Feb
7

The Beast is Red, Chapter 4: In a Mad Frenzy, Stinging Themselves to Eternal Death




Posted at 19:06 by Mister Leonard Pierce

Before Cheney comes on, a bunch of CPAC dignitaries are introduced. Who gets the biggest applause? Wayne LaPierre, the human bulldozer of the National Rifle Association. The only person of color on the panel, Niger Innis of the race-baiting Congress for Racial Equality, actually draws boos. This is officially the only time in my life I have actually felt sorry for Niger Innis. (Note: I’ve got photos, but I’ll have to wait until I’m back in the hotel to post them — I left the connecting cable for my digital camera there in a slick fog of opiatic decay.) It’s a real cross-section of the American privileged class, the rich and angry from A to B.

People are clapping rhythmically – well, as rhythmically as this crowd is ever going to get – for Cheney. For Cheney! I keep expecting them to start chanting “WE WANT THE SHOW” like they’re waiting for the Blues Brothers, the presence of whom would color up the crowd considerably. Wyoming senator John Barrasso introduces the fiend of the hour: “The C in CPAC should stand for Cheney!” The C in CPAC should stand for cocksucker, how about that?, I think, as the combination of drugs and fear turn me into a surly 15-year-old. Cheney is damned lucky I don’t have a roll of toilet paper, that’s all I can say. The crowd gives Dick a standing o, and, as a gang of bull-veined dudes in front of me start chanting “FOUR MORE YEARS!”, I get the sensation for the first time all day that I’m at something that could easily turn into a fascist rally. When the applause finally quells, Dick chuckles evilly. Can that be done? Is a chuckle even feasible as the delivery vector for evil? If it is, Dick Cheney is the man capable of pulling it off with finesse. I have to admit, the guy has a certain degree of charm, but it’s the same kind of charm that you might find in Stalin or Dracula: the easy charisma of a man who knows he can, with a wave of his hand, have you ground into paste.

The first part of Cheney’s speech is right at the wheelhouse of the CPAC crowd: lower taxes, lower taxes, lower taxes. “Lower taxes are always good for this economy,” he says. Which economy is he talking about? The economy in general, or the economy of the people in this room? Any program that gets cut is inevitably referred to as “wasteful”, “bloated” or “special interest”, without any details as to what’s being disappeared. Oddly enough, “wasteful”, “bloated” and “special interest” is language perfectly suited to describe almost every penny being spent in Iraq, but Cheney doesn’t have anything to say about that.

National security, though, that’s another matter: he gets another standing ovation for “The absence of another 9/11 is not an accident, it’s an achievement”. (The presence of the first 9/11, apparently, was and accident.) A laundry list of constitutional butt-wipes get standing ovations from about half of the crowd: an expansion of FISA, the torture of terror suspects, and the financial protection of any big corporation who might theoretically have allowed illegal wiretapping to take place. The telecoms, says Cheney, shouldn’t be “hassled” for acting in “good faith”, which usage of the phrase is unfamiliar to me. Terror, terror, terror: it’s the Dick Cheney boilerplate. (Bonus homosexual innuendo, Dick Cheney edition: describing the President’s term in office, he says “We’ve done hard things and done them well.”) Weirdly enough – or maybe not so much – his defense of torture gets a standing ovation, but his praising of our fighting men in uniform does not. It takes a man to fight, but it takes a train to waterboard.

Defense, security, prosperity. America is a country of good: thus stated, it need not be defended or explained. It’s nothing we haven’t heard before, but somehow hearing it in person, in the presence of true believers, it leaves a haze in the air, a strange absence of rhetoric: it seems less like a speech that has been delivered and more like a series of directives that have been issued. Cheney leaves the building (his last appearance here as vice-president, Keene notes with a lick of the lips, but not his last appearance here) to thunderous applause, having gone out with a workingman’s damn and told us all that the nation will be safer and more prosperous for having had Bush as president for eight years. It is not an assurance: it is an order.

