In a recent post I discussed the incredibly blunt advice from Faux News talking head Fred Barnes to John McCain to drag out the homo straw man in order to win in November.

BARNES: In particular, gays in the military for one. We know Barack Obama is for allowing gays in the military, and Bill Clinton tried to do, but backed off. This is not a popular issue. Gay marriage is another one. These are both issues that I think McCain’s going to have to use. You can’t ignore the right. If he does, he’ll lose.

Of course it’s questionable whether the American people are going to fall for that crap again, but when you have a party so bereft of ideas, this is the kind of pep talk you get from the right-wing not-so-intelligensia.

Chuck Wolfe, president of The Victory Fund, has a column up on the choice gay Republicans have to make if McCain chooses this path.

If McCain decides to take Barnes’ advice, his campaign will no doubt be forceful in its effort to convince fair-minded Republicans and independents that ending marriage rights in California and barring gays from serving openly in the military are not anti-gay positions. McCain will say with a straight face that these are merely policy differences, and that he does not condone discrimination against anyone.

…The targets of that twisted message, both inside and outside the campaign, will have to make a choice. Will they let themselves imagine McCain is cringing through such a speech, regretting what he knows he is doing to his friends and staff, and that later, in private, they’ll get a wink and a nod and whispered assurances that he’s only doing what he has to do to win?

Or will they stand up and walk out?

This is a defining moment for both the Republican Party and its many members who believe in fairness and equality for gay people. Will the GOP once again embrace the politics of division?

Well, Chuck, yes they would. Just my two cents. Seriously, not one of the GOP candidates, even Giuliani, took positions on the primary campaign trail that remotely resembled pro-equality. Not one stood up to the fundamentalist wing of the party this time around — all of them, even McCain, cozied up to some of the most radical bible-beaters (Hagee, Parsley). If the Republican party sees victory slipping from its grasp, there is no doubt in my mind that they will play fear cards of highest order to scare the public about The Brown Menace, the Predatory Homosexual/Transsexual or any other group it can blame that will take the voters’ eye off of what matters. The tactics will have nothing to do with a realistic plan to restore jobs, deal with spiraling prices, or cleaning up the mess in Iraq, just to name a few real issues on the table.

I have no idea whether the Arizona senator will take Fred Barnes’s advice in the end, but all the signals are there that the Log Cabin Republicans are going to endorse McCain no matter how anti-gay he decides to go.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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