Of partisan fights and follies, or why Democrats should follow Manchin, not Sanders
Whiners made CPAC stand for 'Complain, Pout and Cry'
The recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) convention in Dallas, like some others before it, quickly devolved into a whinefest about the big, bad liberal Democratic oppressors. "Poor us," seemed to be an overriding theme among many attendees. "What are we conservatives to do in the face of their meanness?" Here's an idea: Grow a spine and fend for yourselves.
It seems that the whiners at the convention must think CPAC stands for "Complain, Pout and Cry."
Former President Trump big-footed the event with his final-day speech filled with the usual bombast about his treatment at the hands of the left - including the reminder to his supporters that "the entire system was rigged against the American people and rigged against a fair, decent and honest election" - but some other speakers and attendees also listed complaints about the dominance of the left.
This list of grievances appears to be a work in progress, but the "usual suspects" of late made the rounds at the convention. They include the growing wokeness of American corporations, universities, news media, Big Tech companies and even theme parks; the cancel culture that some of these institutions promote, approve or simply ignore; the invasion of illegal aliens from south of the border into America and of critical race theory into our public schools.
Right behind these rants came the battle-tested, fundraising-ensuring complaint about the "attack on our cherished American values."
Now, to be sure, tens of millions of Americans who identify as Republican, conservative, libertarian and/or independent do worry about these issues - and others - and believe some or all of them have a truly detrimental impact on the welfare of our country and their own quality of life.
But crying in their political cribs doesn't help matters much. What exactly are these complainers doing to improve their own lot in life, aside from donating a collective hundreds of millions of dollars to conservative organizations and individuals who promise to "stop the left" but never seem to succeed?
We've heard such whining from many conservatives for five decades now, and it shows no sign of abating. Here's what I say to them:
If you don't like "woke Coke," for example, how about starting your own soft drink company? If you're angry with Disney because it canceled the word "Christmas," start your own film company and theme park. If media outlets appear to be dominated by the left and discriminatory against conservatives in their hiring practices, start your own media and news outlets.
Similarly, if you believe that most book publishers embrace liberal writers and discriminate against conservative or faith-based authors, why not start your own publishing house? Or, if you worry that liberal college and university professors may "indoctrinate" your children, start your own institutions of higher learning.
You don't like the tech giants because you think they're conspiring with Democrats to censor content? Start your own social networking site.
Republicans and conservatives regularly, and predictably, wind up the "Left Oppresses and Smears Us" machine - usually when they want to raise money for the overall cause or for individual campaigns.
But if you look at what's happening in America with eyes wide open, you'll see that many of those on the right who complain the loudest have actually done quite well for themselves while working within the liberal arenas they condemn. It's one possible answer to the question of why more wealthy conservatives haven't created their own media and entertainment outlets or academic institutions to promote and protect the values they hold dear.
Have you heard the one about how the left controls everything and is ruining America? Yeah, for about 50 years now.
Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant, was a writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration.