“Regardless Of Their Doom/ The Little Victims Play”: CPAC, Frum, Limbaugh…And America?

Watching the stunningly large crowd
at this year`s
Conservative Political Action Conference
9,000, up some 2,000 from the previous yearI
thought of the conclusion drawn by
, the great ur-paleolibertarian,
at the end of his

of Joseph Chamberlain, a earlier brilliant
British rebel, who, rather like
, had
broken with
free-trade orthodoxy
in the name of national

“All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy
juncture, end in failure, because this is the nature of
politics and human affairs.”

For it is now undeniable that the
American Conservative Movement, the flower of Free World
and the true hero of the Cold War, has ended in utter

The self-appointed leaders who
leaped on board as it came to power—the

Bush dynasty
, the ex- (and

no doubt future
) Democratic

pundits, the

Beltway publicists
—have led it to shattering
electoral defeat. Worse, it has essentially nothing to
show for its hour in the sun except
war, and
the acquisition of what
in effect colonies,
in the Middle East. I can
honestly say that in more than three decades in the
movement, I never heard this objective even mentioned,
let alone agreed upon. Yet it suddenly became the
centerpiece of the Bush Administration`s political
strategy and still remains (judging from CPAC applause)
a fatal mirage at the grass roots.

This is tragic. But it is not truly
a tragedy—just as I think Powell`s conclusion, properly
considered, implies.

Nothing grows to the sky. The
victories of the Conservative Movement, and its greatest

President Ronald Reagan
, over the then-imperative
menaces, stagflation and the

Soviet Union
, were so complete that the menaces
themselves are now

and forgotten.

That, however, was then. This is
now. A new range of menaces rear their multicultural
heads. A reformulated movement must appear to deal with
them. And it will.

None of this was remotely in
evidence at CPAC (except unofficially in

ancillary gatherings
and down

in the Exhibit Hall
). The leadership appeared fat
and happy. Quite literally—down in the audience, I was
astonished at the lateral expansion of old friends up on
the podium whom I`d not seen for some years, like the
host, the American Conservative Union`s

David Keene

Human Events` Tom Winter

and the
Washington Examiner`s

Mark Tapscott
. (The
American Spectator`s Bob Tyrrell, in contrast, still looks lean and
mean, although his magazine, alas, now

Beltway Right consensus

The followership, the vast and
remarkably youthful crowd, essentially all white, both
sexes dressed in very proper office clothes, was
intensely enthusiastic if confused—applauding both

Ron Paul`s
assault on indiscriminate military
interventionism and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick

very disappointing
belligerent boilerplate about the
Islamic threat with equal enthusiasm, so far as I could

But my guess is that the details
don`t matter here. In
terms, a powerful

is blossoming in opposition to Obama`s

racial-socialist coup
. The backlash to Obama is
likely to be faster and more furious than the Beltway
Establishment, Right or Left, anticipates.

CPAC has changed enormously since I
first started going there in the (ahem!) mid-1970s.
Perhaps my favorite memory: writing a speech for Senator
Orrin Hatch attacking affirmative action, the issue
which a fellow staffer and I had decided could win him
the GOP nomination. The speech was front page news in
the old Washington
—or, more precisely, the unchecked press release
was, Hatch having chickened out at the last minute,
apparently deciding that his usual free-enterprise
boilerplate was the

sharp sword that would win him the glittering prize
(It wasn`t. But we probably got enough

anti-affirmative action stuff
into the Congressional
Record under his name to stymie his reported later
ambition to be appointed to the Supreme Court. Sorry
about that, Senator.)

Back then, I remember intense,
electric debate between those of us who supported a
Reagan challenge to

in 1976, perhaps even a Third Party as
advocated by then-National
publisher Bill Rusher (still not clear to me
he wasn`t right), and the more conventional

who even then didn`t want to rock the boat. (We were proved right
by Reagan`s landslide victory in 1980, but the
apparatchiks are still around, still unabashedly advocating
I`ve come to the conclusion that it`s a psychological
quirk, a political version of

Tourette`s Syndrome

Now, perhaps symptomatic of the
general collapse of the Conservative Movement, CPAC is
vastly larger but there is no central narrative, and
above all, no dissent. Partly this is because, unique in
all the conferences I`ve attended—and this is all too
many, after nearly four decades in

financial journalism
—there was no formal lunch or
luncheon speaker and dinners and the receptions were
restricted to the smaller number of registrants who paid
up to $750 for a
“Diamond Registration Package”
. (General Admission
was $125). The overall feeling was of standing in a
teeming city center—mind-numbing hordes of people
rushing round you excitedly, but not much sign that they
knew each other or had any common purpose.

