ANN DAVIDOW FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Words are important, not just in the obvious, superficial sense but because of the ideas that inspire them and the speakers who articulate them. They can, however, be dangerous vehicles for individuals who confuse listeners with overblown images and phony premises. Freedom and liberty are used as if they were the property of people with an agenda that says they are the true Americans - - those freedom-loving folks who think they should be the movers and shakers of our political lives.
At the Conservative conference this past weekend speakers were hard pressed to find significant failings in the Republican brand. Perhaps they just needed to deliver the party’s message more clearly. As Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney declared, they haven’t lost the country they love. Apparently they’re just on a kind of hiatus, but freedom and liberty will soon be restored if they keep up the good fight. And throughout the laborious speech-infested affair, speaker after speaker spent their time taking potshots at the president - - no new ideas or innovative policies from these hardliners, just the same old crowd-pleasing jokes that seem to find a home at CPAC.
What was truly remarkable was the tremendous reception Sarah Palin received when she rose to speak. Senator Cruz, who introduced her, said that although she hadn’t won the big prize nationally, many of the candidates she supported were elected, including him...something to be proud of, it seems. She brought with her a huge plastic container of some kind of soft drink, a gesture that brought cheers from the audience and something Cruz sipped as well. Palin had previously proclaimed her right to drink as much of whatever she wished and, while I find the whole cup-size issue incredibly silly, I find the right-wing response even sillier.
Conservatives seem to feel that by saying they care about the poor, they will dispel the impression they have created over time and that the 47% fiasco will be forgotten. But the persistent nature of their behavior, coupled with the number of times Romney claims to have ‘misspoken’ or been mis-quoted, makes a hash of his disclaimers. CPAC and its attendees are swept along in a strange amalgam of words gone awry. “Contrary to what is often said, the 'original sin' of the South is not slavery or even racism. It is cheap, powerless labor.” -- The Progressive Populist, Michael Lind, March 15, 2013.
Talk is cheap, and actions speak louder than words no matter how brilliantly speech is formulated. These days, of course, speech is worth a king’s ransom, so to speak, because Citizens United has made what was once clear into a jumble of confused thought. And free markets don’t mean a whole lot to people operating in a tangle of conflicting ideological principles.