CPAC

Chris Christie Attacks Media 'Myth' That He's A Moderate In Easiest Interview Ever

When David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network interviewed Gov. Chris Christie at CPAC last week, did he ask about the bridge closure and political corruption scandals that are engulfing his administration? Of course not! Instead, Brody may have given the embattled governor one of the easiest interviews ever.

Brody kicked off the interview by asking Christie to describe his “strong conservative record” against the perception that he’s a moderate: “You just said right out there that the media loves to define us, conservatives, so tell me a little bit about – they’ve been trying to define you. Here you are with this strong conservative record, yet it’s the ‘moderate Chris Christie’ and all, what do you make of all of this?”

Christie said that “the media [is] continuing to try to put forward a myth” that he is a moderate, citing his anti-choice stance.

The CBN host then asked him the hardball question of whether he enjoyed speaking at CPAC, followed by whether President Obama should receive a grade of D or D+.

Brody then hailed Christie as a “straight shooter” and drove the interview home by asking Christie how Republicans can “capture the White House” and what he thinks of the New York Mets’ prospects next season.

CPAC Speaker Claims Schools Refuse To Teach 'The American Culture'

Many in the anti-immigrant movement felt slighted by this year’s CPAC, which they claimed did not devote enough time to their cause. Center for Immigration Studies director Mark Krikorian lamented to the Washington Post that the American Conservative Union “pushed out” groups like his from the event; while others, including Phyllis Schlafly, Rep. Steve King, and Frank Gaffney held their own alternative event across the street.

But they needn’t have worried. Even if the ACU was trying to appear more moderate on the issue of immigration – chiefly by hosting a panel featuring conservative immigration reform advocates – anti-immigrant rhetoric was still plentiful at the event. After all, CPAC welcomed the sponsorship of ProEnglish, an anti-immigrant “English only” group run by a white nationalist, even while refusing to include groups representing LGBT and atheist conservatives.

And then, there was plenty of anti-immigrant commentary from the main stage, notably from Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann and Ann Coulter. But some of the biggest anti-immigrant applause lines came from Graham Ledger, an anchor on the new Washington Times-connected One America News network, who argued that conservatives needed to unite to oppose multiculturalism and implied that schools no longer teach "the American culture."

“How about we make the case for one common language?” he urged. “How about we make the case for a secure southern border? How about teaching the American culture in schools?”

Sarah Palin Rewrites Green Eggs And Ham For CPAC: 'Hat Tip The Internet!'

And the crowd eats it up. See this and more of the best of this year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at RightWingWatch.org.

Extreme As It Ever Was: Five Things To Know About This Year's CPAC

We’ve watched every speech at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), and posted highlights of many of them here on the blog. But we don’t want to ignore the equally important stories that have been playing out behind the scenes of the American Conservative Union’s annual gathering.

Here are five stories you shouldn’t miss from this year’s CPAC:

5) So Much For Diversity

Despite everything we hear about how the GOP is really making an effort this time to attract non-white voters, very few CPAC members bothered to show up for the summit’s panel on minority-outreach.

Ironically, the panelists repeatedly said that the first step to solving the GOP’s demographic problem would be for Republican candidates to show up in communities of color. But it seems conservative activists don’t even seem all that interested in attending a panel at the National Harbor hotel.

4) Shaming Poor People

Rep. Paul Ryan showed off the latest version of “compassionate conservatism” when he attacked liberals for providing people “a full stomach and an empty soul.” He also suggested that parents who take advantage of programs offering free meals to hungry schoolchildren don’t really care about their kids.

“Once I heard someone say what was important to him as a boy was that he didn’t want school lunch, he wanted a brown bag because the brown bag that he brought with his lunch in it meant that his mom cared about him,” Ryan recalled.

It turns out Ryan’s entire story was lifted from a book whose author actually backs the very programs Ryan was criticizing and who also opposed the congressman’s budget proposals.

3) Corporate Takeover

It is no surprise that the American Conservative Union advances a pro-corporate agenda, or that the group is being rewarded handsomely for it. Slate’s Eli Clifton reports that the ACU takes huge donations “from some of America’s biggest and least popular industries: guns, big oil, and cigarettes.”

