Today it was announced that Mitt Romney would speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference in March. The itinerary already included such forward-looking GOP luminaries as Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Mitch McConnell, and Rick Santorum. Sure there are also the Rand Pauls, Marco Rubios, and Paul Ryans, planting their seeds for 2016, but can we please stop focusing on the past? We lost big in 2012, and we need to retool and focus on how to win next time. Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich aren’t going to get us there.
In contrast, CPAC’s explicit exclusion of groups like GOProud, a gay conservative organization, is politically and culturally backward-focused. The battle over social equally, especially issues like gay marriage, is over. Tolerance and inclusion have won, demographically (73% of voters under 30 support gay marriage). This doesn’t make them all Democrats, of course (just mostly – 60% under 30 voted for Obama), but if the GOP and its front organizations continue their cultural Battle of New Orleans, they very well may be, and permanently.