On this Sunday’s broadcast of ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Washington Post columnist George Will criticized a New York Times article by Jim Rutenberg and Richard Stevenson that suggested the Conservative Political Action Conference revealed deep divisions in the conservative movement.
“First, here’s The New York Times headline on the CPAC conference: ‘GOP divisions fester at conservative retreat,’” Will said. “Festering an infected wound — it’s awful. I guarantee you, if there were a liberal conclave comparable to this, and there were vigorous debates going on there, The New York Times headline would be ‘Healthy diversity flourishes at the liberal conclave.’”
“Republicans have been arguing — social conservatives and libertarian free-market conservatives — since the 1950s, when the National Review was founded on the idea of the fusion of the two,” he continued. “It has worked before with Ronald Reagan. It can work again. What I did see at CPAC was the rise of the libertarian strand of Republicanism, which has an affected foreign policy that is a pullback from nation-building and other ambitions aboard that they never countenance from government at home, and a sense of ‘live and let live’ with subjects such as decriminalization of certain drugs and gay marriage.”
Fill-in “This Week” host Martha Raddatz later asked Will whether Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s newly announced support for gay marriage is a sign that future Republicans will also support the practice.
“He will not be the last, because the demographic tide here is large, powerful and execrable [sic],” Will said. “As I said on this program before, opposition to gay marriage is literally dying. It’s an older demographic.”