CPAC Warmongering Etc.

James Bovard, February 28, 2009

The Conservative Political Action Conference in DC wrapped up today. I tromped down there Friday and got a few photos.

There were heaps of books on Sarah Palin and several organizations touting her political future. Joe the Plumber was there, along with lots of people who retain faith in all the nation’s recent wars and are confident that the next war will finally produce perpetual peace.

Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty was there. Paul’s activists were a breath of fresh air amidst the True Believers. A few other antiwar organizations or publications (like the American Conservative magazine) also had booths at the conference and were doing their best to wake folks up.

Here are a few snaps from the scene: [full-size versions of the photos are available at my Flickr site here]

Joe the Plumber and a big fan:

A female fan of Joe the Plumber forgets the old rule about making eye contact:

The proper smile:

T-shirt on the Ron Paul Campaign for Liberty table:

  • Orville H. Larson

    The only–ONLY–redeeming feature of this convention was Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty.

    Joe the Plumber was there, huh? I’m sure everyone enjoyed basking in the presence of that intellectual and moral giant!

    • Lester Ness

      I thought he was imbedded with the Israeli Army; didn’t like all the Jews? At least half of all Israelis are Middle Eastern Jews (Mizrachim) and none of them are very American. E.g., born-again Xtn missionaries are very, very, unwelcome. Also, the Israeli army definitely conscripts gays along with everyone else.

      Lester Ness

  • R. Nelson

    I wonder if Joe the Dumber’s pipes are as leaky as his thinking. I heard that CPAC’s straw poll put pro-war, pro-abortion, let-me-talk-to-my-lawyers-to-see-if-I-need-congressional-permission-to-go-to-war Mitt Romney on top.

    Somewhere along the line, somehow, conservatives lost their bleeding minds and the ability to make even rudimentary analyses of what’s going on around them. Spare me the libertarian cant about the pitfalls of conservatism; conservatives were not always this way, and given the number of libertarians who’ve been eagerly licking government and military boots, they really shouldn’t say anything about conservatives.

    If it weren’t so infuriating and dangerous, it would be just plain interesting to delve into how a group can descend from its principles into so deep a morass so quickly. All it took for moronic mindlessness to take hold was one attack? Truly, the veneer between civilized thought and jungle savagery is thinner than I ever thought.

    • Lear k

      Joe the Plumber remindes me of the many individuals working in such proffessions as construction ,pluming,or carpentary driving around in their beat up trucks with one or two falgs,pray for our troops,support our troops, Bush/Cheney sticker and McCain/Palin stickers.And blaming every body else,but not the real criminals that they have supported, for the dissater that the US is in now.

    • liberranter

      …given the number of libertarians who’ve been eagerly licking government and military boots, they really shouldn’t say anything about conservatives.

      Um, you must be confusing libertarians with the faux Beltway posers (e.g., the CATO Institute). No genuine libertarian would EVER “lick military or government boots.”

  • hardtruth

    Wikileaks cracks NATO’s Master Narrative for Afghanistan. Get it while you can.

    • Lester Ness

      Probably the Afghan master narrative for NATO involves one survivor staggering into to Peshawar. (Cf. _Flashman_, George Macdonald Fraser).

      Lester Ness, where the mountains are high and the emperor is far away.

      • Bill K.

        Hmm, does this narrative read like – “the lone stranger marched into the Tajik border post shaking in terror, bloodied and bruised with fear in his eyes. He sat for hours mumbling about shadows moving in the night, explosions, and the stench of death. None spoke English here and assumed he was some Westerner who had gotten lost.”

  • Bob

    These “conservatives” are simply mad. What, exactly, do they wish to “conserve”? Most wouldn’t know the Constitution if it walked up and introduced itself to them. They have no concept that the document is a LIMITING document, which gives ENUMERATED powers to the executive. It was written to protect the people from the government. These geniuses seem to think it just the opposite. My goodness, how did this happen? I worked for Barry Goldwater in ’64, and if we volunteers knew that the Rockefeller wing of the GOP (the bushes, the Trotskyites, et al) would ultimately take over yet call themselves “conservatives”, we never would have bothered. People that call themselves “conservatives” today and are for Israel first, more undeclared wars, torture & rendition, and military bases all over the world, to name just a few, are morons! And the democrats and “progressives” are just as bad. We’ve got real problems in this country and the only people that have the answers (Ron Paul, et al) are being ignored.

