With CPAC beginning tomorrow with the inclusion of GOProud, a group which represents gay conservatives, the American Principles Project is launching a last-ditch effort to discredit the conference and express their outrage over the participation of a group with gay and lesbian members. Even some conservatives planning to address CPAC, such as Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum, Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness, and Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, signed on to a “Conservatives for Unity” letter condemning GOProud’s involvement in CPAC. The letter “was signed by about two dozen leaders,” including Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council and Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center, who both represent groups boycotting CPAC, and “argued that there can be no common ground between gay rights conservative activists and social-issues conservatives.”
The APP, which was founded by anti-gay marriage activist Robert George, was the first to demand a boycott of the American Conservative Union’s CPAC over GOProud’s inclusion, launched a new website, GetConservative.com.
The mission of GetConservative is to create a “unified” and “full power conservativism” that would leave out groups sympathetic to LGBT rights like GOProud. Religious Right organizations like the APP have also been angered by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels’s call for a social issues “truce,” which they see as part of “an increasing trend among GOP elites to try to undermine social issues.”
For the APP, CPAC’s inclusion of GOProud was “slap in the face to social conservatives and an injury to conservatism as a whole,” and giving Daniels a speaking spot made matters even worse. According to their mission statement:
Get Conservative is an initiative of the American Principles Project (APP), an organization dedicated to upholding the fundamental principles on which this country was founded. During the 2010 election cycle, APP noticed an increasing trend among GOP elites to try to undermine social issues like traditional marriage, the right to life, and religious liberty and thereby quiet the voice (and influence) of social conservatives. In response to these efforts, the American Principles Project found itself with a new mission–to defend and promote social conservatism and be sure that it remains a vibrant part of the conservative movement.
When it became clear that the organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) had joined the effort to marginalize social conservatives by allowing GOProud to be a prominent part of their 2011 event, APP led a boycott of CPAC to protest the inclusion of a group that actively opposes fundamental conservative principles (like the defense of traditional marriage). The point of the CPAC boycott was not to urge others not to attend, nor was it an effort to dictate who should be permitted to be part of the conference. The point of the boycott was to state unequivocally that for conservatism to have meaning, the fundamental principles of it (including the defense of traditional values) must be respected, and that to invite an organization that actively worked against one of those principles was a slap in the face to social conservatives and an injury to conservatism as a whole. The problem was then compounded when CPAC invited Mitch Daniels (who in 2010 famously called for a “truce” on social issues) to be the speaker at the Reagan dinner. This was an invitation that underscored the second-class status to which CPAC was assigning social issues and social conservatives.
But despite the furor that arose from the CPAC boycott, the American Principles Project remains committed to being part of a strong and vibrant conservative movement. This site challenges all conservatives to stand together and speak out in defense of social issues.