The annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) ended last Saturday, but right wing spokesmen are continuing to denounce a controversial decision made by its host, the American Conservative Union. For the first time, the John Birch Society (JBS) was allowed to co-sponsor CPAC, and several leaders on the right said the decision gave ammunition to enemies of the conservative cause.
In discussing the JBS, the late Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) said “We cannot allow the emblem of irresponsibility to attach to the conservative banner.” Now the American Conservative Union has brought them to the head table.
Below are quotes from various conservative leaders on the JBS participation at CPAC.
Mark Levin, author, “A Conservative Manifesto”:
I was invited to be the opening speaker at Saturday’s CPAC session. I had accepted but then, to my amazement, I learned the John Birch Society would be one of many co-sponsors. This takes the big-tent idea many steps too far for me.
So, I withdrew. Apparently, others were not so moved. That’s fine. But it wasn’t for me. Bill Buckley and Barry Goldwater, among others, chased the Birchers from the movement decades ago. And they’re not a part of the movement. So, to give them a booth at CPAC was boneheaded.
Rich Lowry, National Review:
The John Birch Society is co-sponsoring the American Conservative Union’s big annual conference. The Society’s paranoia has outlived the Cold War that inspired it: A recent perusal of its website turned up the same old dreary theories about David Rockefeller and the New World Order, denunciations of the ‘American colonial enterprise,’ and hints that maybe our soldiers should not follow orders in the pursuit of that enterprise. We have no idea what the ACU is thinking but assume that the Birchers are eager to ferret out any Communists in its ranks.
Scott Johnson, The Weekly Standard:
ABC’s Jonathan Karl reports that this year’s CPAC event was co-sponsored, unbelievably to me, by the John Birch Society. Karl quotes some of William F. Buckley’s characteristically vibrant denunciations of the JBS. ‘Two years after Buckley’s death,’ Karl observes, ‘the John Birch Society is no longer banished; it is listed as one of about 100 co-sponsors of the 2010 CPAC.
Karl reasonably asks: ‘Why is the Birch Society a co-sponsor?’ ‘They’re a conservative organization,’ according to Lisa Depasquale, the CPAC Director for the American Conservative Union, which runs CPAC. ‘Beyond that,’ she told Karl, ‘I have no comment.’ Additional comment is required, and if Depasquale will not provide it, I will. This is a disgrace.
John Hawkins, Right Wing News:
I visited the JBS booth at CPAC and was told the Council on Foreign Relations is engaged in some sort of secret, bipartisan effort to build a one world government. Then, I asked about the North American Union. Not only do they buy into it, he gave me some sort of movie to watch. Honestly, a group like the John Birch Society shouldn’t be allowed to be a sponsor of CPAC. . . I suspect the kookier fringe brings in so much money and energy for a group the size of the Birchers that they can’t bear to give it up. Conspiracy theorists and fringe groups are death for any mainstream group.
Ryan Mauro, Pajamas Media:
CPAC is being co-sponsored by the John Birch Society. Every liberal commentator needs to send a thank-you note to CPAC’s organizers for that monumentally stupid decision. . . CPAC has made a major PR mistake in forming this alliance with JBS. It won’t be long until the media puts all those taking part on the defensive, forcing the organizers to spend precious time explaining this move. From now on, when I hear the acronym ‘CPAC,’ I won’t think ‘Conservative Political Action Conference.’ I’ll think ‘Consciously Providing Ammo to Critics.’
Erick Erickson, Red State:
I think the JBS’ers are insane and I was dumbfounded that they had a booth.
The JBS was established in 1958 and reached its peak in 1965 with 60,000 members. The founder was candy maker Robert Welch and his brother’s company is best known for the “Sugar Daddy.” Welch often spoke of the dangers of fluoridated water which he claimed was a Communist-backed plot to weaken the minds of the American public.
The organization was long headquartered in the birthplace of Joe McCarthy, Appleton, Wisconsin. For the past five decades they have attacked and defamed practically every major political figure in the United States.
In his book “The Politician,” Welch said President Dwight Eisenhower was “a dedicated and conscious agent of the international communist conspiracy,” and the U.S. government was “under operational control of the Communist party.” He later amended this statement to say Communists only had “50-70 percent” control of the government.