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CPAC puts the “party” back in the Republican Party.
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One such liberal, apparently, was Stephen Glass of the New Republic, who in a notorious 1997 article viciously portrayed College Republicans at CPAC as sadistic louts — “drunk, dejected and angry” — engaged in drug-fueled orgies. Once Glass was exposed as a fraud, Brent Bozell III wrote: “Everyone now knows what the CPAC organizers knew all along: it was unbelievable because it was invented.”
Although some College Republican kids who attend CPAC have been known to enjoy the nightclubs of D.C.’s Adams Morgan district to excess — they are, after all, college kids — I’ve never met one who was “dejected and angry.” Even after Mitt the Quitter broke their hearts last year, young conservatives quickly bounced back from their disappointment.
The Stephen Glass smear, false though it was, points out the vicious double standard that conservatives confront. On the one hand, conservatives who oppose abortion and gay rights are derided as puritanical fuddy-duddies who are “anti-sex.” On the other hand, if College Republicans visit a nightclub in Washington, they’re depicted as moral degenerates.
By contrast, no incident in the careers of Democratic icons like Ted Kennedy, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and Bill Clinton is ever deemed sufficiently scandalous to demote them from the heroic pantheon of liberal statesmen. Yet so far as we know, no College Republican attending CPAC has ever driven into the Potomac and left a girl to drown in the car. (And if he did, his chances of being elected to the Senate would be nil, unless he moved to Massachusetts and ran as a Democrat.)
Angry drug-addled decadence at CPAC? No. Optimistic good cheer? Plenty. And if some conservatives take the opportunity to put the “party” back in the Republican Party, that’s a Change We Can Believe In.
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