Vernuccio’s View: Nation’s Divisions Highlighted in Political Gatherings in DC and Atlanta

(National Harbor, Maryland) The last full week of February brought an extraordinarily clear picture of the diverging fortunes of the opposite ends of the increasingly polarized political spectrum.

CPAC attendees say they are fired up by President Trump's speech. Photo: Talk Media News

CPAC attendees say they are fired up by President Trump’s speech. Photo: Talk Media News

Conservatives, meeting at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor near Washington D.C., were in a celebratory mood.  They described eight years of powerlessness during the Obama presidency, maintaining that during that period, they had been subjected to inappropriate, repressive, and discriminatory treatment at the hands of federal agencies, especially the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice.

They stressed that within two years of President Obama’s 2008 election, leftist policies began to lose favor with the electorate, despite his continued personal popularity.   Republicans regained the House of Representatives in 2010, and the Senate in 2014. The takeover of the national government become complete with Donald Trump’s capture of the White House in 2016.  The GOP also won extraordinary dominance in the majority of state legislatures and governorships, as well.

In contrast, their opponents are facing a period of reduced influence unprecedented since the mostly Democrat and slave-holding south lost to the mostly Republican and abolitionist north in the Civil War.

CPAC speakers argued that the results of leftist policies included reduced U.S. national security, a dwindling supply of middle-income jobs, deteriorated race relations, a vast increase in the national debt, and a diminished health care system.

This year’s gathering was notable in that it included a wider range of viewpoints. While some tensions remain between hard core conservatives and “Tea Party” elements on one hand, and traditional Republican centrists on the other, there appeared to be sufficient agreement to support continued cooperation.

In contrast, Democrats are continuing their steady march to the hard left, a move which appears to have been responsible for their loss of support in battleground states in 2016. At their Atlanta meeting, they selected Thomas Perez, a 55-year-old former Secretary of Labor in the final three years of the Obama Administration, as their new chair. Perez received 235 votes, beating Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison’s 200 votes.  Perez immediately named Rep. Ellison as his deputy.  Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Sally Boynton Brown, Idaho Democrat Pary Chair, had also been in the running.

Both Perez and Ellison have views that leave centrist Democrats behind, and which face criticism as advocating more of the same concepts that did not succeed, either in making gains for the nation or securing support from the voters, during the Obama presidency.

An open wound may have become larger. Supporters of Bernie Sanders had hoped that an Ellison win would have made up for what they believed was the unfair treatment of their candidate in the primaries. Perez’s ties to Hillary Clinton bring back to the forefront the never-ending saga of scandals the former Secretary of State continues to be surrounded by.  (“Lock her up!” was a commonly heard chant at CPAC, whenever Ms. Clinton’s name was mentioned.)

Both men share hard left views.  Ellison was noted for his bizarre statements about the 9/11 attacks, suggesting that President Bush (43) used the terrorist assault to copy Adolph Hitler’s infamous Reichstag Fire strategy to destroy his opponents.  Ellison has also been tied to anti-Semitic positions. His 2010 comments about Israel led to a demand by the Anti-Defamation League that he be disqualified from being appointed to federal office.

Perez has been a no-holds barred fighter against those not in lockstep with left wing views. The National Review  complains that “Perez stood out as a Democratic lawmaker willing to ignore or contravene laws that impeded his agenda. … As Mitch McConnell put it when Perez was nominated to be labor secretary, he is ‘a committed ideologue who appears willing, quite frankly, to say or do anything to achieve his ideological end.”

J. Christian Adams, a former attorney in the Department of Justice’s Voting Rights section, told Fox News that Perez “testified falsely under oath” about a Philadelphia voting rights case and “told the DOJ inspector general he didn’t think cases should be brought to protect white voters.”

Frank V. Vernuccio, Jr., J.D. is the editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy & Government and the co-host of the popular WVOX weekly radio show, “And Nothing But The Truth.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email