Frank Gaffney Banned from CPAC
While I've expressed my dissatisfaction with the degree that CPAC has embraced the worst elements of the conservative movement in recent years, it does appear that there is a line.
While I’ve expressed my dissatisfaction with the degree that CPAC has embraced the worst elements of the conservative movement in recent years, it does appear that there is a line.
ThinkProgress (“EXCLUSIVE: Conservative Board Unanimously Condemned Gaffney’s ‘Reprehensible’ And ‘Unfounded’ Attacks“):
A year ago, anti-Sharia conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney leaned against a column in the basement of CPAC as he warned ThinkProgress about how Muslim extremists had infiltrated the annual gathering of conservative activists in Washington — conspiracy theorizing that had made Gaffney unwelcome upstairswhere the official panels and keynote speeches were held, as ThinkProgress first reported.
Gaffney’s attacks on conservative stalwarts like Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, andSuhail Kahn, a Bush administration offical, as agents of the Muslim Brotherhood has made him a bit of a pariah among conservatives. David Keene, the then-chairman of the American Conservative Union (ACU), which puts on CPAC, and the current head of the NRA, told ThinkProgress last year that Gaffney “has become personally and tiresomely obsessed with his weird belief that anyone who doesn’t agree with him…[must be] dupes of the nation’s enemies.”
This year, the ban on Gaffney’s official participation remained in effect, but he was able to purchase a side room at the conference through TeaParty.net, giving him unofficial but proximate access to the conference. Conservatives are hesitant to speak ill about each other in public, but a source close to CPAC told ThinkProgress that Gaffney, already on thin ice, made CPAC leadership “livid” by attacking Norquist during his panel Saturday.
The degree to which conservative leaders have tried to distance themselves from Gaffney and his Shaira conspiracy theories is especially apparent given two documents obtained exclusively by ThinkProgress.
Last September, the board of the ACU unanimously passed a resolution (read it here) condemning the “false and unfounded” attacks Gaffney had made against Norquist and Kahn, both board members, after having another board member, Cleta Mitchell, look into Gaffney’s serious charges of sedition and abetting an enemy.
In a letter to the ACU board (read it here), Mitchell, a prominent and very conservativeattorney, said she reviewed the “evidence” Gaffney presented (including a lengthy PowerPoiint presentation and DVDs smearing Norquist and Kahn), and found Gaffney’s “ceaseless war” to be “reprehensible.”
The unanimous ACU board — which includes neoconservatives like U.N. ambassador John Bolton — endorsed the letter and resolved that Gaffney’s claims against Kahn and Norquist were “false and unfounded,” writing that the board “profoundly regrets and rejects as unwarranted the past and on-going attacks upon their patriotism and character.”
This is welcome news, indeed.
The Republican/conservative track record on this particular issue is mixed. On the one hand, President George W. Bush has been almost universally lauded for immediately and repeatedly emphasizing in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks that America is not at war with Islam, that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are peaceful, and so forth. On the other, prominent conservatives have embraced such outrages as the shameful campaign against building a Muslim community center a few blocks from Ground Zero.
Some of the leaders of the latter movement are welcomed with open arms at CPAC. Yet, apparently, there’s a point where anti-Muslim bigotry crosses a line and is unwelcome in the movement.
via Ben Smith via Blake Hounshel