Even back in the 1970s, you
sometimes got the feeling that CPAC was run for the
benefit of an in-group, despoiling but secretly
despising us hayseeds from the boondocks. This is now
flagrant. Of course,
“Inside the
has become an

intoxicating, and notoriously insular
, city-state.
Still I`ve never seen a conference in which the speakers
and celebrities were so systematically protected, with
screened walkways and greenrooms, from contamination by
the hoi polloi,
general and Diamond alike.

And even if conservatives are
supposed to accept hierarchy, it made me feel distinctly
queasy to swan down the Diamond Registrants` reserved
aisle to the Diamond Registrants` reserved seats right
at the front of the vast hall, while everyone else stood
and suffered in interminable, stalled lines.

Of course, there had to be some
kind of system. The crowd was simply unmanageable,
completely swamping the cavernous Omni Shoreham hotel.
(An even more cavernous venue is rumored for next year).
And there certainly are

crazies out there to protect speakers against
although none stood a chance of getting past Ann
Coulter`s giant bodyguards.

But, basically, I haven`t seen such
a cattle call/mass rape of grass roots contributors
since I went to my first and last Inaugural Ball in
1980. (Word to the unwise: there`s no room for dancing
at Inaugural Balls. There`s no room for sitting down
either. You just mill around. Don`t go!)

And, as with the Inaugural Balls,
there are no politics—just boosterism. It`s always a bad
sign when you see dinners with multiple speakers. No-one
has time to develop an argument. Nor did the procession
of Republican show horses, given just half an hour each,
in which they mostly chose to conduct pep rallies for

In fact,

Ann Coulter`s

knockabout routine (much harder than
it looks) was easily the most interesting performance.
Ann has many

jealous detractors
among her supposed allies on the
Establishment Right, but I have a lot of respect for her
intellect and would guess that she could have developed
the best political argument too. Significantly, however,
she chose not to do so.

Naturally, Ann is too controversial
for the modern CPAC. It failed to invite her last year
and, according to rumor, did so this year only
reluctantly, bowing to popular demand.

In the absence of a central narrative,
many of the CPAC main sessions appeared to be (paid?) ad
sessions for component organizations in the
traditional conservative coalition—focusing on frankly wonkish issues like tax limitation, health care,
education, energy, even (snore!)
“technology policy”.

Even Center for Immigration

Mark Krikorian
, a CPAC-certified trusty, expressed

that there was so little attention paid to
foreign policy at CPAC—and that the only panel (a mere
breakout session) was weighted to anti-interventionist
views. Perhaps this partly reflects CPAC management`s
determination to dump the Bush Administration, to which
it once toadied, down the memory hole. But, as Krikorian
implied, it also reflects the eerie influence over CPAC
achieved by Americans for Tax Reform`s

Grover Norquist
, who is not only a

raving Open Borders loony
but who has also emerged,

, as a

Muslim sympathizer
. (Indeed, Front Page`s

Jamie Glazov

that Norquist has married a Muslim but
refuses to say if he converted, and Daniel Pipes has
asked "Is
Grover Norquist an Islamist?
"[ April 14, 2005]).

Before the conference, Jihad
Watch`s Robert Spencer

searingly denounced

“the Norquistian
Islam-Is-A-Religion-of-Peace orthodoxy that prevails at
that “conservatives…were fearful of being

accused of being anti-Islamic or racist
associating with
, the Dutch parliamentarian currently being
prosecuted for his opposition to Islamization].

And in fact CPAC did not, as
Spencer obviously anticipated, find room in its program
for Wilders. Instead, he spoke to a packed ancillary

organized by supporters

Perhaps this was a type of
political correctness, as Spencer says. But it strikes
me as so extremely weird (what American, really, cares
what Muslims think?) as to suggest pressure from

Spencer complained:
“How is it
possible that a conservative conference does not have a
single panel on the


radical Islam
But at least several of the
speakers, for example Bush U.N. Representative

John Bolton,
went on about it at length.

The immigration issue, in contrast,
was almost invisible. At VDARE.COM we have chronicled
its inexorable emergence at CPAC, in
Michelle Malkin
got a standing ovation),


Tamar Jacoby
was booed) and

(when, with help from

some Presidential candidates
, immigration reform
patriots dominated the sessions). At every stage, it has
been apparent that the CPAC audience was solidly in
favor of immigration control.

