Back during the 1980's, we had a president who was anti-Communist," Kincaid said. "Back during hate 1980's, at least we knew that our president was born in the United States.CPAC attendees apparently got a kick out of that, although suggesting that Barack Obama is foreign born is less a good punch line than a feverish right-wing conspiracy meme.
In any case, Rick Moran reports from the convention:
The speakers and panels so far have been making all the right noises about having learned their lessons from the 2006 and 2008 electoral debacles. Political defeat, like the prospect of being hung, concentrates the mind wonderfully. And there seems to be a grim determination underpinning the talk of reform and change — as if the movement has taken the defeats to heart and is truly chastened by the experience.Read the whole thing, here.
Of this I have no doubt. But talking about reform while failing to address some fundamental problems with the conservative movement itself may see any real effort at change an exercise in wishful thinking.
Classic conservative principles are timeless; immutable tenets that have inspired great changes in government over the last 400 years and spoken passionately and plainly to the needs and hopes of ordinary people. Since the end of World War II, those classical principles have informed a devastating critique of the welfare state, presenting a reasoned and logical alternative to statism and dependency. Conservatism has stood for human liberty based on the fundamental idea of natural law; that from his first breath, man is born free.
But conservatism has gone off the rails, becoming in some respects a parody of itself. A philosophy that is all about honoring and conserving tradition while allowing for change that buttresses and supports important aspects of the past, has been hijacked by ideologues who brook no deviation from a dogma that limits rather than expands human freedom. Conservatism has become loud, obnoxious, closed minded, and puerile while its classical tradition of tolerance and hard-headed rationalism has been abandoned in favor of emotional jags and a vicious parochialism that eschews debate for “litmus tests” on ideological purity.
Moran suggests that the party's facing a struggle between (what some might call) stale ideology versus the need for more diversity, inclusion, and tolernance.
As readers know, I'm not inclined to compromise on the conservative forte of strong cultural traditionalism, but slurring Barack Obama as a foreigner is no way to move in the direction Moran would like.
See also, Right Wing Nut House, "Reflections on God, Man, and CPAC."