CEI is an official co-sponsor of CPAC again this year, February 10-12 in Washington, D.C. That would be the massive Conservative Political Action Conference put on by the American Conservative Union for more than three decades. It's a conference that draws thousands of students, grassroots activists, and leaders in the "big tent" conservative/libertarian movement (or what Grover Norquist has dubbed the "leave us alone coalition"). It seems an obvious point to call this an important political moment - an epic battle for Team Liberty against those who want to impose government mandates and controls over health care, energy use, Internet freedom, and so much more. As evidenced most vividly by the Tea Party movement and last year's election, many Americans are livid about that onslaught.
Are there viewpoint differences among the ranks of CPAC attendees? Of course. And that's what the media likes to cover best of all. But I've always thought it's best to be present and make as many allies as possible, to have that opportunity to persuade and to forge alliances. That's why CEI is not only attending CPAC - come visit our booth in the exhibit hall, if you're there! - and participating in panel discussions on the agenda (see cei.org/cpac2011) but also co-hosting an evening celebration, during the conference, with media entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart and GOProud, a relatively new gay group that advocates small government policies. As GOProud executive director Jimmy LaSalvia aptly described the event: “The Big Party will celebrate GOProud and the growth of a conservative movement that is focused on getting the government out of people’s lives."
Breitbart himself has done a huge amount to leverage all the many voices in the movement, though his burgeoning set of "Big" news-and-commentary websites. And now GOProud is poised to inspire and recruit new people to the cause of liberty. There is much to celebrate at CPAC this year and so much work ahead.