Maybe had the libertarians done a better job of preventing their party from being overrun with libertines — a group of people who couldn't care less about the size and scope of government as long as their desires for one night stands with a bag of weed and a tranny from 7th and Broadway are unimpeded by government — we wouldn't be having these issues within the conservative movement. The conservative movement, of course, is that part of the center-right coalition that joins libertarians in the desire for smaller government, but actually believes there must be some bit of morality in government. It is, despite the preference of some, separate and distinct from both libertarians and, more so, Republicans.Nonetheless, we are having these debates over what it means to be a conservative. The cool kids on twitter, the ones who think as long as they proclaim their openmindedness to ideas that have never had a place within conservatism they won't be considered troglodytes, are all a twitter (pun intended) over GOProud going to CPAC. Most are willing to admit the group is Republican and intellectually libertarian — not conservative. But they want them to have a seat at the table. That's all well and fine.In fact, GOProud has largely said the same thing. It just wants a seat at the table as a team player. The cool kids on twitter and GOProud are upset and horrified that any conservative could look at the conservative political action conference and wonder how an organization like GOProud got to be a participating organization. Yes Virginia, there remains a difference between Republican and conservative.In any event, your mileage can vary on where you stand on whether they should be or should not be at CPAC (I'd rather GOProud than the Muslim Brotherhood), but on the issue of GOProud and Tim Pawlenty, your mileage can't really vary if we're going to uphold one standard and some basic reciprocity.Gov. Tim Pawlenty has endorsed the long standing and conservative position of Don't Ask-Don't Tell — a position long advocated at CPAC no less. In response, Chris Barron of GOProud is attacking Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty, by the way, is not "boycotting" CPAC because of GOProud's presence. He'll be there.
I understand that Pawlenty is trying hard to get people to pay attention to his campaign. Its certainly a challenge for someone with such little stature in the conservative movement to compete with high profile conservative leaders like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, etc. Unfortunately for Pawlenty, comments like this simply show how totally out-of-touch he is with the issues that rank and file conservatives care about. If he wants to show he is a committed social conservative he would be much better served talking about the need to defund Planned Parenthood, end federal funding for abortion, reign in an out of control judiciary and support for a parents rigths amendment to protect home-schoolers.
Interestingly enough, GOProud's statement got its traction at the far left Americablog. This is much in the same way Chris Barron went on MSNBC to attack conservative Jim DeMint for not going to CPAC. He went so far as to claim DeMint was joining "birthers" in a boycott, which is a lot of hooey.If Chris Barron wants GOProud to be taken seriously as a right-of-center group, perhaps he should be willing to extend the same courtesy to those on the right who disagree with him and, oddly enough, maintain extremely long standing conservative positions GOProud works in opposition to.As my friend Drew Ryun noted yesterday, GOProud doesn't have as much to show for its conservative bona fides as either Tim Pawlenty or Jim DeMint do — both of whom have been attacked by GOProud.GOProud is against traditional marriage while pushing for pro-gay marriage laws at state level. See, for example, its 2011 Agenda.GOProud Opposes any anti-gay federal marriage amendment. According to GOProud, marriage should be a question for the states. A federal constitutional amendment on marriage would be an unprecedented federal power grab from the states. They endorsed DC Gay Marriage and oppose Rep. Chaffetz's efforts to overturn it. "Look, marriage is important to me," says Barron, 36, chairman of GOProud, an advocacy group for gay conservatives. "I support marriage equality. But it's a state issue, and states ought to be able to work through this process. And we're winning. The left seems hellbent on pulling defeat from the jaws of victory by focusing on this courts-only strategy. It's a complete and total turnoff to a huge segment of the voting population." (source)GOProud is for repeal of DADT: “GOProud is thankful to every Senator, regardless of party affiliation, who voted for repeal,” said Jimmy LaSalvia, GOProud’s Executive Director. “GOProud is particularly thankful and proud of the votes of Senators Scott Brown (R-MA) and Mark Kirk (R-IL). GOProud was the only gay organization who endorsed and supported both Senator Brown and Senator Kirk in their respective elections.” (source)GOProud joined the AFL-CIO and Human Rights Campaign in endorsing liberal Democrat legislation to give health benefits to gay couples We can also put GOProud to the test in another way. While they have spoken up forcefully in favor of a liberal social agenda and against traditional values, they say they are serious fiscal and national security conservatives (not just Republican, but deeply conservative on these issues) — and nevermind that the word "libertarian" might just be more apt.Lets look at issues where GOP and conservatives have taken different approaches on fiscal and national security issues. Did GOProud weigh in on the side of conservatives?Earmarks: silent. START Renewal: silent. Unions: silent. In other words, before GOProud starts declaring itself the standard bearer for conservatism able to then write people out of the movement or demand they shut up instead of advocating long held conservative positions, perhaps GOProud needs to actually get into the conservative movement.Or, maybe it should just go on and admit it is Republican with a libertarian worldview.I'm fine with that. But let's not soil the word "conservative" the way the libertines did to "libertarian".