CPAC Program Leads Me To Conclude Conservatives Don’t Know English

CPAC 2012 has come and gone. It brought thousands of conservative activists, politicians, and leaders to DC–the national capital, and a bastion of left-wing welfare liberalism–in a whirlwind of addresses, speeches, presentations, breakout sessions, discussions, wi-fi fights, blackouts (both in Internet connections and booze), and protests by the OccupyDC movement and labor unions.

Over at United Liberty, I have (or will have) several posts up about CPAC and what went on there, but I think a good place to examine the kind of people who inhabit that space can be found by reading the speakers’ bios in the program. Now, this is a blog about writing, so it’s less about what the people actually did…and how the biographies are actually written. All the errors you see here are from the program itself, though since I am typing these in manually, that might actually come out to roughly 95% from the program; I’ll try and catch any of my own mistakes.

Let’s start off with Stephen Baldwin (no, not that Baldwin):

Stephen Baldwin is an actor, family man, born-again Christian, and the co-host of Xtreme Media Radio with Kevin McCullough. In 1995 he landed a break-through role in dual Oscar-winning film: The Usual Suspects. Baldwin appeared on Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” Season 7 on NBC- finishing 5th. Baldwin was a contestant on the 2009 NBC reality show, “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!” he quit the show mid-season due to a parasitic infection. In September 2006 Baldwin released his book titled The Unusual Suspect, which details highlights from his personal life, career, days involving the “Hollywood lifestyle” and ultimately, his turn to becoming a born-again Christian after the 9/11 attacks. In October 2008, Republican VP Candidate Sarah Palin joked with lifelong democrat Alec Baldwin during a SNL skit tht Stepher is her “Favorite Baldwin Brother”. In 2008, Baldwin teamed up with conservative talk radio host Kevin McCullough to put together Saturday show, “Baldwin/MuCullough LIVE”

Whoo boy. Let’s catalog all these errors, shall we?

  1. “break-through” should, arguably, be “breakthrough,” but I’ll admit that could be up to dispute
  2. “in dual Oscar-winning film: The Usual Suspects” should be “in the dual Oscar-winning film The Usual Suspects.”
  3. Celebrity Apprentice should be italicized, not have quotation marks
  4. “NBC- finishing 5th” should be “NBC–finishing 5th.” You need two dashes, not one and a space. C’mon, this is basic.
  5. Capitalize the “h” in “he” after the show title, since it’s considered to be a new sentence.
  6. Also, why the hell have that line at all? That’s just gross.
  7. Don’t capitalize “Candidate.”
  8. Do capitalize “democrat.”
  9. “tht” should be “that” (which makes me facepalm.)
  10. Insert a “the” between “together” and “Saturday” in the last line.
  11. Put a period at the end of that last line so it doesn’t look like its just hanging out there above the abyss of ungrammatical statements.

Let’s continue. Next up is Baldwin’s partner, Kevin McCullough:

Kevin McCullough is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host and columnist, tackles news and current events from a Christian perspective. The author of MuscleHead Revolution and The Kind of Man Every Man Should Be, his approach to politics and values has garnered a large following of loyal listeners and readers. Kevin McCullough is the nationally syndicated host of “The Kevin McCullough Show” & “Baldwin/McCullough Radio”. His newest best-selling hardcover from Thomas Nelson Publishers, “No He Can’t: How Barack Obama is Dismantling Hope and Change” is in stores now and topped multiple best-sellers list in 2011, for over nine weeks in a row. Both Baldwin/McCullough *LIVE* & The Kevin McCullough Show have been honored by Talkers Magazine in 2010 and 2011 as one of the top 50 multi–platform-casters & top talk radio shows in the country. On January 29th 2012 XtreMEDIA launched it’s third nationally syndicated radio show The Dani Johnson Show that is receiving rave reviews from the talk radio industry.

Ugh.

  1. “tackles” should be “tackling,” otherwise just end the first sentence where the comma is.
  2. Both MuscleHead Revolution and The Kind of Many Every Man Should Be should be italicized.
  3. The third book, “No He Can’t,” should also be italicized. Also: so hang on here, first you don’t do anything to the title, then you put it in quotation marks? If you’re going to be a screw-up, at least be a consistent screw-up.
  4. You can’t have “multiple best-sellers list.” Put an “s” on that list.
  5. Again, consistency: put quotation marks around Baldwin/McCullough *LIVE* and The Kevin McCullough Show.
  6. Okay, so you use an em dash and then an en dash in the middle of a word? Come on. (For the record, it’s en dashes in both places.)
  7. Again, no quotation marks around The Dani Johnson Show? Be consistent.

