Tag Archives: Log Cabin Republicans

Republicans vs. African Americans, Part 2,225

I like to read Rod Dreher’s blog over at the American Conservative and occassionally  like to add my view points.  I’m guessing that I’m not provocative enough, because no one ever notices what I say.  One of this most recent posts is on Conservatives and Black Folk and it has set off a discussion or at least a shoutfest.  Below are my comments to his post.  I have to add that I get a little bit tired of this debate mostly because it engages in blaming each other.  Liberals and African Americans talk about how racist conservatives are and conservatives fire back about how useless it is to reach blacks, blah, blah, blah.  I really wish that both sides would put aside their egos and sit down and listen to each other.

As I read this post, I had to heave a heavy sigh, frankly because I’m tired of dealing with it.

From the viewpoint of this African American that voted for Romney, I have a few points.

First, while there have been some racially tinged rhetoric coming from conservatives, I don’t think that conservatives are automatically racist.

Second, while I don’t think conservativatism = racism, that is the bias that conservatives have to live with. The larger society thinks this and speaking from experience, it is hard to break free of a sterotype.

Third, conservatives aren’t racist, but when it comes to the concerns of African Americans, they tend to neglect us and focus on white people. During the election, the only visible time that Romney spoke to African Americans was at the NAACP convention and there he was denouncing Obamacare and not offering a viable alternative. Since many African Americans tend to be in a more precarious situation than whites when it comes to employment, that means we are more likely to lose health insurance, which means not going to the doctor and dealing with all the health issues that blacks deal with like high blood pressure and diabetes. Again, Romney wasn’t racist, but in talking about repealing Obamacare and offering nothing in its place made African Americans think that the GOP doesn’t care about them.

Fourth, while Rod is correct that African Americans won’t ever become a major part of the GOP coalition, it really doesn’t need to get every vote, it just needs to get enough votes. In the 50-50 nation we live in, what matters is getting enough votes from different groups to eke a victory. The GOP will never get the majority of black votes, but if it can make in-roads; say make it a goal to get 15-20%, then you might make a difference.

Fifth, conservatives have to do more than what I call “showroom diversity.” You see this every four years at the convention when a number of persons of color speak at at the podium. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if there are very few delegates on the floor that match the diversity at the podium, then you aren’t going to get the attention of African Americans.

Sixth, the GOP has to actually go to black communities and listen to African Americans. Hear about our lives and what we think we need. The party doesn’t have to pander to us, but they need to tailor conservative ideas to the lives of black folks. I’m sorry, but a tax cut ain’t gonna help.

Finally, conservatives as a whole need to stop unintentional race baiting. Let me explain. After the Trayvon Martin incident, there was a lot of press in the conservative media about that insinuated that Martin was nothing but a thug. While there might have been no racist intent, to African Americans, especially those with sons, it seemed that conservatives were going after black men. I can tell you as a black man, I’ve been looked at as something to fear when in reality I’m about as harmless as a bunny rabbit. There were ways of talking about this without slandering a dead black kid. When such things happen, other conservatives need to speak up and set the record straight. You can’t just ignore it or act like it wasn’t a big deal because to blacks it is.

That’s my two cents.

The Beginning of the End on the Gay Marriage Wars

It seems the GOP is waking up to the reality that same-sex marriage is becoming more commonplace and that it’s not the winning wedge issue it once was:

It’s been one of the swiftest shifts in ideology and strategy for Republicans, as they’ve come nearly full circle on same-sex politics. What was once a front-and-center issue for rank-and-file Republicans — the subject of many hotly worded House and Senate floor speeches — is virtually a dead issue, as Republicans in Congress don’t care to have gay marriage litigated in the Capitol.

Even more than that, Republican leadership has evolved, too. It has quietly worked behind the scenes to kill amendments that reaffirm opposition to same-sex unions, several sources told POLITICO.

It’s not like the GOP has become a bastion of progressiveness on gay rights, but there has been an evolution in the political approach — and an acknowledgment of a cultural shift in the country. Same-sex relationships are more prominent and accepted. There are more gay public figures — including politicians — and it’s likely that many Washington Republicans have gay friends and coworkers. Just as important — there’s also a libertarian streak of acceptance on people’s sexuality coursing through the House Republican Conference.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that change, especially in the Republican party is slow, but it is also most certainly steady.