74 Comments »

  1. ortho_bob said,

    February 7, 2008 at 19:11

    All this speech-attending is all well and good, but when are you gonna hit Bloggers Row and interact with Pammy, Aced of Spuds, Red State Eric and the rest of your new pals?

  2. D. Aristophanes said,

    February 7, 2008 at 19:16

    Hey Leonard – Romney’s supposed to announce he’s dropping out of the race at noon your time, at CPAC. Could be worth an in-person gloat.

  3. Me said,

    February 7, 2008 at 19:16

    “Four more years”???

    I’m just trying to figure out exactly what the hell they mean by that.

  4. Djur said,

    February 7, 2008 at 19:17

    Presumably the CPACkers thought Niger Innis was some horrible uppity black like Al Sharpton. Or they heard the words “Racial Equality” and nature took its course.

  5. D. Aristophanes said,

    February 7, 2008 at 19:18

    BTW, sources tell me K-Lo’s on suicide watch, so I think the rumors are true.

  6. javafascist said,

    February 7, 2008 at 19:18

    I get the sensation for the first time all day that I’m at something that could easily turn into a fascist rally.

    Ah, so you aren’t the only liberal there. Make sure to force them to eat some organic veggies.

  7. Legalize said,

    February 7, 2008 at 19:23

    The horror.

  8. White Male, Jew of Liberal Fascism said,

    February 7, 2008 at 19:24

    In person, does Cheney smell as good as old Fred?

  9. fardels bear said,

    February 7, 2008 at 19:24

    “the same kind of charm that you might find in Stalin or Dracula:” It is great prose like this that make me almost wish I had gotten around to throwing a couple bucks in your hat to pay for this trip. I’m such a deadbeat.

  10. Susan of Texas said,

    February 7, 2008 at 19:39

    BTW, sources tell me K-Lo’s on suicide watch, so I think the rumors are true.

    No Ding-Dong will be safe tonight.

  11. Snarki, child of Loki said,

    February 7, 2008 at 19:45

    In person, does Cheney smell as good as old Fred?

    It’s that hint of formaldehyde that does it.

    But it’s a bad idea to be nearby when the embalming wears off.

  12. Jamey said,

    February 7, 2008 at 19:46

    Wow, Lenny, this is a series that begs for the “shorter” treatment.

    I mean, I’m as much a fan of overwrought prose as the next guy, but come on!

  13. Derek said,

    February 7, 2008 at 19:48

    What I am about to write, I write as a daily reader of Sadly, No! A huge fan, really.

    This is some of the most god-awful wankerific writing I’ve ever read. What are you, trying to become the next Hunter S. Thompson, but a version who writes awfully? Hey, here’s an idea – mention your opiates one more time! Wank, wank, wank. (I say this all with love, tough love).

    When I heard you were going to CPAC, I got giddy with excitement and ready for lulz. And this is garbage. Biggest disappointment in S,N! history.

  14. Derek said,

    February 7, 2008 at 19:49

    To add one more thing: S,N! became hugely popular with a certain writing style, a consistent tone and general aesthetic. And this sure as hell isn’t it.

  15. PeeJ said,

    February 7, 2008 at 19:49

    Careful! NEVER EVER look directly into his/it’s eyes. He/it can kill you with a look.

  16. "Oh Stewardess, I Speak 'Nut" said,

    February 7, 2008 at 19:53

    Very entertaining. Great writing. I love it. Keep it up.

  17. Candy said,

    February 7, 2008 at 19:55

    Me said,
    February 7, 2008 at 19:16

    “Four more years”???

    I’m just trying to figure out exactly what the hell they mean by that.

    Me too, Me. That gave me a definite frisson. Brrrr…..

  18. Derek said,

    February 7, 2008 at 19:56

    Christ. Don’t tell me I’m the only one who recognizes this as something a self-righteous 15-year-old above-it-all hipster asshole would write.

