by Justin Rosario
CPAC is the yearly gathering of the right wing’s loudest and nastiest elements. It’s the weekend when the media gets a good look at the true face of conservatism and immediately develops amnesia by Monday morning. But while CPAC is always filled with the very worst that white Republican voters have to offer, they’ve never embraced Nazis. Until this year, at least:
Far right French politician Marion Maréchal-Le Pen addressed a leading conservative conference outside Washington DC on Thursday as part of growing effort by those on the right to link the rise of Donald Trump in the United States with populist nationalism across Europe.
Maréchal-Le Pen’s speech was well-received at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) with occasional shouts of “Vive La France” punctuating her remarks. However, her attendance brought controversy as many American conservatives expressed dismay over her attendance, comparing the National Front to the American alt-right. Former Fox News host Glenn Beck called her “a national socialist”.
And lest you think Beck is indulging in his infamous “Nazi Tourettes”, it’s important to take note that Marion Le Pen is not the “moderate” white nationalist her aunt, Marine Le Pen is; she’s far closer to her grandfather, the founder of the National Front Party, Jean-Marie Le Pen’s far more extreme politics.
That’s a lot of Le Pens so let’s do a quick run down:
Marine Le Pen – A “moderate” white nationalist that hates immigrants, Marine was supposed to be the next stage of the far right’s rise in western Europe. She was going to be a friend to Russia, an enemy to Muslims, and democracy would suffer another major blow. Instead, she and her party were annihilated. For now.
Jean-Marie Le Pen – A Holocaust denying Nazi sympathizer, Jean-Marie is a hardcore white nationalist fascist that has been trying to resurrect the good ol’ days of National Socialism since the 1970s. His daughter Marion distanced herself from his extremism out of political necessity.
Marion Le Pen – Marine’s niece and Jean-Marie’s granddaughter, Marion takes after dear old grandpappy in his hatred of foreigners, Jews, gays, etc. and has no interest in being a “moderate” like her aunt. This is who the white Republican voters of CPAC went wild for this weekend.
CPAC has tried to pretend that Marion is just a regular right winger and nothing at all like her white nationalist aunt with whom she publicly feuds with. But that’s a deeply misleading lie:
Benjamin Haddad, a European politics expert at the conservative Hudson Institute in Washington, said such a reading “completely misses the point.” Maréchal-Le Pen has indeed clashed with her aunt. She is also closer to her grandfather, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the National Front’s founder who has a long record of Holocaust denial and other bigotry.
“I am the political heir of Jean-Marie Le Pen,” Maréchal-Le Pen told my colleague James McAuley last year. “At the Front National, we all are his heirs. He was a visionary. He was right about a lot of things.”
She’s not only as bad as her aunt, she’s far worse and CPAC knew it. They didn’t care and took pains to cover it up because Le Pen is exactly the kind of person they want to appeal to their audience now.
By way of comparison, it was just one year ago that CPAC said “Hell no!” to Richard Spencer explicitly because he was a Nazi scumbag:
CPAC spokesman Ian Walters said Spencer purchased his ticket and that his money had been refunded. Walter called Spencer’s views “repugnant.”
Spencer popularized the term “alt-right” and has espoused racist and anti-Semitic views, calling for “peaceful ethnic cleansing.” A video of him yelling “hail Trump” and saluting attendees at a conference in Washington, D.C. shortly after President Donald Trump’s election went viral last year, though Spencer later claimed he was being “ironic.”
But that was last year. Since then, white Republican voters have come out of the Nazi closet. They were peeking out before Charlottesville, call it “Nazi curious” if you will, but Trump gave them the go ahead to openly embrace their inner Master Race and out they came. Now they’re not only not repulsed by marching Nazis, they invite them to speak at their biggest annual right wing hoedown. Glenn Beck lamented that maybe next year they would invite Richard Spencer to speak after all and after another year of white Republican voters growing accustomed to sieging their heil, why not? He’s their kind of guy. And Glenn Beck knows it:
The event is known as the Conservative Political Action Conference, but the way Glenn Beck sees it, the name no longer fits.
“This is not a small-government, constitutional or American conservative event any more,” the Blaze founder and radio host told me. “This is dangerous populism and nationalism.”
I almost feel bad for Beck. He helped turn the brain of the white Republican voter into rage infested racist mush and now he’s shocked, shocked, that they’ve bought into an ideology that pushes that delicious rage button nonstop. But then I remember this is the same guy that once told his audience of morons that President Obama, “I think, has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”So, really, fuck Glenn Beck and his Johnny-come-lately conscience.
In a way, it’s good that CPAC went gaga for a French Nazi. It can’t be repeated often enough that this is who white Republican voters are. Trump did not make them this way, he simply gave them permission to be open about it and they leapt at the opportunity to be true to themselves. The hate, the rage, the fascism, the vulgar disgust for American values was always there behind a facade of bible thumping patriotism.
But more importantly, the lusty cheers of white Republican voters for a French Nazi are now on the record forever. After the fall of Trump and the collapse of the enabling Republican regime, millions of those same white Republican voters are going to stampede for the exits, put on their Tea Party costumes and pretend they’ve been in a coma since 2015. Donald Trump? Corrupt Republicans? Never heard of’em!
Oh, but they did and we have the receipts to prove it. The “liberal” media is going to bend over backwards to not talk about how millions of white Republican voters were ready to goosestep down Pennsylvania Ave. but our job will be to mercilessly bash them over the head with the truth. Every time they try to give Republicans a pass or pretend that white Republican voters didn’t willingly go along with the sustained and vicious attack on our democracy, we have to show them their frantic cheers for a French Nazi and the worse that is yet to come and demand they stop lying about what kind of soulless monsters white Republican voters truly are.
They got away with this scam once after Bush. Never again. This time, white Republican voters will be held accountable for their sins against decency, morality and American democracy. No more free passes for Nazis, French or otherwise.