Heritage Foundation Moves Closer To Fringe, Drops Out Of CPAC

January 06, 2011 4:34 pm ET — Walid Zafar

As the conservative movement moves further and further to the fringe, the Heritage Foundation, once the bastion of conservative intellectualism, has decided to align itself with the hard right. The Washington Times reports that Heritage is among several conservative groups that will be skipping this year's Conservative Political Action Conference in response to the participation of GOProud — a gay Republican group — in the popular annual gathering.

Other social-issues groups opting to avoid the conference include the Heritage Foundation, the Family Research Council, the Center for Military Readiness, the American Family Association, the American Principles Project, the Liberty Counsel and the National Organization for Marriage.


The CPAC flap is emblematic of a larger rift between social and economic conservatives over the direction of the Republican Party in the wake of its 2010 electoral success. With many independents swinging Republican in November, the sheer increase in the number of GOP voters means that fissures within the party are bound to be heightened, said Jim Weidman, Heritage Foundation director of editorial services.


"We've obviously got a lot of concerns," said Mr. Weidman. "It's unclear what direction CPAC is going, what philosophy they're going to promote. It looks like it's becoming more of a cacophony, and we want to focus on the three pillars of conservatism: social, economic and national defense."

The "cacophony" Weidman refers to is known to most Americans as difference of opinion. CPAC, with the guidance of Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan, has attempted to make the movement expansive and inclusive, a move that has disturbed the influential and boisterous social conservative movement. As Salon's Justin Elliot points out, conservatives are also attacking CPAC over the outrageous belief that it's being infiltrated by radical Muslims. It really should embarrass Heritage to even be in the same sentence as bigoted groups such as the American Family Association and the Family Research Council (click here, here, here and here for a taste of what these groups are about).