In a telling example of the close ties between far-right extremists and the Bush administration, Vice-President Dick Cheney gave the opening address at the 30th anniversary of the Conservative Political Action Conference last week in Arlington, Virginia. An annual event that has long been tied to the radical right in the US, this year’s gathering featured such speakers as Bob Barr, Anne Coulter, Pat Buchanan, Oliver North, Phyllis Schlafly, five US Senators and representatives from the Bush administration that included Cheney and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao. “CPAC has consistently championed those ideas that make America great,” Cheney said in his speech, as reported by Salon.com.
Ideas championed at this year’s CPAC included panels on “Modern Feminism: The Bilking of the Taxpayer,” “NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus and other Professional Victims” and “Myths, Lies & Terror: The Growing Threat of Radical Environmentalism.” Other panels included a report on the success of the Population Research Institute to “pressure the White House to withdraw the United States’ $34 million contribution to the United Nations Family Planning Fund,” as reported in Salon.com, and a tribute to Phyllis Schlafly, a virulent anti-feminist, who has campaigned against the Equal Rights Amendment, homosexuality and abortion.
Wares sold at the event included a T-shirt with a picture of the World Trade Center’s burning twin towers with “Clinton’s Legacy” written above it, bumper stickers that read “No Muslims = No Terrorists,” “Proud Member of the Right Wing Conspiracy” and “End Global Whining.” While CPAC is generally regarded as a gathering of a political fringe element, this year was different. “George Bush is our agenda!” Rev. Lou Sheld, founder of the Traditional Values Coalition, told Salon.com.