Next to bat will be Tom McDevitt’s short bio:

Tom McDevitt is the President of the Washington Time.s He is a member of the Unification Church and in the early 1980s was the pastor of the church in Washington DC.

You can spot the obvious mistake there. Moving on, we have Kristan Hawkins:

Kristan Hawkins is the Executive Director of Students for Life of America’s (SFLA), a position which she has held since 2006. Hawkins has appeared on Fox News, CNN, and the Christian Broadcasting Network. She currently hosts the radio show “On Campus with Students for Life” on National Pro-life Radio. Hawkins came to SFLA after serving as a political appointee in the George W. Bush administration at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Previously, she also worked for the 2004 Bush/Cheney re-election campaign and at the Republican National Committee. Since working at SFLA, she has been awarded the Susan B. Anthony Young Leader Award, the Dr. William Hogan Education Award for pro-life leadership, the 2009 Weyrich Youth Leadership Award, and a 2010 Life

A 2010 Life what? I don’t know, it just ends there. Presumably, it’s important. Or maybe–wait, that’s it! She got a 1-UP mushroom in 2010! Holy cow! And here I thought conservatives were against drug use…

Then there’s Stephen DeMaura:

Stephen DeMaura is the President of Americans for Job Security. Stephen DeMaura has served in a number of leadership positions in government and politics. He began his career in the field as Executive Director of Democracy in Practice in Concord, New Hampshire. In 2002, he worked on the Bruce Keough for Governor campaign in Manchester, New Hampshire, as a Statewide Volunteer Coordinator. In 2002 and 2004, Stephen DeMaura gained experience in fundraising and campaign management when he worked for the Republican Senate Caucus. After graduating from American University with his Bachelor’s degree, Stephen DeMaura worked as a communications consultant for several ballot initiatives, advocacy groups and candidates. Stephen DeMaura currently attends John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland and is studying to receive his Master of Arts in Government at the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

Okay, we get it. Your name is Stephen DeMaura. We’re not dumb or amnesiac, I’m sure we can remember it until we finish your piece.

These are only examples. The rest of it is rife with errors and some very questionable stylistic choices. Like, putting quotation marks around conflict as in the following: “Mr Martin joined the Marine Corps in 1953 at age 17 as the Korean “conflict” concluded and served on active duty until 1958.” The implication is that the Korean War was not even up to the standard of a true “conflict,” and I think that’s pretty disrespectful of all the veterans who served in that war (which seems very out of place for the relatively pro-military CPAC crowd.) There are inconsistencies in styling, spelling errors (including listing the late Czech leader Vaclav Havel as “Vaclay Havel”) grammatical foul-ups, and just plain bad writing. I mean, take the name of one of the organizations there, “True the Vote.” I mean Jesus, “True” is not a verb! You want “Trust the Vote,” or maybe “True Vote,” or something else, but “True the Vote” is the kind of writing I would expect from a fifth-grader, not a professional organization!

What makes this even more insulting (and perhaps hilarious) is that the Conference hosted a panel on making English the only language of the United States. But if these guys can’t even bother to spell check, proofread, and do some copyediting on their own publication (which is printed in English), what authority do they have on promoting this language? None, that’s what.

I don’t know how much CPAC2012 cost, but I’m going to assume that it cost a few millions to put on. And yet, within that massive budget, they couldn’t afford $500 for an English undergrad to do some basic proofreading of their main program? This is beyond lazy. Anyone picking up this program would look at it and think the people putting on CPAC were uneducated morons, not to be taken seriously. This is the premier conservative political event of the year and yet they come out looking like a rural PTA that can’t get its shit together. This is absurd, and definitely paints a picture of a movement that has zero chance of defeating Barack Obama in November. If you can’t write a sentence properly, you can’t defeat an incumbent president of the most powerful nation in the world, full stop.

I’m actually ashamed and disappointed by this. I don’t consider myself a conservative, as I’m a libertarian first and foremost, but there really needs to be some effective opposition to  Obama’s policies. The guy has got to go; personally, I’d replace him with Ron Paul or Gary Johnson, I think Mitt Romney would suffice (his own failures would probably preclude him from getting anything done, which I would consider a plus.) Yet instead we have these jokers who can’t be bothered to do even the most basic of tasks for an event.

This might be taking things a bit too far, but judging from the quality of editing for this publication, I’ll say this: these guys are toast.

