Palin will not be attending CPAC this year. Is it because CPAC is allowing the John Birch Society to co-sponsor the event, and she doesn’t want to be tainted? This article suggests that, although it doesn’t really ring true to me. Palin wasn’t concerned about taint in the past when she addressed the Alaska Libertarian Party for example. In fact, her willingness to do so contributed to her outsider image. If this is true, I suspect she has some handlers who have a visceral reaction to the JBS whispering in her ear. Or maybe she has some personal grudge against David Keene and/or CPAC based on their past differences and various explanations are being floated. (See my comments below the AmSpec article.)
While I don’t have much use for the John Birch Society’s conspiratorial orientation, they have long been rock solid on the issues. They are consistently constitutionalist, unlike most of the advocacy groups that make up Conservative Inc. which are politically pragmatic, certainly not strict constitutionalists, and overly deferential to the GOP in their perspective. I will take conspiracy theorist true constitutionalists over non-conspiracy theorist “mainstream” conservatives any day of the week.
Has the JBS sponsored CPAC in the past? Is this a new development? If so, Keene deserves praise for allowing this once pariah group (after one of Buckley’ famous “purges”) back in the good graces of the “movement.” And if this is really one of Palin’s justifications, then she needs to seriously reconsider. The JBS has more support on the activist “far” right than she might realize.