Conservatives’ Real Agenda Revealed at CPAC Conference: Love of Torture and Hatred of Obama
February 19, 2010 |
At first, the opening roster of speakers at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference sounded a common theme: How many ways can conservatives — a term re-purposed to describe the Tea Party movement — threaten the establishment of the Republican Party? Given the exuberant response of the CPAC crowd to those who expressed it, you’d be forgiven for thinking you had walked into a gathering of a coherent movement.
Then Dick Cheney, the former vice president, a guardian of the Republican establishment, took the stand in a surprise appearance, and the crowd went wild. When he teasingly said their reception had him thinking about running for office again, they cheered. When he immediately dashed that hope, their deflation was audible.
The speakers preceding the Cheney apparition brought the crowd to their feet decrying government spending and bailouts. The gathering had its own internal, if paranoid, logic. Yet when Cheney appeared, the profligacy and bailout schemes of the Bush administration seemed long forgotten. Never mind that George W. Bush, Cheney’s boss and protege, increased government spending more than any of the six presidents preceding him, including LBJ, according to Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus Center. (De Rugy, a former research analyst at the Cato Institute and former fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, continues: “In his last term in office, President Bush increased discretionary outlays by an estimated 48.6 percent. During his eight years in office, President Bush spent almost twice as much as his predecessor, President Clinton. Adjusted for inflation, in eight years, President Clinton increased the federal budget by 11 percent. In eight years, President Bush increased it by a whopping 104 percent.”)