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Tilting at Windmills

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December 29, 2010

CONSERVATIVES FEAR GAY COOTIES AT CPAC.... In February, the Conservative Political Action Conference will get underway in D.C., and because CPAC has become the right-wing event of the year, heavy hitters from the conservative movement and the Republican Party are anxious to be a part of it.

Indeed, 2011 should be an especially big year for CPAC -- emboldened GOP leaders will be on hand to boast about their right-wing agenda, and a legion of likely presidential candidates will be on hand to kiss the base's ring. The turnout should be huge.

Some major religious right groups, however, will boycott this year's conference. Apparently, if gay conservatives are allowed to participate at CPAC, religious right groups feel compelled to stay away.

Two of the nation's premier moral issues organizations, the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America, are refusing to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference in February because a homosexual activist group, GOProud, has been invited.

"We've been very involved in CPAC for over a decade and have managed a couple of popular sessions. However, we will no longer be involved with CPAC because of the organization's financial mismanagement and movement away from conservative principles," said Tom McClusky, senior vice president for FRCAction.

"CWA has decided not to participate in part because of GOProud," CWA President Penny Nance told WND.

FRC and CWA join the American Principles Project, American Values, Capital Research Center, the Center for Military Readiness, Liberty Counsel, and the National Organization for Marriage in withdrawing from CPAC.

If this seems vaguely familiar, there was a minor dust-up last year, when GOProud participated in CPAC for the first time, but the anti-gay pushback didn't go very far.

But the boycott of the 2011 event is obviously much larger and encompasses far more organizations. What's more, some of these right-wing groups are pretty notable -- no one much cares if something called the "American Principles Project," which few have ever heard of, skips CPAC, but entities like the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage actually matter in conservative politics.

And as far as they're concerned, they find gay conservatives so offensive, they can't stand the thought of even being at the same conference with them.

There's long been an ideological spectrum of modern conservative thought, including subsets like libertarians, neocons, paleocons, Birchers, and theocrats. But for these religious right groups boycotting CPAC, there's apparently a rule: if you're gay, you can't be conservative.

Postscript: As long as we're on the subject, some of you might be wondering why a group like GOProud even exists, and what its policy agenda might look like. Apparently, GOProud considers the estate tax "a gay tax," and would prefer to combat hate crimes by expanding gun ownership.

No, I really can't relate to the conservative worldview, either.

Steve Benen 8:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (33)

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GOProud, meet GOPrude.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on December 29, 2010 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

Are they afraid they might have to shower with the GOProud?

Posted by: K in VA on December 29, 2010 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

They're worried that they won't be able to tell which attendees are gay, and will therefore risk having an agreeable conversation with one, or perhaps have their pictures taken treating one like an real person. Definitely not good for their originalist christofascist cred.

Posted by: jhm on December 29, 2010 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

I had a gay conservative friend, so I got an insight about what really matters to these people. The personal is not political because their lives are strictly compartmentalized. Indeed, if they had to choose, politics would trump their personal affections. Sometimes, it's because they're rich and powerful enough not to need civil rights laws (think Roy Cohn). Sometimes it's because their primary identity is not gay but conservative. What kind of people would see themselves first as political partisans and only secondly as fully dimensional human beings? In my opinion, only damaged personalities.

Posted by: walt on December 29, 2010 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

The Family Research Council has its new certification by the SPLC as a hate group to live up to.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on December 29, 2010 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

Ain't no party like a Grand Ol Party 'cause a Grand Ol Party aint gay!

Posted by: bago on December 29, 2010 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

Aw, what fun is CPAC if Annie Adam's Apple Coulter can't call people "faggots?" Of course, it didn't bother CPAC that she single-handedly alienated an entire potential bloc of GOP voters -- namely, Muslim Americans, who also tend to be social conservatives -- by calling them "ragheads," and then when challenged about it, saying that "They killed 3000 people, I just made a few jokes." I doubt there will be a Dearborn GOP contingent at CPAC any time soon.

