CPAC 2010: The GOProud Controversy

A couple weeks ago, the American Family Association protested CPAC's inclusion of GOProud - a gay conservative group - as a CPAC 2010 sponsor.  They may say they don't hate homosexuals, but the AFA rhetoric makes it pretty clear that they don't want gay people around.

A spokesman for the American Family Association says a Republican homosexual activist group doesn't belong at a popular conservative political conference in February. ... "The bottom line is that homosexuality is not a conservative value," Fischer states emphatically.

Unsurprisingly, WorldNetDaily is leaping to participate in the bigotry, saying that "A viral alarm [is] spreading among conservatives that the American Conservative Union is accepting homosexual sponsorship for its annual Conservative Political Action Conference..." and adding "Campaign launched to reject support from homosexuals".  AFA Action is demanding other conservative organizations oppose GOProud participation at CPAC, saying "groups that promote the normalization of homosexual behavior should be resisted without reserve or compromise by any genuinely conservative organization."

Know how you can tell this is more about bigotry against gays themselves than principled opposition to any support for gay marriage?

  • Dick Cheney is pro-gay marriage and opposed to federal marriage amendment....just like GOProud.  Go try to find an example of AFA or WorldNetDaily "resist[ing] without reserve or compromise" when he spoke at CPAC.  You can't.
  • Ron Paul is opposed to a federal marriage amendment (he voted against DoMA) or a Constitutional ban on gay marriage...just like GOProud.  Go try to find an example of AFA or WorldNetDaily "resist[ing] without reserve or compromise" when he spoke at CPAC.  You can't.
  • The Libertarian Party opposes government restrictions prohibiting gay marriage (they opposed DoMA and support "marriage equality").  Go try to find an example of AFA or WorldNetDaily "resist[ing] without reserve or compromise" when the LP co-sponsored CPAC.  You can't.
  • Google supports gay marriage (they opposed Proposition 8 in 2008).  Go try to find an example of AFA or WorldNetDaily "resist[ing] without reserve or compromise" when the Google co-sponsored CPAC.  You can't.
  • UPDATE: The Log Cabin Republicans, who support gay marriage, sponsored CPAC in 2005. Go try to find an example of AFA or WorldNetDaily "resist[ing] without reserve or compromise" when the the Log Cabin Republicans co-sponsored CPAC.  You can't.

American Family Association and WorldNetDaily are not defending traditional marriage or conservative principles. They're just being bigots.

I've made my case regarding gay marriage in the past, and I'll line up with Ed Morrissey of Hot Air on this story.  Commending CPAC's courage in accepting and defending GOProud's co-sponsorship, Morrissey writes that "GOProud’s priorities are fundamentally in line with [our key principles].  We should not allow a purity campaign to push away natural allies on the fiscal crisis that grips our country, and the opportunity we have to correct it in 2010."

I hope a CPAC speaker will address this matter and express support for GOProud...or even make the case for gay marriage.  I'm looking at you, Andrew Breitbart. Or perhaps it's time to start a "Draft Dick Cheney to talk about Gay Marriage at CPAC" campaign.

Should GOProud and CPAC face more of this during CPAC 2010, I hope that CPAC attendees, whatever their position on the gay marriage issue itself, will stand against the kind of bigotry that WorldNetDaily and American Family Association are peddling.

Fight for the Right: WorldNetDaily Update

The RNC still has not responded to my questions about whether they will continue associating with the conspiracy peddlers at WorldNetDaily.  That's disappointing, but there is better news.

In addition to CPAC declining to have WorldNetDaily speak on the "birther movement" at CPAC 2010, a variety of other very prominent conservative & libertarian organizations have privately told me they would not be working with WorldNetDaily, either.  One said they would ensure their staff put WND on the "blacklist".  Understandably perhaps, they prefer not to go on the record. However, they represent some of the largest, most prominent conservative & libertarian organizations.  I consider these encouraging victories for the ethics and integrity of the Right.

If your organization will commit to not associating itself with these irresponsible fringes on the Right, please email me.  I'd be happy to report it.  In the meantime, you might consider asking Walter Williams, Nat Hentoff and Thomas Sowell why they continue to associate with the disreputable WorldNetDaily.

