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Kathleen Parker imagines a time when CPAC wasn’t a cesspool (“At CPAC, conservatism betrayed,” Washington Post, 2/21/2017):

Remember when conservatism meant deep thinkers and big ideas?

No. No I don’t.

Predictably, Parker is attributing the blight of modern conservatism to CPAC’s invitation (and later rescindment) of disgraced former Breitbart ‘journalist’ Milo Yiannopoulos, who has recently come under fire for being more forthcoming about his feelings about the relationships between men and young boys than the Catholic church.

But Parker’s objection is along the lines of thinking the presentation of many of the speakers is stupid and immature, even though their message is just a raw, unfiltered version of their anti-intellectual forebears. For example:

An ad on the CPAC website prominently features nouvelle conservative vamp Dana Loesch, a conservative radio host in Dallas and a protegee of Breitbart News. In the photo, Loesch is doing her best imitation of the “Miley,” her tongue super-extended and her hand making the sign of the devil — two middle fingers tucked into the palm, pinkie and pointer extended like two horns.

So Parker’s chief complaint is that it exposes the intellectual hollowness of conservatism for the crass, amoral bullshit that it is. Because really, there’s never been ‘deep thinkers’ at CPAC, just people who believed that wearing suits and being taken seriously in intellectual circles was important enough to warrant constructing elaborate talking points that had the sheen of ideology.

But CPAC’s history of inviting foul buffoons isn’t new. Here’s real-life dreadnought Rush Limbaugh in 2009:

And here’s Ann Coulter in 2004:

Here’s Kirk Cameron in 2012:

Here’s Andrew Breitbart in 2012:

Here’s Steve Bannon in 2012:

Are you seeing a pattern here? I could go on.

Parker laments:

[T]he speaker lineup is missing many of conservatism’s most interesting voices.

Though (spoiler alert!) she doesn’t name a single one. She name-drops William Buckley, who’s dead—but that’s it. And I should mention that good ol’ Bill Buckley thought segregation was cool. And I don’t just mean Jim Crow-era segregation—I’m talking apartheid. Deep thinkers and big ideas, indeed.

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