The Jury Talks Back

2/25/2018

Gutsy Conservative Writer At CPAC Is Soundly Booed For Calling Out Republican Hypocrisy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 8:39 am

[guest post by Dana]

Because Republicans, like Democrats, eat their own when they dare to break ranks.

Last November, when Donald Trump was close to marking his fist year as President of the United States and the public had recently learned about a credible accusation of sexual misconduct against GOP-backed candidate Roy Moore, in which he allegedly sexually assaulted a 14-year old girl decades earlier, I wrote a post that discussed the dangers of party loyalty. Specifically, the kind of party loyalty that demands we turn a blind eye to that which we readily condemn when it happens on the other side of the aisle. The kind of party loyalty that begets a moral bankruptcy resulting in there no longer being any daylight between Democrats and Republicans, thus making it impossible for either side to hold the moral high ground. Democrats have Bill Clinton, the GOP has Donald Trump:

The worst example of party loyalty is when a sexual predator’s bad behavior is brushed away, rationalized, overlooked, or worse: acknowledged as being rooted in truth, or altogether true but dismissed anyway because supporting the party trumps everything else – especially when an election is involved. And even if the opponent is as morally pure as driven snow, better to have an accused sexual predator in office than one from across the aisle.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) yesterday, Mona Charen, Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, was on stage participating in the #UsToo: Left out by the Left panel discussion, and was asked about her concerns for today’s feminism. Her answer triggered audience members, and prompted a vigorous push back from those offended at Republicans being called out for their hypocrisy:

I’m actually going to twist this around a bit and say that I’m disappointed in people on our side for being hypocrites about sexual harassers and abusers of women who are in our party, who are sitting in the White House, who brag about their extramarital affairs, who brag about mistreating women. And because he happens to have a R after his name, we look the other way. We don’t complain. This is a party that was ready to endorse — the Republican party endorsed — Roy Moore for the Senate in the state of Alabama even though he was a credibly accused child molester. You cannot claim that you stand for women and put up with that.

Charen was soundly booed for her criticism of the party and calls for consistency. She was likewise booed for questioning why CPAC would invite far right French politician Marion Maréchal-Le Pen. Out of concerns for her safety, three security guards escorted Charen out of the building. This at the largest annual gathering of conservatives.

Once upon a time, it would have been a given that Charen’s observations would have been robustly supported by Republicans. But as it now stands, this is Trump’s party, and what once was is no longer. Charen herself said as much today :

What happened to me at CPAC is the perfect illustration of the collective experience of a whole swath of conservatives since Donald Trump became the Republican nominee. We built and organized this party — but now we’re made to feel like interlopers.

I was surprised that I was even asked to speak at CPAC. My views on Trump, Roy Moore and Steve Bannon are no secret. I knew the crowd would be hostile, and so I was tempted to pass.

But too many of us have given up the fight. We’ve let disgust and dismay lead us to withdraw while bad actors take control of the direction of our movement. I know how encouraged I feel whenever someone simply states the truth, and so I decided to accept CPAC’s invitation.

Like the Republican Party, CPAC has become heavily Trumpified. Last year, they invited alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos (and withdrew the invitation only after lewd tapes surfaced). This year, in addition to the president and vice president, CPAC invited Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, granddaughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen and niece of National Front leader Marine Le Pen.

While there were reasonable, mainstream Republican speakers at CPAC, the lineup also featured demagogues like Sheriff David Clarke Jr. While he oversaw the Milwaukee County jail, one pregnant prisoner was repeatedly raped, and several prisoners died in the space of just six months. One was a mentally ill man who was denied water for seven days. No matter. The sheriff was cheered by the CPAC crowd.

Charen also explained why she was compelled to speak before what she knew would be a hostile audience:

I’d been dreading it for days, but when it came, I almost welcomed it. There is nothing more freeing than telling the truth. And it must be done, again and again, by those of us who refuse to be absorbed into this brainless, sinister, clownish thing called Trumpism, by those of us who refuse to overlook the fools, frauds and fascists attempting to glide along in his slipstream into respectability.

I spoke to a hostile audience for the sake of every person who has watched this spectacle of mendacity in disbelief and misery for the past two years. Just hearing the words you know are true can serve as ballast, steadying your mind when so much seems unreal.

For traditional conservatives, the past two years have felt like a Twilight Zone episode. Politicians, activists and intellectuals have succumbed with numbing regularity, betraying every principle they once claimed to uphold. But there remains a vigorous remnant of dissenters. I hear from them. There were even some at CPAC.

–Dana

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