Send in the Clowns; CPAC had a P. T. Barnum hit show

While watching or reading about the headliners at the 2010 CPAC, the title of that great Stephen Sondheim song Send in the Clowns from the musical Little Night Music kept ringing in my head. Using some lines from that song, here in parenthesis are the kind of thoughts that are in the minds of the Conference’s guest clown speakers:

Making my entrance again with my usual flair, (Performance is everything. Tell the suckers what they want to hear.)
Sure of my lines (I read my Mantra book faithfully every morning.)
No one is there. (Thank God, those who make up their own minds don’t like it here.)
Don’t you love farce? (Fooling the fools is so much fun for me and my bank account.)
My fault, I fear. (What fault? There is always a lefty to blame.)
I thought that you’d want what I want– (If you don’t, you will by the time I’m finished.)
Sorry, my dear. (I’m only sorry there are so many other clowns to compete for the spotlight.)
But where are the clowns? (Are you blind? The audience is full of them.)
Quick, send in the clowns. (If you really need any more, call Michael Steele, Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck. They have millions at their disposal.)
Don’t bother, they’re here. (How many fucking times do I have to tell you the same thing. Oh, oh, Frank Luntz isn’t going to like that.)

The organizers of this Circus Politicians Arouse the Crazies three day extravaganza chose as its last ringmaster Glenn “Big Emotem” Beck to titillate all factions of the empathy barren conservative right so they could somehow learn to love each other and live under one tent. He didn’t disappoint either the right or the left when he screamed, “All we’ve heard, the Fox News host complained, is “we need a big tent. We need a big tent. Can we get a bigger tent? How can we get a big tent? What is this the circus? America is not a clown show. America is not a circus. America is an idea. America is an idea that sets people free.

Right Glenn. It gives shysters like you the freedom to CPACem, Conn the People to Anger the Country, so “conservative” War Hawks can make the people so afraid, they will cheer as the lions eat and torture the world on behalf of those poor billionaires who stop paying taxes after the first $109,000 they earn and receive Medicare because they have earned it. Once the circus owners believe those fighting for real freedom are consumed, the cheering fools including “Big Emotem” will be next.

I never thought until the Internet showed me the light in the last few years, so many Americans would be this foolish or that I would watch them act out their fantasies on my TV. All the theatrical techniques I learned as a theater major in college didn’t prepare me for Rush and Glenn’s P. T. Barnum acting skills nor did I ever dream that the French farces would be so overshadowed by the show put on daily by the Repothefacticans in Congress.

Below are a few highlights, or lowlights for the informed, from this spectacle of greed and ignorance uttered by the speaking clowns who were sent in by the circus owners to sing to the hypnotized fearsome.

Glenn Beck:

Dick Cheney a couple days ago… says it is going to be a good year for conservative ideas, (wiping the sweat from his brow) it is going to be a very good year. But it is not enough just to not suck as much as the other side.” “What made us sit there at the john making us vomit for four hours? What are we suffering from?” “The real problem is progressivism (scrawling the word with chalk on his signature blackboard) This is the disease in America, we have a right to fail, but what we don’t have a right to is healthcare, housing or handouts.” “It’s like somebody sticking a screwdriver in your eye and somebody else pulls it out and puts a pin in your eye. I don’t want stuff in my eye.” “I’m a recovering alcoholic, and I screwed up my life six ways to Sunday. I believe in redemption, but the first step to getting redemption is you’ve got to admit that you’ve got a problem. I have not heard people in the Republican Party yet admit that they have a problem.”

Jason Mattera: (Young America’s Foundation spokesman)

It’s always a delight to participate in CPAC. This is like our Woodstock. Except unlike the left’s gathering, our women are beautiful, we speak in complete sentences, and our notion of freedom doesn’t consist of snorting cocaine. Which is certainly one thing that separates us from Barack Obama. On the cocaine front, I do believe many young people in America viewed Barack in the same fashion as they do drugs. It was a substance to experiment with. But like most narcotics, the hangover afterward has them thinking, ‘what the hell did I just do?’”

