It?s official: The United Nations has become the right?s other red meat.
At the 33rd annual Conservative Political Action Conference?the largest annual gathering of conservatives, which took place last month?the UN garnered more passion, more intensity, and more stage time than any other was an issue. Two years ago, it was barely a blip.
Because of its unique mix of heavy-hitter beltway insiders, rank-and-file activists from around the country, and highly motivated college students, CPAC is the best leading indicator of where the conservative movement is headed. And that means the United Nations had better brace itself.
On the first of the conference?s three days, the final three sessions on the afternoon schedule all specifically took aim at the UN. First up was Wayne LaPierre, Executive Director of the National Rifle Association, who railed against the body?s attempted international gun grab. The anti-UN panel that followed inherited a wildly revved-up crowd, and the UN-bashing block was completed by Dore Gold, who talked in detail about Kofi Annan?s complicity in the genocide in Rwanda.
Slogans such as ?US out of the UN? have been around a while, and back in the 90?s, many conservatives supported the efforts of Sen. Jesse Helms to withhold back dues to the body. But the UN was only truly important to a small fringe. Most conservatives frankly didn?t care that much.
Such disinterest was in part a reflection of the ambivalence most Americans felt toward foreign policy, but even a year after 9/11, anti-UN sentiment on the right was still modest, at most. Even at the 2003 CPAC?held on the eve of the Iraq war?most of the anger was directed at France and Germany for their obstructionism.
What seems to have turned the tide is the oil-for-food scandal. Though largely ignored by the mainstream media?despite appearing to be the largest accounting scam and outright theft in recorded history?oil-for-food has finally gotten conservatives to consider the UN as one of the most important issues, behind taxes, spending, and guns.
And now that oil-for-food has put the UN firmly in conservatives? crosshairs, all its other transgressions have become fair game as well.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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