CPAC, America’s most prominent conservative gathering, convenes in Budapest, Hungary, next month with prime minister Viktor Orban as a keynote speaker. The EU has accused Orban of undermining democracy, free media and judicial independence https://t.co/v39XnsT8OD pic.twitter.com/VCANaJt9VA
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 5, 2022
… To which the obvious question follows: Can we change the locks before they come back?
America’s most prominent conservative gathering, founded on ideals of personal liberty and limited government, convenes in Budapest next month to celebrate a European leader accused of undermining democracy and individual rights.
The May meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is seen by some Republicans as a test of how closely American conservatives are willing align themselves with a global movement of far-right, Russia-friendly strongmen embraced by former U.S. President Donald Trump…
The Hungary meeting reflects a years-long push by CPAC’s organizers, the American Conservative Union (ACU), to promote Trump’s divisive brand of nationalist populism to foreign audiences. Last fall, a similar CPAC-branded meeting was held in Brazil, spotlighting Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right leader and Putin admirer.
The Hungary gathering spotlights an emerging split among Republicans. While some have grown more tolerant of Putin and other foreign leaders with authoritarian tendencies, others are alarmed at the association…
On one side of the Republican split are traditional anti-authoritarian conservatives, who value personal freedoms, limited government and free markets, says Gregg Keller, who was ACU’s executive director from 2011 to 2014, working alongside Cardenas, and now heads the Atlas Strategy Group, a political consulting firm. Keller describes this typically older group as “Reagan internationalist-type folks.”
Their ideology increasingly clashes with Trump’s strongest supporters, who Keller describes as “more populist, younger, isolationist folks,” who view Putin’s attack on Ukraine as “none of our concern.” Many Trump backers admire Orban for using his political dominance to push a conservative cultural agenda, from immigration crackdowns to restrictions on LGBTQ rights…
The kids, these days — they’re just not right!
Some U.S. conservatives are concerned about CPAC’s reliance on foreign sponsors and the exposure those groups get to influential conservative officials and leaders.
In February, a Republican strategist filed an anonymous complaint to the U.S. Justice Department, alleging that the ACU and its leaders have violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) by failing to report money they accept from foreign organizations while promoting those groups’ interests to U.S. audiences. The written complaint, reviewed by Reuters, essentially serves as a formal request for a federal investigation. The Justice Department declined to confirm or deny whether it was investigating.
The complaint charges that foreign hosts of at least three overseas CPAC meetings, including CPAC Hungary, provided more than $150,000 in sponsorships for CPAC’s marquee U.S. meeting in February in Orlando, Florida. The complainant, a longtime CPAC attendee, expressed disappointment in an interview with Reuters over “how ACU has monetized CPAC to foreign actors” and given them a platform in the United States…
Launched in 1974, the annual CPAC conference has grown from a confab of conservative thinkers and politicians to a jamboree of right-wing celebrities and activists. With Trump’s rise to power, the conferences morphed from a bastion of traditional conservatism into a promotional vehicle for the populist president. The ACU has continued touting Trumpism since he lost the 2020 election and launched his campaign to overturn the results based on false voting-fraud claims.
“We’re almost seeing a political realignment in real time” on the American right, said Erick Erickson, a prominent conservative commentator, “and so much of it is in Donald Trump’s shadow.”…
It was a nice niche, an easy living, our little thing. Now the big money media’s taken it over, we can’t even get a taste!
Many U.S. conservatives have come to envy Orban’s use of government power to impose a conservative cultural agenda, said Kim Lane Scheppele, a Princeton University professor of sociology and international affairs who studies Hungarian politics. “Hungary has become, for the Trumpist Republicans, what Sweden used to be for the social democrats – it’s proof of concept,” Scheppele said.
Orban touts what he calls “illiberal democracy” and depicts himself as a Christian defender of European heritage. He uses anti-immigration policies to repel Muslim migrants and rejects liberal European positions on social issues, such as adoption by gay couples.
Rod Dreher, a columnist at The American Conservative, sees Orban’s Hungary as a model for post-Trump conservatism. Dreher, whose latest book, “Live Not By Lies,” was translated into Hungarian, took a selfie with Orban on a recent visit to Budapest and tweeted it with the message, “Hey haters!”…
notice me senpai https://t.co/YDDo2dgSQ6
— World Famous Art Thief (@CalmSporting) April 4, 2022
Dreher, author of the Benedict Option, seems to think he’s finally found a ‘community’ that will wall itself off from vile modernist opinions about general suffrage, female emancipation, anti-White bigotry, acceptance of non-monogamous sexual standards, and all the other terrible things that have befallen America since the 50s. The 1850s…
— Stephen Bush (@stephenkb) April 4, 2022
imagine explaining this to someone who doesn't keep up with incredibly online conservatives. yeah they're saying the Hungarian Presidency is a model for the governor of Florida because they pretend to fight pedophiles https://t.co/Dg8PIlDuEa
— self diagnosed Havana Syndrome (@MenshevikM) April 3, 2022
— Patrick Chovanec (@prchovanec) April 4, 2022
This is one of the many realities of Hungary that makes the American right-wing obsession with Orban so ludicrous. They love his grandstanding against immigrants and Muslims, but this tinpot demagogue has presided over one of the most seismic brain drains in Europe https://t.co/IZQzF3xM7W
— Ishaan Tharoor (@ishaantharoor) April 4, 2022
Daniel Moynihan’s ‘party of ideas’ line was sarcasm, Mr. Nichols. Plenty of ‘ideas’, yes — every one worse than the last. Which is how the GOP ended up where it is today…
The American right, once so confident and optimistic that Moynihan called the GOP the "party of ideas" in 1980, are now just a vessel for a grieveance-addled and resentful coalition led by clever grifters who will even support America's enemies if it harvests votes and dollars. https://t.co/0U22MyGQzc
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) April 5, 2022