NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland
Every year, liberal journalists attend the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) with one mission: To smear the event as an extremist “right-wing” gathering attended only by racists and other dangerous freaks. A leading entry in this year’s competition for “Smear of the Year” is Maxwell Tani and Will Sommer’s article at the Daily Beast about Turning Point USA (TPUSA).
The giveaway is in the article’s subtitle, which labels TPUSA “a notoriously far-right student organization.” Exactly what is so “far-right” about them? Even the most careful reader scanning the article will have difficulty finding any evidence of extremism. I briefly attended Thursday night’s TPUSA party at the Cadillac Ranch bar on Fleet Street and failed to notice any Klansmen or Neo-Nazis in the crowd. TPUSA, an organization led by 25-year-old Charlie Kirk, is very much humorous in its rhetoric, and its party menu offered such cocktails as “Russian Collusion” (vodka soda), “Mexico will pay for it” (tequila sunrise) and “Kavanaugh” (beer). These are just sophomoric jokes, but apparently collegiate humor is now “far-right,” according to the Daily Beast.
The larger theme of Tani and Sommer’s article is that TPUSA has “taken over” CPAC, displacing other conservative organizations. This is absurd. TPUSA is a relatively new group — Kirk founded it in 2012, with support from conservative philanthropist Foster Friess, who also bankrolled the Daily Caller — but it is an addition to (rather than a competitor against) an existing network of conservative organizations. There is substantial overlap between what TPUSA does, what the Young America’s Foundation does, and what the Leadership Institute does, in terms of recruiting, organizing, and training young activists, and of course College Republicans remain a major force in that regard. It’s all a team effort.
TPUSA is indeed enjoying remarkable success, with Candace Owens as one of the high-profile “faces” of the group, but their success doesn’t mean that older organizations have faded into oblivion. Rather, the rise of TPUSA demonstrates the continued vitality of the conservative movement, which creates opportunities for new faces as the movement adapts to changing conditions.
By the way, there may actually be some “far-right” people at CPAC, but so what? There are many “far-left” people in the Democratic Party, yet their presence at liberal gatherings is never the subject of the kind of dishonest smears the Daily Beast has directed at TPUSA.
No matter how much things change, liberal bias is a permanent fact of journalism, and no one should even believe what the “Fake News” media writes about CPAC.