This smells like a pretext to drop them from next year’s conference, thereby clearing the way for socially conservative boycotters to return. Even so, although I support GOProud, I admit to cringing a bit at Chris Barron goofing on boycotters as having exiled themselves to the “Island of Political Misfit Toys” or whatever. It’s not that DeMint et al. can’t take it — Barron himself, I’m sure, could offer a few insights from his formative years about dealing with taunts and name-calling — but doing an end-zone dance over such a contentious disagreement is foolishly and needlessly alienating. And as Barron himself admits, some of his criticism is gratuitously nasty and unfair to its targets:

The new chair of the American Conservative Union, Al Cardenas, today distanced his organization from GOProud, telling FrumForum in an exclusive interview that “it’s going to be difficult to continue the relationship” with the gay conservative organization…

“I have been disappointed with their website and their quotes in the media, taunting organizations that are respected in our movement and part of our movement, and that’s not acceptable. And that puts them in a difficult light in terms of how I view things,” said Cardenas.

GOProud had asserted that Cleta Mitchell, the chairman of the ACU Foundation, was pushing conservative groups and individuals to boycott CPAC because of GOProud’s inclusion. Chris Barron, the chairman of GOProud, recently said in an interview that Mitchell was “a nasty bigot.”…

Asked for GOProud’s response, the group’s chairman apologized for his comments about Cleta Mitchell.

“For the past six months, we have watched as unfair and untrue attacks have been leveled against our organization, our allies, our friends and sometimes even their families. Everyone has their breaking point and clearly in my interview with Metro Weekly I had reached mine. I shouldn’t have used the language that I did to describe Cleta Mitchell and for that I apologize,” said Chris Barron.

Follow the link up top and you’ll see that Cardenas does want more diversity at CPAC, but by that he seems to mean racial/ethnic diversity. When asked specifically about gay marriage, he referred to “time-tested values” and said that you can’t be a “Ronald Reagan conservative” if you support it. I’ve seen that point made quite a bit in the last few days, actually — that CPAC is, after all, a conservative conference, not a Republican one. So maybe that’s the solution for big-tenters who want a place for the GOProuds of the world on the right. Start an alternative conference, organized chiefly around fiscal responsibility, and leave CPAC to the social cons (the Values Voter Summit isn’t enough, it seems). You might even get Palin to attend: To her credit, Sarahcuda told Hannity last night that she’s not sure why we’re wrangling over who can and can’t participate at CPAC when there are far more pressing tasks for the right to deal with. She keeps talking like that, soon she’ll be running op-eds at Reason.

Speaking of which, here’s Reason’s Michael Moynihan reporting from day one of the conference. Exit question: If Cardenas is all about time-tested values, what’s gay-marriage supporter Dick Cheney doing there?

Tags: Sarah Palin