"We at the American Conservative Union insist on civility from all of our guests" Al Cardenas, the head of the Conservative Union (whch puts on CPAC)
What absolute hogwash. Who decides what is "civility"? Is exposing the truth uncivil? Is the first amendment uncivil? Is free speech uncivil? Is speaking one's mind uncivil? Is violating the blasphemy laws uncivil? According to Al Cardenas it is.
How have I been "uncivil"?
Al Cardenas's intellectual dishonesty is breathtaking. First off, I have never been invited to speak at CPAC, ever. His contention that it was only after I exposed Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan is patently dishonest. Despite my historic first amendment wins against NYC and Washington DC or the triumph of the defeat of the Ground Zero mosque, it was always a battle to hold an event there. They never invited me even before I spoke one word of what I knew about Norquist and Khan. So Cardenas is being untruthful.
Cardenas says this:
Also, this year we decided not to invite Pamela Geller for comments she made at CPAC critical of our officers. In each of these cases, their ad hominem attacks denigrate the debate and distract from the real point of CPAC.....
These checks made out to Grover Norquist's organization, The Islamic Institute, are not "ad hominem."
According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism:
Grover Norquist hoped to…harness votes from the country’s growing Muslim population by creating the Islamic Free Market Institute in 1998. He did so with significant financial help from Abdurahman Alamoudi, then one of America’s most influential Muslim activists and head of the American Muslim Council. Today, Alamoudi is serving a 23-year prison sentence after admitting to illegal transactions with Libya and being part of a plot to assassinate the then-Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Alamoudi was also found to be a long time secret financial courier for Al Qaeda while at the same time being routinely invited to the Clinton White House for receptions and meetings.
Norquist, who previously has denied any suggestion that his work facilitated any wrongdoing, not only introduced Alamoudi to Washington GOP power circles but also Sammy Al Arian, whom prosecutors arrested earlier this year for alleged terrorist activities. Federal law-enforcement sources say they are focusing on some of Norquist’s associates and financial ties to terrorist groups.
Alamoudi ran, directed, founded or funded at least 15 Muslim political-action and charitable groups that have taken over the public voice of Islamic Americans. Through a mix of civil-rights complaints, Old Left-style political coalitions and sheer persistence, Alamoudi helped inch the image of U.S.-based Islamists toward the political mainstream and induced politicians to embrace his organizations. He sought to secure the support first of the Clinton administration in seeking to repeal certain antiterrorist laws, but when Bill Clinton failed to deliver, Alamoudi defected to Bush, then governor of Texas. Alamoudi and other Muslim leaders met with Bush in Austin in July , offering to support his bid for the White House in exchange for Bush’s commitment to repeal certain antiterrorist laws.[...]
Canceled checks obtained by Insight show Alamoudi provided seed money to start a GOP-oriented Muslim group called the Islamic Institute, which Norquist originally chaired and now is led by former Alamoudi aide and former AMC staffer Khaled Saffuri. A White House memo obtained by Insight prepared for coordinating Muslim and Arab-American “public-liaison” events with the White House shows that the Islamic Institute was instrumental in establishing the connection. The memo, from early 2001, provides lists of invitees and the name, date of birth and Social Security number of each. Norquist, as the first chairman of the Islamic Institute, tops the list.
Alamoudi and others, including Norquist, tried to keep critics at bay by branding them as “racists” and “bigots.”
Not. ad. hominem.
The "real point of CPAC" is conservative issues like free speech and national security. Grover has made sure that these critical issues are absent from the program. And now he has Cardenas citing civility as the main issue - it's not civility that Cardenas is enforcing, it's the blasphemy laws under the sharia (do not offend Islam.)I was no fan of David Keene (Cardenas's predecessor) but it was much easier to stage an event under his stewardship. It's been a nightmare under Cardneas. I never imagined that someone could make Keene look so good.
