New CPAC Head Distances Group from GOProud

February 10th, 2011 at 6:21 pm | 43 Comments |

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The new chair of the American Conservative Union, Al Cardenas, today distanced his organization from GOProud, telling FrumForum in an exclusive interview that “it’s going to be difficult to continue the relationship” with the gay conservative organization.

The ACU, which annually organizes the Conservative Political Action Conference, has faced some criticism for including GOProud as a co-sponsor for the second year in a row. Socially conservative organizations have denounced the move, and the Heritage Foundation claimed that GOProud’s inclusion was part of their decision to opt-out.

Cardenas, who was selected yesterday to replace outgoing chairman David Keene, told FrumForum that he disapproved of GOProud’s response to the furor.

“I have been disappointed with their website and their quotes in the media, taunting organizations that are respected in our movement and part of our movement, and that’s not acceptable. And that puts them in a difficult light in terms of how I view things,” said Cardenas.

GOProud had asserted that Cleta Mitchell, the chairman of the ACU Foundation, was pushing conservative groups and individuals to boycott CPAC because of GOProud’s inclusion. Chris Barron, the chairman of GOProud, recently said in an interview that Mitchell was “a nasty bigot.”

“It’s going to be difficult to continue the relationship [with GOProud] because of their behavior and attitude,” Cardenas told FrumForum.

Asked for GOProud’s response, the group’s chairman apologized for his comments about Cleta Mitchell.

“For the past six months, we have watched as unfair and untrue attacks have been leveled against our organization, our allies, our friends and sometimes even their families. Everyone has their breaking point and clearly in my interview with Metro Weekly I had reached mine. I shouldn’t have used the language that I did to describe Cleta Mitchell and for that I apologize,” said Chris Barron.

Asked about whether he values a big tent approach to conservatism, Cardenas said that he did – but that his vision applied principally to reaching out to different minorities and ethnic groups.

“There are not enough African-Americans, Hispanics and other minorities here. That diversity is critical – you don’t need to change your value system to attract more diversity into the movement… [but] I’m not going to – for the sake of being inclusive – change the principles that have made the movement what it is,” said Cardenas.

“David [Keene] invited these folks [GOProud] in an effort to be inclusive… Having friends of ours leaving… presents difficulties to me,” he said. “There’s always going to be some tension, [but] there should never be any tension between time-tested values.”

Asked if someone who supported gay marriage could be a conservative, Cardenas replied, “Not a Ronald Reagan conservative… I will say this: we adopted a resolution unanimously at ACU advocating traditional marriage between a man and a woman, so that answers how we feel on the issue.”

Cardenas says that his priorities as the new ACU chairman will be focused on “making sure that our true friends never leave the table.”

Cleta Mitchell’s position as ACU Foundation chairman also appears to be safe. The new chairman, who has the authority to appoint a new one should he want to, told FrumForum that he has “no intentions [regarding Mitchell] except to keep her where she is.”

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43 Comments so far ↓

  • Houndentenor

    So glad I stocked up on popcorn before CPAC. This is the best reality show ever.

  • Ben-Peter

    I think you’ll find that GOProud’s members have been attacking numerous conservatives (and therefore my friends) for some time. They are very tribal. As Lopez puts it over at NRO (quote):

    GOProud presents itself as a victim. “The reason the boycotters applied a litmus test to us is because we were born gay,” its executive director, Jimmy LaSalvia, told the New York Times, where the controversy was featured this weekend. But GOProud has not simply disagreed with the rest of the conservative movement on marriage while highlighting other issues. It has become a go-to group for comments about family and sexuality — a gift to a media seeking to highlight divisions among the Right.

    End quote. This is one of many examples. Eric Erickson over at Red State has more.

    Beyond parody, I say: GOProud is also hosting a party headlined by a Hillary Clinton activist.

  • moderategoper

    Social Conservatives aren’t tribal & don’t play the victim card??…give me a $#@# break. These identity groups thrive on vitimology and tribalism. They sum you up base on what church you attend, if you are an Evangelical or Conservative Catholic…that’s tribalism folks. The first attacks against CPAC came from social conservative groups, not GOProud. Why did not Al Cardenas attack them all equally for trashing CPAC?

