Social conservative organizations may have boycotted the just completed Conservative Political Action Conference but from all observations their absence had no effect on the conference.

Several weeks ago when it was announced that several pro-life groups would not be attending CPAC it looked like the beginning of an internecine war within the conservative movement that threatened to bring down the annual conservative Woodstock.

The boycott picked up steam when The Media Research Center and Heritage Foundation two organizations that are not directly associated with the pro-life movement also announced that they wouldn’t be particpating this after after having done so for most of ther existence.

That raised some eyebrows but in the end it didn’t amount to anything.  The total number of groups boycotting CPAC came to about ten or less than 10% of the total number of sponsors this year.

According to CPAC the number of sponsors actually increased  by 15% shwoing that they were not affected by the boycott.

The group that caused the stir GOProud was barely noticable in the sea of exhibitors and didn’t create any additional controvsery.

With attendance estimated to be a record 11,000 the rela losers this year were the groups that chose not to participate. 

It is a simple case of out of sight, out of mind and with many other pro-life conservative groups in atendance they just scooped up a bigger piece of the pie. 

With a new Chairman at  ACU these groups are probably hoping that things will change next year but as far as I can tell he will maintain the status quo.  And why not?  CPAC didn’t suffer from the absence of Heritage or MRC and instead continued to thrive.

The groups in question have every right to boycott CPAC and I understand their reasoning though it may be due more to wanting to support the Family Research Council’s Value Voters Summit. 

That meeting is far smaller and is fine for the family values set of the conservative movement but lacks the star power of CPAC and will likely remain a very small event by comparison.

The debate wll go on but it is clear that until a viable alternative exists that CPAC holds all the cards.