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Some Conservatives More Equal Than Others? Think Again

Thursday, January 27, 2011 - 12:28 PM

It used to be that conservatives opposed identity politics. I remember a time, not that long ago, when it was rare to have Republican groups where race, religion or sexual orientation was their common factor. In 2004 George W. Bush's "Women for W," "Jews for W," etc., groups were pretty jarring. I remember discussing with other Republicans how it seemed like a very Democratic thing to do.

I know this is an invitation to people to go find Jewish Republican groups or black Republican groups that existed before I was born or point out that the Log Cabin Republicans have a long and storied history. That may be the case, I just think that George W. Bush introduced the concept into the Republican mainstream in a way that didn't really exist before.

This is all to say that in the recent brouhaha over the gay group GOProud being included in the "participating organizations" for CPAC, and the resulting boycott by some social conservative groups and politicians, the idea that "conservatives don't *do* identity politics in this way" just can't be counted as a legitimate reason. I understand the wish to make it not so, but the "we don't do identity politics" ship sailed a long time ago.

The fact is, there is no legitimate reason to exclude any group who wishes to support conservative principles. The fact that some principles are opposed by some people is also nothing new. As attendance at several CPACs over the years has proven to me: we are not a homogeneous group. You will find strict pro-lifers who support gun control, fiscal conservatives who support gay marriage, advocates for the smallest of government who are pro-choice. It isn't even always a fiscal/social divide. People who are pro-life, as I am, may support gay marriage, as I do. The idea that we would exclude gay people, presumably because their support of "gay marriage" precludes them from self-identifying as "conservatives," is absurd. The idea that we would exclude gay people because they are gay is repulsive.

Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at Alarming News and about life in the city with her husband and baby at 212 BabyShe can be followed on Twitter.

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Comments [2]

Karol from NYC

"I sometimes have trouble understanding why gay and lesbian Americans can support a party that has been so opposed to an agenda of equality."

See, and I never understood why gay people would vote en masse for the party that does so little for them and takes their vote for granted. Neither political side supports gay marriage so voting on all the other issues should split the gay vote along the same lines as the general populace. And yet, they continue to vote Democrat. I love that GOProud and Log Cabin exist to provide them with an alternative political home.

Jan. 28 2011 01:02 PM
Justin Krebs from NYC

Amen.

I probably don't agree with the assessment that conservatives haven't done identity politics in the past, but I applaud your point that the argument around GOProud is absurd.

I remember the first event that Drinking Liberally hosted with the NYC Young Republicans in '04. It was a welcome discovery that members of the group were as in favor of gay rights as we were. We could argue about tax policy and agree about social policy (at least that one).

I sometimes have trouble understanding why gay and lesbian Americans can support a party that has been so opposed to an agenda of equality. This controversy is a sad and frustrating reminder that to many conservatives, it's not enough to want to shrink government to the size that you can drown it in a bathtub.

Over time, the mainstream Republican Party will come to the side of equality for all Americans. But it will be an interesting fight along the way.

Jan. 28 2011 10:03 AM

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