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BACKGROUND BRIEFING: The American Cause Conference

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BACKGROUND BRIEFING: The American Cause Conference

…The cauldron where extremists, right-wing media and conservative politicians cook up racist rhetoric



What is this Conference about?

On Saturday, June 20, 2009 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in McLean, Virginia, Pat & Bay Buchanan and executive director Marcus Epstein, will host The American Cause National Conference.

The theme of this gathering is “Building the New Majority.” A press release from American Cause notes, “The conference features top conservative activists, intellectuals, and politicians, who will argue that principled conservative opposition to Barack Obama is key if the Republican Party is to become a majority party once again.”

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In reality, the meeting provides a forum for white nationalists to forge ties with “mainstream” media commentators and conservative leaders.

American Cause made big news twice this year, first with a laughable report arguing that the only hope for the GOP was to oppose immigration reform and therefore keep America white, and then when news broke that the report’s young author, anti-immigrant phenom and American Cause executive director Marcus Epstein, will be sentenced in July for an unprovoked hate crime assault on an African American woman.

What’s the Context?

The fierce, racist reaction to the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor seemed to catch the traditional media off guard. The hate rhetoric spewed by the murderer of Dr. George Tiller and the shooter at the Holocaust Museum also garnered intense media scrutiny. New York Times columnists, Paul Krugman and Frank Rich, both wrote columns linking the extremists with their messengers in the media and politics. And just last week, news broke of a Minuteman leader gunning down a 9 year old Latina girl.

For those who cover immigration issues, none of this hate speech is new. Nor is the fact that so-called legitimate spokespersons deliver hate-filled messages that flow seamlessly from CNN to the white nationalist foot soldier and to Congress in a flood of angry faxes and phone calls.

This weekend’s American Cause conference is a vivid example of how the worlds of extremism, media and politics converge.

Look Who’s Coming To Virginia:

According to the conference website, joining the Buchanan siblings at the meeting are such right-wing luminaries as: Tony Blankley, Tom Tancredo, Phyllis Schlafly, Terry Jeffrey, Ward Connerly, John Hostettler, Ken Blackwell, Christopher Horner, Richard Scott, Lou Barletta and Peter Brimelow. Leaders in the fight against healthcare reform, environmental protection, and more are joining unvarnished white nationalists to “Build the New Majority.”

Some are familiar names. Pat Buchanan is a regular commentator on MSNBC. Blankley, the former editor of the Washington Times, a regular on CNN and NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show is, according to his bio at Townhall.com “one of today’s leading media commentators.” Blackwell, the former Secretary of State of Ohio, ran for Chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC). Tom Tancredo, the former Congressman from Colorado, was also a Republican candidate for President in 2007-8.

Make no mistake, despite the familiar faces and big names, this is a gathering of race-baiters with ties to some of the most extreme elements in our nation. A who’s who of intolerance and division:

Tom Tancredo:

Tom Tancredo has been particularly virulent in the wake of the Sotomayor nomination. He burst back onto the scene when he called the National Council of La Raza “the Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses.” Tancredo based his failed presidential campaign on an anti-immigrant platform. He’s got close ties to the anti-immigrant hate groups. Yet, he’s regularly invited to be a guest on cable news shows. Tancredo has extensive ties with anti-immigrant organizations. The Federation for American Immigrant Reform (FAIR), a group started by white nationalist John Tanton, which has been designated a hate group by the SPLC, called Tancredo “a courageous and forceful voice for immigration reform in the U.S. House of Representatives.”

Marcus Epstein:

Marcus Epstein works for both American Cause and the PAC of Tom Tancredo. Epstein, is also a contributor to VDARE.com. In December of 2006, Epstein, in a post titled, “Tom Tancredo vs. Third World Miami, ‘Capital of Latin America,'” wrote:

Diversity can be good in moderation – if what is being brought in is desirable. Most Americans don’t mind a little ethnic food, some Asian math whizzes, or a few Mariachi dancers – as long as these trends do not overwhelm the dominant culture.

