Stories by Nicole Glass

Do Gays Need a Court Win For Equality?

June 29th, 2011 at 8:26 am 40 Comments

New York is now the sixth and most populous state to legalize same-sex marriage. Last Friday night was the first time that a Republican-controlled legislative chamber voted a marriage bill into law, with the GOP providing the margin of victory. Since the New York vote demonstrated that a GOP legislature can be made to support same-sex marriage, is getting the Supreme Court decision to rule in favor of gay marriage – as proposed by Theodore Olson and David Boies – still necessary? Gay conservatives are divided on the issue.

Some same-sex marriage advocates say that gay marriage will take the path of Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court case which allowed interracial marriage, calling it a constitutional right. The American Foundation for Equal Rights is funding the Olson and Boies lawsuit and it’s founder, Evan Wolfson, told FrumForum that no one should have to wait to marry, which is why he advocates a Supreme Court ruling to allow it nationwide:

“Every day couples are excluded from marriage is a real injury and injustice to them and their loved ones, and constitutional freedoms such as the freedom to marry should not depend on, or await, majority permission,” he said.

Clark Cooper, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, said working through the legislative process could take many more years – so the legal strategy pursued by Olson and Boies is “a valid and important part of the fight for the equality enshrined in our Constitution.”

The Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court ruling of 1967 ended race-based legal restrictions on marriage. Cooper says same-sex marriage will follow the same path, emerging in all three branches of government.

“While it is always possible to achieve legislative change in any state, the realistic timeline for doing so in every state without judicial intervention is likely beyond most of our lifetimes,” he told FrumForum. “Sodomy laws were still on the books in several states as recently as 2003 – until they were ruled unconstitutional in the Lawrence v. Texas Supreme Court ruling.”

However, executive director of GOProud Jimmy LaSalvia said that while he supports the legalization of same-sex marriage, it is not a federal issue and should remain in the hands of state legislators. Not only would this more directly express the will of the people, but it would be more effective at becoming widely accepted.

“The federal government should stay out of the issue,” he told FrumForum. “What’s happening is appropriate – that the states are deciding this issue. Certainly, a federal marriage amendment for the constitution would be the largest federal power grab of the states in history.

Advocates for a legal remedy to the same sex marriage issue will ultimately need to wrestle the the consequences of another landmark decision that came from the Supreme Court: Roe v. Wade, the controversial decision which legalized abortion. Some feminists and pro-choice advocates have argued that winning that right through a sweeping court decision has not been helpful in the long term.

However, since the struggle for marriage equality is now arguably a civil rights struggle, some argue that the only proper redress is through the courts. David Boise’s spokesperson told FrumForum:

The point of constitutionally protected rights is that they are not subject to popular vote.  Gay and lesbian individuals should not have to plead with their elected officials or their fellow citizens to recognize the fundamental rights that are guaranteed to them by the Constitution.  But in most states in this country, gay and lesbian couples, unlike heterosexual couples, are still denied the fundamental right to marry.

Can Reagan Legacy Bridge GOP Generation Gap?

June 26th, 2011 at 11:45 pm 45 Comments

In the run-up to the GOP primary season, the name of a president who left office 21 years ago is being invoked almost as often as the incumbent’s by Republican candidates eager to style themselves as heirs to Ronald Reagan.

Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrich have both compared their tax plans to President Reagan’s economic policies. Jon Huntsman not only announced his primary bid at Liberty Park — coopting the same backdrop Reagan used to kick off his 1980 campaign — but also issued a photograph of himself as an awestruck twentysomething student standing side-by-side with his political idol. And Mitt Romney recently penned an op-ed celebrating the centenary of the 40th president’s birth.

However, it remains unclear how well these efforts are playing with one key constituency: young voters.

“Reagan was someone we read about in text books,” said American University College Republican Eric Reath. “I don’t remember the first GOP president of my lifetime — George H. W. Bush — either.

“My generation will always have the memories of George W. Bush, but that isn’t to say we don’t recognize the importance of Reagan. He was a good man and a great president, but not terribly relevant to my generation.”

Reagan was popular among young voters – 24 percent of those who elected him to a second term in 1984 were in the 18-29 age group. Only 20 percent of the 18-29 demographic were Republicans in 1980 – but this number rose to 28 percent during his reelection campaign, indicating how his strong economic and national security policies combined with his sunny disposition drew a new generation of supporters into the GOP fold.

