The 2011 Conservative Political Action Cnference (CPAC), held last week, was in some respects like the previous year’s: For example, everyone loved that the place was full of young people, until the kids gave libertarian Ron Paul their straw poll vote.
There were some changes, though. Perhaps hoping to convince people in preparation for a 2012 Obama challenge they weren’t all uptight white guys, CPAC threw a little multiculturalism into its mix, with gays and Muslims gaining a sliver of representation.
You can guess what followed — some of the brethren accused CPAC of selling them out to the gay/Muslim enemy.
The accusations of jihad-friendliness were spurred by the presence at CPAC of Arab Indian-American former Bush Administration official Suhail Khan, whom some rightbloggers claim is a member of the militant Muslim Brotherhood — a charge Khan has denied, which denial Frank Gaffney dismisses as “a bit of taqiyya (lying for the faith).”
Khan took part in a CPAC panel called “The Importance of Faith and Religious Liberty.” “Islamic Rights Promoted At CPAC,” Judicial Watch warned the nation. “Muslim Brotherhood supporters and sympathizers promoted Islamic tolerance.”‘
Two ardent anti-Muslim rightbloggers with their own CPAC panels were outraged. Pam Geller said the whole event had been “corrupted and compromised by the Muslim Brotherhood… look at the panels, they’re either clueless or complicit.” David Horowitz of NewsRealBlog told his CPAC auditors Khan was “sponsored by his longtime patron Grover Norquist,” implying the former Bush official was in on the whole dirty Islamicist deal.
A flyer denouncing “Grover Khan” was circulated at CPAC; suggesting this two-headed beast was trying to “boil the Conservative frog slowly” so “he’ll stay in the pot till he’s cooked.” (Geller has referred to “GROVER NORQUIST HISS” and “Grover Norquist’s Jihad.”)
What’s especially odd about this is, Norquist’s very much a made man in the conservative movement — he was a buddy of Ronald Reagan, a Bush Administration official, and the guy who famously said he didn’t want to just shrink the government, he wanted to “drown it in the bathtub.” At his own CPAC appearance he denounced liberals as “parasites,” just like a good ol’ boy.
Nonetheless other rightbloggers felt they, too, had cause to read him out of conservatism on account of the Muslims.
“The fact that Norquist is married to a Moslem wife is not irrelevant here, I think,” said Vanishing American. “Is it a chicken-or-egg question, when people who outmarry exhibit this kind of cosmopolitanist attitude?”
“Norquist has done much good,” admitted Arlen Williams at Renew America, “but his aims and influence are exemplary of what is has been harmful and corruptive in conservatism for a very long while. That is not because of his marital relations” — ah, the moderate approach! — “but because he is married to unbalanced transnationalism.”
To what now? Williams explained: “the century old, relativist, communitarian, and globalist model of the likes of Morgan/Rockefeller/H.Ford/Bush. And now, this plan is nearly complete, with George Soros, Maurice Strong, and Ban Ki-moon, two nation destroying Marxists and one more coy in his rhetoric, leading the way.” Huh. Well, so much for those “Miss Me Yet?” Bush posters.
After reading that Norquist “said that the right has to ‘marginalize’ Islamophobia within its ranks,” Potomac Tea Party Report announced, “Norquist: Islam completely compatible with US Constitution… and calls anyone who disagrees Islamophobic!… If Norquist was sincere in his belief that Muslim goals (shariah!) and our Constitution were perfectly compatible, he would quit calling those who disagree with him names.”
“Death-cult code could come from any jihadist, from Mohammed Atta in his night-before-9/11 instructions, to Anwar al-Awlaki in his e-mails ‘ministering’ to the underpants bomber, Umar F. Abdulmutallab,” said The Two Malcontents. “But could it also come from a former Bush administration appointee?” Aww, they stole our punchline: “The surprise answer is yes.”
Other rightbloggers declined to touch this one, and some even acknowledged the ridiculousness of the controversy. The gay outreach was a much bigger deal.
A group called GOProud was permitted to attend this year’s event. It’s pretty strong on conservative issues (e.g., “GOProud Calls for End to Taxpayer Funding of Abortion”), but pretty quiet on gay issues. It doesn’t agitate for gay marriage, asking only that no federal amendment banning it be passed. Also, the outgoing chairman of CPAC’s sponsoring group made them promise not to be too gay at CPAC, which he says they accepted.
