CPAC: From GOP Fringe Group to Neocon Powerhouse

CPAC: From GOP Fringe Group to Neocon Powerhouse

• Prominent “conservative” group has tangled history

By Michael Collins Piper

WASHINGTON, D.C.—This year an estimated 8,000-10,000 participants converged on the annual meeting in Washington, D.C. of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). That’s a far cry from the several hundred folks—including this writer—who attended the 1979 CPAC meeting, back in the days CPAC was still considered a bit too “extreme” for the tastes of most Republicans.

But make no mistake about it: Even then, CPAC organizers (largely GOP loyalists) were certain to ban from their podium those conservatives who dared venture into verboten territory. This included those who talked about the Federal Reserve System, Zionist power or the influence of pressure groups such as the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission and Bilderberg.

Although first convened in 1974, it wasn’t until after the election to the presidency in 1980 of CPAC favorite Ronald Reagan that CPAC—and conservatism—became “respectable.” This launched an era in which a remarkable number of longtime self-described GOP “moderates” suddenly became overnight conservatives vying to be as one with the reigning president who became a virtual folk hero.

As such, during the Reagan era, CPAC leaders and organizations associated with them evolved from being considered “fringe elements” into the ruling elite within the Republican Party and assorted GOP-oriented think tanks and political action groups.

During that same time frame a small but well-funded and assertive group of hard-line Israel-centric ex-Trotskyite communist intriguers now widely known as the “neoconservatives” were rising in influence, soon grabbing control of the conservative network and, under the presidency of George W. Bush, emerged as the unchallenged force dominating the national Republican apparatus.

Things got so bad that in 2001, for the first time ever, Republican conservative icon, columnist Pat Buchanan, was not invited to speak at CPAC. That was the year Israel’s hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not only invited to CPAC, but also gave the keynote address at the event’s Ronald Reagan Banquet. That, if anything, demonstrated how far CPAC had gone.

Under their new leaders, conservatives were corralled into the internationalist and imperialist New World Order orbit, supporting American meddling around the planet, abandoning the longtime Republican conservative tradition of nationalism and nonintervention and siding without reservation with Israel in the face of growing global opposition to the Jewish state. The advent of the 9-11 tragedy gave neocons even greater power in shaping the mindset of conservatives, firmly cementing them into the NWO foundation.

While in 2004 and 2008, organized efforts by the Ron Paul presidential campaign brought many Paul followers to CPAC, their presence (and their opposition to the warmongering policies of the Dubya Bush administration) was treated as a colorful, if vocal, annoyance. “Ron Paul,” CPAC leaders asserted, “was going nowhere.” And, they would add with a wink, “there’s some question as to whether he can even be counted as a real Republican.” Paul was, they said, a bit too extreme.

There is some good news: Despite the heavy-handed neocon influence at CPAC’s leadership level, many attendees tend to be younger and more libertarian oriented. There has been among them a growing opposition to global intervention, certainly reflecting the fact that it is young people who die in the wars neocons relish.

In the old days, CPAC received little attention. These days CPAC is very much in the news, and, if truth be told, that’s the way the forces that control the big media want it to be. What happens at CPAC—and the “new faces” that emerge as “leaders” (as designated by the media monopoly)—can and must be considered a product of the opinion-molding forces of the NWO elite.

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New GOP Golden Boys Emerge

• Senators Rand Paul & Marco Rubio have much in common

By Michael Collins Piper

If current hype in the media is to be believed, Sensators Rand Paul (Ky.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.) are now the biggest names fighting for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

In a CPAC straw poll, Paul edged Rubio by a margin of 25-23% with former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) trailing far behind at 8%. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie—who was not invited to CPAC—followed with 7%. Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate, got 6%, with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at 5%. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson, newly elected Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin came in last.

The media coverage of Paul and Rubio is interesting and suggests that the two are really much alike, despite cosmetic differences.

While Paul is often presented as a more “independent” voice, in contrast to Rubio who has well-established GOP ties, both are described as tea party favorites. And yet, Paul has carefully groomed links to high-ranking GOP functionaries who helped him win his Kentucky Senate seat in 2006.

And despite the fact that within the tea party movement there is a stark (though little-noticed) divide over foreign policy, the two senators are closer than people realize.