Perhaps more importantly, the ACU promotes the tobacco industry when new regulatory measures are proposed. The ACU publicly defended the interests of the tobacco industry when the FDA proposed imposing restrictions on menthol cigarettes. Responding to a July 2013 invitation for public input from the FDA, the ACU wrote to express its “strong opposition to the establishment of the Food and Drug Administration of a tobacco product standard for menthol in cigarettes.” The ACU also used its influence to promote legislation benefiting the oil and gas industries. In addition to contributions from the Anschutz Foundation, funded by oil tycoon Philip Anschutz and the Koch brothers, Chevron contributed $20,000 to the ACU Foundation in 2010. The oil and drilling industry found no shortage of support from the ACU. In December 2011 the ACU wrote to Rep. Jim Jordan, then-chairman of the Republican Study Committee, urging Jordan and all members of the House to support the “Jobs Through Growth Act,” which would “reverse the absurd finding of EPA that carbon dioxide is a ‘pollutant.’ ” “The bill would also expedite the construction and operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline,” said the ACU letter. The bill gained 59 co-sponsors but died in committee.

Along with the many inevitable jokes about how climate change can’t exist because it is cold in the winter, CPAC also hosted industry-backed panels that labeled climate change science “modern witchcraft” and “human racism.”

2) Respectable Conservatism?

Is CPAC becoming more mainstream and less crazy?

While many of the Right Wing’s most fringe and conspiratorial activists appeared at the CPAC alternative “The Uninvited” — which viewed CPAC as too liberal and infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood — CPAC was nonetheless kicked off by Ted Cruz and featured key speeches from characters such as Donald Trump, Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin.

Discredited right-wing conspiracy theories about Benghazi and the IRS have become fully embraced by even “mainstream” GOP figures and were mentioned frequently throughout the convention. While there may be some extreme right-wing activists who are upset with CPAC, that in no way makes the event more “moderate.”

In fact, in what has become almost an annual tradition, while the event shut out groups representing gay and atheist conservatives, it welcomed the sponsorship of an anti-immigrant group led by a white supremacist.

1) Anti-Gay Activism Is Alive And Well

Despite reports that CPAC is becoming more welcoming to gay people and gay rights supporters, anti-gay politicians and rhetoric were still a major factor at the summit. CPAC barred the gay conservative group GOProud from sponsoring or having a booth at the event. The much-touted “compromise” merely allows GOProud members to attend as individuals, which the GOProud founder dubbed an “unconditional surrender.”

Staunchly anti-gay organizations such as CitizenLink (the political arm of Focus on the Family) and the Liberty Alliance, however, were top sponsors. Another sponsor, Tradition, Family, and Property, an ultraconservative Catholic youth group, distributed anti-gay fliers that depicted GOProud as a rainbow-colored beaver undermining the conservative movement.

Main stage speakers didn’t hold back either.

Oliver North urged the GOP to fight marriage equality with the same tenacity as the fight against slavery. He also suggested that by repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the Obama administration is treating military service members like “laboratory rats in some radical social experiment.”

While conservative talk show host Michael Medved admitted that he supports the right of gay couples to adopt children, he said that conservatives must continue to oppose marriage equality and even denied that same-sex marriage has ever been banned. “There’s never been a state in this country that has ever banned gay marriage, that’s a liberal lie,” he said.

And Dr. Ben Carson, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, won raucous applause for his denunciation of gay “extra rights,” specifically the right to marry.

CPAC Panelist: 'Human Racism' Drives Climate Change Concern

As in yesterday’s CPAC panel on climate change, another panel called “Can American Survive Obama’s War on Fossil Fuel?” featured an hour of climate change skeptics berating environmentalist straw men.

In a memorable moment, Alex Epstein of the Ayn-Rand worshipping Center For Industrial Progress – who was sporting an “I <3 Fossil Fuels” t-shirt – said that it was silly to ask if humans are behind climate change, because that assumes that "if man did change climate, it would be a bad thing.”

Epstein added that if you are worried about man-made climate change, you are displaying “a prejudice against the man-made” or as he likes to put it, “human racism.”

He went on to present the straw-man argument that people who are concerned about climate change are against development and ignore the benefits of industrial advances. While greenhouse gasses might warm the planet “a little bit, and warm is generally nice,” he said, the “most important effect of fossil fuels” is to ensure that people like him can move to “the best climate we can,” in his case Southern California.

Last year, Epstein claimed in a Fox News interview that “fracking is actually incredibly good for our environment.”

