The CPAC boycotters are irrelevant

When I heard that Jim DeMint plans to skip Thursday’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., to protest its inclusion of pro-gay marriage group GOProud, I had the same question everybody else did: “Who is Jim DeMint?”

The roster of third-tier GOPers and right-wing outfits threatening to skip this thing, from Liberty University and Heritage Foundation to Family Research Council, Liberty Counsel and Concerned Women for America, has more has-beens on it than the credits of Big Mama’s House 3.

Some of them have gotten a lot of mileage off the CPAC controversy. Liberty Counsel spokesman Matt Barber, for instance, got his fair share of publicity for instigating the first boycott against GOProud’s participation in 2009. DeMint made headlines across the blogosphere, at CNN and even at The Advocate for opting out of this year’s CPAC two weeks ago. And FRC president Tony Perkins got his name in print again at HuffPo, Fox News and The Daily Caller.

But nobody takes these people seriously. CPAC’s organizers expect this year’s conference to be the biggest one to date with over 130 sponsors and vendors, in spite of the boycott. And It’s A Free Country’s Karol Markowicz, HotAir’s Allahpundit and former RNC publicist Liz Mair are just a few of the conservative bloggers to come out in support of GOProud. Not even DeMint’s Tea Party ally Sarah Palin is hitching her wagon to this thing — and she’s supposed to be a “true conservative.” In a CBN interview last Sunday, Palin too endorsed GOProud’s CPAC participation.

Like it or not, Republicans are trending libertarian and have been for a while. Six in ten of them supported repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in a CNN poll last spring. Gay marriage now has majority support in seventeen states — up from zero in 2004 — per a new report from the Human Rights Campaign. Ten more states are expected to go gay by 2013, according to pollster Nate Silver. And Lindsey Graham’s expected to go gay even sooner. Meghan McCain and Barbara Bush have both come out for marriage equality. GOP icons like Dick Cheney and Ted Olson have too.

But I guess some people haven’t gotten the memo. The Washington Times reported on Tuesday that another batch of “conservative leaders,” from Media Research Center to Let Freedom Ring brass, are circulating a formal letter urging CPAC, once again, to drop GOProud. If these people were influential to the modern GOP, I’d be worried. But this bunch of burnouts wouldn’t be relevant if they changed their name to it. CPAC’s smart to ignore them.

Dorian Davis is a former MTV HITS star turned Libertarian writer. He’s been published in Business Week, NY Daily News, XY & more. He’s an NYU graduate and National Journalism Center alum. He teaches journalism at Marymount Manhattan College.

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  • jonavark

    If you want to be taken seriously, even before you learn to write.. change that stupid picture.

  • sawdustking

    I can’t figure Christian social conservatives out. Sure Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed at least in part for sodomy, but the people of Canaan were wiped out because they sacrificed their children to false gods. Well, today there are 800,000 children being slaughtered every year in this country and I can’t understand why they are more worried about homosexuality than abortion.

    • ddlargo

      Excellent point, Christ was rather harsh towards people who divorced than gays. Yet the divorce rate in this country is absorbedly high, yet social conservatives are silent. I’ve seen people suffer from so call Palin derangement syndrome. Well, there just may be gay derangement syndrome!

  • alyssaf

    This piece is ridiculous from start to finish. The general point that GOProud should be allowed to attend CPAC, is certainly not one that I disagree with. My issue is the utter lack of knowledge of the conservative movement. To dismiss the Heritage Foundation as “third tier” organization, or Family Research Council– two groups that have served as backbones of the conservative movement for decades–just reveals that you are poorly informed.

    But perhaps the most outrageous statement in this entire piece is your lead, in which you pose the absurd question, “Who is Jim DeMint”— I’m sorry, but if you don’t know who Sen. DeMint is–you should get out of political commentary all together, regardless of what side of the aisle you reside on. He is one of the highest-profile and most consistently outspoken republicans. Dems, libertarians and conservatives alike recognize that he is, in fact, a force to be reckoned with.

    In terms of the actual content– there is a lot that can be said to criticize those on the right who think that shutting out GoProud from the biggest conservative event of the year is a good idea. It’s neither constructive or wise. Even Palin gets this. But this outright dismissal of some of the most influential conservative groups in the country–is so off base. They have been and will continue to be influential.