Wes Vernon
A CPAC report: Rush Limbaugh's de facto conservative manifesto
Big stories the media ignored
By Wes Vernon
March 2, 2009

The powers that be in Obama's Washington piously declare conservatism dead, but right under their noses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) drew record numbers to its annual three-day Washington gathering. More than 8,500 people paid hundreds of dollars — when you add the hotel bills, conference fees, travel, etc. — to meet, plan, and hear from the nation's premiere spokesmen for their cause.

Rush Limbaugh, in a stem-winder that was slated to last 20 minutes, brought the house down with a speech that lasted an hour and a half. It was carried live on the Fox News Channel, but if you missed it, you should try to catch a re-run on C-SPAN.

Obama team's policy "sick"

Limbaugh took to task the Obama method of "helping" people by creating and perpetuating permanent dependency and saying you have no right to keep the money you earn. You need us — Big Government — because only we can save you. We are your only hope — dependency forever. Obama and his people live politically by creating fear, angst, and crisis.

"They are destroying people's futures," America's number one talk show host declared. "That is sick," he said, "That is not the United States of America."

The one war the liberals supported in the second half of the 20th century was the so-called "war on poverty," Rush reminded us. That war, launched by Lyndon Johnson 40 years ago, recycles itself every election season in a grab for votes that does not solve poverty but does a "Play it again Sam" routine that nets votes at the ballot box.

Soak the rich? What rich?

New York City has something like 8 million people. Of those, the top earners — the evil "rich" — make up a tiny fraction, just about 44,000. Liberal Mayor Michael Bloomberg is afraid these people will flee the city (Duh!) because of its onerous tax structure, and leave the city without its little gold mine.

Message to Mayor Bloomberg: "One of them already has," says Limbaugh, a former New Yorker who has hightailed it to the sunny year-round golf-friendly climes of Florida. (He's been audited every year since then. A "political" audit? Naw!)

Nation of cowards?

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich took on Attorney General Eric Holder's comment first day on the job that America was essentially "a nation of cowards."

Cowardly because — according to the attorney general — we have not had a real dialogue on race relations . . . Mind you, this from the African-American Attorney General appointed to that position by the nation's first black president, elected by millions in white America. And we're cowards on race?

Gingrich told his CPAC audience that perhaps Mr. Holder would like to open that dialogue by touring the city of Detroit, a city soaked in nothing but race dialogue, and a city of bad government, bad politicians, bad policies, bad ideas, with a failed school system and failed political system — a city, Gingrich noted, that suffers from the failure of policies that Mr. Holder supports.

Oh, yes, and while we're on the subject of cowardly behavior, how about members of Congress who are too cowardly to refuse to vote for a huge "stimulus" bill until they've had a chance to read it. No time for that. Princess Pelosi had to hurry and wrap things up so she could fly off in her private jet for a four-day holiday in Rome. (My words, not Gingrich's). Her underlings — elected not by her, but by their neighbors back home — were to do her bidding, not theirs.

Watch what you say

Rush touched on the Obama regime's Do-as-I-say instincts, a creeping authoritarianism as to "what you can and cannot say, and where you can and cannot say it."

A perfect segue to . . .

On Friday night at the CPAC conference — in a different room — a speaker from the Netherlands warned that just as freedom of speech is under attack in Europe, so too is that precious liberty threatened here in the U.S.

Prior to that, Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders had also appeared — wearing a bullet-proof vest — at the National Press Club. And before that, he had testified before the Senate.

He is being prosecuted (persecuted) in the Netherlands because of reaction to his short film Fitna, wherein he debunks the plea that Islam is a "religion of peace." The Kingdom of Jordan threatened to prosecute him for "insulting Islam" and to ask for his extradition.

Only days earlier, Wilders had been barred from the UK to fulfill a speaking engagement at the House of Lords. The Home Secretary had him detained at London's Heathrow Airport, where authorities boarded him on the next plane back to the Netherlands. This, mind you, from the land that gave us the Magna Carta.

Wilders is warning us of exactly what this column has mentioned in citing Gregory Davis (in Religion of Peace?) wherein he says Islam is building a war machine behind an ideology that seeks "the killing of others, the plundering of their wealth, the conquering of their lands, the enslavement of their people, and the destruction of their institutions."

President Obama, of course, has a tin ear to all this, whether the threat comes directly from radical Islamists or their left-elitist allies amongst us. That lends yet one more strand of credence to the point Rush made in his speech that conservatives "love people" and cherish the rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," but that they believe "all three are under assault" (note — whether by abortion on demand, the threat of radical Islamist jihad, onerous taxation, or the attempt to stifle conservative dissent on talk radio).