Ann Coulter: If Immigration Reform Passes, 'Organize The Death Squads For The People Who Wrecked America'

CPAC today invited conservative commentator Ann Coulter to debate “liberal” journalist Mickey Kaus, who ended up holding the same right-wing views on immigration reform as Coulter, and who even praised ultraconservative GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions. The two tried to outdo each other in bashing supporters of immigration reform, but it was hard to top Coulter.

Coulter attacked MSNBC for “celebrating the browning of America.” “But if you don’t celebrate it you’re a racist,” she added. “It’s going to be people who are not from America who are going to be in theory funding older, white people who are getting to their Social Security and Medicare age. I don’t think that can last, at some point they’re going to say, ‘Screw it.’”

“I used to think everything was about sex, now I realize everything is about immigration,” she added later. Coulter praised Mitt Romney for taking the “most aggressive” stance on immigration and called on the GOP to nominate another staunchly anti-immigrant candidate.

Coulter ended with this call to arms: “Amnesty is forever and you got to vote for the Republicans one more time and just make it clear; but if you pass amnesty, that’s it, it’s over and then we organize the death squads for the people who wrecked America.”

UPDATE: During a press conference with Eagle Forum head Phyllis Schlafly, Coulter compared the increasing Latino population to rape:

“My favorite network for humor is MSNBC. They’re always sneering, demographics are changing. No this isn’t a natural process,” Coulter said. “It’s like you’re being raped and the guy is telling you ‘my penis is in you.’ No, you’re raping me. Demographics are changing by force. There is nothing natural about it.”

...

“I also don’t think you can remind people enough Democrats have not been winning people through their dazzling arguments,” Coulter said. “They have changed the voters and in the 2012 election, if the country had not changed, by force, on purpose, by people trying to harm this country, i.e. Ted Kennedy, Romney would have won a larger landslide against Obama than Reagan won against Carter in 1980, because he won 4 points more of the white vote. Back in 1980, the country was nearly 90 percent white now.”

'Persecuted': Religious Right Movie Thriller About The Death Of Freedom In America

Ah, Friday night at CPAC. If you weren’t joining the “drunken yuck monkeys” whose loutish behavior so incensed Matt Barber, and you weren’t attending the white nationalist party whose invitation was shared by the Southern Poverty Law Center, you could catch an advance screening of Persecuted, a movie scheduled for release later this year.  Some of us who attended the screening felt pretty persecuted ourselves by being forced to watch the trailer over and over and over again in the half hour before show time. Maybe that was a plan to put us on emotional edge for this “thriller” about religious liberty in America being destroyed by the sinister forces of freedom, equality, and religious pluralism.

Since I’m writing about a movie few people have seen, I will say for the record, SPOILER ALERT.

But first a little context: Bemoaning the dominance of liberals in Hollywood is a familiar theme at right-wing conferences like CPAC and the Values Voter Summit. But conservatives in Hollywood are organizing. And they’re working hard to convince studios to produce more films with “pro-family” and religious themes. (Son of God and Noah are examples.) A Friday morning panel on the topic featured actor and former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson; Persecuted producer Daniel Lusko; Gerald Molen, a producer of Dinesh D’Souza’s 2016: Obama’s America and his upcoming film America; and D’Souza himself. If anyone had qualms about having Dinesh D’Souza being held up as a “values” icon, they kept it to themselves.

But back to Persecuted, which features Thompson, Dean Stockwell, Bruce Davison, and James Remar. The cast includes a couple of well-known Christian performers, comedian Brad Stine and singer Natalie Grant. As in real life, Fox News’s Gretchen Carlson plays a journalist.

As a movie, the film is Preposterous. But as an insight into the paranoia and worldview of Religious Right activists, Persecuted is as fascinating as it is disturbing.

The plot revolves around an evil senator who is obsessed with a piece of legislation, “The Faith and Fairness Act.” It’s never clear exactly what the Act does, but it seems to force all religions to operate under a single umbrella organization, and to allow members of any faith the ability to preach in others’ houses of worship. It thus combines the Religious Right’s fear that liberals are itching to silence Christian broadcasters by reviving the long-defunct Fairness Doctrine, and their resentment that people view them as intolerant for believing their faith is the only avenue to truth and God.

Standing tall against this plot is evangelist John Luther (John Calvin/John Wesley and Martin Luther?). Luther is sort of a Billy Graham figure who has overcome a past of drug abuse to become a national figure.  His ministry, we are told, reaches more people than the evening news. Early in the movie, the evil Senator Harrison tries to bully Luther into backing his legislation at a religious rally; when Luther refuses to compromise his faith for the senator’s political gain, Harrison puts in motion an elaborate plot to destroy him. The also-evil president of the United States is in on the scheme: he looks a little bit like Ted Kennedy and sounds more than a little bit like Bill Clinton.

