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BLogCabin & The Blend

“Things always taste sour over at Pam’s House Blend.  But lately, all Pam is serving up over there is a “blend” of ignorance and name-calling.

Pam absolutely loathes Log Cabin Republicans…and that’s fine.  We understand that.  We’re okay with that.  We’re big boys and girls.

But, like many angry Democrats who refuse to understand where Log Cabin Republicans are coming from or what we do on a daily basis, Pam resorts to the same familiar lines about Log Cabin when her steam runs out-and that’s often.”

Caveat: Here in NYC, we see the GOP a bit differently. There was a time when Mayor Rudy was actually sane – I voted for him at least once, possibly twice. I voted for Bloomberg. I voted for, contributed to and supported Bill Green (R) when he was my congress critter (I have also voted for Hillary twice and Chuck Schumer at least twice).

It seems to me that – if we want respect – we need to give it. Gratuitous argumentum ad hominem is disrespectful. It is fair to attack the GOP on issues; They have created an unmitigated disaster. However, it seems unfair to attack a Republican who happens to be gay for being, well, a gay Republican. Notwithstanding the contradiction in terms with some Dobson and Perkins – and a dash of Bauer for good measure, these are people who are trying to change their party. They are doing so in a spectacularly hostile environment. I give them credit for courage while I would question their judgment on the issues. My advice: Keep it civil and attack the argument in contrast to the arguer.

My response:

Pam absolutely loathes Log Cabin Republicans.

I do NOT loathe the LCRs, though others here might.

Fighting for our rights would be a heck of a lot easier if we had both parties vying for our vote. The fact of the matter is that despite how many years of trying to work from the inside, the LCRs continue to embrace and endorse candidates who have ZERO interest in actually acting on ANY civil equality issues. How is that helpful?

I was actually proud that the LCRs sat out 2004 rather than reinforce GWB and his crew of closet enablers. I was glad to see Mitt Romney earn the LCR ire for his flip flopping pandering to the right.

I fail to see how one can interpret anything other than laughable the fact that the LCR made a declaration that it was going to educate the LGBT community about the real (purportedly fair) John McCain. I didn’t say it, the organization did. I’m still waiting for that education that will show us why he deserves our votes.

But alas, as was easily predictable, John McCain met (in private), commiserated with and whispered into the ears of the LCR — which didn’t bother issuing any public information about any progress made with the Arizona senator regarding civil rights issues.

The LCR was quick, however, to issue an APB about the SCOTUS ruling on gun control laws. I took that lightning flash response as an indication that the lack of publicity about the McCain meeting had little to do with a lack of time to churn out a press release and more to do with a lack of movement on any issues by the senator.

On the other hand, John McCain has spent a great deal of time in public and on his official schedule, kowtowing to the right-wing extremists in the same old GOP strategic playbook, and went out of his way to endorse the marriage amendment initiative in California. He has stated that he’s going to take SCOTUS in a rightward direction, another key matter that weighs heavily on our rights.

Quite frankly, I don’t know how the organization addresses the quandry John McCain has left the LCRs in — that level of disrespect for the group is indicative of how deeply sick that party is in terms of inattention to the fact that it is on the wrong side of history.

The far-right is already touting the marriage issue as a winner for the GOP (it is obviously a party bankrupt of new ideas if the best they can offer is McSame). See Gary Bauer’s “Can gay marriage save the GOP again?” citing selective information to bring the reader to the conclusion that gay-baiting is the way to go in 2008 because it “worked” in 2004:

A little-discussed academic paper titled “Did Gay Marriage Elect George W. Bush?” – presented at the 2005 State Politics and Policy Conference in East Lansing, Mich. – illuminates precisely how much of an impact the issue had. Using national and state-level survey data, a team of university professors employed logistical regression analysis and made some fascinating discoveries. For instance, the direct priming effects of the marriage amendments led to a 9 percent increase in the probability that a voter would pull the lever for Bush, even after accounting for constant partisanship, religion, and other salient issues (Iraq, economy and terrorism) and demographic factors. The increased probability of voting for Bush grew to 20 percent among voters who felt strongly about the marriage issue.

The LCR’s Patrick Sammon knows this, calls Bauer out, and urges the party to stop politically gay-bashing in “Republicans beware of marriage politics“. This is spot-on:

Matthew Dowd, Bush’s chief strategist in 2004, says the marriage issue was not the reason Bush won reelection. The New York Times quotes Dowd as saying, “At best, it doesn’t move voters, and at worst for Republicans, it moves them against them. Not so much on the issue, but it becomes, ‘Why are we having a discussion on this issue when we should be talking about things that matter, like the economy, or health care or the war?'”

Even so, Bauer’s argument doesn’t hold water, because 2008 is not 2004. The politics surrounding marriage are changing quickly.

In 2006, the five Republicans who used marriage most prominently as a wedge issue all lost. Sens. Rick Santorum (Pa.) and George Allen (Va.), Reps. John Hostetler (Ind.) and Anne Northup (Ky.), and Ken Blackwell (in his race for Ohio governor) tried to win with anti-gay campaign tactics. They didn’t necessarily lose because of their tactics, but these tactics didn’t prevent them from losing, as they might have a decade ago.

Support for marriage equality is growing. Pew Forum polling shows a 6 percent increase in support for marriage equality in the past four years. A recent Field poll in California showed 54 percent of respondents opposing an anti-marriage constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot in November – an initiative Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger opposes. And many who oppose marriage equality support civil unions – nationwide, combined support for allowing marriage or civil unions for gay and lesbian couples approaches 60 percent. It’s only a matter of time before the law treats all families equally.

Acceptance of loving, committed gay and lesbian couples is on the rise and, consequently, the marriage debate does not have the same heat it used to. Republicans who try exploiting the issue for political gain this November will fail. And they’ll further alienate the young people who are already leaving the GOP in droves.

Patrick is absolutely right. Perhaps the GOP needs to stop being enabled and it must be allowed to fail. The Log Cabin Republicans need to take a principled stand in 2008 – that while McCain may be appealing on the issues you may take to heart –  less government, low taxes, etc. — he has abandoned any pretense of fairness when it comes to our community and should not be rewarded with an endorsement from a group of gay Republicans. He knows full well that words matter — he is energizing the base, and the base is not the LGBT community.

He could have run a campaign remodeling himself as an advocate of privacy, equal protection under the law — heck, that was the old Rudy Giuliani you referenced. The bottom line is that McCain had enough gravitas to take that retooling of the party; instead he took the LCRs for a ride when he could have moved the party away from the fundamentalist faux Christian set.  So no — not all Republicans are 100% wrong on LGBT rights issues, as much as you’d like to portray my view of the GOP that way, but none of the candidates running in 2008 dared to challenge the strangle hold of the religious right. They all pandered. And now at the finish line, McCain’s openly contemptuous of LGBTs by supporting the CA amendment. He could have said nothing.

BTW, it goes without saying that the Democrats have done the same to progressives time and again. It’s not easy to think of how betrayed the LGBT community felt by the Clinton administration on some of its decisions. That said, in 2008 one cannot ignore that our rights will never move forward under a McCain administration – he’s already spelled it out for the LCRs and for us.

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