Perhaps gatherings for the sake of gathering have lost their utility. Self-appointed purists meeting among themselves may be a disaster waiting to happen, cementing bad habits, rather than working to innovate and expand the movement.Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) announced a change of heart on the subject of marriage equality. He is currently the only Republican in the Senate who has done so and the highest ranking Republican elected official to do so. Needless to say, this has caused hissy fits from the pious purists at CPAC and from the liberals on the left who mock Portman.
Not to mention that it provides a chance for the far left to trash conservatives in general as the right side of the aisle continues in its circular firing squad.
Think Progress - yes, the liberal group - interviewed random CPAC participants and found some reactions to be mocked:
“Horrible!” said Tony Mele, an 88-year-old woman from New Jersey, of Portman’s decision. When told he did so because of his gay son, she responded, “That’s his fault! He gets no sympathy from me.” A pastor from Georgia, William Temple, told Portman to “quit being so selfish as to only think about his son,” and if he won’t reverse himself, “to step down and go home.” Another pastor, Rev. Robert Lancia, dismissed Portman’s point that we should treat each other according to the Golden Rule: “That doesn’t cover it.” One man, David Kern, even said Portman’s son’s choice of college turned him gay. “Well what did Sen. Portman expect when he sent his son to Yale?”
Lovely. Yet another article where the stereotypes some of us are fighting are yet again confirmed in the media. An international publication, to boot. Those pious conservatives think it's the parent's "fault" if a child is gay, it's selfish to be influenced by a loved one, the parent must be looking for sympathy, Portman should just get out of office and go home for not toeing the line, and the really stellar one - his son went to Yale, what did you expect?!
And, of course, one participant was dressed up in colonial gear. It always makes me sigh when I hear the pious ones claim that the Founding Fathers formed a Christian nation when many did not call themselves Christians.
The conservative rock group, Madison Rising, is managed by a smart man. He points out that CPAC is simply a money making venture which grows wealthy from the faithful on the right. He speaks to the fact that it's really only a gathering of those in a vacuum, unable to find solutions and settling for back slapping and smiley faces:
They call themselves CPAC – the Conservative Political Action Committee, but I think that tends to be a bit misleading. So I prefer to refer to them by a much more appropriate name: CPIC – the Conservative Political Inaction Committee. After all, that would certainly be a much better description for a $5 million self-serving waste of money disguised as a positive, pro-American solution for all the problems this country faces.I have one simple question for the organizers (and the profiteers) of this political farce: how does anything being done at this event help promote American values of hard work, integrity and gratitude in any way? The answer is, it doesn’t. There is no take away whatsoever. There is no expansion of the voter base. There is no creation of any kind of value. As usual for the establishment on the right, the whole thing is nothing but a zero-sum game. Money goes from one pocket to another, and when everyone leaves, there’s nothing to show for the effort. Nothing on a macro scale at least, except maybe a few clips of the speakers on Fox, and a ton of ridicule from all the other networks.Let’s face it – at the end of the day, CPIC is nothing but the Academy Awards for the Right. Pretentious people superficially congratulating each other while all the time plotting some nefarious way to step over the other guy. Monopoly, duopoly, collusion. It doesn’t matter. The only thing that does matter is they are playing with your future. But that seems to have become a big business for them: sponsors, awards, fancy hotels, and first class airfare. Coveted parties and invites. Everyone involved gets to feel important and live high on the hog off of other people’s money.
Doesn't seem to be so conservative to go and spend the money and time attending a gathering on this scale with so little to show for it, does it?
Conservative pundit and author, Jonah Goldberg, was subjected to lots of criticism from others claiming to be conservative for stepping up and giving his opinion. Can't have any of that here! He said Gov Christie should have been invited to speak - he is wildly popular in New Jersey and conservatives love him as he stands up to speak bluntly to union bosses and the like - and GOProud should have been able to be a sponsor of the event, as in the past.
I hadn't planned on coming to CPAC this year. I was invited to do a couple of different panels, but for various reasons I declined. Then I wrote this column on why CPAC should have invited Chris Christie to speak and let GOProud set up a booth. As a result, the folks at CEI invited me to their mini-protest panel in support of GOProud. At first I begged off, thinking that it was a bad idea for me to thumb CPAC in the eye after declining other panels. Besides, I loathed the title of the panel: "A Rainbow on the Right: Growing the Coalition, Bringing Tolerance Out of the Closet." My objection stemmed not only from the fact that it sounds awfully flouncy to me (like a political panel put on by the air traffic controller in Airplane!), but also that it smacks of the kind of self-congratulatory preening I hate so much in liberalism: "We're not bigots, like the rest of the people here!" That's simply not the approach to use if you want to bring people on the right to your side. But all of this was against the background of the rightwing reaction to my CPAC column. I got a lot of grief from folks, including some people I thought I deserved better from. I don't mind the disagreement -- I like disagreement. But I just have no patience for all this RINO-squish b.s. I particularly loved all of the folks sending me National Review's mission statement as if I'd never read it before.So, in the midst of this all, I think it is particularly fitting that Senator Portman chose this week to go public with his support for marriage equality. While the pious purists and hypocritical narrow minds meet to congratulate each other on being so rigid and shrinking the Republican party with delight, Senator Portman shows it is completely possible to hold personal values while embracing a loved one and others simply wanting to do the same as those proclaiming religious values - the ability to marry and have the security of a family. Isn't the Republican party suppose to be the party who voices the loudest support for families and stable family life?
Adding to the conversation, super wealthy GOP contributor Foster Friess weighs in on support for gay rights, too:
The mega-donor Foster Friess is best known as the moneyman behind Rick Santorum's socially conservative presidential campaign, the self-described born-again Christian takes a far more moderate position than his candidate on gay issues — because, he said, of a personal connection, his gay brother-in-law."When you talk about the party, that's the problem because there isn't any unified message," Friess said of the Republican Party's position on gay issues Thursday in an interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday. "You've got people who are gay-bashers, who forget that these are human beings that need love just like all of us need love. We have to be sensitive to that."
We who vote Republican and support the party do not have to march to the same drummer on every single issue. We are a party based on fiscally conservative principles, strong national defense and supporting individual freedom. Social issues are seen in a more conservative light by most in the party but not by all and that's ok. The tone has to be moderated to interest more people in conservative principles. We have to argue on principle, not criticize personal life decisions. If every argument calls for quotes from Ronald Reagan then you sure need to be a happy warrior to carry off those quotes. I'm sure you probably also remember, when convenient, that his 11th Commandment calls for Republicans to not speak ill of other Republicans, especially for public consumption.
It is commonly known that once you can put a face on an issue, it becomes easier to support. I promise that if you have a loved one who is gay or lesbian, you will look at marriage equality in a more compassionate way than those stuck in the hard stances now left by the wayside of history. The up and coming voters and leaders in both parties no longer consider gay rights an abnormal way of thinking. It is a non-issue for them and taken for granted that it should be so.