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3 things liberals should learn from CPAC

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The Conservative Political Action Conference can be pretty easy pickings for liberal-leaning writers, from checking out who’s on the gay hook-up app Grindr to hitting up the panel discussions that sound most likely to go off the rails to chronicling the latest in Sarah Palin’s world. But amid the carnival atmosphere and moments of outright wing-nuttery, there are plenty of moments of which liberals ought to take note rather than laugh off.

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1. The insistence that Republicans be “pro-free market” and not “pro-business”
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin told the CPAC audience from the main stage “There’s a big difference between being pro-business and pro-free market” (though she was happy to use the phrase “pro-business” back in 2010 herself). Peter Schweitzer of the Government Accountability Institute (and former Palin adviser) called for it during his brief speech at the Breitbart News “Uninvited” panel. If elected officials didn’t learn in 2012 that being “pro-business” attracts donations but not always voters, a certain class of conservatives — undoubtedly influenced by the Charles Koch Institute and others who use the “free market” framing for business-friendly policies — certainly have. And if they’re successful at reframing the conversation outside of CPAC, liberals are going to have some catching up to do.

2. There is an increasing understanding that they’re losing on social issues and a push to let them go
Call it “Reagan’s three-legged stool” or the Big Tent theory, but the fiscal conservatives are increasingly ready to throw the social conservatives under the bus to get back into power. While there’s no movement to support marriage equality or abortion rights in the 2016 platform, there’s an increasing (if grudging) acceptance that they are among a passel of losing issues for the Republican Party and that demographics are not on their side. They saw what happened with Akin and Mourdock in 2012, and there are plenty of people who aren’t willing to sacrifice their economic ideals just to try to hold back the obvious tide on same sex marriage.

3. Derailing conversations about discrimination over being called “a bigot” by liberals is a new, strong tactic
While there is certainly a great deal of snickering to do when this particular attempt at derailment goes hilariously awry, and there are certainly active bigots who self-identify as conservatives, there is a lot of butthurt going around — and being encouraged — over and with people who believe themselves to “love the sinner but hate the sin” or to have no hate for groups of people unlike themselves. Calling someone a bigot (or a racist) might be satisfying, fun and even true, but in a policy debate it’s not relevant. What some conservatives are attempting to do is impose discriminatory policies or policies that have discriminatory effects, and when they can get into a debate with liberals about what really is or is not in their hearts, they don’t have to talk about those policies or those effects. Plus, it plays into the age-old stereotype of coastal elites who think that all other Americans are stupid hicks who live in flyover states — and that is a stereotype that is a loser for Democratic candidates.

[“Cute Middle Age Female American Patriot Woman Waving Flags Of United States Of America” on Shutterstock]

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Devin Nunes likely under federal investigation over foreign contacts after Parnas phone call revelation: ex-FBI official

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On MSNBC's "AM Joy," former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi speculated that Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) may already be under FBI investigation for his secret calls with indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas.

"What do you make of the fact that the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, who participated in the Adam Schiff portion of the impeachment hearings, never said anything to anybody about the fact that he was not just the guy who's sitting on the dais, he was involved in some way with one of the players?" asked host Joy Reid.

"Well, it says a lot on two levels," said Figliuzzi. "It says a lot about Devin Nunes as an individual, his ethics, his integrity, and what he's all about. And then on a larger level, it's just a huge, ironic development that we're hearing all of this about — the Republicans are defending allegations that the president lacks integrity and ethics, and they're sitting there overseeing this and they're not recusing themselves, and they're not saying anything about their colleague, Devin Nunes. So, you know, the hypocrisy is loud and clear here. And eventually when the dust clears, Joy, I wouldn't be surprised if ethics investigations and perhaps even criminal investigations really point the finger at Nunes as someone who should have recused himself and is much deeper into this than we know now."

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Trump hammered by ex-intel officials for sucking up to the Saudis after Florida naval base shooting

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President Donald Trump is taking heat from former U.S. intelligence officials for taking a very soft tone with the Saudi government after Friday’s shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida.

Not long after the shooter was identified as a second lieutenant in the Saudi Arabian military, the president tweeted out words of sympathy from the Saudi king after a phonecall, writing, "The King said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter, and that this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people."

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Former right-wing presidential candidate scamming Americans with toxic bleach cure

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Former diplomat and Reagan adviser Alan Keyes is a well-known gadfly who has run multiple times for president and for Senate, most famously against future President Barack Obama in 2004.

But lately, according to The Daily Beast, he has been involved in a different pursuit: the promotion of a dangerous pseudoscience scam known as the "Miracle Mineral Solution," or MMS.

The substance, which is actually just the powerful bleach chlorine dioxide, is supposedly a cure for everything from viral infections to infertility, and there was even a cultlike church known as the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, that promoted it as a gift from God. MMS has particularly taken root in developing countries like Uganda, but it also has a following in the United States, and many autistic children have been forced to drink it. Versions of this scam have even been promoted on Amazon.

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