Posted by: T-Rex on December 29, 2010 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

And one ponders why we can't achieve world peace. What a strange species we've evolved to. Long way to go I am afraid.

"Say it ain't so, Joe..."

Posted by: stevio on December 29, 2010 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

The real question is how soon will conservative pols boycott as well, and which ones will. Anyone running in 2012 would have to seriously consider it, lest they face a tea party challenger.

And GOProud is right about one thing, the estate tax is inherently unfair to gay couples. Whereas married hetersexual couples can have assets moved tax-free to the surviving spouse, in most states, gay couples don't have that luxury. So the answer to that is more guns? Mmmmm-kay.

Posted by: Stetson Kennedy on December 29, 2010 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

If only the world was like one of those old-time Charleton Heston biblical epics. Moses would appear and hurl the Ten Commandments at the lot of them. If a person of faith is looking for a reason to avoid demagogues like Gingrich, Huckabee and Palin, I think the exhortation to "Beware of false prophets" works just fine. Here's the money quote from Matthew in case any of our "values voters" are interested:

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit".

Posted by: broken arrow on December 29, 2010 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

Groups like AFA are so involved in lying (false witness, such as accusing Obama of wanting to give American back to the Indians) which is against the 9th Commandment, whereas gay sex is decried elsewhere (along with eating shrimp and wearing mingled fabrics) but not in the 10Cs (presuming "adultery" means what I think it does.)

BTW Stetson, it isn't the ET per se that is unfair to gay couples, but the marriage rules.

Posted by: neil b on December 29, 2010 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

" . . . to kiss the base's ring."

Uh, no. Not their ring.

Posted by: Joel on December 29, 2010 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

I commend the organizations that are truly conservative and who will not participate in CPAC. As everyone in the social conservative movement knows, gay is almost as contagious as the flu and a lot more devastating.

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on December 29, 2010 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

I have a conservative gay friend. He rants on and on about "taxation is theft of property" and idolizes Reagan and Thatcher. He's used "John Galt" as his screen name for online services. He calls Obama a "Commie" and thinks free markets should determine how much food poisoning should exist, not government regulations And he especially goes on and on about NPR and government funding for the arts.

Until, that is, he started dating an artist who relied on funding from the NEA. Then government spending on the arts became a GOOD thing.

Posted by: Eeyore on December 29, 2010 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

The hope is that we are witnessing the current state of the Big Tent.
Personally, I think the poles cracked and fell years ago and the only thing holding up the tarp has been columns of folks who stand on one another's shoulders. That isn't sustainable either.

Don't be surprised if some of the victories Obama got during the lame ducks session actually do more harm to that fragile coalition on the right than not. I'm serious. Some part of the GOP will begin to over reach. We are seeing part of that now. We also see it in McConnell acting like he's Majority leader and people treating Congress as the GOPs domain.

They didn't make it as a Big Tent through eight years of Bush. What makes you think they are going to make a sustained effort now? They can't because they'll start stepping on the wrong shoulders and parts will just tumble down.

And, I state this without even factoring in how it comes across to moderate independents and those fairweather Obama supporters. Even if the first two years looked bad, do you really expect all of them to be pleased as a punch in the face when the GOP becomes a bunch of Barney Fifes? When they try to steer too far to the precipice? When they outdo any quickie metaphor I can come up with?

Posted by: gus on December 29, 2010 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Orwell: Fasle-equivalence much? We're talking about people who agree on all the main points of the party, but just happen to be of the wrong sexual orientation. Or are you trying to say that being gay is a choice?
In any case, I doubt what you're saying is even really true. I've known several people who, while otherwise very liberal, are pro-life for religious reasons. The difference is, they almost always support sex-ed and birth control as a means of minimizing it, instead of demonizing sex the way the religious Right does.

Posted by: Kris on December 29, 2010 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Why shouldn't gays have conservative leanings? The conservative movement is not monolithic by any means and libertarian and Goldwater conservatives have the philosophy that the government needs to stay out of the private lives of citizens. The same groups also want to end the war against drugs and are upset about the Patriot Act.