Jennifer Duffy, senior editor for the non-partisan Cook Political Report, said GOP candidates are referencing the Reagan legacy in their campaigns to try and replicate the same positive emotions his 1981-89 presidency generated. But none of the current crop of hopefuls have either the same credentials or personal charisma which allowed the former two-term California governor to stir the political passions of young people more than 20 years ago.

“Do any of these candidates resonate with [today’s young voters]? I think citing Reagan generates a lot of good feeling and some good will, but I think it’s very hard to fill his shoes,” said Duffy. “When somebody has died, the legacy is impossible to match.”

Duffy said even though his legacy has been inflated since his death, Reagan was “an ideal president” [in the sense he] was a Republican with cross-party and cross-demographic appeal who attracted large numbers of Democrat and independent voters in both 1980 and 1984.

“He was probably not a pure conservative, but pure enough – the right didn’t have any real problems with him,” said Duffy. “I suspect that is what someone like Huntsman is trying to accomplish [by modeling his campaign launch on Reagan's].”

The Reagan references are constant reminders of a time of economic renewal and a reinvigorated sense of national purpose in America – a period the 2012 GOP candidates are implicitly suggesting they could reproduce if elected to the Oval Office next year.

“I think it’s an effort to draw peoples’ minds to a candidate who is truly successful, to draw back to a time when things were better,” said Duffy.  “I think everyone could stand a little dose of ‘morning in America’ right now.”

One young Republican said even though she did not live through the Reagan era, the former president stands on a pedestal in the conservative popular imagination –  idolized by GOP voters regardless of their age.

Amy Farina, Vice President of DC College Republican Women, told FrumForum that “being able to claim the Reagan legacy is strategic for the candidate’s campaign because the majority of Republican voters are always looking for the next Reagan.”

But her view is not shared by all young GOP voters. Jeremy Rozansky, an officer in the University of Chicago’s University Republicans, says because he was born during the first Bush administration, he’s “not constantly going back to the Reagan years with any sort of nostalgia.”

He wants to avoid focusing too much on Reagan’s post-Vietnam and post-Watergate policies of the 1980s because they do not apply to today’s world.  What he hopes for from the current crop of presidential aspirants are measures suited to modern conditions.

Instead of citing economic programs designed to combat the hyper-inflation of the late ’70s and early ’80s or military strategies predicated on containing the expansionist threat of the Soviet Union, contemporary conservative politicians should be pursuing Reagan’s general goals of “‘peace through strength’ foreign policy, pro-growth tax reform, and the incorporation of religious conservatives as a voice of conscience” in ways which take present circumstances into account, Rozansky said.

Reagan’s main domestic-policy accomplishment was a set of tax cuts that included a reduction in the top marginal rate from 70 to 50 percent, a measure Rozansky says shouldn’t be used as an “exact template.” He also backed then-Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker’s efforts to curb inflation and made the GOP more friendly to social conservatives. In foreign affairs, he launched a massive defense build-up in order to bankrupt the Soviet Union by forcing Moscow to compete and many conservatives credit him with paving the way for the end of the Cold War.

“When I talk to other young conservatives, most people recognize that you can’t look for the second coming of Reagan,” he said. “The general attitude of young conservatives toward Reagan is admiration, but not obsession.”

The GOP candidates’ Reagan-based appeals “won’t matter much to [younger voters], since they come across as paying lip service,” Rozansky said. Instead, he “wants to know who Mitt Romney is – I know he’s not Reagan.”

Margaret Hoover, author of the forthcoming American Individualism: How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party, agrees. “Most 30-and-unders weren’t even alive when Reagan was president,” she told FrumForum. So “the constant harkening back to Reagan fails to resonate with youth, while our Republican elders bask in the dwindling twilight of the Reagan Revolution. Youth need a new ‘Great Communicator’ … and he can’t have just posthumously turned 100.”

Peppering stump speeches and campaign literature with Reagan analogies will not appeal to the younger generation who have only read about the 40th president in textbooks, said student Eric Reath, 20.

“These candidates are diverting in policy from Reagan, the great Republican hero, mostly on national security and defense issues,” he said. “Although they try to align themselves with him, it doesn’t impact who I support in this race. I know that they are just trying to compare themselves with him in order to garner broader base support.”

