Streams

At CPAC, a Conservative House Divided?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The annual Conservative Political Action Conference is always a big shindig, but this year there will be some new faces at the planning table: GOProud, a gay group that implicitly supports gay marriage in addition to the usual laundry list of conservative ideals. GOProud's attendance was enough to set off a boycott of CPAC by prominent conservative politicans and groups, including individuals who had previously attended the conference and even delivered keynote speeches there. With an energized Republican Congress still fresh out of the oven, the sudden divide over CPAC 2011 reveals a splintering within the political right

It's not enough to stop most of the presidential hopefuls from attending, but will the courting of gay Conservatives push religious and social conservatives off into another political zone? Some big names have declined to attend not because of GOProud, but ostensibly because the conference has become "too libertarian." Other wily players are removing themselves from the fray and waiting to see where the chips will fall, all the while claiming scheduling conflicts. Is this the beginning of a reshuffling of allegiances?

To help illustrate the divisions, we've put together a nifty list of who RSVPed Yes, who RSVPed Nah, and why...if they told anyone.


Who Said No

Who Said Yes

Mike Huckabee declined to attend, saying CPAC has become too "libertarian."

Rush Limbaugh declined to attend this year. He delivered the keynote speech at CPAC in 2009.

News Host Sean Hannity said no. He spoke at CPAC in 2007.

Chris Christie's staff said he didn't have time. “The governor receives hundreds of speaking and appearance invitations every month," said a spokesman.

Sarah Palin has never attended CPAC, and declined an invitation to be the keynote speaker this year.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said he is boycotting the event because of the inclusion of GOProud and other gay groups. The Senator spoke at last year's conference.

Newly elected Senator from Florida Marco Rubio declined an invitation, but didn't say why.

Former Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, rumored to be considering a presidential run, is skipping CPAC.

U.S. Rep Jim Jordan (R-OH) is boycotting because of GOProud.

Frank Gaffney, who is boycotting not only because of GOProud, but because he alleges that CPAC has been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood. (Gaffney is particularly opposed to the inclusion of Suhail Khan and a group called Muslims for America.) He spoke at last year's event.

Tim Pawlenty, former Governor of Minnesota and potential 2012 presidential candidate will speak.

Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana and potential 2012 presidential candidate will speak.

Rick Santorum, former Senator of Pennsylvania and potential 2012 presidential candidate will speak.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and a potential 2012 presidential candidate will speak.

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is the keynote speaker and a potential presidential candidate in 2012.

Former Massachusetts governor who unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination in 2008 and is rumored to be considering another run in 2012.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich will give the Thursday lunch address and is another rumored presidential candidate.

Governor of Mississippi Haley Barbour, possible presidential candidate in 2012 will speak.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) is considering a 2012 presidential run will be speaking at the conference.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky will be speaking.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton will be speaking at CPAC.

Libertarian commentator Andrew Breitbart said the point of CPAC is "to welcome people into the 'big tent'" and is planning to throw a party for gay conservatives at this year's conference.

Talk show host Herman Cain—who is running for president—will be speaking at CPAC.

Author Ann Coulter will speak at CPAC.

Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will speak at CPAC.

Newly elected U.S. Rep. Allen West has been selected to give the keynote address at CPAC this year.

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) will be speaking at CPAC.

Texas Governor Rick Perry will be speaking at CPAC.

Donald Rumsfeld is attending this year's conference—possibly to market his new book?

Phyllis Schlafly, President of the Eagle Forum, will be speaking at CPAC.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) will be speaking at CPAC.

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