Editorial by John Ziegler

Why Sarah Palin's Lead on CPAC Should be Followed



One of the many underestimated qualities of Sarah Palin is her seemingly instinctive ability to tell right from wrong, separate the good guys from the bad ones, and possess the guts to act on her conclusions.

While many of my many critics have wrongly presumed that I have risked so much defending Governor Palin because I agree with her on everything, I am trying to make money on her coattails, or have a “crush” on her, it is instead this quality (along with the fact that she has been unfairly vilified by a partisan media) which is actually at the core of much of my admiration for her.

Palin has once again proven herself to have near perfect pitch in this realm by electing to turn down an invitation to speak at this year’s CPAC in Washington D.C.
Palin’s decision is being portrayed by some as a condemnation of CPAC head David Keene and I believe that this is indeed the case. While I have not been in contact with her about this issue, I do know that there are many solid reasons why she will not be attending CPAC and why any conservative who cares about the integrity of the movement should stay away as well.
First, are obviously the remarkably inappropriate and inaccurate statements that David Keene has made about Palin and her candidacy. For me, the most egregious thing that Keene did in this regard was to claim that Palin was “whining” about negative/false media coverage. This was not only a factually absurd statement, but coming from a conservative “leader” it gave cover to the notion that somehow the media’s treatment of Palin was plausibly in the realm of common decency. On top of that outrage, Keene’s organization had previously sent out a fund raising e-mail specifically criticizing the campaign coverage of Palin.
Now personally, if I were Sarah Palin Keene’s words alone would be more than enough to keep me from traveling several thousand miles and speaking for free so that Keene’s event could be elevated, but there are plenty of other good reasons to stay away from CPAC.
There is also the outrageous Fed Ex pay-for-editorial scandal, Keene’s long-time support of liberal Republican turncoat Arlen Spector, and the fact that this year’s CPAC is sponsored by the nutty John Birch Society.
All of these transgressions individually might be able to be dismissed or at least partially explained. However, together, combined with my own personal experiences with CPAC (I have spoken each of the last three years and was a co-sponsor last year; oddly I did not receive an invitation this time around), they paint an indisputable portrait of an event that is far more concerned with the personal advancement of the organizers than with the movement it claims to promote.
Based on my dealings with CPAC the entire show, even by political standards, is a sham. The organizers are basically “selling” (figuratively and sometimes literally) speaking spots for attention starved figures in the conservative movement to feel like they are important and so they can tighten their grip on their tiny “chiefdoms” within conservatism. Even worse than that, often times people who are actually harmful to the cause are given prime roles at CPAC because either they basically pay for them (like Jerome Corsi) or they are big enough celebrities (like Joe Scarbough). In 2009 I personally sat in CPAC meetings where it was “decided” with Keene in attendance that these types would not be rewarded at CPAC and then found them with big roles on the final schedule.
The main reason that Keene has gotten away with his shenanigans (at least until now) is that members of the conservative media are essentially bought off. Sadly and pathetically, it seems almost no one (expect maybe me) has been willing to give up a position on a panel or an invite to a party in order to expose the inherently corrupt nature of CPAC.
Sarah Palin is now finally the first prominent conservative to stand up and say, “no more!” to the (very) old boys network at work here. She should be applauded, but more importantly her lead should be followed. The conservative movement deserves so much better than what CPAC has become. Please consider spending your time and money elsewhere. Trust me, you won’t miss much and the movement will be better for it.    

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