We've probably reached the point where coverage of the Conservative Political Action Conference, which is going on now in D.C., finally outweighs the actual influence and importance of CPAC. But the conference remains a useful glimpse at the state of the hardcore conservative movement.
That's why it's so fun to read this Betsy Woodruff story about how Texas congressman Louie Gohmert is being treated like a rock star at CPAC. Because Louie Gohmert is not just a nutjob -- he is a singularly useless and unaccomplished nutjob. The man has been in the House of Representatives since 2005 and in all that time all he's done is generate hundreds of outraged blog posts.
Gohmert is the perfect spokesperson for the modern conservative movement, because his congressional record is made up of an endless series of inflammatory, stupid and outrageous public statements, instead of any legislative accomplishments whatsoever. He has done nothing at all since he arrived in Washington besides repeatedly say degrading and insulting things about gay people and Muslims and immigrants. He doesn't really seem to take any issue remotely seriously and has no apparent interest in actually advancing conservative policy goals. He's done nothing for conservative causes beyond rile up liberals and repel sensible people.
At CPAC he is Elvis:
CPAC sometimes feels like the Grammy Awards of movement conservatism. And if that’s the case, then Gohmert is Willie Nelson — accented and outspoken. And faced with hordes of fans, he’s enamoring. It’s not just a CPAC thing — his staffers tell me that they’re always juggling media invites — but here, Gohmert might as well be Elvis. Nobody doesn’t want a piece of Louie.
Blond Tea Party media babes love him!
He finally makes it down to the Tea Party Patriot radio booth, where Gina Loudon, another blonde in stilettos (she’s sporting a necklace with a pistol on it) wants to chat him up on the air. She mentions that he’s “a big-time celebrity” and he says, “You’re intimidating me!”
“I’m the one that’s intimidated!” she retorts. And she tells him that she talks about him on her show all the time, and that he’s “so much fun” and “so cute.”
Louie Gohmert is a beloved "big-time celebrity" solely because the sort of people who vote for Barack Obama -- that is to say, a majority of voters -- find him abhorrent and consider the ease with which he is always and will always be reelected to be a damning indictment of the entire American political system. That is the only reason.
He's another conservative huckster, feeding on the enthusiasm of the right-wing rabble and giving them nothing in return but regular satisfying jolts of hate. If I were an actual conservative I'd be appalled to see Gohmert treated with anything besides the contempt he himself brings to his job. As a lefty I guess I can't complain if conservatives want to make themselves into a permanent marginal minority of cranks.