But although today’s young voters did not live through the Reagan years the accomplishments he is known for resonate in many of their minds.

“Anyone who wants to be president would really reach to aspire to Reagan’s standard,” said Chris Edwards, chair of the board of advisors of the New York Young Republicans. “He has a bipartisan legacy” – a potentially crucial trait when it comes to winning the 2012 election.

Abortion Pledge? Don’t Sign

June 23rd, 2011 at 6:20 pm 78 Comments

Anti-abortion proponents from the Susan B. Anthony List have lobbied GOP presidential candidates to sign a pro-life pledge promising their commitment to the nomination of pro-life judges, the appointments of pro-life cabinet members, the advancement of pro-life legislation and the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

Candidates Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, among others, have already signed the pledge while Mitt Romney, Herman Cain and Jon Huntsman refused.

But SBA List media spokesperson Ciara Matthews told FrumForum her organization will increasingly pressure hold-outs in the GOP pack to add their names to the pledge by warning them of  of a potential voter backash.

“There will be a good chunk of the populace that candidates aren’t going to be earning a vote from because of their decision not to sign the pledge,” she said. “So I certainly hope Romney will take a good look at that and see how detrimental that will be if doesn’t sign the pledge.”

Matthews said there has been a noticeable shift among voters on abortion in recent years, with a recent Gallup poll showing 51 percent of Americans identifying themselves as pro-life, while 42 percent remain pro-choice — the first time the former have been in the majority since the public opinion firm began surveying on the topic in 1995. In 2010, 44 percent of Americans considered themselves pro-life while 50 percent were pro-choice.

Fueled by growing anti-abortion sentiment, Matthews said the group’s supporters are becoming increasingly influential and expect candidates to stay true to their pro-life promise.

“The pro-life movement and the pro-life activists are some of the most engaged in the country, and if there were to be a Republican candidate elected president, who signs the pledge and for one reason or another decided to back out on the promise they made to those pro-life voters across the country, there would be a lot of very unhappy people,” she said.

The DC-based SBA List is also asking Americans to sign a “citizens’ pledge” on abortion — promising only to vote for a candidate who has signed the presidential anti-abortion pledge. The number almost reached 10,000 yesterday, after just five days of recruitment, and is continuing to increase rapidly. For every candidate who makes this promise, Romney, and others who refuse to sign, will lose one potential vote.

Out of Republicans and independents leaning to the right, 70 percent consider themselves pro-life –- a 10 percent increase from last year’s 60 percent. This indicates the GOP is shifting further away from the middle of the social spectrum which may cause pro-choice candidates to lose votes among the base during the upcoming primary season.

However, a recent poll shows that only 17 percent of Republicans consider social issues and moral values of greatest political importance to them. Instead, government spending is ranked as the most important issue for likely voters.

Besides, Romney and Huntsman are both personally pro-life -– they simply refuse to make a promise that includes very specific conditions they realistically may not be able to honor.

As governor of Utah, Huntsman, a lifelong pro-life supporter, signed various bills into law which restricted abortion. Romney vetoed attempts to expand abortion rights, even stopping an effort to allow Massachusetts women access to the morning-after pill without a prescription.

But SBA List’s media spokesperson said a stance against abortion is not enough for her group’s support.

“Huntsman has a promising pro-life record as governor. But being president of the United States is different than being governor of Utah,” said Matthews. “Voters shouldn’t have to guess where he stands. “We gave him a deadline of next Wednesday and encourage him to sign if he wants to clear up any doubt on those issues.”

However, some young Republican women deemed the pledge unreasonable and extreme, distracting candidates and voters from issues like the economy.

“I think the pledge is absolutely ridiculous,” said DC student Elena Leo, 20. “Someone’s views on abortion should have nothing to do with their appointments to the presidential cabinet, which fulfills a role that has absolutely nothing to do with being pro-life or pro-choice. I think it was very extreme for candidates to sign it.”

Many young moderate voters, who are socially liberal and fiscally conservative, are turned off by the far-right ideals of some of the candidates, and some, like Leo, are pro-choice.

“Personally, I would not vote for a candidate who signed such a pledge,” said Leo. “I also don’t think it’s a smart move for candidates to make those kinds of promises to certain lobbying groups so early on in the campaign.”

