The CPAC headache
The annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) usually waits for Ann Coulter to speak before the controversy to start. The registration has just opened for the February conference and the controversy has already started.
Some are objecting to the participation of a conservative homosexual rights group, GOProud, as a co-sponsor. From the group’s website,
GOProud represents gay conservatives and their allies. GOProud is committed to a traditional conservative agenda that emphasizes limited government, individual liberty, free markets and a confident foreign policy. GOProud promotes our traditional conservative agenda by influencing politics and policy at the federal level.
I think most of us would be hard-pressed to see how supporting gay marriage and similar causes would fit within the definition of a “traditional conservative agenda.” But I would caution groups that are upset with GOProud’s participation that now is not the time to be pushing aside allies that agree with us 80% of the time. It does not mean that conservatives should support their agenda, but we should not be shunning those that would support our agenda.
“Republicans for Choice” were never successful in changing the state Republican Party’s Pro-Life stand in the party platform. I don’t fear GOProud’s efforts, either. And if given my preference, I would much rather have Congressman Steve Gunderson back in office than his replacement Ron Kind. As the old saying goes, what’s the most important vote a congressman casts? For Speaker of the House.
Besides, if we are going to make gay marriage a sudden litmus test for participation at these conferences, is CPAC really going to toss Former Vice President Cheney out?
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On the flip side, at the risk of losing my conservative secret decoder ring and any invitation to speak at CPAC in the future, why is the John Birch Society suddenly acceptable as a co-sponsor of a conservative event? What possible reason, what stretch of the imagination, would ever lead the organizers of CPAC to think letting in a bunch of conspiracy theory believers would somehow add prestige to the event, or in any way help the conservative movement.
That’s not “big tent” coalition building, that’s “big asylum” coalition building. If the conservative movement embraces groups like the John Birch Society now, it will make it that much harder to build a working majority, or even a strong minority
I thought Ann Coulter was bad, but this is off the deep end.
Now every speaker at CPAC is going to have to answer whether or not they endorse the John Birch Society. Conservatives may think that’s unfair, but that’s reality.
There were sound reasons why William F. Buckley and others worked to rid the conservative movement of the John Birch Society. Now is not the time for heirs of the political movement he founded to suddenly lapse into embracing conspiratorial enthusiasts.
The organizers of CPAC should quickly end the co-sponsorship arrangement and avoid further embarrassment. If they do not, I don’t see how conservatives in good conscience can continue to support CPAC.
Meanwhile, I’m going to be wearing my, “Eisenhower isn’t a Communist. He is a golfer.” t-shirt with Eisenhower’s face on it as a protest.