March 12 2013
CPAC Needs a Bigger Tent
Carrie L. Lukas
IWF has a great panel lined up for CPAC on an issue of incredible importance: the Culture of Alarmism that is damaging our country and helping grow government. IWF wanted to participate in CPAC because we believe conservatives need to be aware of how this culture of alarmism works: Liberal groups and media colluding to create fear over some product or activity and giving regulators and politicians an opening to “fix” it.
It not only an important topic policy-wise, but it’s also an opportunity to reach those outside of the conservative coalition and explain the problem with big government. Most Americans recognize that there is something wrong with soda and Happy Meal bans, namely that they are unlikely to work, treat citizens like children, and are fundamentally not an appropriate use of government power. Start a discussion about the stupidity of outlawing the sale of a large soda and you might be able to also introduce the idea that government really shouldn’t also be in the business of dictating the minutiae of employment contracts or using the tax code as a way to reward and punish behavior.
It’s disappointing, though, that CPAC has limited attendance at the conference to exclude groups representing LGBT conservatives, like GOProud. As explained here on NRO, GOProud has consistently supported the cause of limited government and free markets, and is truly a conservative group. Yet even that shouldn’t matter: This is supposed to be a big-tent cause and one shouldn’t expect every group to agree on every issue. Excluding GOProud sends the message—a message that most conservatives including those at IWF profoundly reject—that gays are unwelcome in our movement. That’s damaging to the cause, and more importantly, it’s simply wrong.
Conservatism’s key principles—limited government, free markets, and personal responsibility—benefit all Americans and deserve the support of all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation. CPAC should open its doors to everyone.