The Cato Institute has long been my favorite Washington D.C.-based think tank. I don’t always agree with them on foreign policy, but do appreciate their commitment to freedom and their promotion of policies which seek to reduce the influence of the government in our lives. When possible, I support their efforts, having given more to them than to any other policy organization in our nation’s capital. And I appreciate the respect they show their donors.
Thus, I was disappointed to read that an event they are sponsoring, Is There a Place for Gay People in Conservatism and Conservative Politics?, does not include a single gay American conservative. Given that the lead panelist, Nick Herbert, who, we know from his very title, (MP [Member of Parliament], Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Conservative Party, United Kingdom) has experience working with a right-of-center party across the pond, you’ve got to wonder why they didn’t include someone who has had similar experience over here.
Instead, they’ve got someone who has spent the last six years (well, it will be six years a week from today) badmouthing the GOP. Yes, that would be Andrew Sullivan. Given that they’re holding this policy forum on the eve of CPAC that GOProud (which bills itself as representing “gay conservatives and their allies“) is sponsoring and where my co-blogger is speaking, they could easily find someone working within the conservative movement, someone who would have a less jaundiced view of American conservatives in general and the GOP in particular.
Now, this one panel won’t dampen my overall enthusiasm for Cato and their work, but it does call into question their judgment. It’s as if they were caught in a time warp and were looking at an early 1990s roster of out gay conservatives. That list has grown considerably since then. And despite his claims, Andrew Sullivan’s name is no longer on it.