Dispatches from CPAC

Wayne LaPierre's Paranoid Fantasies

The Chinese are coming, the Chinese are coming! And the Mexicans too.

That was the warning of Wayne LaPierre’s speech to CPAC this morning. LaPierre, the executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association, delivered what was perhaps the most well received speech of the conference so far. The spokesman for the embattled gun advocacy group warned the crowd of conservatives activists that universal background checks for gun purchases was only a precursor for a government database which could be “hacked by the Chinese” or “given to the Mexican government.”

LaPierre’s entire speech was a window into what historian Richard Hofstater famously described as “the paranoid style in American politics.” He raged against "Powerful elites, who will always have armed security” who opposed the NRA’s proposal for armed security at every school and scorned out of touch liberals who wanted Americans to use scissors and ballpoint pens to defend themselves from criminals, rather than firearms.

LaPierre went on to warn that the gun control proponents don’t want to keep the guns out of the hands of criminals or the mentally ill, just “good law abiding people, people like you and me.”

The biggest applause came at the end of LaPierre’s speech when he mocked Joe Biden’s advice for American housewives to buy a shotgun to defend themselves. He told the Vice President, “you keep your advice, we’ll keep our guns."

LaPierre’s speech immediately followed a panel on why Republicans lost the 2012 election and what they could do differently in the future. But while the panelists discussed different ways for conservatives to change their message and reach out to new demographics, it was clear that the NRA’s spokesman didn’t feel the need to alter one word of his rhetoric.