    • Andy

      Right you are Bob. I would estimate 80% of people who call themselves “conservatives” don’t even understand the political basis of conservatism.

      • Brad Smith

        Andy, I think your giving them to much credit. My estimate would be more like 95%. True Conservatives like Bob are few and far between.


      • Lear K

        Let’s see what conservatives stand for,these just few points:

        In the last 8 years ,they gave us 2 big destructive wars ,in addition to many other smaller ones.
        celebrated the destruction of 2 countries and contless humane beings.
        destroyed the standings of the US among nations and people.
        destroyed justice and the rule of law.
        Destroyed the constitution.
        Destroyed the economy.

  • David Smith

    I think we need to drop this entire “Liberal/Conservative” business. If the terms ever had any meaning, they lost it long ago. This is just part of the divide-and-conquer strategy of the ruling class. They get us fighting among ourselves as liberals or conservatives while they go on their merry way starting wars and spending us into oblivion.

    • Brad Smith

      Right on, David Smith. The Republicrats are destroying our country. Check out this video at It does a great job of stating why we should try and get back to the only form of government that works, a Republic, not a democracy.

      And for James Bovard, Yes the “conservatives” suck, what else is new? Who really gives a rats ass about Sarah and Joe? Anyone who still believes that we have a two party system has not been paying attention.

      For Ron Paul. Go Ron Go. Your the Man. I just wish you would tell the Republican Party to F off. But I guess if you had, we would not have you giving them hell from the inside. END THE FED, END THE FED!!!!!


    • Jeff Davis

      David Smith writes:

      “I think we need to drop this entire “Liberal/Conservative” business. If the terms ever had any meaning, they lost it long ago. This is just part of the divide-and-conquer strategy of the ruling class. They get us fighting among ourselves…”

      Exactly right. The two party system is a problem to which the political elite of the two parties have happily adapted, because, in the quest for power it weakens everyone but them. Non-elite Republican and Democrat centrists/moderates/realists/entrepreneurs/builders — ie thoughtful balanced MUTUALLY-COOPERATIVE people — are marginalized, locked into a crippling and abusive association (NOT an alliance) with the extremists in their respective parties. The R & D centrists — almost certainly a majority of citizens — have way more in common with each other than with the extremists of the “right” and “left”. This is the inevitable result of the polarity of a two party system. The desire for a third party arises at least partly from center’s awareness of its predicament, but, of course, a third party is nothing but bad news for the established two-party elite. As things stand, they have a lock on the game and understandably want to keep it that way, no matter the damage to the country.

      Currently, the thieves are in charge, enabled by legions of media-stupified and homicidally hysterical morons. The current trajectory/program is: over the cliff, crash and burn, up from the ashes. The over-the-cliff part and the crash-and-burn part will be courtesy of — and hopefully he end of — the two-party system. The legions of enabling morons will be reduced to a western version of third-world destitution, which may jerk them back into the reality-based community. If not, the country will just have to go through the cluster-fuck implosion yet again, and again, and again, and….

      Or we could have a third party now, and avoid the whole over-the-cliff disaster, if it’s not already too late.

  • lester

    I watched some of this on C Span. Honestly, I’d give it a d-. Besides of Ron Paul it REALLY lacked any sort of intellectual heft. It was like an amateur revival meeting. They seemed desperate to achieve an Obama type effect and it didn’t happen.

  • Chris Bieber

    i watched some of it….sad and hypocritical.

    the 8? years of servile fawning and carrying the globalist/fascist water for the GOP and this is the “hope”.

