Live CPAC Video: The Reagan Banquet, with John Birch Society Updates

A George W. Bush impersonator is doing some labored political schtick as I post this…

[Video moved to newer thread…]

ABC News blog The Note takes note of the John Birch Society at CPAC: Far-Right John Birch Society 2010.

ABC’s Jonathan Karl reports: This week’s Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington has a co-sponsor from the far-right fringe of American politics: The John Birch Society.

According to Ian Walters, a spokesman for CPAC, it’s the first time the John Birch Society has sponsored the conference. That’s not surprising, considering that the Birch Society has long been considered wacky and extreme by conservative leaders.

William F. Buckley famously denounced the John Birch Society and its founder Robert Welch in the early 1960s as “idiotic” and “paranoid. ” Buckley’s condemnation effectively banishing the group from the mainstream conservative movement. Welch had called President Dwight D. Eisenhower a “conscious, dedicated agent of the communist conspiracy” and that the U.S. government was “under operational control of the Communist party.” Buckley argued that such paranoid rantings had no place in the conservative movement or the Republican party.

Two years after Buckley’s death, the John Birch Society is no longer banished; it is listed as one of about 100 co-sponsors of the 2010 CPAC.

Why is the Birch Society a co-sponsor?

“They’re a conservative organization,” said Lisa Depasquale, the CPAC Director for the American Conservative Union, which runs CPAC. “ Beyond that I have no comment.”

Dave Weigel has more on the Birchers: The Birchers Are Real — and They’re Spectacular.

To understand just how much of a shift this represents for the mainstream right, consider — two years ago, redstate.com blasted Ron Paul for endorsing the “conspiracy nuts” of the JBS. One year ago, National Review’s John Derbyshire implied that it was a vile smear to connect Ron Paul to the Birchers. And yet here they are at CPAC…

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