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Posts Tagged ‘John Edwards’

Right-Wing Stunts and Tea Party Froth on the Eve of Conservatives’ Big Yearly Conference

Right-wing leaders gather at a Masonic “museum on Americanism” to sign a statement aimed at giving the Tea Party movement a set of principles.

February 17, 2010 |

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As the day of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference approaches, Washington is abuzz about the new kid in town — the Tea Party movement.

Like any conference, this one, which kicks off tomorrow, will have its yearly star, likely to be drawn from the ranks of that rancorous mob of discontents. The whole shebang will conclude with a closing address by Fox News personality Glenn Beck, Rupert Murdoch’s community organizer and  online convener of the 9/12 March on Washington. (You may recall the 2007 queen of CPAC, Ann Coulter, made big news for calling John Edwards, then a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, “a faggot” — an accusation he has since disproved in a rather spectacular fashion.)

In a bid, perhaps, not to be shunted to the wings of conservatism’s center stage, a group of old-school conservative leaders will gather today to put their signatures on something they’re calling the Mount Vernon Statement, named for the tangential location of its ceremonial signing, which will take place at a venue that sits on land once part of George Washington’s original estate. The Collingwood Library and Museum on Americanism, where the signing will take place, is run by the National Sojourners, an Masonic organization of past and present military officers.

The statement will sound an ominous chord, likely to win the favor of Tea Party activists, about the message of change for America so identified with the Obama presidential campaign, even asking if “this idea of change” is “a dangerous deception.”

The idea for the statement, say organizers, is the Sharon Statement on which the New Right was formed in the early 1960s. The Sharon Statement was a declaration of principles, not specific to any one issue, but rather to the philosophy of the conservative movement during its salad days under the leadership of the late William F. Buckley.

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This isn’t the first column in which I’ve addressed this dynamic and it won’t be the last. So consider the following an overview or a recap of what I feel is the disconnect between President Obama and some vocal factions within the progressive movement.

Clearly there are progressives, most visibly in the liberal blogosphere, who have ventured well beyond the realms of being disillusioned with the president to being outright antagonistic and, in a broader movement sense, utterly self-defeating. I still believe that this is based upon a misreading of political reality and a misinterpretation of the president’s first year in office. In some cases, I believe this anger is genuine and fair, and many other cases, I believe it’s wholly unfair, misguided and, dare I say, wingnutty.

Stating the obvious by way of a preface, the goal of the progressive movement is to, of course, move government further to the left and thereby achieving progressive policies. The argument right now is about how best to achieve this goal in the context of the current political landscape. I’ve always thought that a successful progressive movement involved three things: an ongoing marginalizing of the far-right; arguing for progressive policies; and promoting and encouraging the careers of politicians and organizations that are best equipped to help pass progressive legislation.

With that in mind, one of the many reasons why I endorsed, voted for and still support President Obama is because I strongly believe that he’s perhaps the only American politician equipped to move the nation in a distinctly leftward direction from within the context of the Oval Office. But at no time have I ever held any delusions that he was some kind of progressive superhero — a Kucinich or Sanders or Dean with a better jump shot and Jon Favreau on the payroll.

While Barack Obama is, in fact, a liberal, he’s not necessarily a progressive who fits squarely into the progressive movement’s wheelhouse.

But he’s close.

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