OPINION: CPAC’s Worthy Message in Danger of Being Clouded By Having Selected the Wrong Messengers
I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Save Jerseyans: today’s blogosphere is abuzz with news that Donald Trump is on the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) speakers invite list.
Forgive me for being a tad dramatic, but I can’t help but think that William F. Buckley is spinning in his grave this morning. Or at least curling his lip ever-so-slightly as we saw Buckley do many times on the stage while suffering a boorish liberal sparring partner before pouncing and intellectually eviscerating them.
Conservatism has an extremely proud, lengthy, substantial intellectual tradition that goes back hundreds of years to another continent. That said, it’s not a remote academic theory so much as an applied science rooted in faith, common sense and the human experience, and in that vein, I’ve got absolutely nothing against Mr. Trump aligning himself with the conservative cause. He’s an excellent marketer and there are many issues where he and I line up.
But I’m also not sure whether I follow CPAC’s scheduling logic on this one: by their own espoused litmus tests in recent weeks (i.e. Chris Christie had an insufficiently conservative year), how does someone pass as an acceptable CPAC conservative alternative to the New Jersey Governor after having supported birtherism (sp?), pro-choice policies, trade tariffs, Canadian-style healthcare, and similarly less-than-mainstream conservative positions in the very recent past?
Yet Chris Christie doesn’t cut the mustard despite having led the charge on critical issues including education reform and fighting back against the public employee unions?
Let’s be fair… Save Jersey is a thinking man’s blog. CPAC organizers aren’t completely wrong about the Christie record. Governor Christie wasn’t a model conservative over the past year. No argument there! We’ve made those disagreements public. This is also a free country (at least nominally); they’re welcome to host whatever kind of conference they want even if observers like your Blogger-in-Chief doesn’t see the utility in it.
But I maintain that this is a horrendously bad move on their part, and it’s made all the worse by the ideological inconsistency underlying juxtaposed Trump invites and Christie snubs. Perhaps it’s not a mistake for the conference’s attendance or the book receipts/email lists of its sponsors. Establishment conservatism (e.g. talk shows, think tanks, interest groups and PACs) is big business.
Is that what this is all about? Or are we genuinely trying to win converts? Not because it’s fun or profitable, but singularly owing to our sincere believe that conservative ideas helped build a strong, prosperous and free United States?
My heartfelt concern is reserved for the health of our once-strong conservative movement, Save Jerseyans, and I frankly don’t see how elevating Mr. Trump as one of the premiere faces of conservatism in 2013 does us any favors. Time is running out for conservatives and the country they’re trying to save from itself. Let’s collectively wake up, smell the coffee, and remember that espousing the right message is fruitless without the right messenger before it’s too late for America.