It's like, there was a day when CPAC seemed like a fringe festival where conservatives could really let their freak-flag fly and you could see Log Cabin Republicans play cornhole in the parking lot with Tony Perkins and stuff, but those days just seem like bygones. I dunno. I mean, when the US President and Vice-President show up--that's pretty mainstream. When Nigel Farage (who for some reason keeps coming up in the Trump/Russia thing) and Marion LePen get thrown up on stage to represent their particular type of nationalist movements (fascism!) it starts to lose that unique loosey-goosey uniquely American flavor of bigotry I've gotten used to from the CPAC folks.
It is, of course, a thrill to have Wayne LaPierre of the NRA pretend that the Democrats are basically the same as European socialists and also want to take all the guns and melt them into roach clips. I mean, that's the hit of the true crazy that makes CPAC such a rare brew. Having Dana Loesch indict the mainstream media for loving to see crying white mothers after an episode of gun violence for the sake of ratings was sheer vicious hate-watching--of course she wonders where the crying black mothers are (I guess she missed the BLM movement?) and fails to consider that maybe the NRA doesn't mind that part of the response to these episodes is also an uptick in gun sales and a flurry of activity from their paid-for congresscritters, so maybe they profit a bit from mothers' tears, too.
It doesn't surprise me that a comment at the Ronald Reagan dinner Friday evening specifically addressed former RNC chairman Michael Steele by race. One could definitely point to shortcomings during Steel's tenure in terms of RNC party spending, but I think Steele genuinely tried to depict the GOP as still a "Big Tent" (a Reaganesque, if you will) party, even as the Tea Party movement and conservative media continued to show that the party was whiter, older, very straight and Christian and uptight.
This party is Trump's now. The current RNC chair changed her name for this president. He is extolled as a great Christian by the theocrats, and no amount of money paid to porn stars or Playmates will disabuse them of that idee fixe. That he is uninformed and patently corrupt can't bother them (they are much the same, thanks). But how boring it all seems when the lurid, racist, theocratic, misogynist, gun-humping and ethno-nationalist stuff is all front page, rather than marginal thinking! Even the hate against journalism isn't anything you wouldn't have heard the good folks at Fox News say night after night.
It still seems a bit boutique at times. Ben Shapiro seems to have a weird need to bring up transfolx as if "nuh-uh" and "because I say so" are valid arguments, as if many people weren't already pretty clear that lived experiences are a unique kind of truth--but at least he addressed the idea that Trump lies. Although he did it in a speech where the audience also did a "Lock her up" chant regarding Hillary Clinton, for reasons that in 2018 I feel are some kind of psychological thing.
I can't see the humor in their parallel Bizarro universe. It has become too much a part of our shared reality to enjoy a thrill-ride though the carnival, when some of us feel we are trapped in a funhouse with malevolent clowns.