From ‘The Moron in Chief’ to Two ‘Lock Her Up’ Panels, Here Are the 5 Wildest Items on the Agenda at CPAC
The agenda for the Conservative Political Action Committee’s annual confab is out and it’s as wild as you would expect from the grassroots conservative group in 2022.
Long gone are the days when Mitt Romney would win a CPAC straw poll. In fact, being a diehard conservative no longer seems to be all that important in order to speak at the event. A case in point is the first of the five wildest items on the CPAC agenda, an appearance by former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI).
1. Tulsi Gabbard as a special guest during the Ronald Reagan Dinner
Friday night — after a day of speeches from the likes of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Gov. Kirsti Noem (R-SD), and far-right British leader Nigel Farage — will feature a keynote address by radio host Glenn Beck, with Gabbard as the special guest.
Beck has been promoting his new book The Great Reset, which claims that an international “reset” is underway which will move Western civilization toward a fascist dystopia. He falsely claimed on Fox News in January that proof of the reset was already happening in Washington State, in the form of Covid-19 “internment camps.”
But it was Beck’s special guest, a Democrat who ran for the party’s presidential nomination in 2020, that drew the headlines. While many pundits were quick to point Gabbard’s two-year transformation from Democratic presidential contender to speaker at a GOP conference, it may be Gabbard’s Congressional voting record that makes her CPAC appearance the most surprising.
The American Conservative Union (ACU), the organization that puts on CPAC, gives Gabbard’s voting record a rating of just 7%. Indeed, while representing Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional district, Gabbard only voted with Trump 20 percent of the time during his four years in office.
Gabbard has leaned hard into culture war issues in recent years, however, and been a vocal critic of the Biden administration and Covid-19 restrictions, all of which means she should get a warm reception at CPAC next week in Orlando.
Being a conservative is not a requirement for CPAC these days. Which might explain why ACU chairman Matt Schlapp told Steve Bannon over the weekend, “We are no longer conservatives, we are Americans who love our founding.”
2. All the News the Left Permits
Another speaker certain to make headlines is Alex Berenson. Berenson will appear on a Thursday panel called “All the News the Left Permits” with Natalie Harp, Kevin Roberts, and Papa John – the pizza guy. While this panel may sound like pretty standard fare for CPAC, and Berenson has appeared at CPAC before, his presence remains worthy of this list.
Berenson, a former New York Times reporter, became a prominent Covid-19 conspiracy theorist during the pandemic. The Atlantic dubbed him “The Pandemic’s Wrongest Man,” noting that “In a crowded field of wrongness, one person stands out: Alex Berenson.”
Berenson’s outlandish claims about the pandemic and the ineffectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccines even became too much for Fox Nation, Fox News’s streaming service. In May 2020, the service aired a show called “COVID Contrarian,” but by July was distancing itself from the controversial pundit, making clear in a statement to Yahoo News that “He was never paid by Fox News.”
Berenson has continued to appear on Fox News shows like Tucker Carlson Tonight, where he has made fact-free claims about vaccines to an audience of millions. Probably not the right person to discuss accuracy and gatekeeping in the media.
3. The Moron in Chief
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) will be on a panel Sunday titled “The Moron in Chief.” In what can only be a conversation about President Joe Biden’s many stumbles this past year, Boebert is all but guaranteed to throw punches while she trashes Biden along with radio host Buck Sexton, former football player Jack Brewer and Institute of World Politics Prof. James Carafano.
Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Mike Kelly (R-PA) will join in on the anti-Biden action. The two House veterans probably never imaged sitting on a panel called “Moron in Chief,” but alas both are willing participants.
4. “Lock Her Up” Times Two
CPAC has not one, but two panels scheduled to discuss how best to send Hillary Clinton to jail. For a group of conservatives who once fought to free political dissidents in the Soviet Union and spread liberal democracy abroad, few slogans have epitomized the influence of MAGA on conservatism in the way “lock her up” has.
While many on the right would suggest the chant is not meant to be taken literally, CPAC has a session to make sure you understand exactly what that slogan means. Former Trump Pentagon official Kash Patel, ex-Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), and former baseball player Lee Smith will host a panel called, “Lock Her Up, FOR REAL.”
The other panel takes a more broad look at persecuting political opponents, it’s titled, “Put Him to Bed, Lock Her Up and Send Her to the Border.” Kurt Schlichter, Rep. Ronny Jackson, Jack Posobiec, and Monica Crowley.
Schlichter and Posobiec are both prominent MAGA-world flame throwers. Schlichter once wrote a column fantasizing about ways to kill liberals during a second civil war, while Posobiec is one of the far-right’s most prolific conspiracy theorists.
5. CPAC Merchandise Makes Waves
While not a panel, the other bombastic news coming out of CPAC’s announcement of its 2022 agenda is the look of the merchandise.
CPAC is selling a shirt with the slogan, “Ride the red wave,” which was quickly mocked on Twitter by critics. “How can I be so sure there are no women on the CPAC design team, you ask?” jested one user on social media.
How can I be so sure there are no women on the CPAC design team, you ask? pic.twitter.com/OyiEuF2rou
— Helen Kennedy (@HelenKennedy) February 21, 2022
“CPAC shaping up to be the best time of the month,” laughed another.
CPAC shaping up to be the best time of the month https://t.co/apMBX7OIqr
— Dr. Angela Rasmussen (@angie_rasmussen) February 21, 2022
And, if the merchandise isn’t quite enough for you to hold down number five, just remember that Saturday night will be headlined by none other than Donald J. Trump, who is guaranteed to offer a performance worthy of this list.
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