Tag Archives: RNC

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.

A Reform Agenda for the GOP

There are several competing schools of thought as to how the Republican Party can achieve wide success in a country growing evermore racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse.

One school says that the GOP must moderate, or even abandon, its social conservative themes.  The converse school says that the GOP must redouble its emphasis on social conservative themes, playing up that “old time religion.”

Another school — similar but distinct from the first — says that the GOP must look beyond its base, patronizing non-whites, non-Christians, and non-natives, as well as younger and urban voters.  The converse school says that the GOP must shore up its base, pandering vigorously to whites, Christians, and natives, as well as older and suburban-rural voters.

Each of these paths offers potential benefits and potential drawbacks.  Yet not one is truly feasible.  Is there a way to maintain and expand the fabled “big tent” without dismissing a whole wing of the party?  Is there a means of bypassing the liberalization dilemma entirely?

Adopting an agenda of reform and modernization might be the solution.  This move would allow the party to transcend divisive identity issues while presenting itself as smart, innovative, and inclusive.

What might a reform agenda entail?  The possibilities are numerous.  They include: setting congressional term limits, restructuring the electoral college, experimenting with Internet voting, retooling the primary process, expanding broadband and wireless access, introducing ballot-based referendums, combating cronyism and undue lobbyist influence through sunlight regulations, tackling the obesity epidemic, promoting energy conservation and independence, simplifying the tax code, ending prohibition of medical marijuana, creating a national community service program, and means-testing entitlements.

These ideas are neither novel nor thrilling.  Some directly challenge the interests of party bosses and sitting legislators and major campaign contributors, which is problematic.  Yet they could prove worthwhile steps toward making the Republican Party a “one nation” organization with mass appeal.  GOPers marooned in blue states have historically depended upon such good government proposals to overcome entrenched liberal opponents.

Technocratic pragmatism will never compose the heart of Republican politics.  Nor should it.  The country profits from an overtly conservative party.  Still, the GOP should consider a reform agenda if tea party radicalism and right-wing populism fail to produce victory in 2012.

Jumping Ship

So, I have this question that’s been buzzing around in my mind lately:

How long will it be until David Frum leaves conservatism?

This isn’t a joke or anything against Frum; he’s one of my favorite thinkers when it comes to reforming conservatism.  But I’ve observed over the last few years that a lot of folks that claimed the conservative reformer mantle who end up leaving the movement in anger and frustration.

In recent years, folks like Michael Lind, Andrew Sullivan and Bruce Bartlett have basically given up on seeing a renewed conservatism.  Most of them were loyal followers who started to see problems within conservatism and the GOP.  They sounded the alarm in books and in blogs.  They soon got challenged by folks who were once ideological brethren.  They kept seeing the problems and sounding the alarm and kept getting hammered until at some point, they break with the movement, seeing it as nothing but problems.

I sometimes wonder if that’s the trajectory that Frum is following.  He has bravely seen the faults in conservatism and tried to bring them to attention, only to get a lot of flack from old friends.

But at the end of the day, will he hang on to help fashion an alternative vision of conservatism, or will he give up and become a basher of American conservatism instead?

I think it’s hard to swim against the tide.  At some point your arms fail you and you just think it’s better to get out of the water.

My hope is that will he will continue fighting the good fight.  But history suggests that he will at some point leave conservatism.

I hope that I’m wrong.

Frum was Right: It’s our Waterloo

David Frum, a conservative columnist who needs no introduction to those of us who have been arguing for some time that embracing any and all aspects of extreme right wing politics whether it be extreme social conservative or libertarian conservative views, has been offering a stinging rebuke of the far-right in the last few days.

This healthcare fight, as he says, did bring us to a “Waterloo moment”.  One that he believes is politically disastrous for the Republican Party in the long-term even if not in the short term, although maybe even that is now threatened.  A few weeks ago it had seemed that the Tea Party movement had gained such an advantage over the entire debate that healthcare would not be passed and their prime goal of destroying the Presidents entire agenda for the remainder of his presidency would be achieved.  Such a political loss would then propel conservatives and especially hardcore, antigovernment conservatives back into a long term power to balance out the president and even potentially challenge him for the Presidency itself.  All that had come into question on Sunday and David Frum realizes this.  Some of us predicted early on that possibly the 2006 and 2008 elections would lead the party even further right, and that is exactly where it headed.  While it seemed for a time a viable option the only outcome has been a complete and dramatic failure, even if many provisions within the bill itself were of Republican origin such as the individual mandate and no public option.

The steadfast resolve and “stay the course” attitude that the party has taken has effectively led them over a cliff on this one, not even being able to own the ideas that the democrats had taken and made their own with many cases of, in fact, rejecting those very same ideas in order to court the Tea Party activists.  It was a zero-sum game that the Republican Party embraced, rejecting all forms of compromise and realization of their own place as a minority party for an angry, hate-filled, obstructionist fueled message.  It was a movement built upon fear, not one of ideas unless you consider saying “no” to any and all active government efforts to reform broken market systems as an idea.  In doing so the party has let the virulent element that IS the Tea Party to take control of the party apparatus by using fear itself to a point where even in defeat it still lacks the ability to do what is necessary and drop the fringe.  This was a loss that, even if the Republicans win back the house in the coming elections, will hurt the party’s ability to truly win in the future elections.  By being a solid block of “no” even when many of their own past republican ideas of healthcare were included is not a stand of principle, it is a stand for irresponsible governance and failure.  Zero-Sum.  Waterloo.  It sure as hell turned out that way, didn’t it.

Ain't No Party Like a Conservative Party…Oh Wait

Michael Brendan Doughtery’s take on what passes for conservatism is a worthwhile read. Having Aspergers, I’m not always aware what is totally being tongue in cheek and what is the stone cold truth, but I can tell that a goodly portion of it is pretty hilarious. Continue reading