Conservative activists, lobbyists and luminaries are once more gathering at CPAC, the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, and, unsurprisingly, like years past the event has been a smorgasbord of far right craziness.
With speakers like Sen. Rand Paul, former Governor Mike Huckabee, and funder Foster “aspirin between the knees” Freiss, you can expect there were a lot of low-points for the convention. Here are five of them:
1) Paul Ryan steals a kid‘s lunch…story. It’s bad enough that Wisconsin Congressman and presidential wannabe Paul Ryan is continuing to paint federally subsidized school lunches as a bad thing. Even worse, his story to explain why free lunch is bad was apparently stolen.
Ryan told the CPAC audience: “The left is making a big mistake here. What they’re offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul. The American people want more than that. This reminds me of a story I heard from Eloise Anderson. She serves in the cabinet of my buddy, Governor Scott Walker. She once met a young boy from a very poor family, and every day at school, he would get a free lunch from a government program. He told Eloise he didn’t want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch, one in a brown-paper bag just like the other kids. He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown-paper bag had someone who cared for him. This is what the left does not understand.”
Ryan apparently didn’t steal the story himself, it was stolen by Anderson, who read something sort of like it in a book and thought it would make good congressional testimony, which is where it spread. Meanwhile, Ryan is very sorry he never verified the story before he told it, but not that he advocates for killing off school lunches for the poor.
2) Talk show host claims no state ever banned gay marriage. According to Media Matters for America, during a panel titled “Can Libertarians and Social Conservatives Ever Get Along?” right wing talk show Michael Medved denied that gay couples have encountered state-sponsored discrimination. “There has never been a state in this country that has ever banned gay marriage,” Medved said, also calling it a “liberal lie.”
Apparently none of these 30 states count.
3) Minority outreach panel, now with elbow room. The panel was called “Reaching Out: The Rest of the Story,” and media reports state that the information was both good and solid. But the reporters may have been the only ones in attendance. A picture snapped 10 minutes in shows a conference room filled with row upon row of empty chairs. But according to Mediate, those chairs were filled by the end of the session — when they were grabbed by people preparing to watch the next session, featuring NRA executive Wayne LaPierre.
4) Jindal compares U.S. Attorney General to segregationist. Obviously, not attending the outreach panel was Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Jindal, who was once believed to be a presidential hopeful before he was discovered to be a fairly hopeless public speaker, has cemented that idea with a speech about school vouchers, comparing the the Obama administration to George Wallace trying to keep black students out of schools. “We’ve got Eric Holder and the Department of Justice trying to stand in the schoolhouse door to prevent minority kids, low-income kids, kids who haven’t had access to a great education, the chance to go to better schools,” he said in his speech.
No wonder the minority outreach panel was so dead.
The Department of Justice, meanwhile, has responded by sending Jindal a book about the civil rights movement.
5) These shorts. Seriously, how is this pair of shorts not desecrating the flag?
Photo credit: wikimedia commons