Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Company They Keep

Although I consider myself a hard-bitten cynic/realist, a report by Daniel Dale in today's Star has left me decidedly dispirited. Dale, our Canadian expert on Trump who has followed the Orange Ogre very closely since the primaries, asserts that what used to be called 'mainstream conservatism', is now falling into line with Trump's diseased worldview:
This year’s CPAC [Conservative Political Action Conference], which ended Saturday, was less an indication of a battle for the soul of conservatism than evidence that conservatism is now what President Donald Trump says it is. With a conspiracist openly hostile to Muslims running the world, the gap between the kooky fringe and the centre of the movement has vanished. And on issues from Islam to trade to Russia, the centre has shifted to fall in line with Trump’s worldview.
The demographic of attendees is one indicator:
Libertarians, seniors from liberal-leaning northern Virginia and suspiciously well-coiffed 20-year-olds seeking careers as Republican operatives make up a disproportionate percentage of the crowd.

Even there, there was no sign of a dissident movement. Trump had 15-per-cent support in the CPAC “straw poll” during the campaign last year. His approval rating in this year’s straw poll was 86 per cent.
People who were never invited to past CPACs, indeed, were shunned, are now on the main stage:
Seven Breitbart figures appeared on CPAC panels. Not including the Breitbart man who now serves as chief strategist to the president.

As Breitbart’s chief executive, Stephen Bannon used to antagonize the conference organizer, the American Conservative Union, by hosting a counter-event called “the Uninvited” for speakers deemed too incendiary on issues like Islamist extremism.
Consider some of the other invitees:

-Frank Gaffney, an anti-Muslim “security” advocate.

-Clare Lopez, who warned of a supposed Islamist plot to infiltrate Canada.

-Nigel Farage, the leader of the anti-immigration U.K. Independence Party and Brexit engineer.

It is said we are judged by the company we keep. If this year's CPAC invitees are any indication, mainstream, traditional conservatism is hanging out with some 'very bad dudes,' to use a Trumpism.

Perhaps what we are really witnessing is a fire sale of the American soul.


  1. It's pretty dispiriting, Lorne. With the Congressional Republicans apparently tamed and complacent, Trump is attacking the judiciary, the bureaucracy - especially the law enforcement, intelligence and security services, and, of course, the media that Trump/Bannon have politicized by designating them the "opposition party" and the enemy of the American people.

    As for the American people themselves check out the piece I put up today about the Big Chill. There's one disturbing part about how Bannon & Co. are using social media, particularly Facebook, to unlock people's minds, discern their emotional vulnerabilities, and then, essentially, brainwash them. This is a form of propaganda tailored to and targeted at the individual. They diagnose your vulnerability and go straight for it. That's beyond creepy.

    1. The technology we have is neither good nor bad, Mound. It is all in how it is used, and clearly these renegades have only nefarious purposes in mind.

  2. Its frightening to see how many supposedly "principled" conservatives have joined Trump's brigade, Lorne. So much for principles.

    1. We can only hope that this normalizing of Trump doesn't spread to infect the general population, Owen.

  3. Nigel Farage (aka "The Quitter"). After his side won the Brexit vote, he left. No policies as to how to do a "Brexit". He won. But, you (who are left) have to figure it out. Some leader!

    1. He probably thinks of himself as a master delegator, UU4077.