Look who’s coming to CPAC

LOOK WHO’S COMING TO CPAC…. In February, the Conservative Political Action Conference will get underway in D.C., and because CPAC has become the right-wing event of the year, the conservative movement’s heavy hitters are anxious to be a part of it.

But let’s note who, exactly, has become part of the conservative movement. For example, the 2010 CPAC gathering will be co-sponsored by the hyper-conservative John Birch Society. While JBS was, not too long ago, considered far too ridiculous for the American mainstream — even Republicans considered Birchers a political pariah — the bizarre group has slowly been welcomed into the fold as conservatives have become more extreme.

When Glenn Beck embraced the Birchers two years ago, Alex Koppelman reminded us, “The JBS is, after all, the group that believed fluoridated drinking water was a Communist mind-control plot. Oh, and its founder, Robert Welch, once accused Dwight Eisenhower — and no, we are not kidding — of being ‘a dedicated conscious agent of the communist conspiracy.'”

And now the John Birch Society is co-sponsoring CPAC. When I talk about radicalism being mainstreamed by the right, this is what I’m talking about.

And speaking of CPAC and co-sponsors, there’s another controversy bubbling up.

Earlier this year, GOProud, a new gay conservative group, appeared on the scene intent on finding ways to sell the conservative agenda to gays.

Their approach has been to eschew the “traditional” gay issues like hate crimes protections or the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in favor arguing that healthcare reform would be bad for gays, that “the inheritance tax is really a gay tax,” or claiming that the best way to stop hate crimes is to expand gun ownership.

But GOProud does also support things like marriage equality and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell … and for that reason the Religious Right’s professional anti-gay activists at Americans for Truth and the Liberty Counsel are now threatening to boycott the annual CPAC conference if GOProud is allowed to serve as an official co-sponsor.

As intolerant hatred goes, this is pretty impressive. These religious right groups want to be part of CPAC, but if conservative gays are helping support the conference, the groups are boycotting the event.

The religious right groups are, however, fine with John Birch Society.