Don't conflate these conservatives with the social conservatives who would rather have government intrude on everything "moral" while claming that "liberals" are the true intruders.

The conservative gays that I know were raised in conservative families, live in very conservative areas of the country, and are quiet about their sexual orientation. Their conservative neighbors simply ignore that two men are living together and no one brings up the subject. Not all conservative voters are radical anti-gay monsters. Most of them don't care and if they are religious adhere to the Christian meme of forgiveness and tolerance. I can also see why gay conservatives are upset about the tax situation.

There are plenty of groups who "should" be in one camp or the other but are not really fully invested. The false dichotomy of liberal and conservative belies that in the sense that most people are of mixed beliefs. For example, Catholics who are rabidly anti-abortion are also rabidly anti-death sentence - at least the ones who have a logical brain cell still working. Catholics are also taught to give to those less fortunate. Most Catholics may vote one way or the other, but they don't fit in the mold of liberal or conservative.

I suspect that conservative gays will simply vote with their feet eventually but the question is where do they go? Not to the purist Democrats if trends continue there and certainly not to the Republican party of Palin and Huckabee.

Posted by: mikeyes on December 29, 2010 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

"What would happen if a pro-life group was invited to the KOS convention? Same thing."

Somehow I doubt it. Anyway, pro-lifers wouldn't go, for the same reason that these other wingnut groups are pulling out of CPAC: they just can't stand up to reality.

Posted by: Joel on December 29, 2010 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

That estate tax thing seemed odd, so I drilled down, and here's the point:

"The inheritance tax is really a gay tax," said Mr. LaSalvia, noting that without same-sex marriage, there is no tax exemption for inheritance from a gay partner. That's the type of policy the traditional gay lobby isn't going to touch.

He's not wrong on that.

Posted by: DonBoy on December 29, 2010 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

re orwell...

As an ultra-progressive on social issues, let me take a stab at answering your question.

The most extreme example would be if Phyllis Schafly or Gary Bauer were invited to the KOS convention to be scheduled speakers. If I were a regular attendee at the KOS convention, I would still attend. Why? Because right-to-lifers do not frighten me like 'teh gay' frighten the reich wingers. I know a good number of right-to-lifers and I am not afraid to engage in discussions with them. The ideologues do not know that I am tweaking their noses and the believers who have not 'locked' out other views can be engaged in interesting discussions.

Of course, none of this is totally relevant as I would not attend a KOS worship convention. I believe that Markos is a bigger self-aggrandizing jerk than even Arianna Huffington.

Posted by: SadOldVet on December 29, 2010 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Since gays are like everyone else, they get to have 25-30% of the population be drooling morons, just like the rest of us. These guys in GOProudprobably like to dress up in those sexy Sturmabteilung costumes and pretend how it was Gay Nazis that did a lot of the gaybashing for the Nazis - until the Night of the Long Knives.

Nice to see the Wingnut hate groups acting like Wingnut hate groups. At least there is the usual consistency of small minds.

Posted by: TCinLA on December 29, 2010 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

So if gay marriage is recognized, then the estate tax problem goes away, doesn't it?

Posted by: mlm on December 29, 2010 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

["Apparently, GOProud considers the estate tax "a gay tax," and would prefer to combat hate crimes by expanding gun ownership."]

As to the first, there actually is a reasonable rationale behind the "gay tax" epithet. Because there's no gay marriage, when a parter dies the other doesn't automatically inherit the estate, the way a husband/wife would inherit if the spouse dies. Even if there is a will giving the estate to the survivor, there are still taxes to be paid on it (if it is worth enough), since they weren't married. Of course, the obvious solution is gay marriage equality, not doing away with the tax. So it isn't the thought process that is silly and irrational, it's the conclusion that comes from it.

As to the second, the unfortunate reality is that not being straight doesn't immunize someone from being an overly-macho twit with a gun fetish.

