Another “No, it won’t” Prediction

Sorry, guys – I don’t keep meaning to do it, but journalists keep ignoring obvious political realities. Case in point: MSNBC’s piece on fears that the presence of GOProud will in any way ‘disrupt’ goings-on at the CPAC conference going on in DC this week.

GOProud — which advocates for “individual liberty” and argues that the issue of same-sex marriage should be left to the states — is one of over 100 organizations participating in this year’s conference, a 38-year-old gathering of conservative activists sponsored by the American Conservative Union.

Not everyone is happy about their inclusion.

The group’s presence prompted a handful of socially conservative organizations to opt out of participating in this year’s event, including Concerned Women for America and the American Principles Project.

This may be bad news for the organizers of the CPAC itself – maybe, unless, say, the presence of a pro-gay rights group brings the organization new sources of funding from, say, moderates. Its too early to tell. But the point that this MSNBC piece misses is about the overall objective of conservative confabs like this one.

Meetings like this are places for Presidential candidates to make themselves known, and to network their campaigns with potentially allies who also attend such events. This fact does not vary from year to year, from organizational makeup to organizational makeup. Whether or not CPAC includes GOProud, it will still be one of the biggest such political summits of the entire Presidential race. Because of its size and diversity, GOProud has institutional sway. Individual candidates bow out of it at their peril.

In the broader, abstract sense, the objective of CPAC is not to represent a static image of American conservatism (especially considering there’s really no such thing). Its goal is to raise money to perpetuate and expand itself, and to promote the broader ideas it represents in electoral politics. Nothing fundamentally changes about CPAC by including GOProud. It still remains an institutional stronghold, and it still seeks to represent the face of contemporary conservatism.

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