If any more proof was needed that CPAC organizers aren’t sweating the stories and photos about fringe conservatives making their way around the conference, behold: the John Birch Society. The notorious right-wing group signed on as a co-sponsor late last year, drawing some controversy at the time and… showing up anyway. If anything, the JBS — which has benefited immeasurably from the amazing political comeback of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a longtime supporter — is being greeted with some smiles, some eye-rolls, and some conspiratorial winks.Long before the Paulites, the Tea Party movement, and even the Moral Majority, the Birchers were the original Right Wing Nutjobs, formed in direct response to the rise of the civil rights movement of the sixties. Much like the Tea Party was a backlash against Obama, the Birchers were very much the virulently racist, hard-core ideologically pure zealots that rose in opposition to Dr. King. They called Eisenhower a Communist. Bill Buckley kicked them out because they were too nuts even for his guys.
Even as recently as last year, the Birchers were persona non grata. That was before the Town Hall Blitzes and the Tea Party idiocy.
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 now the Birchers are sponsoring CPAC. These guys ARE the Reactionary Right, folks. Now, these guys are the mainstream Republican Party at the biggest GOP political event of the year. And they expect to get into power come November.