His spokesman doesn’t offer a specific reason, but it’s not hard to figure out why a guy who famously insisted that “you can’t be a fiscal conservative and not be a social conservative” might skip an event that now seems primed to test that theory.
Assuming that this makes attendance at CPAC the new RINO litmus test, what conclusion are we to draw from the fact that Ed will be there whereas I will not? Hmmmm.
“With leading conservatives organizations not participating this year, Senator DeMint will not be attending. He hopes to attend a unified CPAC next year,” DeMint spokesman Wesley Denton said in an email.
If you missed Ed’s chat with David Keene, the chairman of the American Conservative Union (which runs CPAC), about this year’s boycott, read it now. More than one justification has been offered by boycotters for staying away, but chiefly it’s a protest of the gay conservative group GOProud being included as a participating organization. What’s intriguing about this particular intraparty split is that it doesn’t fall neatly along traditional “true conservative”/RINO lines. For instance, not only is grassroots rock star Andrew Breitbart promising to throw a party for gay conservatives (“The first annual Roy Cohn CPAC Breitbart Homocon Welcoming 80’s Extravaganza”), he’s just joined GOProud’s advisory council. And plenty of big-name social cons are still planning to intend, among them Rick Santorum(!). So essentially, it looks like three things will come out of this: (1) More pointed jokes at DeMint’s expense by GOProud’s founder; (2) a campily fun theme party with DJ Breitbart at the turntable; and (3) some indirect hype for the Values Voter Summit (which, coincidentally, is organized by one of the boycotting groups, the Family Research Council) as the only conference that truly represents social conservatives. Good enough?
Update: A belated exit question. DeMint’s spokesman says he hopes for a “unified CPAC” next year. If GOProud wants to participate again and is excluded in order to please boycotting social cons, is CPAC “unified” under those circumstances?