And, in the same post, he added, “Even the Cuban immigrants, still preponderantly white, law-abiding, Republican-voting, affable people are not desirable if they don’t assimilate.”

Of late, Epstein has been in the news because of his unprovoked hate crime assault on an African American woman:

From the U.S. Attorney’s factual proffer

On July 7, 2007, at approximately 7:15 p.m. at Jefferson and M Street, Northwest, in Washington, D.C., defendant was walking down the street making offensive remarks when he encountered the complainant, Ms. [REDACTED], who is African-American. The defendant uttered, “Nigger,” as he delivered a karate chop to Ms. [REDACTED]’s head.

Epstein admitted no wrong, but said he believed the government had enough evidence to convict him.

Ward Connerly:

Ward Connerly is best known for his anti-affirmative action work. Yet, his efforts rely on support from some of the most extreme anti-immigrant elements in America, from the website, Stop Ballot Fraud

Connerly has welcomed the support of racist, white supremacist leaders and groups.

His efforts have the support of the controversial group United for a Sovereign America, whose members are affiliated with neo-Nazi groups. In 2006, Connerly said “God bless” the KKK for their support of his divisive initiative in Michigan.

David Duke has even highlighted Connerly’s efforts and success on his website. Connerly’s victory in Michigan had the support of John Raterink, the director of a white supremacist group, who is pictured shaking hands with Connerly on Duke’s website.

And the Minutemen were even recruited to collect signatures to get Connerly’s measure on the ballot.

Peter Brimelow:

Peter Brimelow is the owner of the anti-immigrant online journal, VDARE.com. That site, named for the first English child born in North America, has published several prominent white supremacists, including: Jared Taylor, who after Hurricane Katrina described blacks as “incapable of sustaining” civilization; Sam Francis, who wrote the principles for the Council of Conservative Citizens; and author Kevin MacDonald argues Jews are driven by evolutionary impulses to undermine non-Jewish political control. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) considers VDARE.com a “hate site.” The SPLC stated that an accurate term for Brimelow might be “racial nationalist.”

Lou Barletta:

Lou Barletta is most known for his vehemently anti-immigrant tenure as mayor of Hazelton, Pennsylvania. He crafted the Illegal Immigration Relief Act, which has been found unconstitutional. Barletta has run for Congress several times – and lost. Barletta’s anti-immigrant leadership earned him praise from Stormfront.com, the website touting “White Pride World Wide.” One of the site’s sustaining members wrote, “When the Hazleton story broke on Stormfront, many were predicting that other representatives would be encouraged to try the same approach if Barletta stuck to his guns. All it takes is for a man to stand up for what he believes in and knows is right, and others will follow.”

John Hostettler:

Former Congressman John Hostettler Was Called “Leader Of The Patriotic Immigration Reform Movement” on Vdare.com, the hate website run by Peter Brimelow. According to the piece titled “Hostettler For The Nation“:

Hostettler stood like a stone wall against the 2006 amnesty bill from his perch as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s immigration subcommittee…As a leader of the patriotic immigration reform movement, of course, Hostettler is used to being called names. In the spring and summer of 2006, as the immigration debate raged on Capitol Hill, he was one of the legislators who argued that House Republicans should defy the Senate and defy their own president by refusing to bring ‘comprehensive’ immigration legislation up for a vote.

Pat Buchanan:

Finally, Pat Buchanan is arguably the most mainstreamed of all the haters. Just last week, in one of his many attacks on Sotomayor, Buchanan longed for the days when bigotry, “One prefers the old bigotry. At least it was honest, and not, as Abraham Lincoln observed, adulterated “with the base alloy of hypocrisy.” Media Matters noted, “Keep in mind, Buchanan is writing about the early 1970s. The “old bigotry” he prefers is segregation, if not slavery.”