Posted by Rojas @ 12:09 pm on February 23rd 2010

Gay-friendly Conservatism

When gay conservative groups established a bold presence at CPAC, and when they came under fire from the usual bigots, guess whose supporters rallied to their defense?

Like you didn’t already know.

The Paul-inspired groups were responsible for one of the pivotal moments of the three-day conference. On Friday, Students for Liberty president Alexander McCobin used his speech in the rapid-fire “Two-Minute Activist” line-up to “commend CPAC for inviting GOProud,” a gay Republican group. That got a rise out of Ryan Sobra, an anti-gay activist who followed McCobin and condemned the conference for inviting the group. When he was booed, Sobra confusingly attacked Jeff Frazee — the head of Young Americans for Liberty. But he was onto something — it was the presence of Paul fans, who had crowded into the room for his upcoming speech, that meant Sobra would get more boos than cheers.

“I was thanking my lucky stars that the Ron Paul fans were there,” said Jimmy LaSalva, the executive director of GOProud, in a Saturday interview with TWI. “The Campaign for Liberty deserves a lot of credit for setting that tone.”

The more I read about CPAC, the more I think that the straw poll was only the tip of the iceberg. The performance of the young Paulites was simply sensational at every level–and their insistance on full respect for gay attendees is particularly inspiring. This has been way too long in coming, and there is clearly still a lot of work to be done. But for the first time, there seems to be a meaningful insurgency within party ranks on the issue.

I have never been prouder to be part of this movement.

3 Comments »

  1. That’s awesome. Like I said a few threads down, I really do think we’re starting to have influence just by proxy. The next generation of Republican activists (not all will matriculate that way, but many will) were fashioned in the fire of the Paul movement, and that’s bound to impact them.

    Speaking of moments of pride, I had one when I read Patrick Ruffini’s take at NextRight.

    First, it shows that Ron Paul and the Campaign for Liberty are engaging constructively in the conservative movement. In 2007, the Paulites were an oppositional force trying to submarine the GOP’s commitment to the war on terror, thus threatening traditional conservatives. Today, libertarians and conservatives have come together against Obama’s endless expansion of the State, with Ron Paul supporters supplying creative organizing tactics and boots on the ground.

    This leads into my second reason: in terms of grassroots organization, Paul supporters are some of the best — if not the best — that we have.

    What’s awesome is I saw that evolution before my eyes (as did, I know, you). What started literally as a totally spontaneous serious of Meetup meetings, wound up getting organized, having a baptism of fire where we did a whole lot wrong, but by the time New Hampshire came around, the people I was watching—most of them new to politics—were as good as any activists, paid or unpaid, of any other campaign. And, amazingly, they’ve held together pretty well even after the campaign.

    Anyway, back to your point, I totally take Jack and Thimble’s criticisms/skepticisms. But I also see CfLers and the rest as sort of sleeper agents in the Republican movement. The GOP thinks they’re going to just gain some boots on the ground that, like traditional Republican activists, will be molded to the party line. But I think just as much of the ideological pull is going to be the other way, where suddenly libertarian-leaning Republicans are the county chairs, canvassers, people with on-the-ground experience, and most consistent supply of a big base of small donors. The GOP might wake up one day and find that it’s met the enemy, and they have become it.

    Comment by Brad — 2/23/2010 @ 1:41 pm

  2. Keeping it going, I guess there was a decent anti-war and anti police state presence at CPAC:

    Most notable was a panel, “Why Real Conservatives Are Against the War on Terror.” The panel was composed of Bruce Fein, former Reagan Justice Department Deputy Secretary, Phil Giraldi, a former CIA station chief in Turkey and a columnist at Antiwar.com, Jacob Hornberger, President of the Future of Freedom Foundation and Karen Kwiatkowski, retired Colonel and noted antiwar writer. It was chaired by the American Conservative literary Editor Kelly Jane Torrance. Over 300 people attended and the speakers were constantly interrupted with applause.

    Hornberger described the war on terror as “the greatest terrorist producing engine in history” and argued that “dismantling the welfare state meant also dismantling the warfare state.” Bruce Fein detailed the illegalities of our losses of liberty because of the war on Iraq and urged “millions for defense, not a cent for empire and preemptive wars.” He said that the thrill of empire has made America less safe and less rich and argued that “due process” is vital for keeping our liberties. Karen Kwiatkowski decried the waste in the military budget and detailed how Washington violates Sun Tzu and von Clausewitz theories of warfare. Giraldi described how the war has made America “hated, feared and less safe” in the world.

    Another significant panel with top conservative leaders was about the expanding police-prison state in America. Titled How Many Crimes Have You Committed Today,it included Grover Norquist and David Keene, two of the biggest names in conservative leadership as well at attorney Paul Rosenzweig. It was chaired by Pat Nolan of Justice Fellowship , a part of Chuck Colson’s Prison Fellowship organization. The speakers decried how many American were in prison with long sentences, the largest number of any nation in the world.

    They explained how the civil code was being interlaced with new criminal penalties, how long sentences allowed prosecutors to intimidate innocent suspects into pleading guilty to crimes they did not commit, the unnecessary use of SWAT teams to attack homes even of those growing orchids who had fallen afoul of some new regulation. They urged a major reform of criminal law. The title of the panel referred to the constant moving of the goal posts as government makes more and more civil crimes into criminal ones. Then in California prison guard unions raise donations for politicians who urge longer and more prison sentences. The speakers urged major reforms of criminal law because prisons are filled with persons who are not a threat to society.

    Comment by Brad — 2/23/2010 @ 2:04 pm

  3. The GOP thinks they’re going to just gain some boots on the ground that, like traditional Republican activists, will be molded to the party line.

    This goes to a broader question about the Paulite movement–whether the young supporters are going to morph into more traditional conservatives as they get older.

    We’ve talked in some detail, in the New Hampshire Primary post-mortem and elsewhere, about the unique demography of the Paul movement. It is sort of quietly assumed by many analysts that Paulism is a transitory phenomenon among the young. The implicit premise is that, just as many young people are idealistic and inclined to liberalism and to philosophies of change, so too will more libertarian conservatives “grow out of” that phase and evolve over time into neocons or social issues conservatives.

    I can see how this might be true on certain issues–regrettably, civil liberties in general seems to be prime ground for this sort of transition, as security becomes an increasingly important decision criterion when age increases. But I do NOT see this as a likely possibility at all where gay rights are concerned. Nobody is going to decide, on their fortieth birthday, that they suddenly see gay people as a threat to the institution of marriage or as a perversion of nature. Either that meme is inculcated into your consciousness at the start, or it isn’t inculcated at all.

    Once the doors of the GOP are thrown open to gays, they will NOT be closed again. And it would appear that Paulites, to their immense credit, are going to put the full weight of their presence behind the very brave and dedicated pioneers of the Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud. People like Ryan Sobra are going to find the GOP an increasingly hostile environment for their poisionous rhetoric.

    Comment by Rojas — 2/23/2010 @ 3:20 pm

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