David Brooks: CPAC is the ‘Hardest of the Hardcore’ Conservatives

On Friday’s PBS NewsHour, New York Times columnists David Brooks and Mark Shields used their weekly appearance to trash the attendees of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) as representing the extreme far right of the Republican Party. 

So-called conservative columnist David Brooks opined that “[t]here’s conservatives, and then there’s conservatives, and then conservatives, and then way over on the other side of the room is CPAC...So this is like the hardest of the hardcore.” 

The anti-CPAC discussion began with Mark Shields smearing the conference as promoting “the kind of language of no consensus, no compromise, compromise is capitulation, compromise is surrender.” The New York Times columnist continued to criticize CPAC as spreading an unelectable message: 

And it`s exactly the wrong message that was going to Capitol Hill this week, where Republicans collapsed in handling Homeland Security. And I just think the atmosphere created by that room and by the people there is harmful to the party. It could be crucial to the nominating process, but it`s an unelectable message.

NewsHour co-host Judy Woodruff didn’t bother to push back against Shields’ harsh rhetoric and instead claimed “that message of no cooperation, David, what -- that’s been the trademark for these conservatives, hasn’t it?” 

The pseudo-conservative Brooks eagerly took Woodruff’s bait and proceeded to sound more like an MSNBC commentator than an actual conservative: 

Yes. Well, this is CPAC, remember. There’s conservatives, and then there’s conservatives, and then conservatives, and then way over on the other side of the room is CPAC. And so you look at the people they have nominated over the years as their favorite speaker, it’s Ron Paul, Rand Paul’s father. President Ron Paul has been elected, Gary Bauer, Christian conservative. So this is like the hardest of the hardcore.

See relevant transcript below. 

PBS NewsHour

February 27, 2015

JUDY WOODRUFF: And with that, we turn to the analysis of Shields and Brooks. That`s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks. Welcome, gentlemen. So, Mark, CPAC, the gathering, regular gathering of conservatives, seemed to be mixed messages coming from these potential candidates. What should we take away from this? What are we learning?

MARK SHIELDS: We should take away, first of all, there`s a generational divide in that room, which Rand Paul reaches across to particularly younger voters. But what I found most -- I guess -- and I thought Jeb Bush did a lot better in a question-and-answer than he did in a set speech last week. I thought he was far more effective.

But, Judy, what`s coming out of that room -- and it`s basically the first primary for Republicans -- is exactly the kind of language of no consensus, no compromise, compromise is capitulation, compromise is surrender.

And it`s exactly the wrong message that was going to Capitol Hill this week, where Republicans collapsed in handling Homeland Security. And I just think the atmosphere created by that room and by the people there is harmful to the party. It could be crucial to the nominating process, but it`s an unelectable message.

JUDY WOODRUFF: But isn’t that the message -- isn’t that message of no cooperation, David, what -- that’s been the trademark for these conservatives, hasn’t it?

DAVID BROOKS: Yes. Well, this is CPAC, remember. There’s conservatives, and then there’s conservatives, and then conservatives, and then way over on the other side of the room is CPAC.
And so you look at the people they have nominated over the years as their favorite speaker, it’s Ron Paul, Rand Paul’s father. President Ron Paul has been elected, Gary Bauer, Christian conservative. So this is like the hardest of the hardcore.

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential PBS News Hour David Brooks Mark Shields Judy Woodruff

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