Why is a good website...

this site is useless

Fighting for the Right: The WorldNetDaily story continues

The reaction to the WorldNetDaily story has been remarkable and I appreciate those that have offered support.  I would encourage people to continue contacting me about which organizations on the Right are, or are not, working with WorldNetDaily.

[1] Let's start with good news: WorldNetDaily will not be at CPAC next year.  I exchanged emails with the CPAC organizer earlier today and she told me this:

[WorldNetDaily founder Joseph] Farah asked if he could speak on the issue (birther movement), but that isn't something we're interested in.

Rejected.  Well done.  There are a couple other demagogues who appeal to our baser instincts that I would like to see CPAC decline to host, too, but this is a very positive step.  Kudos, CPAC.

If any other organizations wish to let it be known that they also reject or renounce association with WorldNetDaily, please email me.

[2] Almost everybody seems to have a misconception about what I'm doing here. I have not called for a reader boycott of WorldNetDaily.  I don't think that would do much good, anyway.  Like Alex Jones, Joseph Farah and WND will have readers; there's a market for the bunker mentality and criticism only rallies them. (shrug) It's not my goal to persuade the true believers.  If they didn't reason their way into it, they probably won't reason their way out of it.

What I have argued is that credible organizations on the Right should not be supporting or encouraging the fevered swamps. If they do, the Right should not support them.  Most coverage seems to have misunderstood this.

[3] After my post on the RNC's non-response to my questions, I had hoped the RNC might do the right thing and provide answers - hopefully, the right answers. Integrity can be difficult in the short term, but it's important...and it's better than letting the world watch you try to hide in plain sight. Unfortunately, I have not heard a word from them. Nothing.  That is disappointing. 

[4] I very much appreciated Patrick Ruffini's thoughtful comments.  He is right.  The Joe-The-Plumberization of the Right is dangerous.  Echo chambers reinforce and magnify errors. We need more Bill Buckley and less Bill O'Reilly.

[5] I always appreciate Robert Stacy McCain's blogging - he really is a terrific writer - but he misunderstands my argument about WorldNetDaily.  I'm not calling for a "purge" of the grassroots and I certainly hope we don't have to choose between "grassroots" and "reality". If we do have to choose between the two, we lose.  William F. Buckley's rejection of the John Birch Society is a very important precedent, so it's worth remembering how Buckley responded to criticisms of his editorial.

It was precisely my desire to strengthen the ranks of conservatism that led me to publish the editorial. Our movement has got to govern. It has got to expand by bringing into our ranks those people who are, at the moment, on our immediate Left - the moderate, wishy-washy conservatives; the Nixonites… I am talking… about 20 to 30 million people… If they are being asked to join a movement whose leadership believes the drivel of [the Birch Society leadership], they will pass by crackpot alley, and will not pause until they feel the warm embrace of those way over on the other side, the Liberals."

My view is this: If Republicans don't clean up their own house, they cannot govern.  They may win elections again, but they won't be able to do anything with it; they won't know what to do with it. [See: 2001-2009]  We can't have a two-party system composed of Democrats and Not-Democrats.

Beating Democrats is not enough.  We need to actually have something worth beating them with.

[6] Conor Friedersdorf makes an important point.

One problem on the right is that loyalty to the grassroots is defined by how shamelessly one panders to them. Thus a talk radio host who crafts an inaccurate news narrative that plays to the prejudices of his audience is deemed a loyal player advancing the movement’s ends, whereas a blogger who points out how his words mislead listeners about reality is considered an obstacle to the cause who is overly concerned about playing fair.

Unlike some in the media, I don’t regard the grassroots on the right as uniquely insane. I’ve done enough reporting at that level to know that most Americans on the right and left are reasonable people acting in good faith. The right’s fringe problem at this moment in time is one that elites have created as much as any crazy fringe righty. Outfits ... deliberately play on the worst impulses of the conservative base, stoking their paranoia and misleading them about reality, all for the sake of bigger audiences and greater revenues. That ought to outrage anyone who actually respects the grassroots, and has their best interests at heart.

This is not a problem unique to the Right.  After all, "Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket."  Next, one hopes, comes regeneration.

The RNC responds, but will not distance itself from WorldNetDaily

After I argued that credible organizations on the Right should not support the conspiracy peddling of WorldNetDaily, it was pointed out that the RNC appears to have rented access to the WND email list.  So I emailed the RNC to inquire about it and encourage them to stop. 

