MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Refuses To Attend CPAC Without Gay Conservative Organization GOProud (VIDEO)

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes; @TPM

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes; @TPM

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, host of  Saturday morning show “Up with Chris Hayes,” received an invitation to speak at the March 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the legendary annual event that hosts up to 10,000 conservatives.

The formal letter invitation read:

“As one of America’s leading conservative voices, your participation in CPAC 2013 will be critical in our efforts to unite and energize conservatives.” [Source: MSNBC]

Of course, he is not a conservative voice. Way to be organized, GOP. Fail.

As said by someone who is a conservative voice:


Anyhow, there is no way I could ever attend such an event… every fiber of my being would be screaming. But Mr. Hayes? Not so much. He was excited.

My initial reaction was: of course I’ll go! As someone who attempts to convene discussions across various ideological boundaries, I have a special appreciation for CPAC’s willingness to invite someone with my politics to speak to the attendees. And as someone who regularly invites conservatives to sit at our table with a bunch of liberals, leftists and progressives, it seems only sporting (and karmically appropriate) for me to accept. (Source: video transcription) [Source: MSNBC]

But then, he remembered the 2011 CPAC, at which the American Conservative Union (ACU), which sponsors CPAC, made the decision to exclude conservative gay groups, including the prominent GOProud.

That year the board of the American Conservative Union, which sponsors CPAC, voted to ban the gay conservative group GOProud from sponsoring the 2012 conference. GOProud was founded in 2009 by two former Log Cabin Republican staffers and its co-founder Chris Barron told me that one of the first things they did was send a check to the ACU to co-sponsor CPAC. They were accepted as sponsors in 2010 and in 2011, but social conservatives mobilized against them and ultimately prevailed. [Source: MSNBC]

He was unsure if the policy was still in place, however, so he made an inquiry.

I wrote back to Al Cardenas who runs the ACU in a letter yesterday and asked whether the policy is still in effect. If it isn’t, I told him, I’m psyched to go and if it is, well, I’ll wait until it changes, which is, really, just a matter of time.

GOProud reports that the ban against conservative groups attending CPAC is still firmly in place.

Hayes was clear in his intent. He has no love for GOProud, but it’s the principle.

The point is the principle, which is: it’s not OK to ban organizations for reasons of pure bigotry. But the ACU does this because there’s a powerful constituency within conservatism that won’t have it any other way. It may not even be a majority of conservatives at this point, as a number of conservatives have said to me, but the bigots have enough juice that they call the shots. [Source: MSNBC]

We have two groundbreaking marriage equality cases before the Supreme Court of the United States right now. As of Friday, the Obama Administration is also pressing SCOTUS on the federal government’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriages and asking the court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional. Same-sex marriage is now allowed in nearly 20% of states.

The GOP is all about self-improvement right now. Note because they WANT to be, and they’re not fooling anyone, but because they understand (I thought) that they have to evolve or die. So WTH??? We already know they don’t like gay people or  the liberals who support gay people. And they discriminate against Republican gays, too?

Hey, GOP??? This is a hot issue. Just trying to clue you in.

Hey, GOP??? About that evolving and growing so that the GOP can continue to thrive in a changing demographic? Fail.

Hey, GOP??? I’m jumping up and down here, on the shore, waving my arms in the air, watching you drown in two feet of water. PUT YOUR FEET DOWN. YOU CAN TOUCH.

Hayes ended his video statement with a question.

The grand irony is that this year’s CPAC will largely be devoted to debating and brainstorming how to resurrect the electoral fortunes of conservatism in a country in which “those people” now make up a majority, and there are, as GOProud co-founder Chris Barron pointed out to me, several panels even explicitly devoted to inclusion. All this while GOProud is still exiled.

In the last few months there has been an absolute avalanche of articles and blog posts and essays and magazine cover stories and TV segments about How to Save the Republican Party, but is the Republican party worth saving? [Source: MSNBC]

Most of my hard-line liberal friends are giddy with delight as they watch the GOP flounder. I’m not as giddy. Don’t get it twisted, I Never. Want. Them. To Win. Another. Election. But it gives me no pleasure to watch people writhe in agony. In the months since the election, I’ve had many conversations with my conservative friends about the fate of the GOP. Some of them recognize that the party isn’t going to survive without evolving, and they’re game for some compromises. Some of them still have their heads in the sand. I see myself and countless other scratching our heads in bewilderment as we offer feedback and suggestions in vain. I am going to assume that if I’m seeing the genuine attitude at the grassroots level, this attitude is a mirror of that of the GOP leadership.

So is the GOP worth saving?

No. They are not. The entire conservative agenda is based on the principle of people rising up and helping themselves. If they can’t see how far off the mark they are, if they can’t see that without change they are dinosaurs and they die; if political ideology and nostalgia about Ronald Reagan is more important to them than surviving as a conservative party… they deserve what they get.


See video.


I am an unapologetic member of the Christian Left, and have spent a lot of time working with “the least of these” and disadvantaged and oppressed populations. I’m passionate about their struggles. To stay on top of topics I discuss, subscribe to my public updates on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me via LinkedIn. I also have a grossly neglected blogFind me somewhere and let’s discuss stuff.