The plan involves murdering a teenage girl and framing Luther as her rapist and murderer. While Luther is on the run, Harrison corrupts the rest of the ministry’s leadership with promises of “earmarks” and personalized tax breaks, and they throw the ministry’s support behind the senator’s new law. 

Somehow, Luther, the most hunted man in America, is able to sneak into the launch event for Sumac, the new organization that brings together Jews, Christians, and Muslims and brings to fruition Sen. Harrison’s “dream of a tradition of faith as diverse as our skins.” If the point about the dangers of diversity and religious pluralism isn’t obvious enough, the senator says America is “no longer a Christian nation…it never has been,” echoing a statement by President Obama that caused spluttering outrage among right-wing Christian leaders. By the way, in the movie, the whole governmentally-forced-religious-merger thing is justified as a response to the threat of terrorism.

Still with me? Luther has an amazing knack for evading government agents disguised only by sunglasses and a hoodie, and shows a remarkable ability to outrun professional killers even with a bullet in his back. Eventually, with help from his dad (confusingly, and without explanation, a Catholic priest), another young priest, some honorable FBI agents, and Gretchen Carlson, Luther is able to clear his name, but at great price: his father is killed by Secret Service assassins.

The movie doesn’t quite wrap things up in a happy-ending bow. There’s a climactic scene in which the good FBI agents come to the rescue, and Luther, despite having nearly bled to death, manages to kill the murderous Secret Service agent. Next thing we know, he is making his post-recovery return to his ministry’s headquarters, where all the sell-out executives are still in place, telling him how much money has been pouring in along with cards from well-wishers. Luther glares at them, grabs his Bible, and heads to the White House, where the sinister president introduces Luther at a press conference and, as he is headed to the podium, whispers in his ear to say nice things.

The movie ends with Luther clutching the podium and staring into the camera. Will he speak Truth to power? Will he denounce the president and his money-grubbing ministry colleagues? How soon will filming start on the sequel?

Let’s review the symbolism in Persecuted. The enemies of religious liberty are those who use the language of fairness and equality and those who say America is not a Christian nation. Religious pluralism is portrayed not as a matter of respecting freedom for every faith tradition, but as a deceptive, coercive tool of government to erase religious difference and put all faiths under the politically correct thumb of government. Other religious leaders are either co-conspirators or complicit sheep. The only non-Christians I remember in the film were those sitting silently on the dais as Sen. Harrison launched his religious takeover project. Oh, and about that growing cohort of religions “nones” in America? Luther’s dad tells him at one point that those who believe in nothing must destroy him in order to achieve their goals. And with the exception of some FBI agents, government officials are as soulless and devoid of scruples as the characters on House of Cards.

Luther and his father symbolize the alliance between right-wing evangelicals and conservative Catholics. We aren’t told how it is that Luther’s father came to be a Catholic priest, but perhaps he was an Episcopalian who left for the Catholic Church when his own denomination became insufficiently conservative on sexuality issues. After Luther finds his father murdered, he spends the rest of the cat-and-mouse drama with his dad’s bloody rosary beads wrapped around his hands: a symbol of the shared willingness for martyrdom pledged by conservative evangelical and Catholic signers of the Manhattan Declaration?

It’s hard to say what kind of impact Persecuted might find, but any contribution it makes to our civic discourse is likely to be negative. Its backers clearly hope that a marketing campaign targeting conservative Christians will find an audience and help push a trend toward bigger-budget movies with that audience in mind. 

Whether or not Persecuted is a box-office success, it is one more story-telling weapon in the arsenal of the right-wing media machine that is dedicated to promoting the ideology that America was meant by God to be a Christian nation, and that the federal government and the forces of pluralism and “political correctness” are agents of tyranny bent on forcing Christians to bend to their will.  Sort of like Ben Carson’s speech at CPAC.

Ben Carson: Gay People 'Don't Get Extra Rights, They Don't Get To Redefine Marriage'

Last year, Ben Carson grouped gay people with the likes of the pro-pedophilia group NAMBLA and “bestiality supporters” as nefarious forces trying “to change the definition [of marriage].” Carson later apologized for the remarks, but today at CPAC the potential presidential candidate sang a different tune, saying that he will “continue to defy the PC police who have tried in many cases to shut me up.”

