The right wing has been outraged over the Conservative Political Action Conference’s (CPAC) decision to allow conservative gay rights group GOProud to be a co-sponsor of the event. GOProud says it “represents gay conservatives and their allies” and is “committed to a traditional conservative agenda.” While it has eschewed many “traditional” gay rights issues like hate crimes legislation, it has embraced marriage equality and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
CPAC has resisted the far right’s efforts to pressure it to drop GOProud as a co-sponsor of the popular conference, even though some groups have threatened to boycott the event. Last month, CPAC director Lisa De Pasquale told Hot Air that she was “satisfied” that GOProud “do not represent a ‘radical leftist agenda’ and thus “should not be rejected as a CPAC cosponsor. David Keene, the head of CPAC’s main organizing group, assured the far right that GOProud would not be allowed to have any speakers at the conference.
These concessions weren’t enough for Liberty University Law School. Last month, Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Liberty Law School Dean Mat Staver, joined by other conservative evangelical leaders, wrote a letter to Keene with their objections. Staver has now announced that since they never received a “formal response,” they are dropping their co-sponsorship. Liberty Counsel, however, “will still have a booth at CPAC”:
“Obviously as an exhibitor or participant, you don’t necessarily have to think that everyone agrees with you, and some people might even work against you,” Staver notes. “But as a co-sponsor, even though not everybody would have the same mission, not everyone would agree with the same tactics, and some would actually focus on economics whereas others might focus on social issues and others might focus on national defense — the fact is they’re all conservative in nature. You wouldn’t expect, however, a co-sponsor to actively work to undermine another co-sponsor, and that is in fact what GOProud does.”
As Kyle at Right Wing Watch has noted, CPAC tends to focus less on far-right social priorities — although it still does feature them — than do other conservative conferences, such as the Values Voter Summit. In September, CPAC organizers rejected a proposal for a panel examining whether or not President Obama is a native-born U.S. citizen. It also cut extremist pundit Ann Coulter after she made homophobic and racist slurs at the 2007 conference. It’s still managed to attract controversy with its line-up of right-wing luminaries though, such as when former ambassador John Bolton joked about nuking Chicago, former senator Rick Santorum hoped for Obama’s failure, and attendees’ warm love for hate radio host Rush Limbaugh.
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin rejected a speaking spot at CPAC in favor of the more lucrative Tea Party convention next month. Today, CPAC organizers announced that Fox News host Glenn Beck will be its closing speaker at this year’s event.
(HT: Right Wing Watch)