This will be, perhaps, my shortest entry ever (I emphasize "perhaps"). Over the past few weeks, I've been perplexed by and discouraged over calls from the right to exclude factions of the conservative movement from this year's CPAC conference. Conservatives are walking a dangerous tightrope if they (we) begin cutting people with whom we disagree out of the conversation. And let's face it -- the discussions we, as Americans and as conservatives, need to be having about our country supersede any qualms some may have about specific issues (i.e. gay marriage, Iraq, etc).
Why are some so ardently opposed to the mere sharing of different ideals -- ideals that happen to contradict only one segment of the conservative movement's mantra? In my view, we need all of the rational people we can get to be in on the very important discussions about our nation's future that need to be happening. Sure, we may disagree on some things, but isn't that what makes our democracy (and movement) great?
Parties hinge on strategic values, but political philosophies can -- and often do -- evolve. Certainly, the bedrock of the conservative movement is small government and a strong national defense. While these values cannot be amended or abandoned without the house collapsing, the other policies and ideals that surround them, while important, should be open to discussion, reformation and debate.
By calling to exclude people who embrace the foundations of the movement, some are evoking less-than-palatable leftist strategy. Let's be open to discussion, prepared for debate and ready to defend our values (and that goes for all sides).
Perhaps some are too afraid to see their ideals tested; I'd argue that an inability or reluctance to defend one's values is cowardly at best. Melissa Clouthier has an excellent piece on this subject here.