Posted by: Shade Tail on December 29, 2010 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

"and would prefer to combat hate crimes by expanding gun ownership."

Self-defense is a human right, and no person should be denied the ability to defend themselves. The unfortunate reality is that too many bigots do target gays with violence.

Posted by: andrew on December 29, 2010 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

I guess most conservatives would prefer the Log Cabin Republicans to be the Log Closet Republicans.

Posted by: Big Jim Slade on December 29, 2010 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK
"The inheritance tax is really a gay tax," said Mr. LaSalvia, noting that without same-sex marriage, there is no tax exemption for inheritance from a gay partner. That's the type of policy the traditional gay lobby isn't going to touch.

He's not wrong on that.

Except for the part where he is completely wrong on it. The "traditional gay lobby", such as it is, addresses that type of policy and a myriad of others with the same exact feature (that they are discriminatory against same-sex couples in the absence of marriage equality.)

Of course, instead of addressing them by taking a one-at-a-time approach to each individual area where this is the case, they attack all of them together at the root by advocating for marriage equality.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 29, 2010 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Kris at 10:19 am....

Since your statement was almost an hour after mine, I am guessing you are addressing me. For what it is worth I didn't read the other posts prior to writing anything.

Even if you were addressing someone else, you wrote:

"We're talking about people who agree on all the main points of the party, but just happen to be of the wrong sexual orientation. "

Just because it is an extreme gathering doesn't mean they all agree on the same things, the main things. I can't generalize the GOP like that, just like you can't generalize Democrats or Independents by saying that.

The fact that this faction of the GOP wants to bolt on this gathering just because a gay rights group, or leaning group, will attend says a lot about just how hateful parts of that party is on not just that gay rights issues but probably other issues, too.

I'd guess the ones who are boycotting are the "movement conservatives" Ha. Conservatism in the GOP is like Baskin-Robbins= there's a bunch of flavors.

And, most of those flavors are ones which clash. That's the only reason why I wrote what I wrote. This thing Steve posted on this situation is just another issue which will expose the Big Tent as not being in the best of conditions.

Ack. then there is will Michael Steele remain? There's all kinds of messed up things coming down the pike for that party. Heck, Steve posted that piece on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac....don't you think there are some in the party who don't agree with the Brand New: Let's take it slow approach? And, others who still just want to privatize it?

There's just way too many clashing interests for the GOP. The only time they can put aside differences is when someone finds the one or two themes which make them into endangered species for an election cycle. You have seen it happen year in and year out.

Heck, if Benen has written about it, then Kevin Drum did when he wrote the Animal.

If you weren't addressing me...then whew! But, if I was understanding your statement correctly, I felt like expanding upon what I wrote earlier.

Posted by: gus on December 29, 2010 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

I meant to write:
If Steve Benen has NOT written about it then Kevin Drum did....

Posted by: gus on December 29, 2010 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

BTW Stetson, it isn't the ET per se that is unfair to gay couples, but the marriage rules.

Yes, I know, that was my point. By virtue of being excluded from marriage rights, the ET is unfair to gay couples. I still don't see how more guns helps their cause.

Posted by: Stetson Kennedy on December 29, 2010 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

When I read about gay conservatives, I can't help but think of the Dave Chappelle skit featuring the black white supremacist.


Posted by: Zorro on December 29, 2010 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

If the Democratic party passes up using the republican right-wings racism and anti-human rights beliefs of hate against the "other" at every opportunity, then they are missing a large chance to convince the center independents that the only group worth supporting is the Democratic side with all its diversity.

50 state strategy
50 state strategy
50 state strategy
It worked once and would work again.

Posted by: jonthebru on December 29, 2010 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

"Are they afraid they might have to shower with the GOProud?"
Posted by: K in VA on December 29, 2010 at 8:47 AM

They're afraid they'd enjoy it too much -- and too visibly.

Posted by: smartalek on December 29, 2010 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

Posted by: pharmacy technician on December 30, 2010 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK



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