Bypassing the liberal media

Another separate event by one of CPAC's participating organizations was the Reed Irvine Award for journalists who have done the investigative work the mainstream media refuses to do.

The honors were bestowed in the name of the late legendary Reed Irvine, founder of Accuracy in Media (AIM), the original media watchdog . . . (Full disclosure — I am a contributing writer for AIM.)

Reed Irvine organized AIM 40 years ago to blow the whistle on distortions in the media — not just "gotcha" inaccuracies, but also sins of omission — i.e., things the media did not say that they should have. The stories that were not covered.

There are stories lying all over the landscape in this town. If they were inanimate objects, reporters would not be able to avoid stumbling over them. We're talking here about stories — good stories — that go unreported, either for ideological reasons, other irons in the fire, laziness, or disinterest — whatever.

Reed Irvine was probably the original "citizen journalist," who scooped up several of those otherwise ignored stories and ran with them — despite disinterest on the part of the big media and the obstacles thrown in his path by those scrambling to arrange their cover-ups.

Reed's biggest stories included (1) the flip side of the Watergate case (did not absolve Nixon but reflected badly on his detractors and what they were hiding that the burglars were seeking during their break-in); (2) the foreign involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing (a story on which we — both in this column and in The AIM Report — have tried to pick up where Reed left off); (3) the missile that hit TWA Flight 800 (scores of witnesses backed Reed on this, but that did not stop the cover-up); (4) the strange death of Vince Foster (Reed owned that story; the cover-up he encountered was as intriguing as the story itself).

Up from history's blacklist

Reed today would have approved (in spades) AIM's Investigative Journalist award to longtime journalist/editor M. Stanton Evans for his book Blacklisted by History (detailing Senator Joseph McCarthy's fight against America's enemies).

It was Senator McCarthy's five-year campaign to rattle some high-level cages that persuaded a younger Reed Irvine from left to right on the political spectrum. His own investigation found America's problem with Communism and Communism's infiltration of our institutions (most especially government) considerably worse that he had imagined.

In accepting the honor, Stan Evans (whose book was the product of years-long investigative persistence and thousands of hours of just plain hard work) remarked that much of what passes for "news" — of indeed "history" — has a second act that is often ignored. It is not enough to regurgitate what others have written or posted. Original research — the FBI files, the papers of the parties to the story, the relevant documents (not the news clips) — is to be mined in an honest quest for the truth.

The citizen journalist tradition

Since Reed arguably was the original citizen journalist, he would identify with Karl Denninger, recipient of AIM's Citizen Journalist award. Denninger was recognized for "his tireless work exposing the true cost of federal bailouts and "stimulus" measures. (Hint: It's not a pretty picture.)

Some zingers

"Conservatives are more interesting than liberals. I mean let's be honest: who wants to hang out with guys like Paul Krugman and Robert Reich when you can be with Rush?" — Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell

"I've never seen a happy liberal." — Rush Limbaugh

About Eric Holder's "nation of cowards" slur: "Americans are courageous enough to tell the difference between people who tell the truth" and courageous enough "not to listen to people who will not tell the truth." — Newt Gingrich

About media efforts to identify Obama with Abe Lincoln or Ronald Reagan: "The press apparently can't think of a Democrat worthy enough to compare him to." — Ann Coulter

About fair-weather "conservatives" who say "the era of Reagan is over": "When in the hell did you hear a Democrat say the era of FDR is over?" — Rush Limbaugh

About the Obama health care plan: "We're going to have to work awfully hard to see that America stays American." — Mitt Romney

CPAC-2009 a big success

This writer told David Keene (whose American Conservative Union has organized CPAC since its founding) that he had outdone himself this year. He modestly declined the accolade, deferring to many others whose hard work went into the project.

Wherever the credit lies, CPAC left no doubt here that conservatism — notwithstanding Obama's Washington — is on the march.

And by the way, the 8,500-plus who gathered here, as well as speaking and panel participants, do not agree on every single issue, or on which specific issues are more important than others. It is their focus on the basics that causes them to bond. With the determination they took back to their home cities and towns, there is renewed confidence that with hard work, they will make a comeback.

As far as they're concerned, conservatism is here to stay — not just to be in President Obama's face (though there may be some of that), but in the interest of taking their country back.

© Wes Vernon


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)


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