The chairman of gay Republican group GOProud lashed out at former Minnesota Gov. and potential 2012 presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty Tuesday, saying that his "stature" in the party didn't even stand up to the likes of Herman Cain, a dark-horse conservative who's announced plans to enter the race for the White House.
Here's the statement from Chris Barron, chairman of the board at GOProud, relayed by AMERICAblog:
I understand that Pawlenty is trying hard to get people to pay attention to his campaign. Its certainly a challenge for someone with such little stature in the conservative movement to compete with high profile conservative leaders like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, etc. Unfortunately for Pawlenty, comments like this simply show how totally out-of-touch he is with the issues that rank and file conservatives care about. If he wants to show he is a committed social conservative he would be much better served talking about the need to defund Planned Parenthood, end federal funding for abortion, reign in an out of control judiciary and support for a parents rigths [sic] amendment to protect home-schoolers.
The basis of Barron's jab appears to be repeated comments made by Pawlenty, a noted social conservative, concerning his desire to take steps to reverse the overturn of "don't ask, don't tell."
In an interview with Wonk Room Monday, Pawlenty said that he would even support rescinding the funds required by the Department of Defense to implement the repeal.
As Slate's Dave Weigel points out, Pawlenty's position seems focused on a futile and "disconnected" commitment to reinstating something that has already been publicly opposed by the highest levels of leadership on the military policy.
The wrinkle in the relationship between GOProud and Pawlenty could possibly get more complicated at CPAC later this week, a high-profile conservative conference that both are expected to attend.
Tensions between social conservatives and GOProud have already flared repeatedly in the run-up to CPAC. A bloc of top lobbying groups have mounted a boycott of the annual meeting for the organizers' decision to include the gay Republican group. The Heritage Foundation and the Media Research Foundation, organizations traditionally thought to be more concerned with fiscal issues, have also signed onto the boycott because of GOProud's presence at the event.