I’m not “boycotting” CPAC, and certainly not because of the exclusion of GOProud or Chris Christie. Those things are both symptomatic of the problem though, which is what it is that CPAC has become.
I went to CPAC three years in a row — 2009, 2010, and 2011. 2009 was a largely positive experience, mostly because I got to see firsthand that I wasn’t alone in my apprehension about what America had done by electing Obama. Over the years I met up with a few interesting individuals, had a few bourbons on Tim Pawlenty’s dime, and sat in on some interesting panels.
But the more time you spend there, the more you realize that CPAC is a product. Several products, actually, where targeted groups get to go hear about things that they already believe. It’s a “Ron Paul Revolution” product, where you can go hear about nullification and the gold standard. It’s a cultural conservative product where you can go hear what is essentially the Rick Santorum message. And, to some extent, it’s a “blogger” product, where select members of the blogosphere can go “report” on CPAC and have their egos stroked. And so on and so forth for a number of other conservative sub-groups.
Don’t get me wrong – there’s some utility to CPAC, though I think one would be better served to just sit an the hotel bar and buy interesting people drinks rather than pay to get into the conference. But it’s basically a product that the ACU sells to people who are already conservative.
And because it’s a product, they can’t offend their customer base by allowing teh gheys in. Or Chris Christie. And they can’t throw the Birchers out because there’s too much overlap with the Paul-bots, who are legion.
I’m not avoiding CPAC just because GOProud isn’t welcome, but because it’s not worth it to me to buy their product.