Two major conservative groups are sitting out the year's most important conference for their ideological allies--attendance is a near-requirement for GOP presidential contenders--because a gay Republican organization has been invited. Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council are refusing to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference because GOProud will be there, indicating a "movement away from conservative principles," Family Research Council said.
Several other smaller conservative groups have said they'll be skipping CPAC in February since the American Principles Project agitated for a boycott in November, Brian Fitzpatrick reports at WorldNetDaily, which has been the diligent reporter of the story. CPAC is hosted by the American Conservative Union, and the boycotters are also angry about mismanagement of the ACU's finances--chairman David Keene's ex-wife is accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the group. But the boycotters main focus is that the ACU has "gone libertarian," the president of Liberty Council said. Will the boycott hurt Republicans' appeal to independents? Or will it give social conservatives a cause to rally around?
- These Groups are Marginalizing Themselves, Robert Stacy McCain writes at The Other McCain. "Which is nuts. There are many organizations that participate in CPAC who have agendas I don't agree with. So what? My attendance does not constitute an endorsement of the agendas of those organizations ... Exactly what the boycotters think they’ll gain by pursuing a strategy of auto-marginalization, I don't know."
- Social Conservatives Don't Think So, Gabriel Malor retorts at Ace of Spades. "Many conservative identity groups, particularly the Christian-identity groups making the ruckus ... already feel isolated in an immoral world. It's an easy calculation: will they get more by reaching out to other (immoral) conservatives at CPAC or by making a flashy stand in WND and then hold their own Christian conference?"
- A Kinder, Gentler CPAC "I'm just wondering," Slate's Dave Weigel writes, "when WND will notice that Muslims for America is also participating in CPAC. ... I was skeptical of the anti-GOProud campaign against CPAC, because nothing's going to" stop presidential candidates and thousands of activists from attending and getting media coverage, but this is starting to draw blood."
- Homophobia Still Going Strong on the Right, Salon's Justin Elliott observes. "Even as the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' this month marked a major victory in the gay rights struggle in the United States, a very different story is unfolding within the conservative movement, where anti-gay forces are growing more aggressive." Elliott adds that fighting GOProud is an obsession for WND's editor, Joseph Farah, who feuded with Ann Coulter earlier this year because she spoke at a GOProud event.
- Not a Big Deal, Outside the Beltway's Doug Mataconis writes. "We saw the same kind of boycott last year along with criticism from Mike Huckabee, who also did not attend the 2010 conference, that CPAC had become 'too libertarian.'" H adds that, "as for the boycott itself, one gets the impression that it will have the same impact that last year’s did--which was pretty much none at all." Mataconis says that if the conservative movement does grow more libertarian, it's a "good thing."