Jennifer Rubin over at The Washington Post has the latest Cardenas cop-out:
"CPAC Missteps Again" Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post, March 5, 2013
My posts on turmoil caused by CPAC’s decision to exclude New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and the conservative gay group GOProud and the need for younger, more forward-thinking conservative leadership have engendered a very positive reaction from conservatives, many of them under 40 years old.
But it didn’t please Al Cardenas, the head of the Conservative Union, which puts on CPAC. On Sunday afternoon I received this e-mail from him:
Respectfully, I believe that you have totally missed the point regarding our invitations at CPAC.
I hope you have had a chance to read my recent op-Ed on conservative civility in Human Events and the National Journal’s recent coverage of the rationale for our decisions.
Simply stated: we at the American Conservative Union insist on civility from all of our guests.
In years past we have decided to not invite even crowd favorites whenever we felt they have crossed the line of appropriate discourse.
We had invited GOProud to participate at previous CPACs but when they decided to publicly attack some of our board members and draw attention to themselves at our event while being our guests, we decided to take a pass for a while on their organization — while making it clear that all of their members were individually invited and welcome.
Likewise that year we also disinvited the John Birch Society; also for reasons of civility. Also, this year we decided not to invite Pamela Geller for comments she made at CPAC critical of our officers. In each of these cases, their ad hominem attacks denigrate the debate and distract from the real point of CPAC — to energize and empower conservative political activists and offer a platform to leaders to discuss policy issues that are important to the conservative movement and the nation.
This year, as in previous years, we intentionally invited those with a different perspective on social issues, like Chris Hayes and S.E. Cupp, to engage in a civil and lively debate. Instead of taking the opportunity to freely express their points of view at CPAC, they decided to draw attention to themselves and dump on those who invited them.
Sadly public discourse is becoming more and more uncivil, and while many seem resigned to this increasing lack of civility, I am not. We never censor our guests and have always added diverse points of view to our conservative conferences, and this year will be no different. But the price of admission at CPAC is agreeing to the rules of civil discourse, and organizations that violate those rules by engaging in ad-hominem attack are not welcome. I hope you agree that this is a standard to which we should all aspire.
Lastly, we felt that Governor Christie, a crowd favorite at previous CPACs, was not particularly deserving this year. I have said that CPAC is like an “All Star” game for conservatives. Even players that have great careers in baseball don’t make it to the All Star game every year. I hope he earns an invitation next year. But, everyone must keep in mind that we are not the Republican Party — we are conservatives.
I then asked several follow-up questions: 1) To what are you specifically referring by this comment: “they decided to publicly attack some of our board members and draw attention to themselves at our event while being our guests”? 2.) Why won’t you allow Log Cabin Republicans — have they been uncivil also? 3.) Do you think your action has sent a message of intolerance that has tainted CPAC? 4.) Did any group refuse to attend or threatened to pull out if GOProud was allowed in?
He declined to personally respond. Instead I received this from his communications director:
“Please refer to the many previous media reports on their public attacks.
The Chairman has already made public comments on this matter and does not have anything further to add.
And, we have a long-standing policy that we don’t discuss internal conversations with sponsors or board members.”
This is troubling on many levels (of which I will touch on only a few) – beginning with the willingness to make accusations and then not explain the factual basis for them (waving your hand at unspecified news reports doesn’t cut it), the indifference to the upset caused within the movement, the attacks on people of conscience as attention-seekers and then the sudden refusal to explain how the action came about with a ground rule ignored in the prior e-mail (“we don’t discuss internal conversations with sponsors or board members”). Even worse is lumping in the John Birch Society with pro-gay-rights activists. To call these all questions of “civility” is frankly outrageous.
To be blunt, this is shabby stuff. Shame on them. If you weren’t convinced before that CPAC — the organization, not the pols and conservative activists trying to speak to others and solve the movement’s problems – is a symbol of what must change on the right, this might do it. I have to cover it, but i can’t imagine why any well-meaning conservative would want to give the event credence by attending.