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I don't know if I agree that the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is on a "sprint towards irrelevance", but the current tragicomic celebration by Republican gay rights group GOProud over not not being entirely banned from the premises (premises brimming with conspiracy theorists, secessionists, catastrophic government failures, catastrophic electoral failures, hucksters, hustlers and the odd white supremacist, but having the gay, now that might make people upset) is certainly worth a few shakes of the head.
Two former GOProud summer interns, Ross Hemminger and Matt Bechstein, took over last summer and sought to repair the bitterly frayed relationship. Under a compromise reached last week, they will attend the March 6-8 gathering as guests, without sponsorship or a booth. GOProud sees the lower-profile role as an important first step.
Progress, of a sort? So the group will not be allowed to set up a booth or put their name on conference-organized events, but they'll let you in the door if you buy a ticket and show up. (No—let's just assume for the moment that "guest" means CPAC will provide a pair of free tickets o something, because if they don't even get that much, I assume all involved would be too humiliated to point to "we are now allowed to purchase tickets" as some sort of breakthrough in Republican inclusion.) The grand bargain reached, then, is the same "grand bargain" that caused the group to be forcibly ousted from the conference in the first place: since groups like Heritage and the Family Something Something threatened to not show up if the GOProud name was put anywhere in proximity to their own crooked letters, GOProud members were not allowed to show up in any capacity other than attendee. Except now it's progress, because we've agreed not to be so openly mean about it.

If the cautious optimism expressed by (the remaining members of) GOProud over that is not a perfect encapsulation of the plight of LGBT Republicans, I'm not sure what would be. Damn, folks, show a little self-respect, will you? A hair?

The problem with all of CPAC, and I speak here as an unwilling once-attendee of the thing, is that it is a collection of people who have a pathologic inability to feel shame:

But it was Heritage’s political action wing, not GOProud, which pushed for and succeeded in forcing the most obviously disastrous political misstep in more than a year: the government shutdown.

It was not GOProud’s actions that resulted in a Democratic revival and a shocking disparity favoring the president’s party in the generic congressional ballot. It was not GOProud that marshalled more than half a million dollars and launched digital advertising campaigns designed to reduce the support of conservative lawmakers in their districts in pursuit of that ill-conceived political maneuver.

Well, yes, and that is precisely because CPAC is intended as monument to those very failures. Destroy a budget surplus For Conservatism, and you're a hero. Be passionately and conspicuously wrong about something—foreign policy, economic policy, science, the outcome of passing your new law allowing private employees to be used as sausage filling, you name it—and your ideologically rigid incompetence is the ticket to your fame. There's a reason that the Sarah Palins and the Donald Trumps are popular movement figures; they are perceived as being disliked by liberals, and that is full and sufficient reason to declare that they must be clever folks. Insufficiently partisan New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie could not get himself invited to the big show—until an investigation was launched into whether his office improperly used the machinery of government to punish his perceived enemies, non-conservative enemies, Democratic enemies. Now he'll get a standing ovation.

No, I do not think that CPAC, or their very peculiar brand of Orwellian conservatism, is in any danger of obsolescence anytime soon. Being snidely oblivious, stubbornly contrarian and very proudly wrong is very much the point; the very premise of the conference is to get like-minded people in a room and all be stubbornly, obliviously wrong about things together, without any pesky interference from news broadcasts or budget sheets or history books or those damn irritating non-conservatives bringing up things, a place where a Rand Paul can be a hero for sticking it to the man, whoever the man is during any given week, but where a Mitt Romney is an embarrassment because he did not believe enough, or was not beholden to the ideology enough. He was not wrong in the right ways, you see, in the ways that appear on the pamphlets and handouts each and every year. It's all written down in bold black and red print, lots of exclamation points behind the important stuff; there's no excuse for not knowing these things.

So GOProud will be allowed to be in the building, again, and yet again Being Seen But Not Heard will be about as much heterodoxy as can be stomached by the rest of the very inclusive conference, and all involved will congratulate themselves that chocolate rations have been increased. Same as it ever was.



Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2003Blair faces party revolt; US loses Canada:

It is clear that the governments of the UK, Spain, and Italy have real decisions to make -- to represent the will of their people or risk losing power in defense of Bush's invasion.

In England, support for Blair and the war are plummeting despite a months-long PR campaign to prop up popular support. And, Labor's left wing is openly talking revolt if Britain goes to war without UN Security Council approval.

"This is crunch time for Tony Blair," said Alan Simpson, a leader of Labor's antiwar faction in the House of Commons. "He can lead the war party or the Labor Party, but he can't lead both. It's quite clear if he goes off to war, he will have left the party behind him."
Blair's political difficulties seem to have convinced the US to seek a second resolution, even while publicly arguing it doesn't require one.


Tweet of the Day:

If you're getting one of Georgia's new Confederate Flag license plates, here's an idea for the vanity message: LOSER http://t.co/...
@Salon



On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin manages to get in a brief roundup of news in the wake of the recent controversial study of mammography and medical outcomes before falling prey to technical difficulties that knocked us off the air for a few minutes. But the show comes back, and we move on to discussion of Kevin Roose's "What I Saw When I Crashed a Wall Street Secret Society," and Mike Elk's post-mortem on the Chattenooga VW plant unionization vote.



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