American Conservative Union (ACU) chairman Al Cardenas once said “CPAC is like an ‘All Star’ game for conservatives.” Watching it unfold, however, is less like a ball game and more like surveying the line-up at a Moscow May Day parade during the times of the Soviet Union, if you can push the political ideology out of the picture for a moment. Or like monitoring a north Georgia Klan Labor Day Klan rally in the 1980s. You see who is in and who is out. In that regard, seeing the Tea Party emerge at CPAC 2013 is a little like watching the first time white power skinheads showed up at the Gainesville, Georgia Kluxer event in 1989.
The British newspaper The Guardian has done a remarkable service by examining the online trail of bigotry left by Anders Breivik, the white nationalist who murdered 77 innocents in two different killings sprees in Norway last July.
They provide links to Beivik's 1500-page manifesto as well as to those pages that the killer himself linked to. This web page spider web weaves together European far-right groups, American Islamophobic "counter-Jihad" sites, as well as more mainstream sources.
According to Andrew Brown, the journalist for The Guardian who wrote the introduction to the visualization, "Anders Breivik's manifesto reveals a subculture of nationalistic and Islamophobic websites that link the European and American far right in a paranoid alliance against Islam and is also rooted in some democratically elected parties."
The Revolutionary War-era costumes, the yellow “Don’t tread on me” Gadsden flags from the same era, the earnest recitals of the pledge of allegiance, the over-stated veneration of the Constitution, and the defense of “American exceptionalism” in a world turned towards transnational economies and global institutions: all are signs of the over-arching nationalism that helps define the Tea Party movement.
It is a form of American nationalism, however, that does not include all Americans, and separates itself from those it regards as insufficiently “real Americans.” Consider in this regard, a recent Tea Party Nation Newsletter article entitled, “Real Americans Did Not Sue Arizona.” Or the hand-drawn sign at a Tea Party rally that was obviously earnestly felt. “I am a arrogant American, unlike our President, I am proud of my country, our freedom, our generosity, no apology from me.”
Now that President Obama has attempted to quell the surge of birtherism by providing a copy of his oft-requested long form-birth certificate, will that satisfy the birthers? Will they go away now?
Long before President Obama released his long-form birth certificate, Tea Party leaders and other birthers had already concocted outlandish new twists on birther racism. Clumsily forged Kenyan birth certificates, failed lawsuits, cries of conspiracy, and the cottage industry of birther books and videos have popped up in the last few years. Indeed, leading birther activists have invented an incomprehensible array of bogus arguments and convinced themselves that a black man could not possibly be president of the United States. Now, they are not going down without a fight.