Rick Perry strategist Tony Fabrizio – anti-gay for a payday (UPDATED)
UPDATE (12/9): GOProud responds to criticism that it “outed” Fabrizio. See the statement below the fold.
UPDATE 2: The Log Cabin Republicans are not exactly pleased with GOProud. That statement is also after the jump.
“I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As President, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again.”
— Rick Perry’s “Strong” ad, running in Iowa (see related Blend post, Rick Perry: Strong on Bigotry)
This post is about “business as usual” inside the Beltway; that everyone has their price. In spite of an ad this outrageous, Rick Perry strategist Tony Fabrizio chooses to pocket an anti-gay payday from the Perry campaign. A high-powered Beltway honco at his firm Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates, Fabrizio tries to fly under the radar of scrutiny, advancing LGBT causes inside the Republican Party, but how can he work for a campaign that puts out filthy garbage like “Strong”? (via Sam Stein at Huff Po):
Fabrizio has done polling for the Log Cabin Republicans in addition to urging lawmakers to reconsider their approach to the culture wars and embrace basic fairness for gay Americans on the issue of marriage. He was considered an ally by pro-gay rights conservatives.
…”It is the height of hypocrisy for Tony Fabrizio to have been a part of that,” said Jimmy LaSalvia, co-founder and executive director of GOProud. “He has lined his pockets for years with money from the gay community to conduct polls to ostensibly help gay people in this country, and for him to be a part of this is the height of Washington hypocrisy. It is absolutely what is wrong with Washington. It is all about the payday for these people.”
If Fabrizio found the ad repugnant and it aired over his objections, LaSalvia argued, he should have quit in protest. “Perry said in the ad that the service of tens of thousands of patriotic gay Americans is what’s wrong in this country,” LaSalvia said. “That is an outrageous and un-American statement.”
Reached by email, Fabrizio confirmed that he was uncomfortable with the ad. But he said he was going to follow the advice he has given to candidates throughout his career: “If you start answering personal attacks, you are just rewarding the attacker.”
What kind of attacks are we talking about here? Hmmm…maybe this:
By the way, Chris Barron of GOProud also said Fabrizio is gay.
I have no idea if Fabrizio’s a homo, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he’s another one of those Beltway creatures that’s socially out, perhaps even professionally out to many, but wants to play coy in order to maximize the cash flow from homophobes like Perry. Yeah, the ad was made over Fabrizio’s objections, but is it worth the payday to affiliate with a campaign that demonizes him as a gay man or insults LGBTs he knows as an “ally”? Please.
It’s 2012 and there are ways to honestly work within the GOP to advance LGBT rights — supporting candidates like Rick Perry with one’s talents isn’t one of them.
It’s not an “attack” to be called gay, for crying out loud. If you aren’t, Fabrizio, correct the record and move on. If you are, then it’s a disgrace to continue to closet yourself for privilege at the expense of LGBTs who choose to be out — and will pay the price for being out by ads like “Strong” that foment hatred and bigotry.
It must be a nice to be able to put the Benjamins over principle in a cesspool like the Perry campaign and sleep like a baby at night.
GOProud’s response is below the fold.
GOProud Statement on Tony Fabrizio – Pollster and Strategist for Governor Rick Perry’s Presidential Campaign
Joint Statement of Jimmy LaSalvia, Executive Director & Christopher R. Barron, Chairman of the Board
(Washington, D.C.) – “From the time this organization was founded we have been clear in our opposition to outing. We would never intentionally out anyone. However, in the case of Tony Fabrizio, top pollster and chief strategist for the Presidential campaign of Texas Governor Rick Perry, we did not believe there was any question about his sexual orientation – nor did the reporters who called us to ask about his involvement in Perry’s anti-gay campaign strategy. Questions about an individual’s sexual orientation should obviously be answered by that individual.
“Let us be crystal clear, however, Tony Fabrizio is not the victim here. Tony Fabrizio has lined his pockets for years with money from gay groups and is now one of the chief architects of a campaign strategy – not just an isolated television ad – intended to demonize gay people in order to score political points. Fabrizio claims he opposed the latest anti-gay Perry television ad. If Fabrizio really does oppose the ad and the broader strategy then the honorable and decent thing to do would be to resign from the campaign. Tony Fabrizio is no junior staffer he is one of the top campaign pollsters and strategists in the country.
“It is obvious that the campaign of Rick Perry is desperate, and in a desperate last ditch effort to become relevant in the GOP Presidential race he and his campaign have decided to employ a strategy that plays to the cheap seats and appeals to the worst in people. Rick Perry should be embarrassed and the people around him who are the architects of this strategy, particularly people like Tony Fabrizio, should be ashamed.”
# # #
And this response from the Log Cabin Republicans…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Robert Turner
December 8, 2011
(202) 253-1830 cell
WASHINGTON, DC – GOProud has just outed pollster Tony Fabrizio. “It is possible to disagree vigorously but respectfully with other people,” said DC Log Cabin President Robert Turner. “GOProud has disgraced itself in attacking Mr. Fabrizio. Log Cabin Republicans are against outing, especially for staffers, who have limited if any control over the politicians they work for.”
GOProud has used Twitter to out someone with whom they disagree. Log Cabin Republicans also disagreed with the Perry ad, but the national office had the backbone to issue an honest press release and list what they disagreed with. GOProud, by contrast, dribbled out a person’s private life through tweets. Worse, given that we don’t know the internal workings of the Perry campaign, we don’t know what connection, if any, Mr. Fabrizio had with the noxious ad.
For GOProud to use a person’s sexual orientation against him in such murky circumstances tells us everything we need to know about how much honor they have: none. GOProud? GOShame!”
Log Cabin Republicans is a national organization started in 1977 that believes in low taxes, limited government, strong defense, free markets, personal responsibility, and individual liberty. The DC Chapter holds monthly meetings, supports local Republican candidates and sponsors monthly social gatherings. For more information, please visit www.dclogcabin.org.
It looks like a catfight here, but it looks like no one event thought Fabrizio was in the closet, so who the F cares, really. Working for homophobe Rick Perry is the real problem here.
* Will Kohler at Back 2 Stonewall: Did GOProud’s Jimmy LaSalvia Just Out Rick Perry’s Strategist Tony Fabrizio As A “Faggot”