    Al Cardenas has not been in office for two hours and he is already trying to exclude gay people from CPAC…SHAME ON YOU! These guys got Donald Trump to speak, and now you kick them under the bus…”for our friends”…what homophobic jargon. What you really mean is we want blacks and Hispanics juts not not the gay kind. If GOPproud is kicked out they need to create a rival CPAC event.

    I wonder if Eric even picked yup the phone to call GOProud to see if the article was 100 percent accurate, he of all people should aware of how the media edits things for shock value!!

  • Rocketship7

    Get a life moderategoper

    Traditional marriage is supported by most non evangelical Americans.
    Go into the Black churches

    • pnwguy

      RS7:

      Not for much longer. Pretty much every poll of attitudes about homosexuality shows a giant curve as it relates to age. The younger the age group, the more they see gays as equals, not as some deviants. This isn’t something that people will “grow out of”. The biggest difference I think is a matter of exposure. Younger people KNOW gays and lesbians in their life, and they can’t demonize them to the extent their parent’s generation does. The don’t see a problem with same sex attraction, not personally nor as some disorder that will harm society.

      It seems like half of the fervor against equality of same sex relationships is an acknowledgment that the opponents are losing the battle over time, so they are desperate to rally the troops.

  • New CPAC chief: We might have to dump GOProud for taunting the boycotters « Hot Air

    [...] smells like a pretext to drop them from next year’s conference, thereby clearing the way for socially conservative [...]

  • _will_

    yeah please, there’s no one in THE WORLD more ‘victimized’ than a social conservative.

  • PracticalGirl

    Wow…”Thanks for the sponsorship money that helps make this all possible. Now go the hell away”. Positional whiplash, the only constant I ever seem to get from conservatism these days.

    I’m not nearly as tuned into GOProud as others here, but this strikes me as an awfully public position for a newbie to take. Maybe smart, but it takes a lot of guts to bite the hand that (currently) feeds you.

  • talkradiosucks.com

    As the GOP takes another long draw on the Religious Right crack pipe… ah… feels so good…

  • fromks

    Actually, this might not be the worst idea, not because GOProud is a gay group, but because it’s not a particularly good group. Since about 6-7 months ago it’s been clear that GOProud exists primarily to get media attention, likely in order to land jobs for its largely young, gay, conservative membership. Their actions do not seem the actions of an organization intent on lobbying and advocacy, but on media presence and headline grabbing.

    The two best examples of this are inviting Ann Coulter to speak at one of their events and having Andrew Breitbart become a member of their advisory board. They picked two sensationalist media figures with limited reach into the actual world of policy to be part of their events. These two are known for their anti-gay, sometimes over the top anti-gay statements (Breitbart has said nonironically that Gays are a greater threat to the US than al Queda) to be involved in their group.

    This would not help their efforts to lobby on behalf of fiscally and foreign policy conservative gay men (of which there are many). Instead actions like these get its members talking head spots on MSNBC, CNN, and FoxNews. Those actions benefit only the board and executive membership of the organization, and not the rank-and-file, or constituencies the group claims to speak for.

    The problem with the ACU excluding GOProud is that it still includes organizations like the John Birch society. If one were going to purge merely one group for trespasses against the party, one would hope you’d start with the organization that still thinks water fluoridation is a government conspiracy to control your mind. So, basically, to completely contradict the first paragraph of this post, what the hell, they’re a bad group, but probably no worse than half of the CPAC sponsors. . . and they probably throw a better party than all the rest of the sponsors.

  • Scrooge

    I think I’m done with the GOP. I’ve been a Republican my entire life, but being gay, there’s only so much of this I can take. Almost all Republican politicians are anti-gay and listen to people like this. Sure, they’re fine with you being gay and voting Republican, but you better keep your mouth shut when people act like bigots or else you’re somehow crossing a line. I thought it would get better, but it really hasn’t. Advances are being made, but not in the GOP. I’m sick and tired of it.

    Problem is, I disagree with the Democrats on almost everything. What to do? What to do?

    • anniemargret

      Become a Democrat and help us make it better. ;-)

    • dante

      Scrooge – As a social moderate I put up with the GOP as long as they were fiscally conservative…. After the GWB years, they’re not even that anymore. Maybe when the GOP realizes that it’s turning off an entire generation with their socially conservative dogma I’ll consider voting for them again.

  • moderategoper

    RS7:

    You can support traditional marriage and support same-sex marriage. The existence of one does not negate the other, nor does support of one deny support of the other.

