A conservative civil war over CPAC?

The proximate cause of the explosion is the inclusion in CPAC of the combative gay conservative group GOProud. But if the sheer intensity of the quarrel seems disproportionate to that seemingly straightforward dispute, that’s because it’s also deeply personal. Long-simmering resentment of two of the leading figures on the economic right, American Conservative Union Chairman David Keene – who runs the event — and Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, who has long been involved in planning it, has morphed into a conflict that carries the special bitterness of a civil war.

“There are a lot of conservatives who see a larger problem with Grover Norquist and David Keene, and they’ve decided to fight it out and CPAC is a proxy for that,” said Erick Erickson, the publisher of RedState.org, who said he won’t be participating in the conference because he wants to stay out of the conflict. “The underlying question is whether the conservative movement still has strong planks for social conservatism and national security coservatism. But it has also become very personal.”…

The gripes with Keene and Norquist are numerous. Both do work for corporate clients, and many conservatives were particularly unhappy with a leaked proposal http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0709/25072.html to do work on behalf of FedEx in a regulatory fight with UPS. The parts of the right focused on fears of infiltration of America by radical Muslims object to Norquist’s efforts to bring Muslims into the Republican Party, and speak often – on background – of his Palestinian wife.