Crazifying The Right
CPAC and 3 stories from Wisconsin
There are, of course, more weighty issues than the annual pratfalls of CPAC, but in the spirit of gather ye rosebuds, carpe diem, time’s winged chariot, and the gobs of schadenfreude we all deserve, let’s dive into the latest.
CPAC, for the uninitiated, is the annual gathering of conservatives that has long been known as the Star Wars bar scene of the right. In recent years, it has transformed itself into a full-on personality cult to the point where Kellyanne Conway once quipped that it should change its name to TPAC , with “Trump” replacing the word ”Conservative.”
Naturally, the event’s featured speaker this year is the Former Guy.
The event continues to be presided over by the oleaginous Trump fluffer (and election truther) Matt Schlapp, but has moved from the DC area to Orlando, the better to spread its maskless, super-spreader MAGA wings.
Despite the move, however, the Trumpen CPAC continues to observe the annual ritual of SchlappFall, in which the organizers are shocked shocked to discover that somehow they have managed to book yet another one of the anti-semiticracistconspiracytheoristpedophiledefending crackpots who always seem to turn up as a featured speaker at Schlapp’s events.
Yesterday the group put out a teasing tweet that hinted we were in for the usual good stuff, and CPAC did not disappoint.
Someone at CPAC with “reprehensible views”? This did not narrow it down.
Could it have been someone who lied about the election? Incited an attack on the Capitol? Suggested that neo-Nazis were “good people”?
There were just so many possibilities. As David Frum (and hundreds of others) observed:
As it turned out, it was a guy known as Young Pharaoh, identified by CPAC as “Philosopher, Scholar, Musician.”
If Schlapp had spent five minutes checking him out, or if one of his Trump University interns had done even a cursory search, they would have quickly figured out that Young Pharoah is f*cking nuts.
A quick sample of his ALL-CAPS stylings:
And, of course, he is into Frazzledrip too:
We have so many questions.
The first, and most obvious is, why did CPAC book this guy in the first place? What fatcat donor/MAGA-type/Schlapp-client thought this was a good idea?
And yet, there he was…. Via MMFA:
According to its schedule, CPAC is hosting Young Pharaoh during a Sunday session called “Please Check the Number and Dial Again: Doubt, Dysfunction, and the Price of Missed Opportunities.” CPAC states on its website that Young Pharaoh is a “Philosopher, Scholar, Musician” and links to his Twitter account. CPAC also links to youngpharaoh.net -- that site redirects to “Pharaoh Aten University,” which features Young Pharaoh’s videos spreading conspiracy theories about vaccines and the “new world order.”
This all gets so much better.
The theme of this year’s CPAC is “America Uncancelled.”
But, by the end of business yesterday, CPAC had literally cancelled Young Pharaoh.
(Go ahead, roll around with this for a while. I’ll wait.)
Exit question: How does CPAC define “reprehensible”? Does it include speakers who have called the Sandy Hook shooting “a hoax,” and the parents of the dead children “actors”?
The crazy keeps spreading
In yesterday’s newsletter, I told you about the Waukesha County (WI) GOP’s event that featured a showing of the insane movie by My Pillow Guy Mike Lindell.
Here are two more reports from the field here in Wisconsin:
The first is this amazing story in today’s Bulwark by two local GOP activists who asked their local Republican Party “to consider a non-violence resolution at their 2021 County GOP Caucus. What happened when we did was revealing.”
After what has been described by caucus-goers as a “lively back and forth” concerning the intent of and need for such a resolution, the caucus voted the resolution down on a voice vote—estimated for us by attendees at roughly 55 percent against and 45 percent in favor.
And then there is email from a reader/listener, who takes us back to crucial Waukesha County:
I’m an avid listener of the Bulwark podcast and live in “crucial” Waukesha County. Heard your comment on their showing of the “Absolute Proof” documentary and thought I’d share an anecdote with you from personal experience.
Much like you, I’ve watched as the base of the GOP has slowly lost their minds over the last four years. I was active in the Waukesha County GOP during the 2012 cycle when I was in high school. Went to college in Iowa then moved back here in 2017.
I tried to stay active locally because I believed in the cause, but I quickly realized things were getting out of hand. As far back as 2018, I remember talking with people about QAnon. They were already talking about the sealed indictments, Hillary’s arrest/execution, and adrenochrome.
The real doozy was when I unfortunately found myself sitting through a presentation of all the “research” behind these theories after a social event. At least 100 slides of memes and unflattering pictures of Democrats and celebrities. I sat and watched as people I thought were rational, other grassroots activists, and even the former county GOP chairman got sucked into these theories in a matter of minutes. It was insane! Literally like sitting through a cult recruitment meeting. And this was 2018!
This is the base. And it has been for years now. I know you know that but thought you’d appreciate an on the ground perspective.
Exit take: Why are state and local GOPs becoming so much crazier? In large part, it is matter of self-selection. The normies are being driven out, while the crackpots settle in.
Trump definitely wrote this himself (although he probably had somebody fix the typos.)
Exit take: Prosecutors don’t just get Trump’s taxes. They get everything. Via the NYT:
In addition to the tax returns, Mr. Trump’s accountants, Mazars USA, must also produce business records on which those returns are based and communications with the Trump Organization. Such material could provide important context and background to decisions that Mr. Trump or his accountants made when preparing to file taxes.
1. MyPillow CEO Turned the Big Lie into Big Bucks
Kim Wehle writes about the big Dominion lawsuit in today’s Bulwark:
The suit filed on Monday tells the tale of a twenty-first-century snake-oil salesman who capitalized on Trump’s pathological need to pretend he won the 2020 election in order to sell pillows to gullible Trump supporters—victims of yet another scam at the behest of their dear leader. The story reads like a slimy mix of greed, lies, and false victimhood—a fitting culmination of the failed presidency of Donald J. Trump, himself a reality TV star who faked a successful career in business all the way to the White House.
Bonus: I had some thoughts about that lawsuit yesterday.
2. What George Washington Didn’t Do
ICYMI: To mark his birthday, The Bulwark asked writers and historians to discuss this aspect of his leadership.
As the modern presidency has become ever more imperial, we should ask our leaders to relearn what Washington knew: when to be assertive toward other levels and branches of government and when to defer to them. –David Head is the author of A Crisis of Peace: George Washington, the Newburgh Conspiracy, and the Fate of the American Revolution
Most presidents have followed this example, refusing to provide a greater platform to their critics by acknowledging their attacks or by punching down on an average citizen who does not have the power of the federal government at their back.
—Lindsay M. Chervinsky is the author of The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution
Meanwhile, on the left…
Texas man warns against assholery.
Matt Schlapp redux.