Smears at CPAC

Tom Tancredo

2/11/2012 10:28:00 AM - Tom Tancredo

Conservatives are in danger of letting left wing groups define their own agenda. A slew of far left groups led by Al Sharpton, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the People for the American Way are attacking for CPAC for having a panel featuring immigration and financial journalist Peter Brimelow and Robert Vandervoort of Pro English.

Lacking from these attacks is anything that either man actually said themselves. Instead most smears consist of nothing more than a long web of supposed connections to “white nationalist” groups are made. The worst thing they could come up with against Robert Vandervoort was that he allegedly affiliated with a group called Chicago Friends of American Renaissance that was allegedly affiliated the Council of Conservative Citizens. Then a controversial statement that appeared on the Council’s website is shown.

No one is saying that Vandervoort ever endorsed what the Council wrote or did, or that he was even a member. Instead, he is tenuously linked to this group. Not mentioned is that many prominent politicians can be much more directly linked. Among the people who have spoken before the Council of Conservative Citizens Senator are Senators Strom Thurmond, Trent Lott, Jesse Helms, Governor Haley Barbour, Senator Roger Wicker, and even former Democratic House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt.

While I have worked with board and staff members at Pro-English for years, I have never met Robert Vandervoort. Therefore, I will qualify that if it turns out that he has or done or said something that is actually hateful, he should be denounced. However, these left wing smear groups have not even pretended to come up with such evidence. Until they do, conservatives should stand by him, or at the very least not pile on the left wing attacks.

While I had not heard of Vandervoort until a few days ago, I’ve known Peter Brimelow for many years. I can assure readers of Townhall that he is a patriot, not a racist. As senior editor at National Review in the 1990s, Peter nearly singlehandedly restarted the debate on immigration with his bestselling book Alien Nation.

When the GOP completely abandoned immigration control in the late 90s, the early years of the Bush administration, he set up VDARE.com to bring attention to this important issue back again. I do not agree with everything Peter has written, or other writers for VDARE. Like most groups opposing mass immigration, it publishes a wide variety writers who argue that our polices are bad for both conservative and liberal reasons. It is worth noting, for the claims of the site being “white nationalist,” VDARE publishes many non-white who argue that immigration hurts minorities.

It is also important to note that these attacks have nothing to do with Pro-English or Peter Brimelow. They are only being made because three of the four major GOP presidential candidates—Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich—are speaking at CPAC. In effect, the media is attacking Romney, Gingrich, and Santorum for speaking at a conference with dozens of speakers, a couple of whom are allegedly associated with a group that once associated with a group that is supposedly racist. At the same time, they ignore direct links Obama has to anti-American racists like Jeremiah Wright and terrorists like Bill Ayers.

As Ann Coulter notes in her book Guilty, “[E]ven assuming everything the Southern Poverty Law Center says about it is true,” the Council of Conservative Citizens “does not hold a candle to the racism of Obama's Trinity United Church of Christ. Obama was married by Reverend Wright, his daughters were baptized by the Reverend Wright. Obama gave his second autobiography the title of one of the Reverend Wright's sermons. And yet after decades of majoring in Guilt by Association , liberals were indignant when an ad on cable television linked Obama and the Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr. “

One of Peter Brimelow’s best known quips is that the new meaning for a racist is anyone who has won an argument with a liberal. This fact does conservatives no good when they run away from a battle as soon as someone screams “racist.”

Congressman Steve King (R-IA), who joined the panel with Vandervoort and Brimelow, was confronted by a reporter afterwards with the claim that the two were “white nationalists.” As Dave Weigel reported in Slate, “When told that the white nationalist designation had come from the Southern Poverty Law Center, King laughed. ‘I wouldn’t take them seriously,’ he said. ‘No, not at all.’”

Instead of cowering in fear whenever the Southern Poverty Law Center or other left wing groups baselessly attack us as being racist, we should take a page from Congressman King and laugh them off.