Wednesday, February 16, 2011

CPAC: Unbelievably Gay Edition

In the run up to this year's crazy conservative conference CPAC there was a big debate among conservatives on whether gay people were human beings or not. This split was very real, and as a result quite a few big names (the Heritage foundation being the biggest) pulled out the conference, due to CPAC's refusal to ban a group of gay conservatives from participating in the conference. This is a victory for gay rights in the sense that walking across the street without getting killed is an achievement. I'm glad that it happened, but I'm not sure anyone should be given too much credit for accepting that gays are people in 2011.

For actual attempts at a recapping last weeks madness check here and here. Since the conference is pretty full of crazy in it's own right, I wanted to look at some of the people who refused to attend, and check out their rational and well thought out responses.

First let's start with someone boycotting the conference, popular conservative blogger (and bigot) Pam Geller:
Pamela Geller, the most vocal of the activists opposed to the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" to be built two blocks from the former site of the World Trade Center, said Friday that the Conservative Political Action Conference she was speaking at had itself been "corrupted" and "compromised by Muslim Brotherhood activists."

Speaking at a non-official CPAC event on Friday afternoon, Geller said that many members of the board of the American Conservative Union had to go because they were allowing the event to be infiltrated by Muslim Brotherhood activists.

"If you look at the agenda of CPAC, look at all of the panels and then look at your daily news headlines, they're either clueless or complicit," Geller said. "And I'm telling you that before you throw the baby out with the bathwater. There are 12,000 people that come to this event that don't know they've been completely sold out by CPAC leadership. We have to take CPAC back, you can't create this again."
Wow. Even by modern day conservative standards, that's fucking insane.

Erick Erickson doesn't need crazy conspiracies about the Muslim Brotherhood to prove he's a racist:
Grover Norquist is caught on tape praising Democrats’ sympathetic views toward muslims in America and attacking Lt. Colonel and Congressman Allen West for “attacking Muslims.” West, who served in Iraq and was a civilian adviser in Afghanistan, might just know what he is talking about.
Norquist was “caught on tape” arguing that bigotry towards anyone, including Muslims, should not be tolerated. This position, apparently, is unacceptable to Erickson, who then sides with a guy who said:
“We already have a 5th column that is already infiltrating into our colleges, into our universities, into our high schools, into our religious aspect, our cultural aspect, our financial, our political systems in this country. And that enemy represents something called Islam and Islam is a totalitarian theocratic political ideology, it is not a religion. It has not been a religion since 622 AD, and we need to have individuals that stand up and say that.”
It's a good thing that while Erickson is too racist for CPAC, CNN feels comfortable employing him. Heckuva job, guys.

So how did this year's CPAC end up on the tolerance front?

The Positives: They allowed gay people to attend, and it did not turn everyone at the conference gay, as had been initially feared. Some young conservatives also argued with a white supremacist and made him leave the convention. (Again, major kudos for joining for reaching the 1960s, conservative movement)

The Negatives? Well let's see how it went for African American CPAC attendee (and Republican Senate candidate in Texas) Michael Williams:
Last year, I interviewed Williams -- who at the time was among the lucky conservatives to have Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-SC) endorsement in the Senate race that was supposed to happen when Hutchison quit after her run for governor (she didn't, so Williams had to wait.) During our chat, he told me how conservatives need to do a better job reaching out to the African American community, where he acknowledged right wingers have little entre or experience.

When I ran into him yesterday, it appeared conservatives have not made much progress on that front. Ahead of me was a CPAC attendee rushing past, as they are wont to do in this giant place.

"Hey, are you Herman Cain?" the young man asked Williams, referring to another African American conservative running for federal office and attending CPAC.

I asked Williams if that happened a lot.

"Not really," he told me. "A lot of people think I'm a waiter."

Williams blamed the confusion on his trademark bowtie, which -- like a lot of conservatives -- he wears all the time, and wears well.

A friend with him said that on more than one occasion, people had asked him to get them a drink.

"I think it's really because of the bowtie," Williams explained.
Michael, I have some bad news. I'm pretty sure it's not the bowtie.

No comments:

Post a Comment