My question was: "Is the RNC really renting the World Net Daily email list?"  This was the response from the RNC Press Secretary:

Nice to meet you. Pls note that we have already weighed in on the birther issue -- weeks ago.  Thanks.

The Press Secretary then appended a NYT story in which this was their response:

Chairman Steele believes this is an unnecessary distraction and that the president is a U.S. citizen,” said Gail Gitcho, a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee. “He wants to move on and continue talking about real and immediate issues that are facing our nation, like health care and the economy. Chairman Steele has other issues to take up with the president having to do with policy, not a birth certificate.”

So, the sum total of the RNC's response was (a) Obama is "a U.S. citizen", but (b) we want to ignore this Birther story, (c) we're not saying whether or not we're working with the Birthers, and (d) we're just going to completely ignore the actual question you asked.

I sent two follow up emails requesting clarification on the following points.

  1. Are the Birther claims a "distraction" or are they false?
  2. Was the RNC renting/using the WorldNetDaily email list or otherwise engaged in anything with WorldNetDaily?
  3. Is the RNC currently engaged in any way with WorldNetDaily?
  4. If the RNC has used the WorldNetDaily email list, does the RNC regret doing so?
  5. Will the RNC renounce future engagement with WorldNetDaily?

The RNC has not responded to either of my emails.  So, in addition to the questions listed above, here are a few more questions:

  1. Why will the Republican National Committee not clearly say that the Birther claims are categorically false and that President Obama was born in the United States?
  2. Why will the Republican National Committee not answer whether or not they paid money to WorldNetDaily?
  3. Why will the Republican National Committee not distance itself from organizations and people who are peddling these ridiculous, disgraceful conspiracy theories?

In the 1960's, Goldwater and a few Republicans had the integrity and guts to denounce the irresponsible fringe in the fevered swamps of the Right.  Today, as far as I can tell, the Republican National Committee works with them.

If the RNC responds further - and I hope they do - I will update this post with that response.

WorldNetDaily Responds

I'm going to post more follow up on the WorldNetDaily issue - including the response I've gotten from the RNC - but first a round-up of the responses we've gotten from WND and their charming readers.

Joseph Farah at WorldNetDaily...

  • He says my call for right-of-center organizations to stop supporting WND's conspiracy peddling is "bullying tactics". 
  • He says he has never heard of me.
  • He says that WND didn't say they were "concentration camps"; they just said that the legislation "appears designed to create the type of detention center" that people "fear" could be used as "concentration camps for political dissidents, such as occurred in Nazi Germany."  He calls this "nuanced".
  • He claims I have called "for an all-out jihad against WND."
  • He says, "Am I scared? No, folks. I'm not." and says he's just standing up for "truth".

In The Washington Times, Farah "questioned Mr. Henke's motives and standing", arguing that The Next Right is "pretty much a Republican establishment group who has worked for the RNC and the Republican Party and I can certainly understand why a group like that would have problems with World Net Daily." He added "these are not journalists, they are political activists who have their own agendas."

So, he's taking the "you can't handle the truth!" approach so beloved by true believers and conspiracy theorists.  He also seems to think I'm part of the "Republican establishment" and aligned with the RNC.  This is an interesting argument, considering the fact that I'm trying to get the RNC to stop working with Joseph Farah.

Some WorldNetDaily readers also wrote to offer feedback. 

Dave says I'm a Commie Leftist or RINO and he does't read this blog.

"Tell me son are you a Commie Leftist incognito or just a RINO being stupid? I've read WND for years, which is more than I can say for your blog. I can't wait to read your blog after BO gets his army of maggots after you one day."

Randy Curtis says Birchers and Birthers were right and I've drunk the Kool-Aid

Actually you are embarrassing to the right but you wouldn't know the right from Adam's off ox.  History is showing that the Bircher's were right and while the "Birthers" may not be correct in their accusations they are right in demanding that Obama show what he has in order to prove what he says.  Instead he spends thousands to stop people from questioning him.  This is not a problem for you?  These questions could end tomorrow and we could look ar his Socialist agenda if he would put up.   Have another sip of Kool-aid and go to sleep since you disregard the founding documents and their principles. If you belong to the right then you should appreciate WND.

