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
On its website, the Birch Society describes it mission as to “to warn against and expose the forces that seek to abolish U.S. independence, build a world government, or otherwise undermine our personal liberties and national independence. The John Birch Society endorses the U.S. Constitution as the foundation of our national government, and works toward educating and activating Americans to abide by the original intent of the Founding Fathers. We seek to awaken a sleeping and apathetic people concerning the designs of those who are working to destroy our constitutional Republic.”