The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Ready for the Best. CPAC. Evah?

Posted on | December 28, 2010 | 30 Comments

Confirmed speakers for this year’s event — Feb. 10-12 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in D.C. — include Ann Coulter, Andrew Breitbart, Newt Gingrich, David Horowitz and Haley Barbour — and you can expect many more big names to be announced in the next six weeks.

Lisa DePasquale and her crew out-do themselves every year and 2011 — coming in the wake of a crushing Republican mid-term victory — is certain to be the most memorable CPAC ever. I’ve called it “Mardis Gras for the Right,” and if you’ve never been to CPAC, this is the year to go. You don’t want to miss it.

Given so many reasons to be excited about CPAC 2011, I’m disturbed to see that some people think this is a good occasion to marginalize themselves:

Two of the nation’s premier moral issues organizations, the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America, are refusing to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference in February because a homosexual activist group, GOProud, has been invited. . . .
FRC and CWA join the American Principles Project, American Values, Capital Research Center, the Center for Military Readiness, Liberty Counsel, and the National Organization for Marriage in withdrawing from CPAC. In November, APP organized a boycott of CPAC over the participation of GOProud.

Which is nuts. There are many organizations that participate in CPAC who have agendas I don’t agree with. So what? My attendance does not constitute an endorsement of the agendas of those organizations (and heaven knows, they don’t all endorse me). Coalition politics sometimes requires that people get along with people they disagree with.

Dave Weigel points out that “nothing’s going to stop presidential candidates and thousands of activists from attending and getting media coverage.” Exactly what the boycotters think they’ll gain by pursuing a strategy of auto-marginalization, I don’t know.  This certainly seems an inauspicious occasion to make such a gesture.

Meanwhile, go sign up for CPAC now!

UPDATE: Lots of blowback in the comments. I tried to call Lisa DePasquale to get her reaction before I published this, and expect to hear from her tomorrow.

UPDATE II: There’s a kind of “thought police” aspect to this CPAC uproar that is relevant to some other things going on out there. It’s a free country and the principle of voluntary association means that people are free to include or exclude whom they will in their organizations and events.

Obviously, nobody can force any individual or group to support or attend CPAC. But to very publicly boycott CPAC . . . I don’t know. Something about that bothers me.

UPDATE III: Welcome, Ace of Spades HQ Morons! Meanwhile, Matt Lewis writes about this and other gay-themed controversies on the Right.

One of the things that troubles me about this uproar is that some social conservatives use “libertarian” as a pejorative. My problem with the gay-rights movement is that it is not libertarian, but rather egalitarian.

Also, there’s a lot of unseemly bashing of social conservatives in the comments. But I don’t have time to address this right now, because my wife has plans for my afternoon.

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