Super Simple Summary of CPAC Day 1

  1. Get to CPAC at 8:30 AM (ish)
  2. Get about six different directions to blogger check in
  3. Get my badge
  4. Get denied access to the blogger’s lounge, because that’s like only for special A-list bloggers (which I did not know actually existed, like unicorns)
  5. Pick up a flyer from a guy advertising Santorum
  6. Go to the main lounge, log on, and write a blog post at United Liberty bashing Santorum
  7. End up walking around a lot with a backpack full of gear
  8. Go to a sparsely attended panel on the regulatory state
  9. Get into the media section of the Marriott Ballroom and watch some people mutter some things on stage
  10. Go see my boss from my day job and help him get his stuff into the conference
  11. Attend a session on the gold standard
  12. Go get lunch
  13. Walk around, enter two different sweepstakes to win iPads
  14. Try to see Rand Paul, see him get replaced by Herman Cain
  15. Go home and get ready for the next day

Yeah, that was pretty much my first day.

Away to #CPAC I Shall Go

Oh, Jesus...

Tomorrow I will be heading downtown into Washington DC proper to attend CPAC 2012–otherwise known as the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference. Although I would rather be working on science fiction, and especially blogging about fiction writing here, the time constraints of my job and where I live essentially mandate that my entire life revolves around politics. And let’s face it, when you live in DC, the most politically-driven city in the entire world, your life is about politics.

I’m not entirely keen on going. I was convinced to go because a friend of mine who works in social media wanted me to. He has a tendency to keep dragging me to happy hours and social events, which is just his thing. That’s okay, but it means that when I show up, I usually only do reluctantly. The deciding factor for me this year was that Daniel Hannan, UK Conservative MEP, will be coming on Saturday to give a half-hour talk, and if you’ve ever seen this video and liked it on Youtube, you know you just can’t pass up an opportunity like that.

How can you see such wit and eloquence and not want to see the man in person? I certainly can’t. So, as a blogger for UnitedLiberty.org, I registered as an official CPAC blogger, and am now getting my stuff together.

There are worries, though. There are a great deal others who are attending CPAC who are far less inspiring than Hannan. You have folks like Kirk Cameron, Stephen Baldwin (Alec Baldwin’s conservative twin), Ann Coulter, and then (former) presidential candidates Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich…and Rick Santorum. You’ll have birthers. You’ll have Christian fundamentalists. You’ll have Limbaugh fanatics. You’ll have people dressed up in tricorn hats like it’s some bizarre science fiction convention. And with last year’s brouhaha over GOProud, the organization for gay Republicans, being kicked out, you don’t have any sort of balancing act whatsoever.

In short, it’s the most concentrated crazy you can get without resorting to doing lines of coke while listening to a Justin Bieber album at a Flat Earth Society meeting. Or the Democratic National Convention.

I’m deeply saddened by this. Especially now, when this country badly needs an effective opposition to the nincompoopery being spread around by an ineffective and corrupt presidential administration, and organizations that seem to have no other goal but to rob millions of Americans of their individual freedom in order to obtain yet more ill-gotten plunder at the public treasury, the opposition forces are disorganized, uncoordinated, and worse off, come across as complete moonbats. To be fair, that’s not everybody. A lot of conservatives are not as radical as the media makes them out to be, and they’re actually quite sane and reasonable individuals. Jonah Goldberg, Richard Lowry, David Frum, James Joyner, Doug Mataconis, Richard Stacy McCain (you know, the “Other” McCain), and a whole bevy of others are fairly moderate. I suppose that’s another reason why I’m hauling my carcass to the hotel where CPAC is being held: I want to see for myself, with my own eyes, just how far down the road to nuttery the conservative movement has gone. I want to see some sort of hope at CPAC tomorrow. Maybe there will be. Maybe there won’t.

But probably the largest reason anyone is going to CPAC is because it’s one large social event. You’re not really there for the speakers or the booths or the how-to panels. They’re sideshows. The main attraction is meeting all the bloggers and staffers and strategists who you haven’t seen in months…and then attend one of the nine hundred eighty-two happy hours going on over the weekend, at which point you all get smashed and wake up the next morning wondering just who the president is and what exactly is the job of the Supreme Court of the United States. That’s the real point of CPAC. For me, definitely; I’m attending a blogger breakfast sponsored by Google and hope to use the conference to pick my fellow bloggers’ brains about best practices. No doubt about it, I want United Liberty to be in the Top 100–better yet, Top 50–of blogs covering American politics. I want it to be a place where people who are fed up with the left and the right can go for a refreshing perspective on politics, where they feel that yes, they have colleagues and allies and are not alone in this miasma.

But that’s enough for now. Tomorrow, I will go to the conference. I will report. I will blog. I will meet. I will greet. I will shake hands. I will probably kiss an ass or two–wait, there’s not going to be any Democrats, nevermind.