Carmen Valdes says I must be enjoying the traffic from WND (actually, WND doesn't really send much traffic) and I'm a communist:

you must be basking in the sun with all the free publicity you must be getting from Farah's editorial in WND directing traffic to your unknown little hole.  since you are in the same bed as media matters and the huffinton post no serious normal thinking conservative would be associated with the likes of you. why don't you direct your efforts to exposing obama's administration being run by communists and terrorists? what am i thinking? you are one of them

Jeffery says I am an "enemy of American", he's going to troll the web attacking me and our CAPTCHA sucks:

YOU sir are an enemy of America in the WORSE FORM! is one of the FEW REAL INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST LEFT!! So I will be posting and suggesting a boycott of YOUR MOVEMENT all over the net today and the rest of the week, then month and maybe even year unless I see a retraction of some type from Have a good day. By the way your "captcha" makes no sense, the first word is no "word" at all.

Gunnery Sgt D.C. Robertson threatened me with violence and wrote a lot of things that I'm going to redact.

Jon,I hope you get a triple case of AIDS the next time you take it up the a**, you f*****g homo.  You and your putrid ilk put that Comie n****r in the White House and accidently woke up the silent majority of white, Christain, tax-paying Americans.  No longer will the soul of this great nation be intimidated by political correctness.   You f****d up buddy and now you have a front row seat to see the newly awakened vanquish the cancer of fascism from this land.  Oh, by the by, I do hope to meet you in person some day for a bit of attitude adjustment.Semper Fi, Motherf****r.

Plungeon offered his thoughts in ALL CAPS.  That's way more convincing than those sentence case arguments.


J.T. Wheeler thinks I was put up to this in order to help somebody stage a "coup".

You smell like a liberal.  It sounds like someone put you up to a hit piece on WND, to help commence a staged "right-wing" coup.

I wear the criticisms of Joseph Farah and his WorldNetDaily supporters like a badge of honor.

Organizing Against WorldNetDaily

This is just hideously embarrassing for the Right.

[T]he Web site says that the government is considering Nazi-like concentration camps for dissidents. Jerome Corsi, the author of "The Obama Nation," an anti-Obama book, says that a proposal in Congress "appears designed to create the type of detention center that those concerned about use of the military in domestic affairs fear could be used as concentration camps for political dissidents, such as occurred in Nazi Germany."

In the 1960's, William F. Buckley denounced the John Birch Society leadership for being "so far removed from common sense" and later said "We cannot allow the emblem of irresponsibility to attach to the conservative banner."

The Birthers are the Birchers of our time, and WorldNetDaily is their pamphlet.  The Right has mostly ignored these embarrassing people and organizations, but some people and organizations inexplicably choose to support WND through advertising and email list rental or other collaboration.  For instance, I have been told that F.I.R.E (The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) - an otherwise respectable group that does important work - uses the WND email list.  They should stop. [SEE UPDATE II]

No respectable organization should support the kind of fringe idiocy that WND peddles.  Those who do are not respectable. 

I think it's time to find out what conservative/libertarian organizations support WND through advertising, list rental or other commercial collaboration (email me if you know of any), and boycott any of those organizations that will not renounce any further support for WorldNetDaily.


I have inquired with F.I.R.E., but they have not responded to my email.  I will attempt to get an answer from them again.  If you know or can contact somebody with F.I.R.E, please let me know what you hear.

I have also inquired with the RNC, which appears to have recently paid for access to the WorldNetDaily email list.  I have not gotten a substantive response from the RNC yet.

In the meantime, I would encourage you to (a) email me with any substantive information you have on what other right-of-center groups advertise on, or rent email lists from, WorldNetDaily, and (b) email or call to let these groups know that Republican, conservative or libertarian groups should not support Birther/Concentration Camp conspiracy theories.


I tried to contact F.I.R.E. yesterday before publishing this and I tried again today, but never received a response.  However, David Mastio, Senior Editor for Online Opinion and Innovation at the Washington Times, emails to tell me the response he got from F.I.R.E.

I called Fire and talked to the Veep Robert Shibley.

According to him, Fire rented a list from WND through a third party broker on one occasion (SOP for list rental) and does not have any continuing relationship or plans to rent from them again. He says that they were not aware of any loopy views espoused by WND as they didn't see a need to investigate before they rented the list.

I think that is a reasonable and satisfactory explanation from F.I.R.E.

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