In comparison to the country’s debt crisis, the issue of abortion is small and undeserving of as much attention as the SBA List’s pledge is giving it, Leo said.

“The economic state of the country affects my life on a day-to-day basis much more than the issue of abortion,” she told FrumForum.

Kristina Fridman, 21, said the economy and foreign policy will be the deciding factors in who she chooses to vote for, even though her moral values cause her to support restrictions on abortion with exceptions for special circumstances like rape and incest.

“As someone who is Christian and Republican, I understand that there are questions of morality and that is why I am in support of some restrictions,” she said. “As far as the importance of the issue, I think that where a candidate stands on the economy and foreign policy are more important than where they stand on social issues.”

In the 1996 presidential race, Republican frontrunner Bob Dole refused to sign an anti-abortion pledge, while his socially conservative opponent, Pat Buchanan, did — and shocked the nation by winning early GOP caucuses. Pro-life voters had flocked to the event. But Buchanan eventually lost the nomination to Dole once the primary season got underway proper and a mix of Republican and independent voters with broader concerns began casting ballots.

Uranium Fuels Delegates’ Paris Jaunt

June 21st, 2011 at 5:30 pm 1 Comment

Twelve Virginia legislators have received a free trip to France — at an average cost of $10,000 per lawmaker — funded by a company which advocates an end to the state’s ban on uranium mining.

The lawmakers have been in Paris since Wednesday and will today visit a French mine where uranium was extracted for 50 years until recently to get a first-hand look at the environmental impact of a large-scale, high-volume site.

While the legislators argue the trip is a research opportunity, critics claim it’s a “free vacation” being provided by a company with a vested interest in influencing lawmakers to vote to lift the ban.

In 2007, Virginia Uranium, Inc., first went public with plans to exploit a major uranium deposit in Pittsylvania County, in southern Virginia.  The operation would entail extensive mining, a milling facility and disposal of massive amounts of waste. The firm has said it would like to see the Virginia  legislature rescind the 1982 moratorium on uranium mining in the current session.

Fairfax Democrat Delegate Kenneth Plum, who had originally planned to accept the free trip, told FrumForum he changed his mind because of the controversial business interests of Virginia Uranium, Inc.

“Coincidentally, I have been in France with my wife for over a week,” he said. “We had planned to meet up with the delegation from Virginia but since learning the details of the trip have decided not to. Because of the importance of this issue to Virginia, I have decided to not accept gifts from anyone with a business interest in it.”

Del. Plum said he would visit the French uranium mine being toured by the other Virginia lawmakers — but not as a member of their party.

Another Virginia delegate said that although the mine visit  would likely prove “very educational, since the climate in France is similar to Virginia,” he refused to partake in the trip because he does not accept such large corporate gifts.

But when asked whether delegates should have paid for the France trip themselves, Republican David B. Albo said their low salaries mitigated against such long-distance fact-finding trips.

“HA, HA, HA!!!  That is hilarious.  We make $17,640/yr,” he wrote in an e-mail to FrumForum. “There is NO WAY any legislator could go unless they are massively rich on their own.”

Virginian environmentalists are taking a dim view of the legislators’ French trip. Lisa Guthrie, executive director of The Virginia League of Conservation Voters, told FrumForum:“We certainly hope that as enticing as free first-class tickets to Paris might be, freebies are not enough to sway a legislator to support an industry with such dangerous, far-reaching and lasting impacts as uranium mining.”

Republican Del. James P. Massie III has accepted the paid trip as an “educational experience” to better understand the process of uranium mining.

He anticipates what he will learn on the trip will allow him to “make the best decision possible about uranium mining in Virginia. There is nothing like, no better education than, getting out from behind your desk and visiting the ‘field.’”

Virginia Uranium, Inc. is providing decision-makers the crucial ability to be informed, said Patrick Wales, the company’s project manager.

“Having legislators that have actually seen what reclaim facilities look like gives them a level of understanding that you can’t get by reading a report,” he told FrumForum.

Furthermore, the company has even included lawmakers they know can’t be persuaded to change their positions on uranium mining on the French trip, he said.

“There’s some individuals who have said they’re 99.9 percent sure that they would not support lifting the ban: but they’re remaining open-minded enough to travel and learn, and we did not certainly restrict our invitations to just people we thought could be supportive,” said Wales.

