A homophobic flyer targeting conservative group GOProud, which advocates for gays within the Republican Party made its way around CPAC on Friday, sending GOProud's directors into fits of laughter.
Members of GOProud had finally returned to CPAC after a three-year absence. In 2010 and 2011, the group had been sponsors of CPAC and had a booth at the event. However, in July 2011, the American Conservative Union, the sponsor of CPAC, voted to prohibit the group from being a co-sponsor of the event. (At the same time, CPAC also banned the John Birch Society from being a sponsor as well). However, while one of GOProud co-founders viewed the very act of attending as "an unconditional surrender" when the group couldn't sponsor a booth and resigned from the organization in protest, a group of ultra-conservative Catholics felt very differently.
The cartoon "Why GOProud Does Not Belong at CPAC" flyer, distributed by The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), depicts Ronald Reagan sitting on a wooden stool with three legs: "fiscal," "defense," and "social". A vicious rainbow beaver, the words "GOProud" hovering about its head, gnaws on the "social" leg, a pile of wood chips at its webbed feet. According to its website, TFP promotes the values of "tradition, family and property" in order to "form a protective wall against all Marxist, socialist and communist thought."
Outside the conference, which was held at the Gaylord Hotel in National Harbor, Maryland, GOProud co-executive director, Ross Hemminger, was deeply entertained by the flyer. "It's hilarious," he said. I think it's absolutely hilarious." He laughed, his head in his hand "It's proof positive that sometimes people who are your self-described enemies end up doing you the biggest of favors. It's been great for us!" Hemminger smiled, "It really is funny. It's the most unintentionally funny thing I think I've ever seen."
GOProud co-executive director Matthew Bechstein agreed. He cackled as he described the anti-GOProud flyer. "That flyer! It's helpful to us! That shows what our opposition is like here, and we're happy to expose that." Bechstein laughed again, "Honestly, we're not really offended by being called 'the rainbow beaver.' It's sort of turned into our mascot for the whole weekend."