The annual GOP pep rally kicked off last week, with hundreds of Republicans travelling to National Harbor, Maryland to take selfies with pundits and politicians. The event was marked with much back-patting and self-aggrandizement. Words like “freedom” and “liberty” were put on a pedestal, as even the most authoritarian of neo-cons have always been forced to pay lip service to them.

Apart from Michelle Malkin, who spoke quite passionately on the importance of addressing immigration, the speakers and attendees at CPAC seemed very unconcerned with solutions or strategy. They had no guiding principles. No philosophy. No agenda. The phrase “conservatives conserve nothing” came to mind, as one speaker after another took the stage to talk about what “makes America great,” as if this long-touted return to greatness has already been accomplished.

The subject matter avoided all discussion of such “anti-Semitism” as Senator Rand Paul’s remarks on Israeli influence on American politics, or the billions of American tax dollars now being funneled into Israeli coffers under the terms of the new budget, as the President throws a Hail Mary pass in the form of a National Emergency declaration in a last-ditch effort to get any sort of funding for the wall. Any and all discussion on reforming or limiting legal immigration by way of a meritocratic process was also verboten. CPAC had only a single twenty-five-minute panel on immigration, and all twenty five of those minutes and more were filled with Malkin’s fiery speech, calling out fellow Republicans for their hypocrisy and empty promises on immigration. “I’ve been called white for stating the facts,” she said. “I’m not white. I’m just right. Both native-born and immigrant families like mine, which revere the rule of law, common traditions, constitutional principles, one identity and one tongue, have been replaced by militantly unassimilable and hostile generations.”   

Malkin then discussed the slippery slope of labeling her fellow “far-right” activists as members of “hate groups.” She warned the crowd that such designations have led to those on “the front lines for liberty” being “de-Twittered, de-PayPaled, de-Facebooked and de-platformed.” She closed her speech with “diversity is not our strength.”

Am I a Republican? Hell no, I’m Rightwing.

While her words were met with thunderous applause, she was whisked away and the topic was quickly changed. Apparently her conservative cohorts have not yet learned that importing one’s enemies is just as dangerous as allowing them to immigrate illegally. 

The dissident right was, of course, barred from entry, although Faith Goldy and Nick Fuentes managed to slip through undetected and ruffle a few feathers (I guess CPAC needs a border wall too). Goldy was able to conduct an interview with Malkin, but was denied press credentials. A sort of “free speech for me, but none for thee” policy was in place, with anyone of the Nationalist variety prohibited from taking part in the discussion. 

While I enjoyed Trump’s jokes and the uncomfortable smiles on the faces of the very same CPAC organizers who railed against him so viciously in 2016, I couldn’t help but notice the lack of any clear path to victory being touched on. There’s a very important election next year, and everyone seemed to think it’s already in the bag. I appreciate confidence, but I think it approaches arrogance when it’s not founded upon any sort of strategy. 

But the outright cuckery was downright cringy. Jared Holt, a journalist agitator for Right Wing Watch, a group of hate-hustling mediawhores funded by the SPLC, managed to get CPAC to revoke Laura Loomer’s press credentials. Why? Because she asked him, a so-called journalist, a few questions about his campaign to deplatform rightwing speech on social media networks. Holt threw a tantrum and emailed CPAC’s organizers that Loomer was being mean to him, and they caved. Indeed, conservatives conserve nothing, even at their own conservative Coachella.

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