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Report from 2011 “Conservative Woodstock”

While Sen. Jim DeMint and the Heritage Foundation are boycotting this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) because out of over 100 vendors with booths, one of them happens to be an organization of gay conservatives: GOProud. On the other hand, two of the highest profile social-conservative women, Sarah Palin and Sharron Angle, both said yesterday they support the inclusion of GOProud in the conference.

Tolerance 1, Gayphobics 0.

Another brouhaha flamed up (no pun intended) yesterday when conservative RedState blogger Eric Erickson weighed in with a post slamming GOProud chief Chris Barron for referring in an interview to longtime conservative activists Cleta Mitchell, who is on the board of directors for CPAC, of being a “nasty bigot” for working so hard to have GOProud kicked out to of the conference.

“GOProud has taken one of the favorite leftist bullet points and brought it straight into CPAC,” Erickson wrote yesterday. “You oppose affirmative action? You’re a racist. You oppose gay marriage? You’re a bigot.”

Point well taken. Yes, the left does do that quite often.

But just like it’s OK to yell fire in a crowded theater if there really is a fire and it’s OK to call David Duke a racist, sometimes it’s perfectly accurate to refer to a bigot as a bigot. I’m not saying that’s the case in Cleta’s case; but I am saying that many of the loudest voices in opposition to inclusion of GOProud at CPAC are, indeed, bigots. Some of them pretty nasty.

That said, Barron responded late yesterday with a healthy dose of class.

“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,” he said in a written statement. “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.”

Which brings me back to Mr. Erickson.

In defending Mitchell and counter-attacking GOProud, Erickson proclaimed that GOProud was not a conservative organization because of a few differences with social conservatives on a small number of issues. But the fact is, as I demonstrated a couple weeks ago (click here), GOProud absolutely is a conservative organization.

It’d be nice if Mr. Erickson would exhibit the same level of class by now apologizing to GOProud…and then we could all go out for white wine spritzers and pastries to celebrate!

Which brings me to the Paultards…or as Mr. Erickson refers to them, the “Mo’Rons.”

As usual when discussing this subject, it is important to point out that not all supporters of Rep. Ron Paul are Paultards and Mo’rons. Only the fringe ones who act like Paultards and Mo’rons. And they were out in force at CPAC yesterday.

After a lifetime of distinguished service to the nation – fighting enemies, both domestic and foreign – CPAC bestowed its annual “Defender of the Constitution” award on former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The CPAC crowd enjoyed an additional treat when former Vice President Dick Cheney was announced as the surprise presenter of the award.

Anyway, Ron Paul has been an active critic of America’s war effort and does, indeed, raise some excellent points in his arguments. That said, it is inarguable that Secretary Rumsfeld has served his nation honorably for the better part of four decades. He was absolutely deserving of the award and recognition.

Now when Rumsfeld was announced, most of the crowd cheered heartily, but many of the Ron Paul supporters in the audience booed just as loudly. And I was good with that. However, during prepared remarks by both Cheney and Rumsfeld, a number of the more unhinged elements continued to shout and heckle from the audience.

Well, that’s just rude. And uncalled for. And…stupid.

If this small band of Paultards and Mo’rons think they’re helping their cause and their candidate by acting like ill-mannered, drunken teenagers enjoying their first beer, they are sadly mistaken. Instead, they bring discredit to Congressman Paul and what he stands for. Instead of winning friends and influencing people, all these numbnuts are doing is further cementing the perception that Paul’s libertarian philosophy, which he shares with the Founding Fathers, is out there on the fringe.

In fact, it may well be the juvenile, often angry, actions of Paultards and Mo’rons which led Donald Trump, another surprise speaker at yesterday’s Day One CPAC program, to say, “I like Ron Paul, but he has zero chance of being elected.”

Of course, Trump was talking about being elected president, not being elected to Congress, which Paul has done successfully 11 times.

I’ll conclude by noting that yesterday may also have signaled a turning point and a passing of the torch when it comes to the family Paul. Ron Paul may or may not run for president again in 2012. But if he does, I suspect all but the most ardent Paultards and Mo’rons recognize that, once again, he’ll come up short. And at his age, this would certainly be his last hurrah.

However, yesterday’s appearance and speech by Paul’s son, newly elected U.S. Senator Rand Paul, assured that someone in the family biz would pick up where the senior Paul is leaving off. While conservative Sen. Jim DeMint boycotted CPAC this year because he doesn’t like gays and thought GOProud should be kicked out, Rand Paul addressed CPAC and made the event his own.

Jim DeMint has done some good things for the conservative movement over recent years, but in listening to Rand Paul speak, you got the impression that the man is destined to do some great things for the movement in the years to come. And he’s just getting’ warmed up.

OK, I gotta get back to CPAC….


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