Several conservative groups and individuals plan to boycott the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) which takes place later this month (Feb. 10-12) in Washington, DC. Why are the groups boycotting and who are they?
From speakers like Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to panels on “How Political Correctness is Harming America’s Military” and “Reagan at 100: Role Model for the Next Generation,” the agenda for the three-day gathering is chock full of personalities and events designed to fire up the conservative base.
But not everybody is pleased. Prominent elected officials, including Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, as well as several powerful right-leaning groups such as the Family Research Council, the Heritage Foundation, Concerned Women for America, the Media Research Center and others plan to boycott this year’s conference in protest of the involvement of the gay conservative group, GOProud.
GOProud, founded in 2009, bills itself as a group that advocates for a “traditional conservative agenda that emphasizes limited government, individual liberty, free markets and a confident foreign policy.” But critics say its other mission — supporting gay rights — should disqualify it from co-sponsoring CPAC.
GoPac says it has been embraced by mainstream conservatives. Mary Matalin will host a fundraiser for this group. Additionally, organization’s advisory board includes conservative Andrew Breitbart and Grover Norquist. So is this a schism?
Back in November, the American Principles Project fired off a letterto CPAC officials announcing the boycott, and urging organizers to exclude GOProud from this year’s conference. Gary Bauer, president of American Values, Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, and Mathew Staver, dean of the Liberty School of Law, were among the co-signers.
CPAC organizers say there should be no conflict and that loyalty on every conservative issue is not required. Vigorous debate is expected on many topics like immigration reform trade policy, and gay rights. David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, which plans the annual CPAC event quoted former President Reagan saying, “It’s like Reagan said, if you’re 80 percent with me, you’re with me.”
So are conservative groups and individuals showing their true colors by boycotting on account of a pro-gay organization? Is this the hole in the ‘big tent?’ Do these exclusionary groups hurt conservative causes? Just out of curiosity, do these conservatives not want conservative votes? Gay bashing has taken on a new low.