by John Grooms
Rightwing luminaries from around North Carolina and the nation gathered in Raleigh over the weekend at the Conservative Leadership Conference, to discuss the state of their movement and share strategies.
The confab was sponsored by the Civitas Institute, a far-right, sorta libertarianish-when-it-suits-them think tank funded by, yes of course, Art Pope, N.C. GOP kingmaker and Gov. McCrory's budget director. It drew a collection of conservative headliners, but I am puzzled why the one organization that supports some of the right wing's most reactionary (not to say "ignorant" or "backward") ideas was not invited. Included in the Raleigh shindig were such N.C. hotshots as House Speaker Thom Tillis; Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby; and the ever-interesting, beyond-right-field Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, aka Sue Myrick's son by her first marriage, which she wrecked by committing adultery with current hubby Ed Myrick before becoming a fine Christian lady, but that's neither here nor there.
How far to the right was this conclave? Speakers declared that the only hope for the future America they want to create is ... ready? ... Rush "War on Women, lost advertisers, and a 19 percent approval rating" Limbaugh.
Elsewhere at the Raleigh lovefest, national heroes of the Scared Of The 21st Century movement, like the continually enraged pundit Michelle Malkin and serial video prankster James O'Keefe, mixed with representatives of the Archaic Values Coalition, personified by former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, incoming president of the National Heritage Foundation and noted pinch-faced-schoolmarm impersonator. The group heard some speeches, networked, and celebrated their victories in N.C., such as the Amendment 1 referendum, which bans same-sex marriage in the state. And that's where my bewilderment over the guest list comes in.
There are few organizations more opposed to same sex marriage, or homosexuality itself for that matter, than the NC Values Coalition, the primary group that pushed Amendment 1. But there is at least one: Al Qaeda. As reported by Mother Jones, the latest issue of Inspire, an Al Qaeda English-language magazine, contains an infographic titled "The Nation Standing on 'No Values," in which the terrorist group attacks President Obama for supporting same-sex marriage rights. Al Qaeda has long been opposed to homosexuality and gay rights - heck, they even believe in killing gay people - so you'd think Art Pope & Co. would've invited their political bedfellows in Al Qaeda to Raleigh for the Let's Go Back to the 19th Century party and conference. After all, irrational hatred has to grab all the allies it can. Ah well, probably just an oversight.