Ryan Sorba: (Representing California Young Americans for Freedom who took the stage to condemn the conference for it’s association with a group of gay Republicans)

I’d like to condemn CPAC for bringing GOPride to this event. Guess what. Civil rights are grounded in natural rights. Natural rights are grounded in human nature.” (Sorba then addressed one member of the audience who stood up to shout him down) The lesbians of Smith College protest better than you do.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.):

Obama (through economic policies she labeled ‘Bailout Nation’) — is leading the country toward an economic collapse on the scale of 1920s Germany and 1940s Argentina. People can indulge in Fantasy Football, but you can’t indulge in Fantasy Economics, it just doesn’t work.” “The joy of being an American is that we get to choose. We get to choose our destiny. Whether it’s decline or whether it’s greatness, it’s in our hands to make the choice. . . . It sounds to me like someone is choosing decline.”

Rick Santorum:

Political correctness is reigning in the military right now. Some people say: [Do] whatever the generals say [on DADT]. I’m not too sure that we haven’t so indoctrinated the officer corps in this country that they can actually see straight to make the right decision.”

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC):

The federal government is assaulting almost every sector of our free-market economy at a time when I fear America is teetering toward tyranny.” “(Mocking Obama’s charisma and oratory skills who delivers ‘ false hope and empty promises’) I hope Americans will expect more from their next president than a great speech. You can’t govern from a teleprompter. Just because you are good on TV doesn’t mean you can sell socialism to freedom-loving Americans.” “With our country drowning in debt, if we can’t give up pork for one year and won’t even try to balance the budget now, there’s no reason to think we’ll ever do it.” “Frankly, sometimes I feel like I’m trying to hold back the tide, and the constant fighting can be tiresome. If I couldn’t come here every year and plug into (your) renewable energy source, I wouldn’t have the strength to even show up at Waterloo, much less win the battle.”

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio):

I was in the White House for a meeting a few weeks back and we were talking about the economy and jobs and I was explaining that these Democrat policies, you know — cap and trade, national energy tax, government takeover of our health care system, card check, higher tax rates — all of this was paralyzing business owners because they had all of this uncertainty. And you know no small business owners can plan, invest or hire new workers in this kind of environment. But the president didn’t like it. He looked at me and he slapped the table and said, ‘Boehner, it’s not my policies that are paralyzing these employers. It’s you Republicans who are scaring them.’ I said, ‘Mr. President, the American people aren’t scared about what we have to say. They’re scared by the policies that are being promoted by your administration and your colleagues up on the Hill.’ I told him, ‘well here is the thing, the American people want leaders who will listen they don’t need any more lecturers coming to Washington.”

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.):

Now’s the time for all of us to do all we can to preserve what makes this country great. If you can give, give. If you can speak, speak. If you can write, write. And if you can run, run.” “A recession is when your neighbor loses his job, and a depression is when you lose your job, and a recovery is when Nancy Pelosi loses her job.”

Newt Gingrich:

I’m not frightened by bipartisanship. It will be tough. It will be hard. But if we are going to have three years in which the president loses energy, Pelosi and Reid become isolated, the left cracks, we can’t just sit back and hope that the world will let us wait… We should be brave enough to stand up and say let’s work together until we finish defeating the left and then we won’t have to work with them as much.” “Candidly, we should adopt rules that say even when they are in a small minority, down to the last 15-20 left wingers in the Senate, the last 100 or so in the House, we should still have rules to allow them to bring their ideas to the table because we should not be afraid.”

Tim Pawlenty:

The implication is, we’re kind of bumpkins. Well, history is on our side. The Constitution is on our side. We’re on the side of freedom. We’re on the side of individual responsibility. We’re on the side of free markets. We’re on the side of rule of law. We’re on the side of limited government. And, like Grant, we fight. When you listen to the elites and the pundits talk about the tea party movement, when they talk about us conservatives, they may not always say it explicitly, but implicit in their comments is, ‘Maybe they’re not as sophisticated.’ They don’t hang out at chablis drinking, brie eating parties in San Francisco. As eagle-eyed cultural savants and Wal-Mart aficionados point out, brie and chablis aren’t exactly haute cuisine. And both are, in fact, available for purchase at Wal-Mart.” “I think we should take a page out of her (Tiger Woods’s wife) playbook and take a nine iron and smash a window out of big government in this country.”

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa):

I don’t want to meet with the president of the United States (on Feb. 25) to see what other kind of toxic stew he is going to serve to us. And it is a toxic stew. We don’t want a pot full [of toxic stew], we don’t want a spoon full. We don’t want a bowl full or a cup full… We want it dead.”