One Small Gay Step for Republicankind

While some might think the GOP is hopelessly homophobic, there have been green shoots of greater acceptance of gays and lesbians.  Today, we see that Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director, R. Clarke Cooper was tapped by the Republican National Committee to serve on its Finance Committee.

Let me repeat that.  Openly gay man, who heads an organization of openly gay Republicans,  is asked to serve on the fundraising committee of the Republican Party.

Kinda amazing, don’t you think?

This didn’t please the folks at the Family Research Council.  The Advocate reports how they responded:

In a blog post this afternoon, the Christian conservative lobbying group denounced Cooper’s appointment — as well as his organization’s “homosexual-centered” aims — which include bringing a lawsuit against the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy (a federal judge ruled DADT unconstitutional last September).

In a subsequent fund-raising plea, the post’s author, FRC vice president for government affairs Tom McClusky, urged readers to donate to his organization’s own political action committee — or to the Senate Conservatives Fund, chaired by South Carolina senator Jim DeMint.

The blog post is accompanied by an image of the Disney character Dumbo, with an alt tag that reads “elephant gay.”

 

Stay classy, FRC. Below is a pic that Log Cabin was able to capture from the FRC website.

Log Cabin fired back with a fundraising email of its own:

Dear Family Research Council,

Log Cabin Republicans don’t mind that you called us“Dumbo,” because on Election Day, we want to see elephants fly – to the White House, Congress, and in statehouses nationwide.

 

Now, that’s class.

I think this is an important step for the GOP.  It wasn’t too long ago that we had the chair of the RNC who was in the closet and having to support an anti-gay agenda.  To have someone out and proud serving at such a high level in the GOP is nothing but good.

Battle of the Gay Conservatives

Frum Forum’s Jeb Gonklin wrote a great post a while back on the differences between the two gay conservative groups: Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud.  Since I’ve been involved with Log Cabin for almost a decade, my sympathies lie with them.  Gonklin does a good job of describing what both groups have done in the last year, and Gonklin seems to have little good to say about GOProud.  Regarding the latest controversy regarding the Conservative Political Action Conference and GOProud’s role, Gonklin has this to say:

Conservatives tolerate GOproud precisely because they know the group won’t actually push them to address substantive issues involving gay rights.  GOProud’s motto might as well be: “Gays should not ask what the Republican Party can do for them. Gays should ask what they can do for the Republican Party.” But for those gay conservatives who would like their organization to speak for their own interests too, little is to be gained at an event like CPAC.  LCR realizes, I suspect, that it doesn’t need to fight such public wars as the tides of progress flow in a pro-gay direction. LCR’S absence from CPAC is a sign of LCR’s strength. GOProud may have provoked social conservatives into a petulant and self-destructive display, but CPAC remains as hostile as ever to a gay civil rights agenda. GOProud’s participation does nothing to correct that offense.

Gonklin’s post might come off as a bit strong, but I also think he’s on to something here.  GOProud has done a lot of big, spalshy events, like Homocon, but they have done little when it comes to advancing gay rights.  On the other hand, Log Cabin was very involved with trying to get “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repealed.

In a 2009 column, I had this to say about the inception of GOProud:

Does Log Cabin have problems? Yes. I disagree with the support for Hate Crimes legislation, which I disagree with on philosophical grounds. I also think they should have spoken more forcefully when gay GOP staffers were being outed. But that said, on the whole, this group has been a good organization showing that one can be gay and conservative.