“I still believe that marriage is between a man and a woman,” Carson said to applause, and denied that he ever compared homosexuality to bestiality. “Of course they’re not the same thing. Anybody who believes that is a dummy, but anybody who believes somebody who says that somebody said that is a dummy, that’s the problem.”

“Of course gay people should have the same rights as everyone else,” Carson continued. “But they don’t get extra rights, they don’t get to redefine marriage.”

Watch:

Bachmann: 'Our Movement At Its Core Is An Intellectual Movement'

According to Michele Bachmann, the conservative movement "at its core is an intellectual movement" based "on the greatest ideas that have ever been conceived in the mind of man."

Bachmann: 'Build The Danged Fence!'

Michele Bachmann denounced immigration reform in her speech at CPAC today, warning that "Wall Street and big business" are "clamoring for amnesty" in order to turn the US into "a country of dependency and the welfare state."

Channeling John McCain, the Minnesota congresswoman told CPAC attendees that government officials shouldn't tackle immigration reform until they "build the danged fence!"

CPAC Speaker: 'We Live Under The Imperial President His Highness Barack Hussein Obama, Mmm Mmm Mmm'

South Dakota state representative Jenna Haggar gave a spectacularly awkward speech to CPAC yesterday, in which she said that President Obama and his "big government progressive policies" are using "handouts and welfare" to make "generations of Americans dependent on the government."

Haggar, who serves alongside her father in the State House​, said that unlike Americans today, the people who settled South Dakota and the Midwest never needed government aid (she may want to read about the Homestead Acts).

Obama is changing American values, Haggar added, lamenting that "we live under the imperial president His Highness Barack Hussein Obama, mmm mmm mmm."

Michael Medved At CPAC: States Have Never Banned Gay Marriage, 'That's A Liberal Lie!'

Right-wing talk show host Michael Medved told a CPAC panel sponsored by Focus on the Family today that same-sex marriage has never been banned. While debating the issue of marriage equality with Alexander McCobin of Students for Liberty, Medved claimed, “There’s never been a state in this country that has ever banned gay marriage, that’s a liberal lie.”

Medved seemed to be citing the Religious Right talking point that marriage bans aren’t discriminatory since a gay person could marry someone of the opposite sex, which is the same arguments once made by opponents of the legalization of interracial marriage.

The Most Persecuted Man Of All: Rick Santorum

Billionaire Foster Friess, the conservative mega-donor who propped up Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign and suggested that women put aspirin between their knees as a form of contraception, introduced Rick Santorum at CPAC today, where he said that the former Pennsylvania senator was the most persecuted man there: “If any of us in this room has received more persecution than Rick Santorum, I don’t know who you are. This guy just knows what he believes, knows his heart and is willing to take the grief that people throw at him.”

D'Souza: Obama Is Coming For Your Couches, Cars

Dinesh D’Souza came to CPAC today to promote his new movie, “America,” and explain how President Obama is implementing an anti-American, anti-capitalist agenda.

D’Souza told the conservative conference that Obama believes “the free market system is based on theft” and seemed to be under the impression that Obama came up with the entire system of taxation: “Think about this, it’s almost like here you are at home, you’re watching TV, and a bunch of government guys show up at your door and they start taking your furniture and taking your car and you’re like, ‘What are you doing?’ They’re like, ‘You know your paycheck that you got last month? You didn’t earn that, you stole it, it doesn’t really belong to you.’ This is what, in a sense, we are up against.”

Ralph Reed Likens Obama To George Wallace: 'Let Those Children Go!'

Speaking at CPAC, today, Ralph Reed defended Louisiana’s constitutionally dubious voucher program -- which the Department of Justice warned was resegregating schools -- by comparing President Obama to notorious segregationist George Wallace.

The Faith and Freedom Coalition head told CPAC today that Obama was harming black children and lifted from the spiritual “Go Down, Moses,” to tell Obama: “Let those children go!

Reed also chastised “left-wing bullies” for defeating Arizona’s right-to-discriminate bill and completely misrepresented the Little Sisters of the Poor case.

Reed, who has been embroiled in an ethics scandal over conning Native American casinos, also demanded that Attorney General Eric Holder face impeachment for his pro-marriage equality stance.

