The Hollow Men
March 3, 2007
What the Golden Globes are to the Oscars, so the Conservative Political Action Conference is to the Republican primary campaign. Just as the Globes are supposed to be a hint about who will get to go home with a little golden guy, so is CPAC the destination of choice for entrails-readers trying to forecast the next standard-bearer for the wingnut troglodyte nation.
Judging from what I’ve read about the vacuous little hatenanny that was yesterday’s CPAC, conservative brainwave activity remains as flat as a board. The absolute peak of substance appears to have been Ann Coulter calling John Edwards a faggot. She’s a stitch, isn’t she? My my. I look at the photos of the li’ wingers cheering her on, and the first thought that crosses my mind is that here is where George Romero should look for the setting of his next zombie movie. If Mitt Romney wants to pander to this creepy mob, that’s his lookout. (Come election season, I suspect he’ll find himself recalling Dennis Hopper’s finest line of dialogue from Romero’s last movie: “Stop right there or you’re dead! Oh shit — you are dead!”) Meanwhile, the Edwards campaign is using Coulter’s slur as a fundraising pitch. Hog butchers often boast that they can find a use for everything on a pig except its squeal. Looks like Edwards has found a use even for that.
Speaking of zombie horror movies, Joshua Micah Marshall went to CPAC to stare into the abyss and found the abyss staring back:
Half of Romney’s speech turns out to be making fun of Massachusetts, which I think just makes him look cheesy and like a jerk, considering he just spent four years pledged to the state. I guess he didn’t mention to the voters that he thought the state was an embarrassment.
He even flagged his crack about Dorchester, Mass. from his 1994 campaign against Ted Kennedy. Folks who’ve been watching Romney for years like I have will remember that moment which came during one of the debates if I remember correctly. It was a churlish and juvenile moment — making fun of people whose votes he was allegedly campaigning for. It was a small but important turning point in that campaign. And the same part of the guy is coming out now.
Later Update: Watching Romney pander to every line item in the right-wing catechism in this speech is a good window into his character. And the view shows the same shortcomings as the Dorchester comment and the Massachusetts- bashing in this speech. People can think what they want of Massachusetts. It’s a liberal state. It’s on one end of the spectrum of American political culture. But, not long ago, Mitt Romney was running to be the governor of that state, to represent its people. A month or so out of office, now they’re the punchline of his jokes. They’re tossed like a tissue after it’s used. And of course now he’s telling these right-wingers everything they want to hear too even though it contradicts pretty much everything he used to say he believed. He’d drop them in a flash and denigrate them too. That’s a window into who someone is. He’s dangerous.
Apparently the only name more thoroughly reviled than Hillary Clinton at CPAC was John McCain. Sorry, senator. That’s where all the smooching with Dubya and the eyelash-batting at Jerry Falwell gets you. I hope you think the auctioning-off of your soul and your crediblity were worth it. Hard to believe there was once a time when the name “Straight-Talk Express” didn’t sound like a smarmy joke.
Boy, the conservative intellectual gene pool thinned out in a hurry, didn’t it? Is this the best they’ve got? Or has the best decided to take a breather and let the worst tire itself out during the next few election cycles?
If so, they got a long wait. The denizens of wingerland live in a perfectly sealed, self-sustaining environment, isolated from and indifferent to the doings of the outside world. Such biospheres often produce ever more bizarre and toxic fauna. I suspect things are going to get a lot worse before they even start to get better.