These hucksters fed a lot of pablum to the suckers and they ate it up. The over confidence whether real or pretend exuded over the entire show under the tent. The more over confidence the better to me because an over confident opponent is very vulnerable to real attacks with the truth. Come November, a long time in political time, I believe that conning the American people will collapse the tent and the foolish hopes to take back the congress followed in 2012 by the presidency.


  1. cocktailhag says:

    The overconfidence is stunning. I hope they keep at it. OWE at work.

  2. retzilian says:

    I still don’t get the logic that if people think govt is broken and they remember only too well who broke it, how do the Rs think anyone will elect them? The MA special election was the exception that will prove the rule.

    Not that the Ds are anything to brag about, but I can’t see anyone rewarding any Republican in the fall for what’s going on right now.

  3. DCLaw1 says:

    That Ryan Sorba outburst was really something. Saw the video at Andrew Sullivan’s. What an unbelievable a-hole.

  4. sysprog says:

    Glynis Johns and Len Cariou recreate the “Send in the Clowns” reprise from the final scene of “A Little Night Music.”

    The song was written especially for her.

    Glynis Johns (daughter of actor Mervyn Johns) made her London stage bow as a child in “Buckie’s Bears” (1935) [...]

    [...] Her most memorable Broadway turn came as Desiree Armfeldt, the leading lady of the Hugh Wheeler-Stephen Sondheim hit musical “A Little Night Music” (1973). After a particular scene was staged by Harold Prince, Sondheim, realizing a song was required for her character, tossed off the contemporary standard “Send in the Clowns”, which the composer tailored for Johns’ particular vocal qualities (what Sondheim called “a rumpled bed”). During the Boston run of the show prior to its New York opening, Johns fell ill and there was speculation that another actress would assume the role. Fiercely protective of the part, Johns declaimed that no one else would sing her songs and recovered sufficiently to score a personal triumph and a Tony Award as Lead Actress in a Musical. The actress [...] later acted in a 1991 Los Angeles revival of “A Little Night Music”, this time taking the part of Madame Armfeldt, the mother of the character she had originated. [...]

    Though Desiree sings about losing her timing . . .

    . . . At the end (see YouTube, above), in the final scene of the show, Desiree and Frederik do end up getting back together.

    I was in NYC in 1973 and I saw Glynis Johns and Len Cariou in the original Broadway production. At the time, Glynis Johns was 50, which I thought was unimaginably old, but it didn’t matter; she still had the magic, and nobody in the audience could take their eyes off her.

    And at the end of the show, she got her man.

    And here’s Jerry Orbach, presenting the Tony Award to her.

    Will the American electorate get hot again for the GOP? To my eye, the GOP lacks the charms of Glynis Johns, and I’d rather share a rumpled bed with her than with them.

    But those swing voters have weird tastes.

    • dirigo says:

      I’d rather sleep in a rumpled bed, with or without Glynis Johns, than with any Tea Bagger on the finest silk sheets.

  5. mikeinportc says:


    Saw some of that. Did y’all see the Bob Barr segment ? They loudly cheered torture, due-process-free detentention, and all the rest. Then booed Barr,as he criticized all that, until the mealy-mouthed @$$#0(% moderator politely cut him off with a let’s-all-be-friends-he-didn’t-really-mean-it deflection.

    Right Glenn. It gives shysters like you the freedom to CPACem, Conn the People to Anger the Country, so “conservative” War Hawks can make the people so afraid, they will cheer as the lions eat and torture the world on behalf of those poor billionaires ..


    Look across that generation gap now and see it as they see it—the young. Thirty two billion dollars into a civil war ten thousand miles from our shore to protect the freedom of the South Vietnamese and keep the Viet Cong from attacking San Francisco. That’s where we are told is America’s destiny—in the rice paddies of DaNang. And America’s youth—or at least a sizeable share of them—find this to be patently unbelievable.


    Those who shout loudest for fiscal sanity—an end to so-called federal handouts. Stop this nonsense about Federal Aid to education, federal housing, aid to cities. These are the gentlemen who watched us throw two billion dollars to help prop up the French Colonial Government whose good offices are indistinguishable from the North Vietnamese.

    – Rod Serling , Dec. 3, 1968

    At least they recycle. ;)

  6. sysprog says:

    Surprising news about one of the clowns at CPAC 2010 . . .

  7. rmp says:

    ALERT: Dick Cheney hospitalized with chest pains, Fox News reports. If that’s what it takes to silence him, I’m for it.

  8. Really enjoyed this post.