GOProud, a right-wing Republican gay and lesbian org, announced that it wanted to cosponsor the CPAC (big annual conservative convention known for its homophobia) along with other assorted rightwing orgs, and that promptly received calls for boycott from culture war clowns on the right who said that, duh, you can't be conservative and comfortable with anyone, yourself or others, engaging in butt sex. Reagan, Goldwater, Lincoln, Payne, and/or Jesus said that. (It's one of his/His/their lesser-known quotations.)
A CPAC organizer responded last week, saying that they're actually quite OK with taking GOProud's money. (That's from the mother of modern conservatism herself, Ayn Rand: "All I want to do is kill you and take your money."*) They reviewed GOProud's website and discovered that they weren't crypto-leftists at all. I also learned that GOProud doesn't oppose DOMA or want same-sex marriage or civil unions or anything like that in their legislative priorities; they merely oppose a Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
And don't get them started on ENDA, don't even get them started!
Lisa De Pasquale, the CPAC director, explains their extensive research into GOProud's politics:
CPAC is a coalition of nearly 100 conservative groups, some of which may disagree with one another on a handful of issues. But, at the end of the day, we all agree on core conservative principles. As you may know, GOProud was founded by a former member of the Log Cabin Republicans who left the group because he thought they were doing a disservice to their constituency by not adhering to conservative and Republican principles. GOProud's website states "GOProud is committed to a traditional conservative agenda that emphasizes limited government, individual liberty, free markets and a confident foreign policy. GOProud promotes our traditional conservative agenda by influencing politics and policy at the federal level."
After talking with their leadership and reviewing their website, I am satisfied that they do not represent a "radical leftist agenda," as some have stated, and should not be rejected as a CPAC cosponsor.
Last week, WorldNetDaily published an email on the subject from the American Conservative Union's chief. He promises people that there won't be any speakers from the gays, and that GOProud's loyalty is to movement conservatism first, gays and lesbians second:
"I have broadcast from CPAC as a talk show host for years. It's been a win-win. I give you great publicity for South Texas and I get great guests," he wrote in an e-mail. "But now this weird turn of events. Why would you allow a pro-homosexual organization to come on as a co-sponsor?"
He asked Keene for an on-air interview.
"If it's true, I presume you believe it's worth defending. And if you've changed your mind, I know my listeners would be glad to hear that."
In his e-mail response, Keene admitted GOProud "has signed on as a CPAC co-sponsor, but will have no speakers and we told them that, in fact, since opposition to gay marriage, etc are consensus positions (if not unanimous) among conservatives, these topics are not open to debate."
CPAC offices were closed for the holidays, so WND could not obtain subsequent comment.
But Keene's e-mail defended the agreement, explaining GOProud's "interest is in demonstrating that not all gays are liberals rather than promoting their life style.
"Their group broke away from the Log Cabin Republicans a few years ago because they thought the LC folks were too liberal on other issues (taxes, spending, national defense and guns)," Keene wrote.
"I know that there are those who are as opposed to the sinner as the sin, but our view is that CPAC is inclusive and welcomes all of those who agree with us on most issues. I don't know the GOProud people personally, but we find it difficult to exclude groups because of disagreements on one or two issues no matter how important many of us believe those issues to be ... other examples: we have pro-life and pro-abortion co-sponsors, advocates of restrictive and more open immigration, supporters and opponents of the war in Afghanistan and supporters and opponents of some of the restrictions adopted in the war on terror since 9/11," he continued.
Personally, I find it refreshing that a group of gay folks actually stand for something more complex than Mierda veo, mierda quiero.
To respond to the comments on my last post on GOProud: No, I don't think the fight is here. Don't worry. But this story is interesting in terms of how identity and ideology play with each other as each side identifies partly both with what they are and what they believe in. It's interesting that GOProud is the group here that has suppressed political wills based on identity more than the homophobes. The latter's argument, in fact, seems to be entirely about what conservative identity means (i.e., who is allowed to play on the Red Team) instead of making an ideological argument against GOProud or homosexuality or GOProud's interpretation of gay rights, from either a conservative or a right-wing authoritarian's perspective.
GOProud is the group ostensibly organized around identity (that of being gay or lesbian), but they're the ones who want to pay to put on a convention organized around the idea that their rights are "not open to debate" (although they'd probably say that that's a strident, mean-spirited, and Christian-hating way of putting it). More generally, the few times they're willing to argue from their identity is when they want to cynically use it to get gay people to support their right-wing agenda, like by renaming the estate tax "the gay tax."
And the non-gay conservatives, who say they're there to promote their beliefs, not their identity, are the ones who are asking questions like "Can someone be conservative and OK with the gay at the same time?" That's not a question a group who actually believes they have the best ideas asks; it's a question a group who believes they have the best people asks.
Although I'll point out that the argument could be made that GOProud is just choosing one identity over another, that they're just Red Staters before they're gay. In the spirit of blogging, I'll leave that question for discussion in the comments.
*Ayn Rand, as far as I know, never used those exact words, although she did really like serial killers, especially ones with a "wonderful, free, light consciousness." She articulated an entire system of morality around selfishness; she went beyond just rejecting "forced" charity through taxes, but labeled all altruism immoral.
The quotation I used was a paraphrase of UK rapper M.I.A.'s line, "All I wanna do is BANG BANG BANG BANG! and KA-CHING! take your money," a satire of the nativist caricature of immigrants, from her album Kala. For some reason, everything terrible that right-wingers think immigrants are going to do (kill people and steal hard-earned money, either through violence or abusing/defrauding social welfare programs), is fairly explicitly what conservatives dream of doing, through resource wars, relaxed gun laws that allow them to "protect" their families, no-bid government contracts, unenforced safety regulations, and weak government, the most effective way working people have to organize against corporate power. Funny how the world works.