As for all this talk about how Log Cabin has become “liberal?” Pure bunk. Please tell me, what is “liberal” about wanting the right to civil marriage, or the right to not be fired from your job because you are gay? What is “liberal” about wanting to serve in our military? The “liberal” term is used by those who are more interested in a “small tent” GOP, than in creating a movement and working to make the party that we love a more tolerant and welcoming party. Just because I believe in that doesn’t make me accept single-payer health care…

I could be wrong since the group’s purposes have not been released yet, but I fear that GOProud will be a group of gay Republicans not so interested in making society and our own party, more tolerant of gays, than it is about preserving the status quo. It’s interested in rallying around the GOP as it currently is and adding a dash of gayness to it. So they will promote the current GOP agenda, but do very little to change it. If that is there agenda, they are welcome to it, but I will remain with Log Cabin, imperfect as it is. My African American heritage and my upbringing in the Black church remind me that one must fight for their rights and that is what Log Cabin does.

It seems that my predictions came true.  GOProud has really done little to advance gay rights.  Last year during the California primary for Senate, they decided to attack gay-friendly candidate Tom Campbell, who they deemed as too liberal, and supported Carly Fiorina, who was supported by the anti-gay marriage National Organization for Marriage.

I know I’m biased, but I think Log Cabin will have a more lasting impact on gay rights and in making conservatism more inclusive than GOProud ever will.

The End of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

I’m sorry I didn’t get to this sooner: I was out of town overnight for a family celebration.  It’s is a great thing to say that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the ban on gays serving openly in the military is basically dead.  It’s another step in the march towards equality for gay and lesbian Americans.

Being a Republican, I do think thanks are in order for the six Republican Senators who voted for fairness, especially Maine Senator Susan Collins who worked hard to get the DADT repeal to come to a vote.

Log Cabin, Collins, Reid and DADT

A Press release from Log Cabin Republicans on lifting the ban on gays and lesbians in the military:

 Log Cabin Republicans call upon the Senate Majority Leader to follow through on promises to bring the National Defense Authorization Act to the floor with enough time for a fair and reasonable debate.

“Several Republicans, including Senators Scott Brown and Lisa Murkowski have made it clear that they are ready to support repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Now it is up to the Majority Leader to make that possible by dealing with the tax issue and moving swiftly to a debate on defense authorization,” said R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director. “Senator Susan Collins has presented the majority leader with a plan that is entirely reasonable, accepting the Majority Leader’s suggested number of amendments and simply asking for four days time to debate this complicated and consequential bill. There has been no response from the majority leader. “ Read on

Moderate Republican Voters Want DADT Repealed

From Greg Sargent:

As you’ve heard by now, the fate of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell rests in the hands of a few moderate Republican Senators. With Senator John McCain continuing to threaten a filibuster of DADT repeal, only support from a handful of moderates, such as Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Dick Lugar and possibly John Ensign, will be enough to make repeal a reality.

Maybe someone should tell these moderate GOP officials that according to the internals of the new Pew poll, moderate Republican rank-and-filers strongly favor DADT’s repeal. Indeed, the only group that opposes repeal are conservative Republicans.

The Pew poll finds that Republicans overall are closely divided on DADT repeal, 40-44. But the breakdown of Republicans is striking. It finds that “moderate” and “liberal” Republicans strongly favor repeal, 62-26. The only reason Republicans are closely divided at all is because conservative Republicans oppose it, 28-52.

This becomes even more pronounced when you factor in Republicans and Republican “leaners.” It turns out that this group favors repeal of DADT, 44-39. And the only subset of this group who oppose repeal are those who support the Tea Party: They are against repeal 38-48.

By the way, independents overall also strongly favor repeal, 62-23.

My hope is that enough moderate GOP voters write to those moderate Senators asking that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell go the way the dodo.

Military Recruiters Can Accept Openly Gay Applicants

This is a good sign:

The Pentagon has advised recruiting commands that they can accept openly gay and lesbian recruit candidates, given the recent federal court decision that bars the military from expelling openly gay service members, according to a Pentagon spokeswoman.

The guidance from the Personnel and Readiness office was sent to recruiting commands on Friday, according to spokeswoman Cynthia Smith.

The recruiters were told that if a candidate admits he or she is openly gay, and qualify under normal recruiting guidelines, their application can be processed. Recruiters are not allowed to ask candidates if they are gay as part of the application process.

The notice also reminded recruiters that they have to “manage expectations” of applicants by informing them that a reversal of the court decision might occur, whereby the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy could be reinstated, Smith said.