The party staged by Andrew Breitbart for GOProud — the gay Republican and conservative group — was as close to a game changer as things get and the most interesting event at CPAC by far, at least to this point — and that’s meant as no insult to CPAC. With sexy Sophie B. Hawkins singing to a boisterous, supportive crowd, the party almost obliterated in one night the conception that Republicans are anti-gay and gave the impression that young libertarians — and some not so young — are taking over the GOP. Pretty soon it may be cool to be a Republican and square to be a Democrat.
Well, maybe that’s what I wanted to see and wanted to feel, but the atmosphere was certainly there Thursday night at DC’s Eighteenth Street Lounge. People wandered the club’s corridors in wonderment at it all. No, there weren’t any leather biker studs or other accoutrements of the more outre gay scene, but there was as much acceptance of our modern world as at Democratic Party events, especially national ones of the scope of CPAC.
Does this indeed mean that libertarianism in its various strains is taking over the GOP? Again, that is possibly wishful thinking (and I wouldn’t want it to be that brand of libertarianism that seems to think the common defense can be accomplished with BB guns in someone’s garage), but there are indications across CPAC. Again, maybe this is anecdotal, but I’ve hardly heard much talk of abortion or other social issues at the conference — and when I have it seems vaguely discordant or anachronistic. Most people wanted to discuss the economy or the looming dangers of the Muslim Brotherhood. And, of course, who would be best to put Barack Obama out of office.
Now all this may emerge in another light in the next few days, but if this party is not a one-off, but at least a partial game changer, it will open up a whole new constituency for the GOP. The younger generation, watching Glee and living in a world very different from that of their fathers and mothers, does not see gayness as a sin but as a civil rights issue. Many of them brand the GOP as bigoted. Yet these same young people often see eye-to-eye with Republicans on government overspending to a degree that has imperiled our nation. They also recognize full well the threats from abroad from primitive extremists who endanger the rights of women, gays and everybody else and the necessity for our country to stand tall against them. In fact, these young people are the ones who will be doing the standing tall. Andrew Breitbart is opening the tent for them.
So a word about my friend Andrew. I’m told he got a lot of flack for staging this event. But as I said to his business partner Larry Solov, every time you do something important or new or even interesting, you are going to get flack. And I must say this of Andrew, he is the only man I know who could have pulled something like this off with such elan. Forget for a moment the dissension such developments always engender. Andrew Breitbart proved them wrong with a party. Party on, Andrew.
(PS: The photo above was taken with my iPhone 4. Not bad, eh? Thanks, Steve, wherever you are, you amazing American entrepreneur you. Get well soon. Signed, an Apple stockholder)