No doubt for that reason, this year
the CPAC managers took the incredible decision not to
discuss immigration at all.

At least, that was the early word.
The late word was that a panel had been arranged at the
insistence of a major donor, Helen Krieble, head of the
Vernon Krieble
and a Colorado horse farm owner, who
wanted to publicize her pet proposal for guest workers.
Also on the panel: the house-trained Mark Krikorian, who
made his usual solid presentation and politely did not
attack Krieble; and Tom Fitton of
Judicial Watch,
who spoke about his organization`s interesting

opposing illegal alien

day labor centers

empowering local police
to enforce immigration law.

Moderating the panel, with
distinctly bad grace, was none other than Grover
Norquist himself.

VDARE.COM has been

of Ms. Krieble because of her role in
persuading Congressman Mike Pence to try to

sell out
his Immigration Reform Caucus colleagues in
the Bush amnesty wars. It was impossible to
cross-examine her about her new plan because Norquist,
perhaps alarmed by the spectacle of VDARE.COM
leering at the head of the microphone line
like a happy crocodile, took the unusual step of
insisting that all questioners ask their questions
before the panelists got to give necessarily cursory
answers. But she did say forcefully, in response to my
query, that she was opposed to the

citizen child
interpretation of the Fourteenth

This was a surprise. It would, of
course, mean that any

U.S.-born children of guest workers
would not
automatically be American citizens, which would
certainly lessen the political consequences of a guest
worker plan. But it would also sharply reduce any guest
worker plan`s value to the Hispanic lobby (although the
numerous token Hispanics in the room, apparently
imported by

interested organizations
to attend an earlier
break-out session on some fantasy called the

“Conservative-Hispanic coalition”
and visibly
unhappy at the close proximity of immigration patriots,
seemed not to understand). And it could create a
permanent disenfranchised

class, something quite new in American

In person, Helen Krieble seems like
a nice lady. My guess is that none of the clever men
that she funds have pointed this (or any other) problem
out to her.

Showing my unerring journalistic
instinct, I skipped

Rush Limbaugh`s
now-famous closing address. Well, I
wanted to spend the evening with my

young wife
. And I knew that Limbaugh`s
speech—televised live on Fox, as he quipped, making it
his first-ever address to the nation—was the one CPAC
event that you absolutely wouldn`t have to be there in
present in person to see. (Read/view it

). We gave our tickets to an older couple who
might otherwise have expired in the now
ultra-interminable, super-stalled General Admission

Limbaugh`s speech, of course, has
subsequently been attacked by the White House and its
MSM echo chamber—and, more interestingly

former Bush speechwriter/National
blogger (same thing, really)

David Frum
, in his new

webzine, also amplified by the MSM
echo chamber. Limbaugh and Frum, who has

made a career out of triangulating
against fellow
conservatives, are obviously having a lovely time
together—Rush gets the cover at

David gets to write the story! What more could they
want? (They`ve co-operated before: Limbaugh

Frum`s attempt to purge conservative
opponents of the Iraq War).

Joy at Frum`s ex-employer,
National Review, seems distinctly

less than unconstrained
. You can see why: it must be
difficult simultaneously to suck up to Limbaugh, who has
helped the magazine in various ways, Frum, representing
the neoconservatives to whom it is intellectually
subservient, the MSM, to which
NR editors
long to graduate, and (yes!) the White House—NR
editor Rich Lowry was

one of the
“conservative media pundits”
Limbaugh said in a scathing aside had been
invited to dinner with Obama
“to anoint them
as conservative spokesmen. These are the people that
Obama`s willing to break bread with…the people there
happen to be the people who think the era of Reagan is

But there was another reason I
skipped Limbaugh: I knew, from long observation, that
notwithstanding his brilliant barn-burning delivery, he
wouldn`t actually say anything new, especially in the
area of immigration and the National Question that are
VDARE.com`s focus. I think the
NR editors are
mediocrities intellectually and morally, but they do
know a political risk when they see one, from long
practice in not taking them. And they were quite right
to say of Limbaugh, in their obviously uneasy

on the controversy:
“His views are
not extreme and his manner is not, for that matter,
particularly angry.”

