Friday, February 11, 2011

Elephant Dung #17: At CPAC, Ron Paul libertarians attack Cheney and Rumsfeld

Tracking the GOP Civil War

(For an explanation of this ongoing series, see here. For previous entries, see here.) 

Highlighting a major divide within the Republican Party -- that separating isolationist (often Tea Party) libertarians from interventionist, warmongering neocons (and their ilk) -- Ron Paul supporters used the right-wing insanitarium known as CPAC to launch into a verbal assault on two of the major figures of the Bush regime, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, the latter (hilariously) receiving this year's CPAC "Defender of the Constitution" award:

One shout of "where's Bin Laden?" rang out as Cheney spoke of Rumsfeld.

That led to the pro-Cheney contingent (which it should be said greatly outnumbers the opposition) to shout the hecklers down with the familiar "USA, USA" chant.

It was all very odd, especially considering that when Cheney appeared as the "surprise guest" at last year's CPAC he was greeted with the kind of cheers generally reserved for a rock star.

But Team Paul -- whose numbers appear to have grown at CPAC in 2011 -- were not going to let that happen this time around.

"Uh, Defender of the Constitution?" Justin Bradfield of Maryland scoffed when I caught up with him after he walked out of Rumsfeld's speech. "Let's see: he expanded the Defense Department more than pretty much any other defense secretary and he enforced the Patriot Act."

"[Speaking] as a libertarian, that's not really the type of person who should be getting Defender of the Constitution," he added.

Bradfield said the moment showed that "half" of CPAC this year is libertarian, which means his side is winning in the civil war between "libertarians and right-wing conservatives."

"We're loud," he said.

Ah, yes, the GOP civil war. (Hence this whole Elephant Dung series.) Good times.

Oh, by the way, someone even shouted "war criminal" at Cheney. Sure, that could have been someone on the left who just happened to be there, but the battle was clearly being waged between the Ron Paul Teabagging libertarians and the supporters of the warmongering neocons.

That divide isn't going away anytime soon, and it promises to contribute to the further fracturing of the GOP's coalition, not least with the Teabaggers gaining more and more confidence.

Here, watch it for yourself:

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