The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), held last weekend, was stuffed with Jan. 6 seditionists and their allies. There, there's your headline.
CPAC is the conference for aspirational political "professionals," with a large population of young men in identical suits who meet to Be Seen by somebody important in hopes of furthering their careers. It's lurched harder and harder right, just as the rest of conservatism has, and that's in large part due to the influence of hard-right grifter Matt Schlapp and his eagerness to latch on to whatever he sees as the next up-and-coming power center. Schlapp's adoration of Donald Trump and Trump's team of coup-plotting hacks is about as public as such fetishes get, and like attracts like.
For many years CPAC has been the place to go to hear the newest conservative conspiracy theories about what the United Nations is going to do to your kids, or your roads, or your cows, or you can wander over to the big room where anyone in conservatism who has actually managed to land a government job promotes themselves while regaling the audience with dressed-up versions of pretty much the same thing. (The current buzzwords are "woke," "critical race theory," and "weaponizing." Before it was "caravan." Mentioning George Soros or other Jewish figures is a given no matter what the topic.)
But this is a professional conference, mind you, with an audience made up in large part of aspirational professionals. This is a place for young white conservative males to gather to exchange cards, get seen, and have completely not-gay sex with each other after a long day of accusing theme parks or school libraries of "grooming" children.
And this year, like last year, it was crawling with pro-insurrection seditionists either bragging about their own involvement in the Jan. 6 coup attempt or fuming that the people who attacked and injured police officers in a riot intended to intimidate, capture, or kill lawmakers are sitting in jail rather than being treated as heroes. Because—and there is no argument about this—the Republican Party and its most ambitious political professionals do not see violent coup as outside the bounds of what their movement should be willing to engage in in their attempts to take and keep power.
There is no counterargument to that statement—at least, none that is not transparently insincere. And that should be the subhead of this Politico piece noting that condemning the Jan. 6 attacks or those in the Republican Party who engaged in the coup attempt is absolutely verboten in current Republican circles. Former Vice President Mike Pence, a target of Trump's mob, is fighting attempts to make him testify about it. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the sack of ambition who's been trying to skin off Trump's persona and wear it as a suit, has nothing bad to say about it.
And, as Politico's reporting makes clear, this year's CPAC was awash in pro-seditionist sentiments. Ashli Babbitt was shot by law enforcement as she helped break, then attempted to climb through a window and lead the crowd towards evacuating lawmakers; Donald Trump Jr. hosted Babbitt's mother in yet another attempt to portray Babbitt as a martyr of the (seditionist) cause. Indicted Jan. 6 defendants held forth in a special session to explain, to their rapt audience, why holding them accountable for their own actions was an outrage.
Oh, and press-confirmed cocaine party and sex trafficker guy Rep. Matt Gaetz was there to once again bluster on about how the real civil rights issue in the country is, yes, that those who engaged in violence on Jan. 6 have been thrown in jail. Republicans just can't get enough of the guy who was caught violating every supposed "family value" any of them burp up. Go figure.
To Gaetz's point, though, federal prosecutors have largely been ignoring all of the pro-Trump protesters who did nothing violent or destructive that day. They've been focusing their prosecutions on those who attacked police, on those who willingly vandalized the Capitol and the offices inside, and especially on the militia members who organized their violence in advance with the specific intent of overthrowing the U.S. government.
Those are the only people in jail for their crimes. And those are the people the CPAC crowd, Uday Trump, and the tall-haired pervert have been demanding prosecutors release.
So yes, they're pro-violent sedition. This isn't "oh, how dare you prosecute people for standing unauthorized on a lawn," this is "how dare you prosecute those among us who injured 100 police officers, stepping over the blood in a hunt for elected lawmakers who were opposed to erasing the 2020 presidential election results when the Republican candidate didn't win."
And nobody on that big ol' CPAC stage was willing to say one peep about it. Pardoning those who engaged in violence might be seen from the outside as a horrific proposal, but Republicans wandering through CPAC in an attempt to cater to the "top" conservative group in the country know that the conservative activists surrounding them won't put up with arguments to the contrary. Support for the Jan. 6 coup, from initial Rudy Giuliani-created hoaxes to attempts to smuggle fake "electoral slates" to Congress to Trump's order to "march" on the Capitol to the resulting attacks, is taken as necessary for getting elected, and indeed Republican primary voters have savaged Republican officials who condemned any of those things.
Former Rep. Liz Cheney went from a House Republican leadership position to being stripped of her post and primaried out of office—all because she condemned her own party's coup attempt. There was no other reason.
Republicanism is a fascist movement. It's not "getting there," it's there. They currently don't have enough power to make a violent or nonviolent coup stick, but they're trying. They've written up new powers to challenge county vote totals they don't like. They've latched on good and hard to the notion that Americans need their guns not for fun or for protection, but to enable violent revolution if government acts in ways conservatives are unwilling to abide.
"At the top Republican political event in the nation, support for the Jan. 6 coup attempt was broad and omnipresent" is a one-sentence way to sum all that up. And none of the Republicans standing on the big stage would dispute the point.
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