    If you really are pro-traditional marriage, I would suggest you support a referendum to ban divorce. Divorce is much closer to a negation of traditional marriage than is any sort of same-sex unions. The truth is there isn’t evidence to support the notion that same-sex marriage is a threat to traditional marriage.

    For many years Americans supported homossexuality being labeled a mental illnes/crime, based on their religious convictions. Though many people view being gay today a sin, the polls show they no longer see it as a mental illness or crime. The laws that forced gay people into mental assylums and prision have been changed.

    There are lots of things that could be done in this country to encourage marriage, prevent divorce and improve the well-being of children. Keeping same-sex couples from the altar is not one of them.

  • ScoopAway

    “”What to do? What to do?”"

    If you find an answer, let me know. I’m not gay, but am a recovering Republican without a party to call my own any longer. Don’t much like the Dems and I’m certainly not a liberal, but the Republicans have gotten just plain disgusting about almost everything the past decade. Guess I’m now best described as an independent.

  • moderategoper

    Erick Erickson is outraged at GOProud. I like them better already.

    The notorious Erick Erickson of Red State is outraged at Chris Barron of GOProud for his attack on right-wing lawyer Cleta Mitchell, who represented our opponents in their fight against D.C.’s marriage equality law. Barron’s comments are included in Chrid Geidner’s Metro Weekly article on GOProud and the controversy it has stirred by its participation in this week’s CPAC conference in D.C. Erickson writes:

    Cleta Mitchell is not just my friend and lawyer, she is one of the keystones of the conservative movement in Washington, D.C. When Sharron Angle’s campaign seemed off the rails right after the primary, it was Cleta who went in to help right the ship. It was Cleta Mitchell who stepped up to defend Christine O’Donnell when no one else would. It was Cleta Mitchell who exerted pressure on wavering conservatives to get on board Marco Rubio’s campaign. It was Cleta Mitchell who helped organize defense and offense for a host of conservative causes headed to court. It remains Cleta Mitchell who does not hesitate to give advice for new conservative organizations and pick up the phone to raise money for conservative causes and candidates.

    Erickson goes on to “fully disabuse you of the notion that GOProud is a conservative organization.” It all boils down to the fact that Chris Barron and his colleagues are not ashamed of being gay, and are inclined to defend themselves from attacks by people like Mitchell. My colleague Bob Summersgill and I encountered Mitchell several times at hearings before the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics on various proposed anti-gay ballot measures, and I paid her some backhanded compliments (and looked at her other unsavory associations) here.

    http://www.glaaforum.org/glaa_forum/2011/02/erick-erickson-is-outraged-at-goproud-i-like-them-better-already.html

  • moderategoper

    Al Cardenas should be careful about who he calls his freinds. Many on The Right still recall his support for Gov. Charlie Christ. Some also accuse him of being an open-borders RINO.

    During Rick Scott’s race for Governor, Al Cárdenas, was part of a group of Hispanics who urged Scott to reduce immigration issue emphasis. He told The Miami Herald that the explosive campaign debate over immigration was one of the reasons for the low turnout in heavily Hispanic Miami-Dade County. Turnout in last week’s primary was about 17 percent, one of the poorest showings in the state.“I think the immigration debate discouraged Hispanics from turning out in greater numbers,”.

    Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/09/01/1801823/hispanics-urge-scott-reduce-immigration.html##ixzz1DchOcEHu

  • rbottoms

    Problem is, I disagree with the Democrats on almost everything. What to do? What to do?

    So vote for the bigots or become a Democrat, that’s the choice any one who is gay has to make.

  • rbottoms

    Cleta Mitchell is not just my friend and lawyer, she is one of the keystones of the conservative movement in Washington, D.C. When Sharron Angle’s campaign seemed off the rails right after the primary, it was Cleta who went in to help right the ship. It was Cleta Mitchell who stepped up to defend Christine O’Donnell when no one else would.

    Bottom line, the GOP is full to the brim with fag bashing, theocratic dimwits enough so that you’ll never reform it. It is the Democrats who defend your rights, the ACLU lefties and the people who insist of sexual freedom that make it possible for you to choose to both be gay and support the very assholes who would deny you your rights as a citizen.

    Being gay isn’t a choice you make, supporting the party that has as its organizing principle for a huge number of its members the extinguishing your hard won freedoms is just plain idiotic. They hate your guts and think you are little better than child molesters, each and every one of you.