Oliver North: GOP Must Oppose Marriage Equality Like It Fought Slavery

In an appearance at CPAC today, Oliver North denounced President Obama for treating military service members like “laboratory rats in some radical social experiment” and “apologizing” for America. North insisted that the US “has nothing ever to apologize for, not once” in its entire history.

Later, North said that the GOP must remain firm in working to ban marriage equality and abortion rights just as abolitionists fought to end slavery, warning that “if we as conservatives cease to be a place where people of faith and those who believe in strong moral values can come, we will cease to be a political force in America.”

Huckabee: Deep In Their Hearts, Most Americans Know God Created This Nation

Mike Huckabee was only given ten minutes to speak at CPAC today, so he wanted to get right into talking about "the things that I know," foremost of which is that God created the United States and if the nation does not repent, it'll deserve to be destroyed just like Sodom and Gomorrah.

"If this nation forgets our God," Huckabee warned, "then God will have every right to forget us."

"There is no other way to explain our history," he continued, "other than by His hand of providence," adding that deep down in our hearts, most Americans know this to be true:

Ben Carson 2016 Backers: He Will Destroy Democratic Coalition

National Journal’s Alex Seitz-Wald reported yesterday on the high visibility at CPAC of those who want Ben Carson to run for president. The Draft Ben Carson for President Committee has a booth in the exhibit area and the shuttle bus I rode between the suburban Maryland conference center and downtown D.C. was plastered with a large banner urging Carson to run.

Carson, an African American pediatric neurosurgeon, has had a fervent right-wing following since he used his appearance with President Obama at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast to denounce political correctness and suggest that the Bible supports a flat tax. (He made the same case as CPAC last year.) Carson appeals to anti-government conservatives by calling to phase out government poverty assistance and let churches and other charities deal with the fallout. And he appeals to Religious Right activists by claiming there is a "war on God" in America and by denouncing homosexuality and opposing same-sex marriage. He has claimed that the IRS has targeted his family and associates and says the Obama administration is like the Gestapo and wants to shut down Fox News.

The National Journal quotes committee director Vernon Robinson saying that if Carson can draw just 17 percent of the black vote, “the Roosevelt Democratic coalition is destroyed” and it will be impossible for Democrats to win the White House.

Robinson makes the same case in a direct mail piece I received this week. The mailer itself unfolds into a Ben Carson poster, and includes letters from Robinson and from the group’s “national chairman” John Philip Sousa IV.  “I am convinced that no 2016 Republican ticket can win without Ben Carson on it,” writes Robinson. “Only Ben Carson can get enough black votes to keep the Democrats from winning the White House.”

Sousa’s letter says Carson is the only candidate who can defeat Hillary Clinton, heal America and unite Americans. “Don’t just sit back and let the Republican establishment pick the next GOP nominee!” Sousa urges, taking direct aim at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie:

Besides, do you really want a candidate for President who is just another big spending Republican like Christie? And, can you really trust Christie who was pro-abortion before he was pro-life to nominate pro-life judges to the U.S. Supreme Court?

The simple truth is that moderates like McCain and Christie are sure to lose, while conservatives like Ronald Reagan and Ben Carson are sure to win.

Seitz-Wald reports that the committee to draft Carson raised $2.83 million in its first six months of operation. 

Right Wing Round-Up - 3/6/14

GOProud The CPAC Beaver

GOProud, a group for gay conservatives, was bounced from the American Conservative Union’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference in 2012 when a coalition of social conservatives pulled out in protest of the group’s participation. This year the group has been “welcomed” back – not in the sense of having a table or other visible presence, but in the sense of GOProud leaders being allowed to attend, according to some news reports, as guests of the ACU.  GOProud co-founder Chris Barron criticized the group’s current leaders for touting the conditional return as a victory, saying they were letting themselves be used as “stooges” for anti-gay conservatives.

But even this mild and invisible welcome is too much for Tradition, Family, and Property, the far-right Catholic organization whose members sport bright scarlet capes.  Walk by TFP’s table and someone will eagerly hand you a flyer explaining “Why GOProud Does Not Belong at CPAC.”  GOProud is memorably portrayed as a rainbow-colored beaver, gnawing away at the social conservative leg of the conservative movement (the other two legs being fiscal and defense-oriented conservatives).

Why is GOProud a welcomed and official guest at CPAC, when it advocates the legalization of same-sex “marriage,” thus undermining the votes and dreams of millions of God-fearing Americans?

How can GOProud consider itself conservative when it directly opposes the work of social conservative activists and contributes to America’s moral ruin, through the weakening of the family – the first and fundamental building block of society?

