According to a report from Rolling Stone, the speeches thus far at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas have been larded with "dark" threats of coming violence as the speakers brushed aside any discussion about the Jan 6 Capitol riot.
With Donald Trump --who instigated the Capitol insurrection -- taking the stage on Saturday, Tim Dickinson wrote that in many cases the speeches, "...menaced America with what seemed to be thinly veiled calls for violence."
Case in point, he notes, was a speech given by recently convicted former Donald Trump advisor Steve Bannon who proclaimed to the crowd, "We are at war."
"Repeating the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, Bannon insisted that Joe Biden is an 'illegitimate imposter.' Calling on Republicans to send 'shock troops' to Washington, Bannon promised the crowd they had an opportunity to 'shatter the Democratic party as a national political institution'." he wrote. "He alleged that the party has been overrun by 'radical, cultural Marxists' and 'groomers' who 'want to destroy the Republic.' Bannon insisted the GOP must pursue absolute victory over 'power-mad and lawless' Democrats, asserting: 'There can be no half measures anymore'."
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) doubled down on Bannon's heated rhetoric, exhorting the crowd with the claim, "It's like the old Roman Colosseum where you slam on a breastplate and you grab a battle axe and you go fight the barbarians. As they say in the military world, it is a target-rich environment."
"The rhetoric of revolution and frontline confrontation went hand-in-hand with other speakers and presenters who cast the American left as demonic, evil, and destructive — in other words the kind of enemies who deserve to be dealt with harshly," the report states before adding, "CPAC has long been a political circus, a relatively harmless sideshow. But its latest incarnation has become manifestly dangerous — more fascist than farce. It is holding up alleged perpetrators of political violence as martyrs. It is demonizing its domestic political opponents as diabolical 'enemies within.' And it is giving MAGA supporters a militaristic frame for their charge to the 'front lines' of America's culture wars."
"In short it is playing with fire. But it's the rest of us who may get burned." Rolling Stones' Dickinson concluded.