Several rightbloggers opposed the boycott, though mostly gently — this was family they were talking about, after all.
The boycott “carries more than a hint of arrogance,” said Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey. “Sadly, this does come at a bad time for the American Conservative Union,” said Say Anything, “…But being inclusive of gay conservatives is the right thing to do.” “Social Conservatives, in my mind, lean a little bit too much to the Classical Conservative model,” said Pirate’s Cove. “I don’t agree with GOProud’s views on gay marriage and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell… but, I see no reason to boycott CPAC for including them.”
Dan Riehl said GOProud was “either socially liberal, or determined to establish a vacuum at the Federal level into which liberalism will rush with the help of activist judges,” but shrugged, “so, it is self-defeating for conservatives, though that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be allowed to attend CPAC.”
GOProud chairman Chris Barron was less circumspect about the boycotters, calling one of them a bigot, which enraged conservative purge fan Erick Erickson of RedState. “You really should read the whole thing. You’ll learn that should you disagree with GOProud, you are a bigot too,” said Erickson. “…Wonderful trick. Sadly, it is being used on real heros within the conservative movement.”
Barron, as you might expect, apologized, and for a few days all was bliss. To some rightbloggers this was a sign that conservatism was suddenly gay-friendly. For example, Roger L. Simon claimed the Andrew Breitbart/GOProud party at CPAC was “as close to a game changer as things get,” and “almost obliterated in one night the conception that Republicans are anti-gay… Pretty soon it may be cool to be a Republican and square to be a Democrat.”
The Pajamas Media founder Simon got some unaccustomed pushback on his post, though, because he also mentioned that “I’ve hardly heard much talk of abortion or other social issues at the conference,” which he counted a good thing. “The consulting rooms at Planned Parenthood and the gory scene at Gosnell’s butcher shop are also part of ‘our modern world,'” snarled Pundit & Pundette. “If we accept them, too, will that make us ‘cool’?”
Nonetheless, removing gay marriage from the mix seemed to take the sting out of GOProud’s presence for CPAC — so much so that CPAC speakers still felt comfortable talking about the gay marriage menace even with the gay group around.
Panelist Rev. Michel Faulkner reiterated that marriage is between “one man and one woman” and claimed “our liberties, which have made us great, are now destroying us.” The closing speaker, Rep. Allen West, told a cheering crowd that “if you break down the American family, that leads to government dependency.” (“Keynoter Allen West at CPAC: unhesitating in opposition to abortion and gay marriage,” tweeted Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association. “Smoke that, GOProud!”)
And while Ann Coulter told the CPAC crowd that she was a big “friend of the gays,” she claimed to have convinced GOProud to drop gay marriage, and said liberals “just made up this gay marriage thing” as part of their plot to “destroy the family.”
“I realize that our Libertarian friends are both feeling their oats,” said Mark Noonan at Blogs for Victory, “But mark this fact and never forget it – libertarianism cannot survive in a non-Christian civilization and Christian civilization will not have – cannot have – gay marriage and abortion (along with a score or so other things, but those two are most important…).”
And what did GOProud get for their good behavior? Well, the incoming head of the sponsoring group, Al Cardenas, said “it’s going to be difficult to continue the relationship” with GOProud because of Barron’s harsh words for the people who didn’t want him at CPAC in the first place.
Allahpundit at Hot Air thought that was only reasonable. “Although I support GOProud,” he said, “I admit to cringing a bit at Chris Barron goofing on boycotters.”
“Don’t GoProud, Just Go Away,” wrote Dan Riehl. “I’ve been mostly supportive of GoProud in the past,” he claimed, but “this is more about character and lack of judgment for me, than it is about sexual preference… how can an ass like this purport to front for a group craving tolerance? I’m not buying it…” Naturally he added, “This is a shame, really. I bear no ill will, political, or otherwise, for any gay male, or female conservative and believe all should be welcome at CPAC and within the movement as a whole.”
Guess next year they’ll have to find a gay group that doesn’t promote gay marriage, make too much of a fuss, or fight back when attacked. Any takers?