(Chuck Muth) – On Friday, Sen. Jim DeMint announced that he was joining a boycott of the oldest, largest, most successful annual conservative conference in the universe next month: CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference).
Why? Because out of a hundred or so sponsors and vendors covering an exhibit hall the size of a football field or two…one of them is a conservative organization he and a few others believe to be a menace to the conservative movement.
“With leading conservative organizations not participating this year,” DeMint’s spokesman told Politico, “Senator DeMint will not be attending.”
Leading conservative organizations aren’t participating this year? Really?
Well, I just checked and here’s a partial list of leading conservative organizations which ARE listed as participating in CPAC this year as sponsors, co-sponsors and vendors:
Human Events, Leadership Institute, National Rifle Association, Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, Townhall/HotAir.com, Young America’s Foundation, Citizens United and FreedomWorks.
There will also be: 60 Plus Association, Accuracy in Media, The American Civil Rights Union, American Council for Immigration Reform, The American Spectator Foundation, Americans for Fair Taxation, Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform, Campaign for Liberty, Capital Research Center, Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Oh, and the Congress of Racial Equality, Conservative Party USA and the Eagle Forum. Freedom Alliance, The Future of Freedom Foundation, Heartland Institute, The Independent Institute, Institute for Policy Innovation, John M. Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs, Judicial Watch, Manhattan Institute, National Taxpayers Union, ProEnglish, SecureAmericaNow.org and Young Americans for Freedom.
So what is Sen. DeMint talking about? These are among the most prominent, leading conservative organizations in the country today.
However, one conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, is, in fact, boycotting CPAC this year. “As more fringe organizations rise in prominence (at CPAC) then you start wondering if this is what we want to be associated with as strongly we have,” said Heritage spokesman Jim Weidman.
Uh-oh. “Fringe” organization? This must be bad. Real bad.
Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, seconding that emotion, said the inclusion of this one certain conservative group was a “fatal mistake,” adding that he “would love for (GOP presidential candidates speaking at the conference) to be asked how they feel about CPAC giving such a prominent role to an organization with such a radical agenda.”
Uh-oh. Radical agenda? That IS something to be concerned about. So let’s take a look at it, shall we?
The group supports replacing the current tax code with the Fair Tax. “Until then, we support death tax repeal; cuts in the capital gains and corporate tax rates to jump start our economy and create jobs; and a fairer, flatter and substantially simpler tax code.”
The group supports free market healthcare reform. “Allow for the purchase of insurance across state lines –emphasizing individual ownership of healthcare insurance – such a shift would prevent discriminatory practices by an employer or the government.”
The group believes “the only way to permanent solvency in the Social Security system is through the creation of inheritable personal savings accounts.”
The group believes “our Constitution should be respected and that judges appointed to the federal bench should recognize the proper and appropriate role of the judiciary as laid out by our Founding Fathers.”
The group believes in “standing up for all tax payers against wasteful and unnecessary spending to protect future generations from the mounting federal debt.”
The group supports a package “of free market reforms to encourage and support small businesses and entrepreneurship. Such reforms would create jobs for all Americans.”
The group supports “a package of urban related reforms; expanding historic tax preservation credits; support for school choice.”
Oh, and the group supports “protecting 2nd amendment rights.”
Radical? Fringe? Sounds pretty mainstream conservative to me.
Indeed, the organization’s website declares that it “is committed to a traditional conservative agenda that emphasizes limited government, individual liberty, free markets and a confident foreign policy.”
They support policies “that promote the power of individuals, limit government’s reach, enable economic growth through free market principles, and strengthen America’s position in the world.”
In addition, last week the organization issued a statement in support of a new bill ending taxpayer funding for abortions.
“We applaud the bipartisan introduction of the ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act’ and urge Congress to move quickly to pass this important legislation,” the organization declared. “It is unconscionable that one penny of federal taxpayer dollars would be spent on abortion.”
Yee-gads! Commies! Pinkos! Socialists!
That’s right. The groups we’re talking about here is GOProud, an organization of gay conservatives. And by gay, we’re not talking happy, gleeful and filled with joy…though they, too, experience such human emotions. No, we’re talking about folks who, as they say, are a little light in the combat boots and know better than to wear a striped tie with a checkered shirt.
For the life of me, I just don’t understand this controversy. It’s ONE sponsor. It’s ONE booth. And it’s not like they’re planning to hang drapes and feature a Prince Poppycock autograph session – though if they did, I’d be one of the first in line! That guy is amazing.
Seriously, how can you look at what these folks believe and their legislative agenda and say they shouldn’t be allowed to participate in CPAC? But that’s exactly the position Mr. Fischer has taken.
“The fact that CPAC would sell its soul for an extremist organization like GOProud – it’s showing how committed they are to the homosexual agenda,” Fischer told Fox News. “I think CPAC is committing Hari Kari here; it’s suicidal.”
To think CPAC has sold its soul by letting in one conservative group that doesn’t align 100% with religious conservatives but is rock solid on fiscal and limited government principals is to not understand the very nature of the conservative movement in general, and CPAC in particular.
“The conservative movement is a coalition of men and women who share important core values,” explains David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union and chief sponsor of CPAC, “but hold widely differing positions on issues they believe to be very important.”
What this brouhaha comes down to is a question as to whether or not you can be both gay and a conservative when it comes to “core values.” And to answer that, you first have to answer the question, “What is the definition of a conservative?” And to answer that question, I defer to former Reagan adviser Lyn Nofziger:
“Allowing for differences I would define a conservative, first as one who believes in the Constitution as it is written. That takes care of free speech, freedom of religion, the right to petition the government, the right to keep and bear arms and, in the words of William O. Douglas in one of his saner moments, ‘the right to be let alone.’
“Second, a conservative believes in small, limited government at every level. Along with this he believes strongly in individual responsibility. That is, a person or a family should take care of itself and turn for help to government only when all other means have been exhausted. It also means that society, before government, has a duty to take care of its own. Government should be a resource of last resort.
“Third, a conservative believes taxes should be levied for the purpose of financing the limited responsibilities of government such as providing for the common defense, catching and incarcerating criminals, minting money and filling potholes. Taxes should not be levied for the purpose of redistributing wealth.
“That’s about it.
“I know there are those who say a conservative should be pro-life, which I am, but I’m not sure a person has to be that to qualify as a conservative. Nor am I sure that a person must be opposed to pornography, which I am. In both cases there are questions of individual rights and responsibilities which are arguable.
“One other thing I think a conservative believes is that the parents, not government, are and should be responsible for the upbringing and behavior of their children.”
If anyone has better definition of a conservative than Lyn’s, I’d love to see it. Until then, the members of GOProud fit Lyn’s definition of conservative, and that’s good enough for me. If it’s not good enough for Sen. DeMint, Heritage and AFA….well, they’re gonna miss a hell of a great conference this year, where the record-breaking attendance is expected to top 10,000 conservatives.
If you change your mind, folks, you’ll know where to find us.