There were two ideological flash points for pre-CPAC boycotts, protests, and vitriol. One, very well covered, was the anger that social conservatives – including ACU board member Cleta Mitchell – harbored about the inclusion of the gay Republican group GOProud. One, less well-covered, came from “anti-Jihadist” activists who consider ATR President Grover Norquist and ACU board member Suhail Khan supplicants of the Muslim threat to America.
The anti-jihadists did not boycott the event. Pamela Gellar and Robert Spencer held two crowded screenings of their film “The Ground Zero Mosque: Second Wave of the 9/11 Attacks,” not sponsored by CPAC, but across from the main ballroom. David Horowitz, the leftist-turned-conservative muckraker, got the speaking slot right after Haley Barbour. He used most of his time to blister Khan and Norquist, accusing them of working on the behalf of terrorists, in line with the plans of the Muslim Brotherhood.
“Suhail Khan used his offices in the Bush administration,” said Horowitz, “with Grover’s support, to carry water for the terrorist Sami al Arian.”
I found Khan after the speech to get his reaction. He’d been dealing with anti-jihadist protests all weekend, he said. Video trackers (he traced them to Frank Gaffney), had followed him to his events and asked him if “he was a member of the Muslim brotherhood,” as a way of getting video dynamite.
“These are old, tired, baseless attacks that have been debunked by reputable sources,” said Khan. “This is baseless, and they’re coming from people who are becoming more and more marginalized.”
On Horowitz in particular: “I’m not surprised. This is a former communist who’s still using Saul Alinsky tactics. A few years ago, I was supposed to be part of al Qaeda. Now it’s the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s whatever’s in the news.”