    But then, even gay people can choose to be dumb.

  • Alex 0_0

    As predicted, GOProud will be banned from the next CPAC. Republicans just can’t stand to sit in the same conference room with gay people. Conservatives are “nasty bigots,” everybody knows this and always has. The essence of the GOP is “God Hates Fags.” All of you who pretend it is possible to be conservative and not be a bigot are either liars or fools or both.

  • Houndentenor

    @ Scrooge

    There’s on excuse for voting for someone who demonizes you to get votes. In my opinion, worse than the gay-bashers are the people who sit on the sidelines, quietly (but not to anyone who could change anything) bemoan how much they hate all the anti-gay talk, and then go into the booth and vote for those Republican candidates anyway. I think there are a lot of those people and they have the power to change things by standing up to leadership and withholding their votes until the anti-gay BS stops. Until that happens, or until Republicans start going down in flames over the social conservative positions, nothing will change.

    Be an independent voter. Make politicians work for your vote. Not all Republicans are horrible an gay issues. Many are. Even more pander to the anti-gay crowd for votes while private are indifferent or even supportive of gay people they know.

    • Alex 0_0

      Not all Republicans are horrible an gay issues. Many are. Even more pander to the anti-gay crowd for votes while private are indifferent or even supportive of gay people they know.

      Private attitudes are irrelevant. The Republican party has decided to win elections by demonizing and marginalizing gay people. Republicans are trying to reinstate DADT, Republicans are trying to overturn equality in Iowa and New Hampshire, Republicans are pushing anti-gay laws and rhetoric in all 50 states, Republicans oppose anti-bullying policies and actively support discrimination. All Republicans, without exception and including the self-loathers at Log Cabin and GOProud, are responsible for their party’s actions.

      Private words don’t matter, public actions matter. Gay is the new black for Republicans, and you should all be ashamed to pretend that you accept your gay relatives and friends while you publicly work to ostracize and belittle people you pretend to care about.

  • midcon

    One of these days the GOP may decide to live according to it’s principles of limited government and get the government out marriage. The most that government should do is to sanction civil unions and any two (or more?) people. Leave marriages to the religions and let them deal with it according their own beliefs.

    The problem with the hard right is that they are for limited government only when it suits their purposes. They claim to stand on principles that they don’t actually have.

    It has become increasingly clear that the GOP cannot be fixed. Maybe becoming a Democrat is the way to go. After all they are the ones that have the center and have long marginalized their extreme wing.

  • Rob_654

    and the purging goes on…

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  • rbottoms

    Private words don’t matter, public actions matter.

    True dat.

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  • Nanotek

    midcon@”One of these days the GOP may decide to live according to it’s principles of limited government and get the government out marriage.”

    not until the young GOPers push out the bigots is my guess … old social conservatives seem addicted to power — tradition is just a proxy — as long as they believe they speak for a god, they feel powerful and alive.

  • rbottoms

    The fun part is watching gay Republicans twist themselves into pretzels as they try explain why they belong to a party that by and large equates them with kiddie diddlers.

    Pass the popcorn please.

  • Scrooge

    Houndentenor, yeah, withholding my vote/money until they get their act together is what I’ll probably do. If I agreed with the Democrats on more things, I’d consider that option, but it really doesn’t make much sense for me to join a party that I disagree with so much on. I am fairly conservative in several ways (just not socially). Becoming an independent and supporting specific candidates sounds like a good position to take until things change.

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  • ktward

    Cardenas sure wasted no time.
    Perhaps he felt pressure to take a position straight out of the gate in hopes that it would endear his newbie arse to the boycotters who he’d like to have back next year.

    If that’s true, it’s painfully short-sighted–along with overtly rude to a current paying participant. He couldn’t wait a few days?–and likely to widen the rift that threatens to seriously derail the GOP’s 2012 primary.

    Here’s the thing: for the RR, “conservatism” isn’t an ideology, it’s a pathology. They’ve drawn a line in the sand and there exists no scenario in which they’ll move it. Everyone else is going to have move around it– iow, pick a side. Cons at CPAC are already picking sides, and some of the loudest and most influential voices are supportive of GOProud’s otherwise far-right advocacy.

    So, the ball is in GOProud’s court: if they step out of the fray, perhaps the conservative movement will remain tenuously intact. But if they decide to take their marbles elsewhere, their friends are likely to follow. And they have some pretty influential friends.

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