  19. Susan of Texas said,

    February 7, 2008 at 19:57

    CPAC concern trolls!

    We come for the aesthetic? I come for the mocking.

  20. Candy said,

    February 7, 2008 at 19:57

    I believe there may be some concern trollery about. Just sayin’. Carry on.

  21. Jonah Goldberg said,

    February 7, 2008 at 19:58

    Christ. Don’t tell me I’m the only one who recognizes this as something a self-righteous 15-year-old above-it-all hipster asshole would write.

    I did not write this!

  22. The Beast is Red said,

    February 7, 2008 at 20:02

    [...] of Hunter S. Thompson’s gonzo journalism than Matt Taibbi could ever dream to achieve. In his latest update, he writes about Cheney’s arrival into CPAC: People are clapping rhythmically – well, as [...]

  23. Another Jonah Goldberg said,

    February 7, 2008 at 20:05

    Christ. Don’t tell me I’m the only one who recognizes this as something a self-righteous 15-year-old above-it-all hipster asshole would write.

    I did not write this!

    Even so, I believe it is central to my point.

  24. robert green said,

    February 7, 2008 at 20:05

    it seems to me that the aesthetic in question—sub-thompson tomfoolery in the belly of the beast–is just what S!n has to offer, and leonard is doing it just fine.

    sure, he’s a bit prolix, but i like it. it’s like having a real (drug addicted) reporter at CPAC, a smart one, and one whose stance (wide or otherwise) on the issues at hand–are conservatives insane etc.–is well known to the reader.

  25. nick said,

    February 7, 2008 at 20:07

    “We’ve done hard things and done them well.”

    I don’t care how long the post is as long as it has a gem like this…

  26. sophie brown said,

    February 7, 2008 at 20:15

    I come for the anesthetic. Is that how you spell that?

  27. Moonbat Rising said,

    February 7, 2008 at 20:18

    “Don’t tell me I’m the only one who recognizes this as something a self-righteous 15-year-old above-it-all hipster asshole would write.”

    Looks like you are. Personally, I dig the Heart-of-Darkness journey that someone is taking on our behalf. Dude should get a medal of some sorts. Or a happy-hour discount card for the hotel bar…

  28. Thorlac the Fromago-fascist said,

    February 7, 2008 at 20:18

    Derek, when SN! becomes your blog, you will be able to write in any manner or style you prefer. Until that time, feel free to ignore Leonard’s posts. Some of us doubtless lowbrow juveniles are enjoying them as they are.

  29. Another John McCain said,

    February 7, 2008 at 20:21

    Derek: calm down.

  30. Marion in Savannah said,

    February 7, 2008 at 20:21

    “Some of us doubtless lowbrow juveniles are enjoying them as they are.”

    Well, so are some of us lowbrow old farts.

  31. Smiling Mortician said,

    February 7, 2008 at 20:22

    a certain writing style, a consistent tone and general aesthetic

    But MLP is writing under general anaesthetic. Some people are so hard to please.

  32. PeeJ said,

    February 7, 2008 at 20:34

    Derek, you’re acting like you’ve got a potato chip up your butt that you’re trying not to break. Go with the flow, Shel. Just go with the flow.

  33. Robert M. said,

    February 7, 2008 at 20:34

    “The C in CPAC should stand for Cheney!”

    I can’t be the only Sadlynaut to think of this: which “C” is being replaced? Does he mean they should rename it “Cheney Political Action Conference”, or “Conservative Political Action Cheney”?

  34. ortho_bob said,

    February 7, 2008 at 20:36

    Disgrunted Derek — other, less florid accounts can be found at the CPAC Blog feed. But stick around. I’m sure by Chapter 93, Mil;k Solids Pierce will have honed his prose to bursts of “AAAARGH! AM SURROUNDED BY PANTLOAD-A-LIKES! IN AUDIENCE! ON STAGE! IN BAR! IN BATHTUB! AAAAARGH!”

