As far as this lifelong Reagan conservative is concerned, this should settle the matter of whether or not GOProud is welcome at CPAC and whether or not a boycott of CPAC by social conservatives is the proper course of action.
Ronald Reagan recognized the men and women of good will can differ on issues yet still remain friends and allies. Such differences are the basis for discussion, not excommunication from the greater conservative movement. And as I look at GOProud's platform, i find them to fall within the mainstream of conservatism. Let's look at what they have to say.
The so-called gay agenda is defined by the left through a narrow prism of legislative goals. In contrast to the approach of the left, GOProuds agenda emphasizes conservative and libertarian principles that will improve the daily lives of all Americans, but especially gay and lesbian Americans.
1 TAX REFORM - We support replacing the current tax code with the Fair Tax. Until then, we support death tax repeal; domestic partner tax equity; cuts in the capital gains and corporate tax rates to jump start our economy and create jobs; a fairer, flatter and substantially simpler tax code.
2 HEALTHCARE REFORM Free market healthcare reform. Allow for the purchase of insurance across state lines expanding access to domestic partner benefits; emphasizing individual ownership of healthcare insurance such a shift would prevent discriminatory practices by an employer or the government.
3 SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM - The only way to permanent solvency in the Social Security system is through the creation of inheritable personal savings accounts. Personal savings accounts would give gay and lesbian couples the same opportunity to leave their accounts to their spouses as their straight counterparts.
4 - RESPECTING THE PROPER ROLE OF THE JUDICIARY - We believe our Constitution should be respected and that judges appointed to the federal bench should recognize the proper and appropriate role of the judiciary as laid out by our Founding Fathers.
5 HOLDING THE LINE ON SPENDING Standing up for all tax payers against wasteful and unnecessary spending to protect future generations from the mounting federal debt.
6 FIGHTING GLOBAL EXTREMISTS Standing strong against radical regimes that refuse to recognize the basic human rights of gays and lesbians, women and religious minorities.
7 DEFENDING OUR CONSTITUTION Opposing any anti-gay federal marriage amendment. Marriage should be a question for the states. A federal constitutional amendment on marriage would be an unprecedented federal power grab from the states.
8 ENCOURAGING COMMUNITY ENTREPRENEURSHIP Package of free market reforms to encourage and support small businesses and entrepreneurship. Such reforms would create jobs for all Americans including gay Americans.
9 REVITALIZING OUR COMMUNITIES A package of urban related reforms; expanding historic tax preservation credits; support for school choice.
10 DEFENDING OUR COMMUNITY Protecting 2nd amendment rights.
As I look at this platform, I see an organization that I am in significantly more than 80% agreement -- and about which most conservatives would be able to say the same thing. Indeed, I'd even be prepared to put a label on GOProud -- I'd call them "Dick Cheney conservatives". Anyone want to argue that Dick Cheney is not a conservative and should not be welcome at CPAC? (I didn't think so -- because if you did he'd likely disembowel you with his bare hands.) And were he still with us today, I suspect that this would be the position taken by Barry Goldwater, given his libertarian streak. Are you sure that you want to set forth a definition of conservatism that excludes Goldwater? I'd argue that if you do, you are violating one of the principles of Ronald Reagan himself -- and if you do that, do you really have any place arguing that you are "conservative", "Republican", or "Reaganite" in your politics?
Does this mean I (and many other pro-GOProud/anti-boycott conservatives) am coming out in favor of gay marriage? No, it doesn't. I disagree with plank #7 of the GOProud statement of principles. But unlike the boycotters, I refuse to make gay marriage the litmus test for conservatives, any more than I would make school choice, support for Israel, or even opposition to legal abortion a litmus test upon which one's inclusion as a conservative will stand or fall, even though those are all positions of importance to me. To do so is to create a conservative political correctness that will be every bit as destructive as the liberal variety, and will ultimately drive away those "80% friends and allies" who Ronald Reagan embraced.