TFP’s flyer says it protests against GOProud’s efforts to “cast itself as a bone fide member of the conservative movement.” TFP believes:

To be true to itself, the conservative movement must battle on all three conservative fronts (defense, fiscal, and social).

That individuals and organizations who subscribe to only one or two of the conservative movement’s three legs are still welcome to join the coalition, but should refrain from publicly opposing the rest of the movement’s efforts on the leg or legs they disagree on.

TFP says welcoming GOProud into the conservative movement would be like a communist or socialist organization seeking admittance to the conservative movement by claiming to be against abortion. As part of the evidence that TFP marshals to prove that GOProud is not conservative, it notes that the group’s website says it encourages “committed stable, relationships between two people, regardless of sexual orientation, that promote healthy families and create value within our society.” Mercy!

TFP does have some kind words for the ACU, applauding the decision to deny American Atheists a booth at CPAC. But that didn’t prevent American Atheists from distributing a CPAC flyer that says “Christianity’s influence on conservatism is pushing away almost 20 million voters – more than enough to swing an election.”

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CPAC Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Friday 03/14/2014, 11:20am
When David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network interviewed Gov. Chris Christie at CPAC last week, did he ask about the bridge closure and political corruption scandals that are engulfing his administration? Of course not! Instead, Brody may have given the embattled governor one of the easiest interviews ever. Brody kicked off the interview by asking Christie to describe his “strong conservative record” against the perception that he’s a moderate: “You just said right out there that the media loves to define us, conservatives, so tell me a little bit about... MORE
Miranda Blue, Monday 03/10/2014, 1:26pm
Many in the anti-immigrant movement felt slighted by this year’s CPAC, which they claimed did not devote enough time to their cause. Center for Immigration Studies director Mark Krikorian lamented to the Washington Post that the American Conservative Union “pushed out” groups like his from the event; while others, including Phyllis Schlafly, Rep. Steve King, and Frank Gaffney held their own alternative event across the street. But they needn’t have worried. Even if the ACU was trying to appear more moderate on the issue of immigration – chiefly by hosting a... MORE
Brian Tashman, Saturday 03/08/2014, 7:15pm
And the crowd eats it up. See this and more of the best of this year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at RightWingWatch.org. MORE
Brian Tashman, Saturday 03/08/2014, 6:55pm
We’ve watched every speech at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), and posted highlights of many of them here on the blog. But we don’t want to ignore the equally important stories that have been playing out behind the scenes of the American Conservative Union’s annual gathering. Here are five stories you shouldn’t miss from this year’s CPAC: 5) So Much For Diversity Despite everything we hear about how the GOP is really making an effort this time to attract non-white voters, very few CPAC members bothered to show up for the summit... MORE
Miranda Blue, Saturday 03/08/2014, 4:42pm
As in yesterday’s CPAC panel on climate change, another panel called “Can American Survive Obama’s War on Fossil Fuel?” featured an hour of climate change skeptics berating environmentalist straw men. In a memorable moment, Alex Epstein of the Ayn-Rand worshipping Center For Industrial Progress – who was sporting an “I <3 Fossil Fuels” t-shirt – said that it was silly to ask if humans are behind climate change, because that assumes that "if man did change climate, it would be a bad thing.” Epstein added that if you are worried... MORE
Brian Tashman, Saturday 03/08/2014, 3:05pm
CPAC today invited conservative commentator Ann Coulter to debate “liberal” journalist Mickey Kaus, who ended up holding the same right-wing views on immigration reform as Coulter, and who even praised ultraconservative GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions. The two tried to outdo each other in bashing supporters of immigration reform, but it was hard to top Coulter. Coulter attacked MSNBC for “celebrating the browning of America.” “But if you don’t celebrate it you’re a racist,” she added. “It’s going to be people who are not from America who are... MORE
Peter Montgomery, Saturday 03/08/2014, 3:03pm
Ah, Friday night at CPAC. If you weren’t joining the “drunken yuck monkeys” whose loutish behavior so incensed Matt Barber, and you weren’t attending the white nationalist party whose invitation was shared by the Southern Poverty Law Center, you could catch an advance screening of Persecuted, a movie scheduled for release later this year.  Some of us who attended the screening felt pretty persecuted ourselves by being forced to watch the trailer over and over and over again in the half hour before show time. Maybe that was a plan to put us on emotional edge for... MORE