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Tilting at Windmills

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December 17, 2009

LOOK WHO'S COMING TO CPAC.... In February, the Conservative Political Action Conference will get underway in D.C., and because CPAC has become the right-wing event of the year, the conservative movement's heavy hitters are anxious to be a part of it.

But let's note who, exactly, has become part of the conservative movement. For example, the 2010 CPAC gathering will be co-sponsored by the hyper-conservative John Birch Society. While JBS was, not too long ago, considered far too ridiculous for the American mainstream -- even Republicans considered Birchers a political pariah -- the bizarre group has slowly been welcomed into the fold as conservatives have become more extreme.

When Glenn Beck embraced the Birchers two years ago, Alex Koppelman reminded us, "The JBS is, after all, the group that believed fluoridated drinking water was a Communist mind-control plot. Oh, and its founder, Robert Welch, once accused Dwight Eisenhower -- and no, we are not kidding -- of being 'a dedicated conscious agent of the communist conspiracy.'"

And now the John Birch Society is co-sponsoring CPAC. When I talk about radicalism being mainstreamed by the right, this is what I'm talking about.

And speaking of CPAC and co-sponsors, there's another controversy bubbling up.

Earlier this year, GOProud, a new gay conservative group, appeared on the scene intent on finding ways to sell the conservative agenda to gays.

Their approach has been to eschew the "traditional" gay issues like hate crimes protections or the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in favor arguing that healthcare reform would be bad for gays, that "the inheritance tax is really a gay tax," or claiming that the best way to stop hate crimes is to expand gun ownership.

But GOProud does also support things like marriage equality and the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell ... and for that reason the Religious Right's professional anti-gay activists at Americans for Truth and the Liberty Counsel are now threatening to boycott the annual CPAC conference if GOProud is allowed to serve as an official co-sponsor.

As intolerant hatred goes, this is pretty impressive. These religious right groups want to be part of CPAC, but if conservative gays are helping support the conference, the groups are boycotting the event.

The religious right groups are, however, fine with John Birch Society.

Steve Benen 9:25 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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Yikes. I wouldn't call the JBS "hyper-conservative"-- it's a libel, even with the "hyper-". The nicest way of putting is that they are fucking nuts. I won't go through the less-nice ways of putting it; use your imagination.

Posted by: MattF on December 17, 2009 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

It's always a noisy, jostling, diverse crowd inside a big tent. It's something that liberals, with their lock-step orthodoxy, wouldn't understand.

Posted by: Al on December 17, 2009 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

All together now... with the Chad Mitchell trio:

"The John Birch Society"
by Michael Brown

Oh, we're meetin' at the courthouse at eight o'clock tonight
You just walk in the door and take the first turn to the right
Be careful when you get there, we hate to be bereft
But we're taking down the names of everybody turning left
Oh, we're the John Birch Society, the John Birch Society
Here to save our country from a communistic plot
Join the John Birch Society, help us fill the ranks
To get this movement started we need lots of tools and cranks

Now there's no one that we're certain the Kremlin doesn't touch
We think that Westbrook Pegler doth protest a bit too much
We only hail the hero from whom we got our name
We're not sure what he did but he's our hero just the same
Oh, we're the John Birch Society, the John Birch Society
Socialism is the ism dismalest of all
Join the John Birch Society, there's so much to do
Have you heard they're serving vodka at the WCTU?

Well you've heard about the agents that we've already named
Well MPA has agents that are flauntedly unashamed
We're after Rosie Clooney, we've gotten Pinkie Lee
And the day we get Red Skelton won't that be a victory
Oh we're the John Birch Society, the John Birch Society
Norman Vincent Peale may think he's kidding us along
But the John Birch Society knows he spilled the beans
He keeps on preaching brotherhood, but we know what he means

We'll teach you how to spot 'em in the cities or the sticks
For even Jasper Junction is just full of Bolsheviks
The CIA's subversive and so's the FCC
There's no one left but thee and we, and we're not sure of thee
Oh, we're the John Birch Society, the John Birch Society
Here to save our country from a communistic plot
Join the John Birch Society holding off the Reds
We'll use our hand and hearts and if we must we'll use our heads

Do you want Justice Warren for your Commissar?
Do you want Mrs. Krushchev in there with the DAR?
You cannot trust your neighbor or even next of kin
If mommie is a commie then you gotta turn her in
Oh, we're the John Birch Society, the John Birch Society
Fighting for the right to fight the right fight for the Right
Join the John Birch Society as we're marching on
And we'll all be glad to see you when we're meeting in the John
The John, the John Birch So- ci- i- teee.

Posted by: neill on December 17, 2009 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

Rumor has it that other co-sponsors include Kick-a-Spic, Eschew-a-Jew and Whack-a-Black.