Andrew Lester, executive director of the Roanoke River Basin Association, another Virginia environmentalist group which supports keeping the mining ban in place.

“There’s 144 legislators, and only a [dozen] took Virginia Uranium up on that particular opportunity to go there to wine and dine and have a good time,” he told FrumForum. “It tells me that 90 percent of the legislators know it’s a bad idea.”

In accepting an offer worth $10,000, lawmakers are associating themselves with a business with a direct stake in seeing the ban lifted — a situation which could create the perception of conflicted interests.

“They’re going along with Virginia Uranium’s idea of what they wanna do and basically are not being objective in their whole perspective of the thing,” said Lester. “So in that sense it appears to be a little unethical.”

Baby, I Won’t Drive My Car

June 17th, 2011 at 5:16 pm 11 Comments

It’s not only the imams who want Saudi Arabia to keep the brakes on women drivers.

Even some Western-educated, modernist Saudi women are not rushing to join the ongoing campaign protesting the kingdom’s ban on female drivers. These women claim it has less to do with human rights then it does to do with the already congested, dangerous conditions of the roads, and a lack of public transportation.

Lolwa al-Saud, 22, is an American University student who frequently travels to Saudi Arabia to visit her family. She provided FrumForum with a perspective on the contentious issue of women  driving shaped more by on-the-ground — and on-the-road — realities in Saudi Arabia than Western feminist theory.

Al-Saud told FrumForum she had ambivalent feelings about today’s protest in Riyadh during which some 50 women got behind the wheels of cars in violation of Saudi Arabia’s prohibition against female drivers — the only one in force in a Moslem-majority country.

“I want to drive — I like driving — but we are not ready,” she insisted.

Saudi Arabia is not prepared for women behind the wheel, al-Saud believes. Her perspective is not based on religious edicts so much as practical and safety considerations.

While there is no law forbidding women from driving in Saudi Arabia, the monarchy supports the national custom that females not put their feet to the pedals.

Neither the Saudi royal family nor their senior ministers object to women drivers. But they are loathe to antagonize either religious hardliners or conservative elements who believe any tampering with the guardianship system — under which women need permission from their father, husband, or brother to marry, travel abroad or work — would usher in unrestrained Western-style women’s liberation incompatible with Islamic traditions.

But al-Saud, who drives while attending university in Washington, said she opposes a blanket lifting of the ban at this point because it would add more traffic to the kingdom’s already congested — and notoriously dangerous — roads.

“Having women driving is not a good idea right now with that traffic,” she said. “It’s horrible. Rush hour can last all day. There’s even heavy traffic on the streets at 10 p.m., 11 p.m., midnight”.

To travel even relatively short distances, al-Saud added, drivers can routinely expect to spend an hour stuck in standing traffic.

“Having women driving in that traffic is going to cause more chaos than actually help people,” she said.

Saudi Arabia currently has the highest rate of road fatalities in the world. On average there are more than 153,000 traffic accidents in Saudi Arabia per year and 3,500 deaths.

To travel even relatively short distances, al-Saud said drivers can routinely expect to spend an hour stuck in standing traffic, she added.

Instead of lifting the ban preventing women to drive, the government needs to focus on creating public transportation options first, she believes.

Al-Saud, who spent the past month in Riyadh and Jedda, noted the cities both lack buses and metro systems — services which are desperately needed to meliorate traffic conditions.

Currently al-Saud said well-heeled Saudi women depend on either private drivers or taxis to get around. Poorer women are typically driven by their sons or neighbors’ sons.

“We actually like getting dropped off instead of looking for parking or anything. None of the people that I know have a problem with having drivers,” she said. “But there are people who can’t actually afford it, and I understand, but having women drive is going to cause a bigger problem.”’

In emergencies the government typically makes exceptions to the ban, turning a blind eye to women taking relatives to the hospital, for instance, or granting them retroactive permission.

During her recent trip, al-Saud noticed many of the protest campaign organisers were women with foreign roots (like Egyptian and Lebanese) — and that most Saudi women she talked to shared her opinion about a go-slow approach to allowing females behind the steering wheels.

Aside from the chronic traffic problems and reckless driving on Saudi roads, having women behind the wheel could jeopardize their safety in other ways, she said. Women are increasingly being sexually harrassed in Saudi Arabia — even when they are travelling in taxis.