Many tea party enthusiasts strongly support U.S. military ventures abroad, seeing America as a needed force for establishing a good, solid world order under what’s called “American exceptionalism”—that’s the New World Order—but many tea party folks don’t realize that. Rubio touts American exceptionalism, but Paul has expressed concerns (like his father, retired Representative Ron Paul) about an over-reaching military presence around the globe.

At the same time, however, the media praises Paul, saying he stands in stark contrast—often described as “refreshing”—to his father who is cast as a likeable, though somewhat kooky, extremist. The media says Paul can reach a more broad-ranging GOP audience than his father ever could.

What’s more, the media gloats, Paul is reaching out to Israel and its influential supporters in America, which Rubio has already done during his fast rise to the top. And as leading neocon guru Frederick Kagan noted, Paul does not differ from the neocons when it comes to Israel’s primary present concern: a nuclear-armed Iran.

While his own father was still running for president and criticizing bellicose voices urging U.S. and Israel military action against Iran, the younger Paul was voting for provocative measures against the Islamic republic, echoing rhetoric about Islamic extremism, akin to that of neocon power broker Norman Podhoretz who says America is now engaged in its “third world war”—against Islam.

For his own part, Rubio—the child of Cuban immigrants—is in trouble with many conservatives concerned about his immigration “reform” proposals many see as opening the door for legalization of millions of illegal immigrants now in America.

Likewise, libertarian conservatives—which Paul is—have been historically friendly toward “open borders.” Where Paul will stand on this issue, remains to be seen. However, he has talked about it in a manner that leaves many hard-line advocates of cracking down on illegal immigration a bit uneasy. Meanwhile, according to The Washington Times —a beacon of “official” conservative thought —a new consensus is emerging among those who attended CPAC 2013. In a front page story on March 15, the Times reported: “GOP leaders have decided it’s time their party surmounts the immigration issue, embraces legalization and moves on.” It added that a CPAC panel on immigration “was stacked with advocates for legalization of illegal immigrants—a stance that until recently has been a decidedly minority position within the GOP.”

On the issue of “gay marriage”—which some prominent Republicans have endorsed—Paul and Rubio adopt a libertarian stance. Paul says he can envision reworking the tax code to permit homosexual couples to take advantage of tax benefits now available to heterosexual couples. Rubio told CPAC the proposed Constitutional amendment defining marriage to be between a man and woman should be abandoned and that the issue should be left to the states (a position Paul’s father took during his presidential campaign).

Michael Collins Piper

Diverse Groups Rallied Behind Paul’s Filibuster

By Michael Collins Piper

In the days leading up to CPAC 2013, the name of Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was very much in the news. Even before CPAC it was nearly impossible to read major media accounts of his activities without consistently seeing Paul’s name linked in headlines with the magic number “2016.”

And while Paul’s recent widely publicized Senate filibuster correctly drew attention to the Obama administration’s secretive and dangerous policy on the use of drone warfare and brought vocal criticism by old reliable GOP warmongers such as Senators John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), the more nuanced aspects of the controversy surrounding the filibuster got lost in the shuffle over name calling by McCain and his evil twin.

Many conservatives—joining McCain and company—actually favor the use of drones as part of the vaunted “war on terrorism” launched under Dubya Bush. The drones are integral to the “homeland security” theme and the fight against the allegedly ubiquitous “Islamic terrorists” said to be lurking behind every corner (here and abroad) ready to strike America and its reputed interests around the planet. So the truth is that a lot of the conservatives rallying behind Paul’s filibuster only did so because they saw it as a convenient way to embarrass Obama.

In fact, Paul’s filibuster received energetic support from many liberals who otherwise support Obama. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson and former Bill Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta weighed in against the drone policy, praising Paul.

And there’s another little-mentioned aspect of Paul’s filibuster. Much of Paul’s ire focused on new Central Intelligence Agency chief John Brennan. Many view Brennan as insufficiently supportive of Israel, and he was even accused of secretly converting to Islam during his days as CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia—a claim most consider Israeli propaganda.

Pro-Israel writer Emmett Tyrell described Brennan as “closer to the Arab line than any other recent top spymaster has ever been”—and, as a consequence, a few analysts have suggested that, in his filibuster against Brennan, Paul was carrying water for the Israeli lobby.

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Michael Collins Piper is an author, journalist, lecturer and radio show host. He has spoken in Russia, Malaysia, Iran, Abu Dhabi, Japan, Canada and the U.S.

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