  35. Monkay said,

    February 7, 2008 at 20:37

    Hey, here’s an idea – mention your opiates one more time! Wank, wank, wank. (I say this all with love, tough love).
    I’m going to be Gilligan here: Derek, you’re right. Other S/N commenters who like the HST riffs: You’re right, too.
    My first reaction to this series was: jealousy . . .

  36. Greg T. said,

    February 7, 2008 at 20:44

    Folks, MLP is smart enough to know that once he survives this gauntlet and completes his writing here, the text that might (dog willing) show up in a major publication will need some editing.

    But in this wordy rough draft, the magic is clearly there, in spades. Just buy the ticket and enjoy the ride, because if nothing else the man’s showing formidable cojones here.

  37. Leonard Pierce said,

    February 7, 2008 at 20:48

    I’ve already interacted, as much as possible, with the Blogger’s Row gang. Pictures to come later. Much shorter, less attractive and more malevolent in person: Michelle Malkin. Much less drunk at noon than I would have thought: Pam Atlas. Sad and alone: Cap’n Ed. Amount of delight I receive every time I introduce myself to one of these dingalings as a representative of the American Milk Solids Council: immeasurable.

    Oh, and here’s a”Shorter” for my #1 superfan Derek:

    “Conservative Republicans are nuts! What a bunch of crazy nuts!”

  38. caliph garrett said,

    February 7, 2008 at 20:50

    If he were really trying to ape HST, MLP would have blown off the conference, given his credentials to Black Bloc anarchists, spent the donations on coke and hallucinogens and written about cavorting with various ne’er-do-wells instead.

  39. funluvn said,

    February 7, 2008 at 20:51

    Leonard, this is brilliant! Thanks, man.

  40. Jay B. said,

    February 7, 2008 at 20:52

    People are complaining, actually complaining about Pierce here? Jesus fucking hockeysticks. First, this is brilliant stuff all things considering. Thanks Leonard.

    To the haters: he’s writing from the belly of the beast. Every bit of information we can get on the freaks in the GOP is pure solid comedy gold and as such is fully S,N

    And “too prolix” for the “S,N” style? Are you people unaware that HTML Mencken posts here? Pierce is the model of brevity and concision in comparison (hell, man, write longer, I can scroll).

    Wow, Derek, that’s really weak tea. Don’t like? Don’t read. Let the man cover it for the rest of us who have taste.

  41. mikey said,

    February 7, 2008 at 20:53

    No way kid. Just bring the Cheese…

    mikey

  42. Chairman Meow said,

    February 7, 2008 at 20:59

    Yeah, yeah, fine so I’m lowbrow, simian, juvenile, hirsute, whatever:

    I CAN HAZ MOR BEEST IZ RED?
    LIKE FUNY STUF

  43. Vin Scully said,

    February 7, 2008 at 21:04

    Dynamite. I have never been happier that I gave a total stranger ten bucks.

  44. spencer said,

    February 7, 2008 at 21:07

    Nah, this is good stuff. Derek has maybe the ghost of a point, but that’s about it. I’m certainly not complaining.

  45. gbear said,

    February 7, 2008 at 21:11

    Mitt is gone. I tried to listen while I was driving around at lunch, but for the safety of nearby buildings and pedestrians, I had to keep turning it off. When, after about 20 minutes of speechifying, he said “But I’ve never been in this for just me”. I knew there was no point in listening any further. The man has no soul or substance.

  46. Doodle Bean said,

    February 7, 2008 at 21:20

    Bless you, Master Pierce! You have already spent my donation well! Thank you!

  47. liberalrob said,

    February 7, 2008 at 21:26

    Well done, Leonard. This is good stuff. Keep it up.

  48. owlbear1 said,

    February 7, 2008 at 21:55

    We just got another wire from the Field, Sir!

