CPAC: Gatecrashing? What Gatecrashing?
The Atlantic had a story today claiming that GOProud is "gatecrashing" CPAC. However, it really isn't gatecrashing since gay conservatives aren't barred from the conference. They just can't co-sponsor, which is a different issue entirely. Furthermore, GOProud is featured on a panel hosted by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a CPAC co-sponsor, which is perfectly fine, and no one seems to be in the process of shutting that down. It's called "A Rainbow on the Right: Growing the Coalition, Bringing Tolerance Out of the Closet.”
The Washington Post's conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin posted today that:
CEI spokesman Brian McNicoll says via e-mail, “As a sponsor, CEI gets use of a room for two hours.” For the “Rainbow on the Right” panel, McNicoll tells me that Fred Smith, a CEI head, is moderating. Liz Mair, Jonah Goldberg, Margaret Hoover and Jimmy LaSalvia of GOProud are all confirmed.
CEI did not disguise its intentions from the CPAC organizers, who have been roundly criticized for excluding prominent conservatives such as Govs. Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie, as well as GOProud. McNicoll says, “We turned in the name [of the panel] and chose it so there could be no doubt what we were trying to do.” He says that there was “complete radio silence,” and the session was put on the schedule.This is the revolt of a new generation of conservatives who are more inclusive and more media savvy. They understand that gay rights (I would say not unlike immigration reform) is increasingly a “gateway” issue for voters.
So, it's not an "invasion," as Rubin wrote in her headline. Yes, GOProud's relations with the ACU are strained. They weren't allowed to sponsor the event, but it's not an outright ban. Dave Weigel blogged today that, "GOProud, a gay Republican advocacy group, has been barred from co-sponsoring CPAC since it did so in 2011 and pissed off social conservatives. (Chris Barron, one of the group's founders, called CPAC board member Cleta Mitchell a "nasty little bigot" in an interview with the gay magazine Metro Weekly. His apology was not truly accepted.)" When you're invited to someone's house, you don't defecate on the carpet. If anyone called someone on the board of the hosting committee a bigot, then rightfully things will get ugly. Furthermore, it doesn't help that GOProud, in response to Gov. Rick Perry's ad about gays in the military in 2011, outed his pollster, Tony Fabrizio, which isn't something conservatives should do. It's already bad when conservatives cave to liberals. Do we really need to adopt the Barney Frank Rule too?
Yes, I vociferously disagree with the way GOProud handled that situation, but they should be allowed to sponsor CPAC. It's been two years, and being angry isn't fun. Just look at Occupy Wall Street. As I've mentioned before, GOProud's platform is very much aligned with that of the Tea Party. Nevertheless, to say that they're banned, and that their panel – which looks interesting – represents a form of "gatecrashing" is disingenuous in the extreme.
And don't miss Next Generation's members-only coverage of CPAC 2013 — featuring former Congressman Allen West and Michelle Fields.Click here to learn more.