those making bogus clams. Many have succeeded, including Richard Nixon who made a name for himself early in his career by claiming his opponent for a California Senate race (Helen Gahagan Douglas) was a "commie"...right down to her "pink underwear". many Americans were as ignorant then as they are today. Because of that stupidity, we now have to put up with the absurd blather of Cruz, all of Fox News, right-wing radio and of course the always vapid twit, Sarah Palin. When I see clips of these neanderthals taking in every word Palin spews out, it reminds me of the audience for those two low-life snakes, Tammy Faye and Jim Baker. When they were finally brought down for the obvious hacks and scam artists most Americans could already surmise they were, those lost souls who made up their audience still seemed ready to say other evil forces bought them down.

Ted Cruz has his followers believing that Obamacare can be repealed. I don't like the shabby way it was introduced, but America needs universal healthcare because the landscape is changing. In years to come, corporations may not even furnish healthcare coverage. As one who has worked for companies over the years, coverage went from virtually being part of the package, to something an employee has to pay for-with an ever increasing amount of your pay check. What's wrong with devising a heath care system that includes millions of Americans being grouped together for a cheaper rate-just like companies do? That's the idea with Obamacare. It's been a rough start, but I believe it will be tinkered and worked out over the coming years and will evolve into a better plan.As most people know when they lose a job, health insurance can be expensive, and something had to be done. The Republican Party had a plan many years ago before it was taken over by the far right. That plan closely resembles the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare). Once the far right hijacked the Republican Party, there was no way any heath care plan was going to appear. The far right cares only about cutting taxes and regulations. Forget those two elements were part of what helped push us into the Great Recession. Ask the citizens of West Virginia, people who always put down regulation (environmental) because it might have interfered with their booming coal industry. When toxic chemicals recently leaked into their water supply, I'm just guess their ideas on regulation began to change.

A good portion of the younger generation (33% of those 18-30 years old) don't even label themselves Democrats or Republicans. I think that's a good and healthy progression. This generation tends to be more open-minded about race, marijuana legalization and other social issues that the right-wing wants to protect with out-dated laws, like the one recently vetoed by the governor of Arizona. Ralph Reed, Director of the far right-wing Christian Coalition, was upset that Arizona law failed to pass because he and his followers like the idea of being able to discriminate against gays (among others). This is because their religion is against homosexuals, and likes the idea of not serving them if a business owner doesn't want to. He represents the past and doesn't see the future, but he will. He was being interviewed the other day at CPAC, and I could see behind him, people dressed up like the founding fathers. This is what these people do: they pretend that they are super patriots, and feel they love America more than people who may be of color or of a different political stripe. They are precisely the opposite of what America is all about-inclusion. They are holding on to a past that has faded away. They want to bring it back, and what better example than discrimination exemplifies what America used to be all about. Reed even compared President Obama to George Wallace; talk about the pot calling the kettle black! Ralph Reed worked with convicted felon Jack Abramoff years ago by getting his Christian lemming followers to vote against certain gambling interests in the south (namely Alabama). The ruse here was that all along Abramoff was really working to get another casino owner the rights to build in these areas and wanted a certain Indian tribe NOT to get the casino rights. In order to protect his buddy Reed, Abramoff used money laundering schemes to pay off Reed by more legitimate sources.Reed did nothing illegal, it's just that he got paid handsomely for helping a con artist. Reed's followers, as is the case with ignorant right-wingers, never knew they were being played by a snake who uses religion as a cloak to make millions for himself. It's all a scam.

And so my fellow Americans, let us hope the torch will be passed to a new generation not fooled by the cons, the creeps, and the old ways of using fear and scare tactics to gain power and fortune. Has America learned nothing over the past fifty years? The right represents almost all that is wrong with America. Honest conservatism is good and healthy. I myself still believe in capital punishment. I don't like excessive taxation or regulation. What this country needs politically is a good dose of pragmatism, common sense and cooperation in congress and in our political universe. Extremism in the name of liberty is a crass catch phrase used by Barry Goldwater in his 1964 presidential campaign. Goldwater evolved as a man, and a conservative.His campaign helped launch Ronald Reagan's political career but he himself ultimately became very much a pragmatic conservative who despised the extreme right in his later days on earth.The right may always chant Reagan's name, but Reagan was actually more realistic and pragmatic when working with the opposition (he raised taxes 11 times because of rising debt). All we can hope for as a people is that wisdom and sense wins out over extremism, and sensible Americans prevail: our future depends on it.