When my immigration book

was in preparation, the publishers,
Random House, were desperate for a blurb from Limbaugh,
probably hoping to appease their balking liberal sales
force. But despite approaches by various mutual friends,
we never got any answer. (“No”
would have been fine). Subsequently,
Bill Buckley`s 1996 Election Night party
Limbaugh was guest of honor—the idea that Buckley would
have disapproved of Limbaugh is ludicrous; he fawned on
him—I went up to Limbaugh and directly told him he
should change sides on immigration. (The fleeting
references I`d heard him make were
Wall Street
dogmatic drivel.) Limbaugh immediately put
on a very serious face and said earnestly:
“I`ve not made up
my mind yet”
). Some years later, at a dinner party
in Palm Beach, I told him the same thing. Again, he put
on that serious face and said earnestly:
“I`ve not made up my mind yet.” Maybe he gets asked the question a

At this point, I think it`s pretty
clear Limbaugh is never going to make up his mind. He
played a heroic role in helping stop the Bush amnesties,
but was noticeably

about the tougher parts of the problem. I
don`t believe he has ever criticized legal immigration.
And, of course, he was a blind Bush backer, although

appalling immigration views
were always obvious.

I can`t really blame Limbaugh for
this. He has a big business to run and he`s very
vulnerable to advertiser pressure. Patriotic immigration
reform is simply not good for media careers. Even I was
impressed by the

fanaticism and unscrupulousness
of the immigration
enthusiasts after
Alien Nation was published, including people I had regarded as
friends for years. I sometimes wonder if I would have
started writing about immigration at all if I had known
that Buckley would betray us and

patriotic immigration reformers from
National Review.
And Limbaugh`s speech, of course, did not mention
immigration or any related issue.

In fact, it`s notable how many of
Frum`s complaints about his style and substance Limbaugh
actually anticipated. He was relentlessly upbeat,
obviously buying the conventional wisdom,

mistaken in my view
that Reagan won because he was so sunny. (“Let
me tell you who we conservatives are:  We love

) He was politically correct. (“We
want every American to be the best that
he or she can
…ugh. My emphasis.)

He rejected
“racism” at
groveling length.
(“We don`t hate anybody…let me deal with this head on.
You know what the cliche is, a conservative: racist,
sexist, bigot, homophobe. Excuse me, ladies and
gentlemen of America, if you were paying attention, I
know you were, the racism in our culture was exclusively
and fully on display in the Democrat primary last year.
[Applause] It was not us asking whether Barack Obama was
authentic. What we were asking is:  Is he wrong? 
We concluded, yes. We still think so. But we didn`t ask

if he was authentically black
. We didn`t say, as
some Southern Christian Leadership Conference leaders
said:  Barack is not authentic, he`s not got any
slave blood. He`s really not down for the struggle, but

his wife is

Obama stands for certain things. I don`t care, he could
be a Martian. He could be from Michigan, I don`t
know—just kidding. Doesn`t matter to me what his race
is. It doesn`t matter. He`s liberal is what matters to

Needless to say, this did not
prevent Frum

with Chris Matthews that Limbaugh has
“a race problem”
(“He sometimes talks that way.”)

National Review bloggers

about this smear against an ally, but
it`s one they themselves have been

quick to make

In one passage, Limbaugh even
managed simultaneously to eschew race and endorse the
(“We`re no
different than any other human beings around the world.

is no different. We`re not better just because
we`re born in America. There`s nothing that sets us

How did this happen
?  How did the United States
of America become the world`s lone super power, the
world`s economic engine, the most prosperous opportunity
for an advanced lifestyle that humanity has ever

And a momentary stumble in his
peroration revealed that Limbaugh endorses the social
liberalism that Frum urges on the party as if it`s new.
(“Don`t measure
your success by how many people like you. Just worry
about how they vote.
And then at the end of the day how they live, but
that`s really none of your business once they close the
Thank you all very much. It`s been
My emphasis).

In the end, it`s hard to avoid the
impression that Limbaugh`s problem in Frum`s eyes is
that he is too effective—and that he`s not David Frum.

Limbaugh has the heart to lead the
troops, but on the evidence of this speech not the
head—he offered no new strategic vision. (Neither does
Frum, who has definite wonkish tendencies and

wants to emphasize

health-care reform”

In this connection, one passage in
Limbaugh speech gave me a wistful pang:

“We are talking about the United States of America—and there will always
be an America, don`t misunderstand me—we`re talking
about it remaining the country we were all born into and
reared and grown into. And it`s under assault. It`s
always under assault. But it`s never been under assault
like this from within before…”

In fact, however, it`s not clear
“there will always be an America”, much less that it will remain
“the country we
were all born into”
. Limbaugh was born in

, when America was nearly 90% white (and African
Americans made up virtually all the rest). But recently,
the census bureau

that, because of Federal immigration
policy, whites will be a minority by 2042. Most births
could be minority by

as early as 2011
. To adapt

Brecht`s poem
—which is on the point of becoming a
cliché without anyone having grasped what it means—the
government is literally
the people and electing a new one.