    Go on.

    Yes Sir! Apparently one their gods made an appearance, Sir!
    There was a bit a stampede.

    Do Say?

    Yes Sir!

    How’s Pierce? Any injuries?

    No Sir, that recruiting poster worked like a charm.

    Jolly good! Carry on!

  49. Thursday said,

    February 7, 2008 at 22:56

    Oddly enough, “wasteful”, “bloated” and “special interest” is language perfectly suited to describe almost every penny being spent in Iraq[...]

    Or, for that matter, most of the population of that room.

  50. Dan Someone said,

    February 7, 2008 at 23:15

    I would feel my donation had been wasted or misspent if Mister Leonard Pierce were not writing this kind of epic prose.

    MLPFTWOMFG!

  51. Nimrod Gently said,

    February 7, 2008 at 23:18

    This should be a book.

  52. Derek said,

    February 7, 2008 at 23:32

    Jeez, sorry guys, I didn’t realize the comments section here was for circle jerking only. Sorry I’m not familiar with the etiquette, I’m not a frequent commenter. Dare I say… liberal fascism?!

  53. Brian McLaughlin said,

    February 7, 2008 at 23:33

    Leonard Pierce would have you believe two things: Niger Innis was the only black man on this mornings opening CPAC panel and that he was booed by the crowd upon his entrance.

    Sadly, No! Neither of these are true. Niger Innis’s enthusiastic applause was only overshadowed by that for LaPierre and Ken Blackwell, former gubernatorial candidate and Sect. of State in Ohio who incidentally is also African American.

    It is this kind of Trotsky-like disinformation that the left classically spews. Maybe we won the cold war abroad but not @ home.

  54. Leonard Pierce said,

    February 7, 2008 at 23:38

    Hey, Brian! Thanks for stopping by. You’re correct that Ken Blackwell was on the panel, a fact I failed to mention either because I was stoned or because I didn’t notice. However, if you want to claim that Innis received the huge amounts of applause, or wasn’t booed, you’re just not being truthful. I recorded Cheney’s entire speech, and you can clearly hear boos when Innis is introduced.

  55. Derek said,

    February 7, 2008 at 23:50

    Leonard, thanks for filling my request and once again mentioning the fact that you were on drugs. Encore!

  56. Brian McLaughlin said,

    February 8, 2008 at 0:11

    I am glad that you admitted the truth about Niger not being the only African American on the stage. As far as the applause levels, I suggest that your readers judge by themselves and go to the CPAC website(unless you have posted yours.) They should have the video available soon. I find it strange that any organization would invite someone to their convention that would sit on several VIP panels if they had the slightest notion he would draw boos from the crowd.

  57. Hysterical Woman said,

    February 8, 2008 at 0:12

    Niger? That is an incredibly unfortunate name.

  58. Ed said,

    February 8, 2008 at 1:10

    The domain americanmilksolidscouncil.org is available for registration. (Hey, maybe you should have set it up beforehand in case any of the zombie hordes try to Google you.)

  59. kiki said,

    February 8, 2008 at 1:13

    Dare I say… liberal fascism?!

    Only if I dare say: “intelligence-insultingly transparent trollery, right down to the ‘so-called liberals are so intolerant of criticism’ bullshit”.

  60. Derek said,

    February 8, 2008 at 1:41

    kiki, way to prove that liberals aren’t intolerant of criticism by… blindly dismissing my criticism with an ad hominem.

  61. owlbear1 said,

    February 8, 2008 at 1:42

    Mocking and laughing at stupid Republicans = Liberal Fascism.

    That does sum it up…

    Thanks Derek.

  62. kiki said,

    February 8, 2008 at 1:56

    kiki, way to prove that liberals aren’t intolerant of criticism by… blindly dismissing my criticism with an ad hominem.

    And way to counter my point by… doing exactly the same thing that I was just berating you for.

