If young conservatives represent the dominant faction here, the tea party is a close second. That, perhaps, explains the enthusiastic reception to Wayne LaPierre, the far-right, all-guns, all-the-time spokesman for the National Rifle Association. And he gets a fine reception: I am sitting next to an older couple, clearly tea partiers themselves, and they chatter excitedly to each other as LaPierre makes his stump-speech points. The only reason for keeping a government list of who has guns is so that government can tax them, or take them, LaPierre says. "That's it, they jut want to take them away" the woman says to her husband. "The one thing a violent rapist deserves to face is a good woman with a gun!" he says, a line that garners perhaps the loudest and longest applause. To LaPierre and the crowd, putting armed officers in schools is an obvious good—the same crowd has spent an entire conference grumbling about government spending, though, and no mention of funding such a plan gets made. He is convinced that police are not getting gun-toting criminals off the streets because they are lazy or undevoted to the cause; that gun ownership should be made freer, though, and left unregulated, and left anonymous, is not even open to question.
LaPierre is, as most of the far-far-right, convinced that "elitists" are the problem. On the "elitists" who are against them, he says loudly: "Let them be damned!"
I have just come from hearing Michele Bachmann talk. She is loud, and very animated, and so relentless in her off the cuff speech (mostly about her children that there simply is no room for applause lines. One of her big points is that we could cure Alzheimer's, experts say, in ten years. It currently costs $170 billion to fight; in the future, she says, it will cost up to $20 trillion. "Why wouldn't you do this", she says of a cure, citing the vast savings of money and life that came from the polio vaccine not all that long ago. "Enough of this false compassion!" from liberals, who apparently do not think of things like these. She says that we could all fund our cars with 23 cents a gallon natural gas, according to the natural gas group she has just met with, but all other policy mentions in her speech both before and after are of cutting taxes, the obvious outrage involved in "taking away money from you that you need!!"
Again, if there is any funding to be had for fighting Alzheimer's, it is left entirely unsaid. And this also sounds more than a little like science, and not just science, but medical research in particular, and Rand Paul was just telling us yesterday about meth and monkeys and why medical research into these things was just a grade-A grift from those wacky scientists.
I have a very, very bad headache at this point.