Cline’s embarrassing CPAC speech

By all accounts, the recently-concluded Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas, featured an appalling array of conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and lies about the deadly pro-Trump insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6– most notably from the Big Liar himself.

One of the many lowlights was a truly awful speech by Congressman Cline– awful in delivery as well as in content. Even when it comes to rousing a crowd primed to agree with him, Cline is a failure.

See for yourself and be prepared to cringe. (I almost feel embarrassed for him. But then I remember it’s Ben Cline.):

The theme of the CPAC conference was “America UnCanceled,” so Cline began by proclaiming that Virginians like Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Patrick Henry were “the original fighters against cancel culture.”

Well, maybe, although I doubt they and the other Founding Fathers saw the American Revolution in quite that way.

Moving to the present day, Cline asserted:

Virginia is controlled by a one-party liberal group, fighting to cancel freedom, to cancel liberty, to cancel those of us who are fighting each and every day for family and freedom.

If any group is trying to cancel anything in Virginia these days, it’s Republicans. The ginned-up frenzy over “critical race theory” is largely an effort to cancel teaching about the racial history of the US that might make anyone uncomfortable. The chair of the Republican Party of Virginia wants to investigate a professor at the University of Virginia for writing mean things about Donald Trump.

Meanwhile Cline and other House Republicans have done their best to cancel Congresswoman Liz Cheney– a featured speaker at CPAC 2020– for daring to speak the truth about Donald Trump and the 2020 election.

Cline congratulated Texas for delivering its votes last year “for our great president Donald J. Trump.”

Just two points, Congressman.

  1. Donald J. Trump is no longer president.
  2. Even when he was president, he wasn’t at all “great.” And he isn’t great now.

Cline then moved on to one of his favorite subjects: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of the so-called “squad.”

Here is where he really took leave of reality.

We know who really calls the shots in the House of Representatives. It’s the squad. It’s the liberal agenda of AOC and the squad that we are fighting against.

Surely even Cline knows that six relatively new Democratic members of the House, none of whom are in leadership positions and who don’t always agree among themselves, do not set the agenda for the other 217 Democrats.

But he wasn’t through.

They are trying to cancel family. They are trying to cancel faith. They are even trying to cancel the American flag.

I did find a photo of one member of the squad, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, with an American flag. But it didn’t look like she was trying to cancel it.

Rep. Ilhan Omar  holding a miniature American flag smiling and clapping

And she didn’t slobber all over it in an embarrassing and phony display of patriotism.

Cline then asked his obviously bored audience: “Are you going to let them cancel our American flag?”

After a smattering of half-hearted “No”s, Cline soon ended his speech– and probably his chance to become a leading figure of an increasingly radicalized “conservative” movement.

Cline again shows whose side he isn’t on

Congressman Cline’s first impulse is always to side with employers over employees. This tendency has led him to be a longtime hater of labor unions, among other protections for workers.

In a recent series of Facebook posts, Cline again revealed his contempt for everyday working people– suggesting that temporary unemployment payments make them too lazy to take any undesirable low-wage jobs on offer.

On June 15, Cline wrote:

As the economy rebounds from the pandemic, businesses are struggling to hire employees as a result of extended unemployment benefits from the Federal government. With 9.3 million open jobs in America, it’s time to get government out of the way and truly kickstart a long-term recovery.

And on June 24, he insisted:

The restaurant industry struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic because of government-mandated lockdowns, and now they’re struggling to keep their doors open because they can’t hire enough employees. This is the danger of extended Federal benefits.

On June 28, he linked to an article in The Wall Street Journal and claimed:

States that have discontinued enhanced federal unemployment benefits are seeing folks reentering the workforce at higher rates than states continuing them. I urge Governor Northam to help folks get back to work by opting the Commonwealth out of extended federal benefits.

In fact the Journal article said no such thing. The New York Times reported:

Work-force development officials [in Missouri] said they had seen virtually no uptick in applicants since the governor’s announcement, which ended a $300 weekly supplement to other benefits. And the online job site Indeed found that in states that have abandoned the federal benefits, clicks on job postings were below the national average.

So what produced the big increase in payrolls in June? It turns out to be something completely predictable that Cline has been loath to mention: higher wages.

President Biden grasps what Ben Cline misses: that carrots work better than sticks when it comes to creating an economy that works for workers.