Posted by: Chopin on December 17, 2009 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

My personal definition of the John Birch Society -- and organization dedicated to the preservation of democracy, ...... through fascism.

Posted by: Jim Ramsey on December 17, 2009 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

I though JBS had merged with the GOP.

What's the difference anyway?

Posted by: banned on December 17, 2009 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder, could we found some kind of group, maybe call it Every State Red, that bills itself as a Conservative communist group, that could try to be a co-sponsor too? Is that really any more absurd than a conservative gay group? I'd be up for it just as a piece of performance art and satire, but of course the folks at CPAC wouldn't see the joke. I think the GOP has a lot to offer Communists - they both use the color red, they both prefer authoritarian leaders, a blog named RedState, and the list goes on.

Posted by: biggerbox on December 17, 2009 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Charlie Danniels was my first intro to JBS.
Uneasy Rider

"They started lookin real suspicious at him
He jumped up and said "Now just wait a minute Jim!
You know he's lying I been living here all of my life!"

"I'm a faithful follower of Brother John Birch
And I belong to the Antioch Baptist Church.
And I aint even got a garage, you can call home and ask my wife!"

Posted by: joyzeeboy on December 17, 2009 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

And these are the kinds of people who will control the majority of congress after the 2010 elections, thanks to the stupidity, incompetence, and complacency of the Democrats.

Posted by: doubtful on December 17, 2009 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

The JBS still exists? What's the median age of its members?

Posted by: hells littlest angel on December 17, 2009 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

Just remember, Bob Dylan had to remove Talkin' John Birch Society Blues from his second album. And I believe Ed Sullivan refused to let him sing it on the show. They once had a degree of power.

Pretty sure Phlyiss Schlafley got her start with the birchers.

And I remember someone (Pat Buchanan) trying to equate membership in the ACLU to birchers (in a bad way, of course).

The birchers are like a rash. Irriatating if noticed, and just won't go away.

Posted by: martinmc on December 17, 2009 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

CPAC got wall-to-wall coverage by the "liberal" media. It probably will again in '10.

I wonder if the "liberal" media will mention the event's sponsors . . .

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on December 17, 2009 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Some friends and I used to go listen to the John Birch Society back in high school ('69-'72), mostly because we could not believe anyone could be that nuts. As far as I can tell, they were a bit less extremist and crazy then than typical republican politicians now, so my general view of American politics is that the Birchers won, to the extent that they might even be viewed as a bit too centrist by today's hard right.

Posted by: N.Wells on December 17, 2009 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

GOProud, of course, is the equivalent of "Chickens for Colonel Sanders"

Posted by: rea on December 17, 2009 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

"the inheritance tax is really a gay tax"

Uh, what? The Rethuglicans don't consider my partner family, and insist that we should not marry, so if I die and leave my estate to him, it must be TAXABLE rather than passed from one spouse to another tax-free.

Lost me there....

Posted by: Eeyore on December 17, 2009 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Sarah and Todd Palin are crypto-Birchers.

http://www.jbs.org/jbs-news-feed/2995

Which explains a few things.

Posted by: Xenos on December 17, 2009 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

And if Palin is speaking out at a CPAC sponsored by John Birch Society, look for her to come out of the closet on that. You heard it here first.

Posted by: Xenos on December 17, 2009 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK
Oh, and its founder, Robert Welch, once accused Dwight Eisenhower -- and no, we are not kidding -- of being 'a dedicated conscious agent of the communist conspiracy.'"

It's already been seven years since wingnuts accused anyone who opposed the Iraq War of being "objectively pro-terrorist." The conservative movement has long since become the John Birch Society; it would be hypocritical not to embrace them.

Posted by: Redshift on December 17, 2009 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Just loved it when William F Buckley put down the Birchers, as he sat around schmoozing with and extolling the principles of the Whte Tribe of Africa, Afrikaners of the National Party in South Africa. After his passing, many wrote about his attacking the Birchers, but, few remembered his party hardy days in South Africa.

Posted by: bert on December 17, 2009 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

I guess William F. Buckley really is dead, eh?

Posted by: The Craig on December 17, 2009 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, as long as it's up to the blogs like these to point out the GOP's bedfellows, instead of the mainstream media and big name Democrats, that's as long as the GOP will get away with it. They know now that they can go as far as they want into craziness, without being called on anything they say or do.

Posted by: Balakirev on December 17, 2009 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder what the JBS thinks of Michael Steele -- that is, whether they hate him for being more than just an idiot.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on December 17, 2009 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

FBI FILES ON BIRCH SOCIETY:
http://ernie1241.googlepages.com/jbs-1

Posted by: ernie1241 on December 17, 2009 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

This is your best topic yet!

Posted by: Shirley on March 1, 2011 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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