“When I’m in the back seat of the car, I get followed. You get followed by cars and stalked — so just imagine a girl driving,” said al-Saud.

After a proper public transportation system is in place, al-Saud proposes the government gradually change the law to allow women drivers.

“Obviously things are going to change, but you can’t want change right away,” she said. “Everyone [supports] women driving, but it’s about enforcing it at the right time and actually having awareness.”

She believes the idea of women drivers needs to be culturally accepted before any laws are enacted, through programs, television and other public awareness campaigns.

And this is an approach the government has already been considering.

“The government has been looking into [changing driving laws],” she said. “I think the government knows best. They don’t want to cause chaos. They’ve been talking about this [for a decade].”

Furthermore, she said, the government is looking into the feasibility of building urban metro lines in major cities.

Even if the driving ban was to be lifted immediately, al-Saud would refuse to get behind the wheel in her home country.

“If they start having women drive, I’m not going to,” she said. “I want to start driving when I know it’s safe.”

FF’s CPAC Straw Poll: GOProud Wins

February 13th, 2011 at 2:10 am 37 Comments

While much of the focus at CPAC focused on the official straw poll results, FrumForum decided to do its own straw poll of the attendees and their view on the inclusion of gay conservative group GOProud at CPAC.

We found that despite the recent controversy of the inclusion of GOProud, most conference attendees supported the group’s presence.

Out of a survey of 50 CPAC attendees, thirty-one (62%) supported the inclusion of GOProud at the conference, and only three (6%) opposed the group’s presence. Five respondents had never heard of the group (10%), and eleven had no opinion (22%).

CPAC attracted a large young population that seemed to have more liberal social values and conservative economic values. As the official CPAC straw poll showed, 49% of CPAC attendees were between the ages of 18-25.

Concerning GOProud, conservatives from all over the country were tolerant of sexuality, as long as the group inhabited conservative values.

“I think CPAC has traditionally selected on groups based on ideology, not on sexual preference, and so I think we need to get back to bringing in groups based on their ideas, not on what they do in their private lives,” said Patrick Coyle of Virginia.

“I’m all in favor of it – I think the Republican Party should be an umbrella party. Just because some people are gay doesn’t mean you should kick them out of the party. If the Republican Party wants to come back into power, we should be an umbrella party,” said Josh from Pennsylvania.

“Our rights don’t come to us because we belong to one group or another, but they come to us as individuals. So they have the same rights as anyone else. So their opinions should be represented here. And the idea that people are boycotting because of it [makes no sense]. They should be here to counter their arguments. Embrace them, don’t belittle them or antagonize them. Let them have their peace and present your own piece at the same time,” said Drew, of Georgia.

“I’m for inclusion of as many different constituencies as possible, and I don’t think it’s our position to judge people – I believe that’s God’s place. So we should embrace the people. Love the sinner, hate the sin, so to speak,” said Brenda who came to CPAC from Florida.

“If you’re really going to be conservative and have those Christian-based right wing values, we’re gonna welcome people of all makes, models, and races,” noted Kelly of Michigan.

Attendees opposed to the inclusion of GOProud at CPAC held their opinions not based on the sexuality of the group’s members, but the boycotting actions of the group.

“On the one hand, I really don’t care in terms of their position on gay marriage, but GOProud has done a huge disservice to the conservative movement by personally attacking politicians with whom it disagrees. I’m also disappointed that their headline singer was someone who was a major Hilary supporter in 2008. That’s completely hypocritical,” said Steven Irtwell from Colorado.

“I personally don’t support their inclusion per say, but I also don’t support groups like the Heritage Foundation and others that are boycotting or not participating this year. I think we need to be cohesive and focus on defeating Obama in 2012 and expressing different parts of conservatism that may or may not be consistent with GOProud’s message. But regardless of their inclusion, I think other groups that consider themselves conservatives should be here and participate,” said Bradis from Massachusetts.

While there are conservatives who oppose GOProud based on their sexuality preferences, many CPAC attendees were not bothered by this. Indeed, it seems as if social standpoint of the conservative movement has shifted dramatically – a fact reinforced by the CPAC official straw poll results showing only 9% of attendees identifying social conservative issues as their core principles.

“I think a lot of people still call themselves conservatives that aren’t really socially conservative,” said CPAC-goer Buffy from Illinois.