Guess Who Won’t Be Attending Largest Conservative Gathering This Year?

Written by Dahlia Grossman-Heinze

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the largest annual gathering of conservative leaders and activists, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year by once again excluding prominent gay Republican groups GOProud and the Log Cabin Republicans—and some speakers are pulling out in protest.

Both GOProud and Log Cabin Republicans have been sponsors in the past, but have been barred from sponsoring the 2013 event. Conservative political commentator S.E. Cupp recently announced that she won’t be speaking at CPAC until it welcomes groups that advocate for gay marriage.

“In the interest of inclusion, it strikes me that now more than ever we should be celebrating our intellectual diversity, not suppressing it,” Cupp said. ”It seems like we’re hardly in a position to be marginalizing any kinds of conservatives, let alone ones who have been so courageous in the face of adversity.” Cupp pointed out that prominent Republicans, including four former governors, have signed a brief arguing for the constitutional right of gay people to marry.

More-progressive commentator Chris Hayes was also invited to speak at CPAC, but said on the air that he would not accept the invitation unless GOProud was included.Because both Cupp and Hayes work for MSNBC, many conservatives will dismiss these walkouts, but CPAC organizers still have to grapple with the fact that marriage equality enjoys majority support in the United States.

The California proposition that prevents the state from recognizing same-sex marriages should be found unconstitutional, the Justice Department said in recent brief that thrilled gay marriage advocates and 62 percent of young people believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. By excluding and further alienating young voters and conservative gay people, CPAC isn’t doing itself any favors.

Organizers face still more challenges connecting with mainstream America: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie hasn’t been invited to speak, either. “If you can’t accept Chris Christie as a conservative then you’re really just asking for another election loss in 2016 and it makes us look crazy in the eyes of the American people,” U.S. Rep. Peter King said.

Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union, which runs CPAC, says it’s because the governor hasn’t held conservative positions recently. Specifically, Christie praised President Obama’s response to Sandy, supported a $60 billion Sandy relief bill, and funded a temporary expansion of Medicaid in New Jersey.

These exclusions make the Republican base even smaller and give a voice to only a portion of the Republican party. Rather than allowing conservatives to make up their own minds about social issues or the Republican party’s role in bipartisanship, CPAC is trying to create the platform for the Republican party and when members don’t follow suit, kicking them out.

CPAC will be held March 14-16 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Maryland near Washington. Speakers will include Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

This post was originally published by Campus Progress.


Photo: New Jersey National Guard/flickr


Winn Adams
Winn A4 years ago

No surprise here . . .

Patricia H.
Patricia H.5 years ago


Lynn Demsky
Lynn D5 years ago


Free G.
.5 years ago

Also absent from CPAC is Freedom Works. WOW!

Cathleen K.
Cathleen K5 years ago

Mike - that thing on the Donald's head is actually his hair; we can tell for sure because he's finally stopped dying it. Looks like Bill Maher and his birther jokes about orangutan paternity finally got to him!

Steve Schmidt, John McCain's campaign manager, has described CPAC as the bar scene from 'Star Wars', minus the Wookie. He's absolutely right. What we're watching is the opening battles in the civil war within the GOP. It's going to be long, bloody and fascinating to watch. The country needs a sane, functional Republican Party; prolonged one party rule is not healthy. A party where half of the members shun the popular governor of a Northeastern state for doing what was right by his own constituents in the face of disaster is a circular firing squad, and the sooner they shoot it out, the better. Time to tell the Evangelicals, the Libertarians, the Tea Baggers, the Black Helicopter Survivalists, and the Klan that the tent is not big enough for them.

Debbie Williamson
Solitary Eagle5 years ago

Thank you.

Mike Kelly
Mike K5 years ago

Did anyone hear Donald Trump speak? He has a solution for immigration. He thinks we should make citizens of 11,000,000 (white) Europeans and that will solve the republican problem with non-white human beings.

Leave it to a washed-up game show host and wanna-be real estate scammer who makes his money by declaring bankruptcy and stiffing his investors. Only the Donald could come up with such an immigration plan. Maybe the white Europeans will bring the birth certificate with them.

What's that thing on his head? Is that a live gerbil?

Robert O.
Robert O5 years ago


Free G.
.5 years ago

It's that time of the year again, when CPAC (The Conservative Political Action Conference) descends on an unsuspecting city. GO-Baggers GO WILD! All of the restraint demonstrated by the GO-Baggers in real life in order to get elected is gone and throw caution to the wind. Every nonsensical thought that pops into their empty heads is verbalized. Louie Gomert is the folk hero of the Conference, while Republican Govenor Chris Christie is not even invited. Obviously just not crazy enough for an invite. It is like an overcrowded mental asylum has opened it's floodgates and let loose every brand of GO-Bagger ideologue to have their 15 minutes in the sun.
For a group of so called Christians, their so called Christian principles aren't evident. For for GOProud and the Log Cabin Republicans; the Republican faction of Gay/Lesbian Conseravatives, the Inn is full. There is no room in the manger for them. After Day One of CPAC, the division between the old GOP guard and the new crazy bagger faction is evident.

Join Fred and Marg on Saturday, March16, 2012 at 2:00 EST (1:00 pm Central, 12:00 pm Mountail, 11:00 am Pacific…and 3:00 pm Atlantic) on Blog Talk Radio's, Lies My Country Told Me: The CPAC Circus Comes To Town! Share your opinion in the chatroom or call in at (347)

John Hablinski
John Hablinski5 years ago

How many more insults will it take the Log Cabin Republicans & GOProud before they realize the Republican Party wants nothing to do with them with the possible exception of Election Day. The words Gay & Republican have a loud oxymoronic ring to them. They should finally come to understand that they are traitors to their own cause.