    Ron Paul and his message of liberty and nonintervention was clapped….by MOSTLY utterly conditioned ‘conservatives” with the ugly antiRP campaign blood AND THE RESULTS(McManiac – loss/rout – Obama) on their clapping hands…

    the rest of the warmongers and statists…looking for Strong Leader with Staff and Banner to lead the way to restoring the ancien regime of “conservative” state power…the days of Ronald Reagan and his PROMISING to ABOLISH the Soviet Department of State Education, George the Elder and his ode/paens/work for/to the New World Order, and the lockstepping fealty to the State regime/Empire of George the Younger…what a template/trackrecord to admire and tryWANT??? to emulate…and submit the rest of us under…to enjoy…good AND hard.

    Loyal statist partisan warfare state “conservatives”..”opposing” the statist partisan welfare state “liberals”….and their behemoth FedGov maw… …a fair “contest” of “opposites”……


    Chris Bieber
    CA YAF State Director 85 – 95

  • James Richardson

    Boy the Conservative movement seems to have fallen on hard times. With Rush “LOUDMOUTH” Limbaugh as the new leader of the Conservative cause it’s easy to see why the movement needs a plumber. Who else would know how to flush out the malodorous effluent being spouted out of the fountains of socalled Conservative wisdom. The folks meeting there must have been ankle deep in nonsensical dribble. Unfortunately most them thought the stuff was drinkable.

    • richard vajs

      Yes, Rush “LOUDMOUTH” Limbaugh is the new leader of the Conservative cause. Along with Joe the Plumber, Sarah “MOOSEKILLER” Palin, and Ann “THE MAN” Coulter. Blowhards, exhibitionists, clowns and nickel-grabbers now run the movement that used to be run by the old intellectual crowd of William F Buckley and Barry Goldwater. And the Conservative cause no longer can be found at the tweedy, collegiate haunts but rather prefers to be spread out at some beer bar in backwoods Alabama.

      • Lear k

        Limbaugh’s latest attacker: RNC’s Steele

        “In a little-noticed interview Saturday night, Steele dismissed Limbaugh as an “entertainer” whose show is “incendiary” and “ugly.” …

        Limbaugh, asked to respond, said he’d save his counter-attack for his listeners.

        “I’ll handle it on the radio,” he wrote in an e-mail.

        As a real coward Limbaugh will hid in the safty of his radio show.

  • GM

    Ron Paul & Co. are becoming a powerful force in the GOP and on the right. According to Fox News, a straw poll of CPAC activists had Ron Paul in a three way tie for second with Paul, Huckabee, and Palin each getting 12% for 2012 GOP pres. candidate. Romney was first with 20%. As a favorite of the rightwing establishment and the 2008 GOP runner-up to McCain, Romney’s 20% isn’t very impressive and probably is very soft support. Paul’s 12% is going to rock solid and the fact he is polling the same as Huckabee and Palin for 2012 among the CPAC crowd is amazing!

  • Lester Ness

    So what are the roots the T-shirts are calling them back to? I find it hard to believe that they would sympathize with Free Soil, Land Grant Universities, let alone subsidizing a trans-continental railroad. As for suppressing slavery, well, I think that many of them would like to be able to degrade and f**k unpaid workers, but I doubt they would want to be responsible to feed or house human cattle. Illegal immigrants whom they can underpay, deny the privileges of citizenship, and deport when they don’t want them any more, are close enough.

    Basically, this outfit wants power and privilege for themselves, servitude and humiliation for the majority. Call them oligarchs or aristocrats.

    Lester Ness, where the mountains are high and the emperor is far away

  • James Richardson

    To Lester Ness…those roots are the roots that get into sewer lines and cause all that trouble by getting clogged with all that Sh#*$%t…stopping the proper movement of sewage.
    That’s why they needed a plumber on site. Unfortunately Joe the Plumber doesn’t know his trade. He’s contributing to the problem rather than getting all that Sh**t moving in the right direction. The Conservative movement and the Republican party are in danger of drowning in their own effluent. They need a real plumber to clear out the stopped up sewage in their thinking and get some clean water in there.

    • Lester Ness

      You know, here in China, all the shit ends up being hauled out to the fields, to make the crops grow better. Who benefits from these people? Do they benefit anyone but themselves?

