Via Greg Hengler, a clip that’s not as surprising as it may at first seem. The One’s agenda has vaulted fiscal conservatism to the top of the list of right-wing priorities; with even Darth Cheney sanguine about gay marriage, social issues simply don’t have the same bite that they used to. In fact, I’m curious to know if Ed’s gotten the same vibe at the convention that Time magazine’s getting — namely, thanks to the GOP’s tilt towards libertarianism, that the big tent is a little bigger this year than it used to be.
While I was flipping through the autobiography, a woman approached the booth. Catherine Sumner, it turned out, was part of GOProud, a group of openly gay Republicans and conservatives that for the first time is taking part in CPAC. “Is this your flyer?” Sumner demanded, waving the white and green pamphlet. Thus launched a debate about gays in the military that pretty much ended when the booth attendee told her that homosexuality is a sin and she’s going to hell.
“It’s insulting,” Sumner, 31, who edits a military magazine, said turning away. “Across the board the reaction to GOProud’s presence here has been positive, but then you have guys like this. Even Dick Cheney came out and says he supports us. Conservatives have to be more inclusive, they have to be.” In fact, just one group, Liberty University, boycotted CPAC over the inclusion of GOProud, though the Catholic crowd weren’t the only ones unnerved by their presence: one booth down from GOProud’s set up in the fourth row, those manning the National Organization for Marriage, which works to ban gay marriage, kept casting nervous – and slightly envious – glances at the somewhat larger crowd surrounding GOProud’s booth.
The tensions didn’t end there. Along the back wall 2004 World Poker Champion Greg Raymer stood waiting for a talk radio interview. “Focus on the Family considers poker immoral,” Raymer said, gesturing towards the Focus on the Family booth down an aisle. “They have no right to tell me what to do.” Raymer is at CPAC representing the Poker Players Alliance, which is lobbying to have a 2005 ban on Internet poker lifted – literally one of the last bills passed by the GOP before they lost control of Congress. “In the privacy of our own homes, consenting adults should be able to do whatever they want,” Raymer said. “Gambling is legal in America. They shouldn’t be mandating how we live. If they consider it a sin, they shouldn’t do it. But don’t tell me I can’t do it.”
Ed wrote a solid post supporting GOProud’s participation back before Christmas. Read that as prep for the clip.