Back in the days when I lived in California, 20 or 30 years ago, I made it a point, almost a ritual, to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.
When I was still in my 20s, it was a thrill to be invited to speak there for the first of several such invitations.
The conference was alive with right-wing controversy, debate and lively panel discussions.
Now, after living in the nation’s capital for the last 18 years, I get asked by friends coming into town for CPAC if I’m going to be there. No, I tell them, not interested.
So, ask me why I am not attending CPAC this year. Ask me why I can’t remember the last time I even thought about it.
Well, I can remember this: In 2010, CPAC welcomed as sponsors of the conference a group called GOProud – a group of supposedly Republican homosexuals who supported marriage of gay and lesbian couples and many other non-conservative positions. That was it for me. That was it for the Heritage Foundation. That was it for the American Family Association. That was it for the Family Research Council. That was it for the Media Research Center. And that was it for invited speakers such as Sarah Palin.
What CPAC was doing was watering down the very meaning of “conservative.”
A year later, thanks in large part to the coverage of WND, I might add, CPAC dumped its leadership and changed course – but only enough to get some of those big guns back in the fray. It would never be the same.
Now there’s even newer leadership – more confused leadership. Now CPAC is more into exclusion than inclusion.
What am I talking about?
The next CPAC is coming up beginning next Wednesday. The leadership of the conference had previously accepted as exhibitors a conservative group from Massachusetts called MassResistance, with a special focus on the gender-bending agenda. Then, abruptly, only a week ago, the group was told it would not be permitted to be involved.
CPAC Executive Director Dan Schneider informed MassResistance it was because of remarks made by Brian Camenker, president of MassResistance, in a video posted in 2015 in which he called for being more assertive and confrontational in fighting the “culture war,” without advocating violence or illegal activity of any kind.
So, what are the standards for acceptance of participation at CPAC?
Before being approved for participation, MassResistance representatives said they were provided by Schneider with four criteria:
- The applicant organization must stand for at least one conservative/right-of-center proposition.
- The applicant organization must not exist primarily for a liberal purpose.
- The applicant organization must be legitimate (no overnight pop-ups, no funding by shadowy entities, staff and officers must be philosophically right of center).
- The applicant organization cannot be disrespectful of either ACU or CPAC.
Admittedly, those are pretty low standards.
And it was under these standards MassResistance was actually approved. So, the question is, why would something the president of the group said three years ago, that doesn’t conflict with any of these criteria, result in a reversal of CPAC’s decision?
I don’t know the answer.
But I’ve seen this sideshow before.
It seems there is a compulsion by some in the conservative movement to be accepted in polite, mainstream society, even at the cost one’s moral soul.
Now, I’m not saying I was going to CPAC before this misguided decision by the leadership. This ship and that ship long ago passed in the night.
I’ve always had a problem with the term “conservative” anyway. Why? It has always struck me as a defensive word. Were the Founding Fathers of this country “conservative”? No, they were not. They were radical freedom fighters. It takes an offensive agenda to win – on the battlefields of war and politics alike. The so-called “progressives” understand this – thus their chosen name.
But conservatives are apparently content only to hold on to their turf, not mobilized to gain ground. That’s a recipe for ultimate defeat.
Thank goodness, I guess, we don’t have a “conservative” president. Instead, we have a hard-charging, pro-American, pro-Constitution, common-sense president who is actually doing what “conservatives” have been talking about doing for the last 50 years.
And if President Trump speaks at CPAC, I’ll be happy to watch on TV. Because that man tells you what he’s going to do and then actually does it.