      Lester Ness

      • Orville H. Larson

        My compliments to the Chinese–they know a good use for shit when they see it.

        Here in America, what do we do? We elect our shit to Congress!

  • Corkey

    Joe the Plumber is a candidate for future “Political Jobber” of the century. If they promote him into the mainstream as a spokesmand, he will take down any serious candidate with his Neanderthalism. Joe has a role to play but he is too stupid and egotistical to realize he is nothing but a dupe. A Jobber is a professional loser who has no chance of winning but can be used strategically to ruin some else’s chances (ie: Allan Keyes is a Jobber who dilutes and clouds third party candidacies whenever they gain steam).
    The term “Jobber” is a derogatory professional wrestling term for a guy who always loses a match.

    • liberranter

      Maybe Joe will be given his own syndicated talk show. Since there appears to be an insatiable demand for brainless, incoherent, hostile verbal vomitus on the AM radio airwaves, he’ll fit right in. He certainly couldn’t be any worse at the trade (or any more unlistenable) than Lardbaugh or Hannitard.

      • Lester Ness

        Check out the US shortwave band sometime! Brother Stair is the best of them.

        Lester Ness

  • http://jack jack

    The Conservatives are moving in the right direction. They and Limbaugh are right on economics and moving in the right direction on foreign policy. We have to excise Bush and the neocons that have put us in the present situation. The deeper Obama digs us the more the conservatives will be back. Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan are the real leaders of conservativism and they are still leading the fight. There were no true conservatives in the Bush administration. They used the natural patriotic feelings of these people to push their insane foreign and domestic policies.

    • Herb Schaffler

      “The Conservatives are moving in the right direction. They and Limbaugh are right on economics and moving in the right direction on foreign policy.”

      They are opposing Obama’s foreign policy just because he’s a Democrat just as they opposed Clinton’s foreign policy. Wait till they get back in power and you will see that they will go back to their old warmongering ways.

  • Lawrence

    Jack: while Ron Paul is correct about 60% to 70% of the time, I’m not so sure about Buchanan. Have you ever noticed that despite his antiwar writings on this site, when he is interviewed on TV talk shows, he fits easily into the warmonger-and-fear glidestream? It’s almost as if Buchanan is able to milk not one, but two audiences by writing a separate column and speaking out of a separate side of his mouth — depending upon the audience. Are there two Buchanans — an attempt to double his press opportunities?

    • Chris Baker

      Buchanan used to work for Nixon. How trustworthy can he be?

    • Corkey

      Yeah, Pat can talk out of both sides of his mouth but I guess he wouldn’t be on TV with that brain dead Joe Scarborough if he didn’t.

  • Lear k

    “The Conservatives are moving in the right direction. They and Limbaugh are right on economics and moving in the right direction on foreign policy”!?

    Maybe just because they are not in control.These are the same group who brought on the current disaster.

  • http://jack jack

    Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller were both agressive warmongers. You have to go to the Bob Taft, Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan, Dwight Eisenhower wing of the party. They have been against foreign adventurism. They also were patriotic americans who put america first. The antiwar left of the Democrat Party is way too tied to foreign tyrany. They love or loved Stalin, Mao,Castro,Ho Chi Mingh, or even a crackpot like Chavez. Pat Buchanan has been leading the charge against foreign adventurism since 1991. Nobody has taken on the Israeli Lobby with more vigor but has still been able to keep on the public airwaves.

  • Bill K.

    Are they paying people to join “Team Sarah”?

    And who is that bald guy, I think I have seen him somewhere?

    If these are the faces of the future of the Republican Party I don’t think Obama will have problems staying in office for a 2nd term, even if the Economy collapses during his term.

    • Bill K.

      But I like many would prefer somebody like Ron Paul.

    • Corkey

      Although a shaved head is considered fashionable today, whenever I see Joe the Dumber I immediately think “lobotomy”.

      • Bill K.

        Couldn’t hurt, but are you sure there is anything in that head to remove?

        • Corkey

          Its already gone. As Moe Howard once said to his brother Curly of the Three Stooges when they were in the butcher shop, ” Whatta brain…belongs right up there on the meat counter”.