“Deepening a rift ahead of the largest annual gathering of conservative activists in Washington this week, some of the movement’s top leaders have circulated a private memo urging that conservatism’s founding principles be recast to exclude gay rights groups from the Reagan coalition of economic, defense and social conservatives.

“The memo, obtained by The Washington Times, was signed by about two dozen leaders, and was released just as the Conservative Political Action Conference is set to begin its most contentious session in years, riven with divisions over a gay rights Republican group that is helping sponsor the conference and the social conservatives who are trying to keep it out…

“But the memo, written under the moniker Conservatives for Unity, argued that there can be no common ground between gay rights conservative activists and social-issues conservatives, and said it’s time to settle the issue.

“‘It is not necessary for each group within a political movement to embrace the full agenda of others. But it is necessary for each group within any coherent movement not to stand in diametrical opposition to one or more of its core principles. It is our conviction that the institution of marriage and the family qualify as such principles,’ said the conservatives.”

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“Tim Pawlenty’s support for blocking the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ draws a salvo from GOProud’s Chris Barron:

“‘I understand that Pawlenty is trying hard to get people to pay attention to his campaign. Its certainly a challenge for someone with such little stature in the conservative movement to compete with high profile conservative leaders like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, etc. Unfortunately for Pawlenty, comments like this simply show how totally out-of-touch he is with the issues that rank and file conservatives care about. If he wants to show he is a committed social conservative he would be much better served talking about the need to defund Planned Parenthood, end federal funding for abortion, reign in an out of control judiciary and support for a parents rigths amendment to protect home-schoolers.'”

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“Maybe had the libertarians done a better job of preventing their party from being overrun with libertines — a group of people who couldn’t care less about the size and scope of government as long as their desires for one night stands with a bag of weed and a tranny from 7th and Broadway are unimpeded by government — we wouldn’t be having these issues within the conservative movement.

“The conservative movement, of course, is that part of the center-right coalition that joins libertarians in the desire for smaller government, but actually believes there must be some bit of morality in government. It is, despite the preference of some, separate and distinct from both libertarians and, more so, Republicans…

“In any event, your mileage can vary on where you stand on whether they should be or should not be at CPAC (I’d rather GOProud than the Muslim Brotherhood), but on the issue of GOProud and Tim Pawlenty, your mileage can’t really vary if we’re going to uphold one standard and some basic reciprocity.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty has endorsed the long standing and conservative position of Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell — a position long advocated at CPAC no less. In response, Chris Barron of GOProud is attacking Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty, by the way, is not ‘boycotting’ CPAC because of GOProud’s presence. He’ll be there.”

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