    Also, you might want to look up “ad hominem”, because my post wasn’t it. It was a specific criticism of your behaviour, to wit: transparent concern trolling.

    Let’s put it this way: Imagine that somebody from your 200-strong workplace, a near-total stranger, walks up to you and says: “Hey, Derek! I know you don’t know me, but I’ve always watched you and thought you were the coolest guy ever! I mean, you are just awesome! But the last couple of days, you’ve been acting like a fucking asshole, you fucking asshole! What’s up with that? Why don’t you go back to being the super-awesome guy that I totally loved, you fucking piece of shit?”

    What would you think? Well, you’d obviously think, “Who the fuck is this dickhead?” But you also might think, “Hmm, maybe this person isn’t being entirely honest about how cool they thought I was before! Maybe they’re just someone who wants to fuck with me, but wants to confuse the issue by pretending to be a ‘concerned’ friend!”

    Just, y’know, for your consideration.

  63. Derek said,

    February 8, 2008 at 2:26

    You’re right. That analogy is totally 100% appropriate, assuming I work for a company that is dedicated exclusively to insulting people every single day. At least one of them writes a high schooler reading his first Adbusters, but they’re big boys, kiki, they can take it.

  64. Derek said,

    February 8, 2008 at 2:27

    …writes LIKE a high schooler…

  65. billy pilgrim said,

    February 8, 2008 at 2:32

    Two bucks says Derek is blogging at or near a computer with Booger-prints on it.

  66. Smiling Mortician said,

    February 8, 2008 at 3:02

    Well, he was, billy p., but he had to dash off to the check-cashing place to fill his wallet with sweet, sweet sustenance from Brian McLaughlin.

  67. Hollywood ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said,

    February 8, 2008 at 3:04

    Derek reminds me of someone…libvet.

    1) I’m one of you, but…
    2) Are you all st00pid?
    3) Stop with the ad hominem attacks, you st00pid lieberal fukcz!
    4) And then it’s off into Dennis the Peasant mode for the next hundred posts….”Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system.”

    D00d, you’re boring. Go play in the traffic.

  68. Smut Clyde said,

    February 8, 2008 at 4:41

    I didn’t realize the comments section here was for circle jerking only.
    That’s so not true. The commentariat also tolerate whisky-tasting notes, culinary reports, and any meaningless gibberish involving trebuchets.

  69. Smiling Mortician said,

    February 8, 2008 at 4:54

    No single phrase should involve “meaningless,” “gibberish,” and “trebuchets.” To combine the three is unlogical.

    Oh, and I just finished a dinner of stuffed PNW salmon and baby spinach salad with avocadoes and goat cheese.

    Another dram of Glenmorangie, anyone?

  70. Doug Watts said,

    February 8, 2008 at 13:01

    Advantage, Pierce.

  71. Duros62 said,

    February 8, 2008 at 23:35

    I find it strange that any organization would invite someone to their convention that would sit on several VIP panels if they had the slightest notion he would draw boos from the crowd.

    You mean like John McCain?

  72. Duros62 said,

    February 8, 2008 at 23:37

    and Brusssel Sprouts.

  73. As sick as it gets: Cheney gets standing ovation for torture, at CPAC « Over the line, Smokey! said,

    February 9, 2008 at 2:44

    [...] From Sadly, No!, a description of these maniacs.  I’m sorry, but I don’t recognize conservatism in this stuff.  It’s just sickness. Weirdly enough – or maybe not so much – his defense of torture gets a standing ovation, but his praising of our fighting men in uniform does not. [...]

  74. Tnx's you guide me oh my lord,coz now very confuse that how can i survive my daily,and my heart pain to do things again that i cant accept as what i am now...thank you very much!you save me!but wheres that mart? said,

    November 28, 2009 at 7:09

    Tnx’s for guide me,hope its true now,pls.im tired,my mind,my soul,so pls.guide and help,tnx’s!

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