Americans are trained to get

at any mention of this demographic
reality. But it`s obvious that, on current form, the
country that Limbaugh was
“born into”
will cease to exist very soon.

You could argue that the
will prevail and no-one will notice,
although there is little evidence to justify this
unprecedented gamble—and the Left is

gleefully anticipating
that things will indeed
change. You cannot, however, argue that this shift will
be other than devastating to the Republican Party. As we
have repeatedly demonstrated on VDARE.COM, race is
destiny in American politics. By supporting current
immigration policy, the Republican Party is

literally committing suicide
, and very soon. The
silence of CPAC (and Limbaugh, and Frum, and the entire
Establishment Right) on the subject is nothing less than
incredible. Which is why, watching the cavorting CPAC
crowd, another

forced itself into my mind

Alas, regardless of their doom

The little victims play 

For the Republican Party, America`s

post-1965 immigration disaster i
s both a problem and
a solution. It is a problem because of the demographic
drift. It is a solution because it gives the party the
chance to emerge as the champion of the historic
American nation—rather as it became the party of
American nationalism after the Civil War.

America today is confronted with
what we at VDARE.COM call
“The National
—whether it is, or can be much longer, a
nation-state, the political expression of a particular

The alternative is that it will
degenerate into an empire, a congerie of nationalities
held together by increasingly authoritarian managerial
elite, perhaps

ultimately merging
(as President Bush and the late
Wall Street
editor Bob Bartley

apparently envisaged)
with other bureaucratic

Three times in the last fifteen
years, National Question issues have banged on the door
of the Republican party—when patriots in California put
initiatives on the ballot opposing taxpayer subsidies to
illegal aliens (Proposition
in 1994), ending

affirmative action quotas
in 1996) ending
i.e. instruction conducted in foreign
languages (Proposition
in 1998). All were massively outspent by ethnic
lobbies and

opposed by the entire political establishment
; all
passed overwhelmingly.

But the Republican Party ran
away—even though Proposition 187

the re-election campaign of

Governor Pete Wilson,
giving the party its

state-wide victory.

More recently, there have been
similar victories, for example in


. Again, the Republican Party was AWOL.

A National Question Strategy would
feature at a minimum: (1) an immigration moratorium and
the systematic dismantling of the illegal presence in
the U.S.; (2) abolition of

affirmative action
, which has become a zero-sum
shell game squeezing out the historic American nation
from desirable positions; (3) an

Official English policy
, designed to compel
linguistic assimilation.

Of course, these policies would be
portrayed as anti-immigrant and anti-ethnic. But the
unmentioned subtext of these initiatives is that they
always get significant minority support. More generally,
the American nation and its founding culture is more
attractive than it is usually given credit for. The
central revelation of Kevin Phillips seminal 1968 book The Emerging Republican Majority

that, with the singular exception of the Jews, most
later immigrants were slowly migrating into the GOP,
without any particular Italian or Irish outreach
programs and despite (or because of) the

great immigration cut-off of the 1920
s. It takes
time, and, on the part of the assimilating nation,

Ironically, the National Question
Strategy would also supply answers, otherwise in short
supply, to the issues that David Frum cited in
Newsweek as
new and pressing: stagnant,

increasingly unequal incomes
; the

; even

health care
costs. All have an

immigration dimension
. It`s just never mentioned.

And, of course, a National Question
Strategy would take courage. That is what Limbaugh could
provide…if he chose to. (Sigh).

But whether the current leadership
responds or not, looking at that CPAC crowd, you could
see that something is going on. The overwhelming
whiteness of the crowd would have been shocking if you
didn`t know that

white America voted solidly for McCain
, although he
gave them absolutely no reason to do so. (And you would
not know from the MSM unless you studied it very

In effect, the historic American
nation is faced with a minority occupation government.
At some subliminal level, the crowd seemed to feel
that the Obama Administration is

deeply alien
, even incomprehensible. That explained
their visceral reaction to it—and guarantees that,
sooner or later, one way or another, the National
Question will surface in American politics.

Peter Brimelow
(email him) is editor of

and author of the much-denounced
 Alien Nation: Common Sense About America`s Immigration Disaster,

(Random House –
1995) and

The Worm in the Apple
(HarperCollins – 2003)