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  • « What was he thinking? | Main | God's mixed messages with Gustav »

    August 31, 2008

    Log Cabin's big decision

    Posted by: Chris

    Mccainpalinhug All signs point to a forthcoming Log Cabin endorsement of the McCain-Palin ticket, which would be profoundly disappointing from a group I believe is committed to the struggle for gay civil rights and equality.

    As much as my co-blogger Kevin predicted "gay Democratic hacks" would exaggerate Sarah Palin's mixed record on gay issues, the nation's largest GOP group is so far playing the same game:

    Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon
    She's a mainstream Republican who will unite the Party and serve John McCain well as Vice President.  Gov. Palin is an inclusive Republican who will help Sen. McCain appeal to gay and lesbian voters.

    Log Cabin spokesperson Scott Tucker
    Sen. McCain’s choice for Vice President, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, is a smart choice on many levels.  She unifies the GOP across the spectrum.  Plus, Gov. Palin will help appeal to disaffected Hillary supporters.  Also, so-called “pro-family” groups love her because she’s solidly pro-life. …
    But, let’s remember one thing: pro-life doesn’t equal anti-gay. Her record on gay issues is unclear, but it’s not anti-gay and news reports say she has expressed sympathy for gays who face discrimination.  In 2006, she said she’s “not out to judge anyone and has good friends who are gay.” Her record doesn’t necessarily mean she’s going to support pro-gay issues, but it indicates she’s an inclusive leader who isn’t a bigot. …
    The only decision she made as governor affecting gay people benefited our community.  In late 2006, many social conservatives wanted her to sign a bill that would’ve blocked benefits for the same-sex partners of state employees.  She vetoed the bill.  Though she disagreed with the Supreme Court order that directed the state to offer the benefits, she said the anti-gay bill was unconstitutional.

    Tucker at least acknowledges Palin disagreed with the Alaska Supreme Court ruling that denying gay government workers equal benefits violated the state constitution, but he leaves out that also she opposed granting the benefits as a policy matter -- a different and more question than the constitutional one. That's especially the case since the Democratic-controlled Congress will likely pass a bipartisan bill (praised by Log Cabin) that would extend D.P. benefits to federal employees.

    Our gay Republican friends at GayPatiot, frequent critics of Log Cabin, are even more ebullient and appear no more interested in scrutinizing Palin's record:

    Gay Patriot
    Just as I couldn’t imagine me disliking the Obama ticket more after he picked Biden, I’m shocked to now find myself EXCITED about McCain’s pick and Vice President Sarah Palin.  I almost can’t believe that he has done it.

    Gay Patrot West
    Sarah Palin is anything but a Bush Republican. And we gay Republicans have something to cheer in her record. Shortly after taking office, she vetoed legislation that would have prevented the state from providing benefits to the same-sex partners of state employees.

    Another prominent gay Republican blogger, BoiFromTroy, is refreshingly skeptical of her overall qualifications and does a good job of analyzing her on the issues (details in his post). But ultimately he, too, sets a pretty low bar:

    Boi From Troy 
    So the person with the most executive experience of any Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate is a 44 year-old woman who served as Governor of Alaska and Mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin. … Regrettably, [she is] about as progressive as a Republican can be on gay issues and be at the top-of-the ticket these days, but also makes me hope that Sarah Pallin can be persuadable if need be.

    There are still important blanks to fill in about Palin -- on a whole range of issues, but on gay rights as well. Although Log Cabin credits "news reports" that she's "open" to non-discrimination laws to protect gays, all I've seen so far was a Wikipedia entry to that effect, without any supporting citation. The reference has since been deleted from the entry.

    With those specific questions still hanging, there remains a much bigger question, for Log Cabin as a civil rights group and for gay Republicans individually: Is the McCain-Palin ticket one they can in good conscience support?

    Logcabinbigtentevent As much as Log Cabin wants to be a part of the GOP "big tent," I cannot see how this ticket has earned their endorsement. McCain has a full record of opposition to every form of gay rights legislation -- state, federal or local -- ever introduced.

    The only thing that separates him from George W. Bush, who Log Cabin under the leadership of former president Patrick Guerriero declined to endorse, is McCain's opposition to a federal marriage amendment.

    That's old new, unfortunately. Even though McCain said during that 2004 Senate debate that such an amendment is "antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans," this month the GOP delegates he controls voted in favor of a draft party platform that backs it. At the recent Saddleback forum, McCain softened his own opposition, saying he would support amending the U.S. Constitution if even one federal court concludes the notorious Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

    Surely Log Cabin requires more of a presidential candidate than such weak, conditional opposition to the FMA, especially since McCain is on the wrong side of every other gay rights issue.

    Richtafel Consider that none other than former Log Cabin leader Rich Tafel, who along with Guerriero and my co-blogger Kevin is most responsible for the group's prominence, publicly supported Barack Obama during the Democratic primary. Kevin has also had very positive things to say about Obama, if less so recently. Rich and Kevin haven't yet said whether they prefer Obama-Biden over McCain-Palin and no one expects Log Cabin to back a Democrat for president. Still, endorsing McCain isn't the gay GOP group's only option. 

    With so little in McCain's record or positions that merit praise, Log Cabin has made a big deal of trumpeted its "productive" relationship to the McCain campaign, pointing out that it netted a personal meeting between Sammon and the candidate himself back in June. Putting aside that the campaign initially said the meeting was unplanned and coincidental, an open door is nonetheless important. If McCain is elected, Log Cabin might well be the only gay rights group with White House access.

    Log Cabin's leaders no doubt worries that open door will slam shut if they decline to endorse, but still they should consider the very real cost of going along to get along. It sends the message that whatever their opposition on the issues, Republican politicians need only answer their phone calls to win their support.

    Considering the very justified grief that gay Republicans have given the Human Rights Campaign and other D.C. groups for confusing cocktail party access with real progress, that's not the message Log Cabin needs to send now.

    (Photo of John McCain and Sarah Palin via AP)

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    Comments

    1. Thor on Aug 31, 2008 7:41:47 PM:

      It is not only her stance on gay rights. She has been mayor of town of 5500 people and governor for 20 months of state whos population is 1/10 the size of NYC. Saying she is not experienced is an understate. By no means do I think Obama is experienced, but at least he is part of the continental United States and not the leader of a Frozen wasteland. Also her voice sounds kind of Canadian so ya major loss there ha ha. Anyway I really like the Libertarian platform, but I am still quite wary of Bob Barr and his real stance on issues.

    1. Chester on Aug 31, 2008 7:54:36 PM:

      It really doesn't matter if she has made any gay friendly remarks in the past. Now that she has been selected to pacify the conservative "christians" who would not let McCain pick Lieberman as his VP, she will start to spout the typical ignorant anti-gay nonsense that they all do to get the votes.

    1. Scott on Sep 1, 2008 1:24:32 AM:

      WATCH OUT!

      More sources for Sarah Palin's pregnancy cover up.
      http://tinyurl.com/6atqsr
      http://tinyurl.com/69pjr8

    1. Kris Jones on Sep 1, 2008 1:22:23 PM:

      Go McCain-Palin
      Screw HRC, they can shove Obama-Binladen where the sun don't shine.

      HRC is not a non-partisan organization, and should be sued for fraud.

    1. JC Allen on Sep 1, 2008 1:58:22 PM:

      I won't vote for a party that just sees me as gay and not an individual no matter what their laundry list of promises are...McCain~Palin will still get my vote.

    1. Charlie on Sep 1, 2008 3:29:09 PM:

      JC --

      That's an interesting statement. But you're fine voting for a party that sees you as an individual who doesn't deserve the same rights as some of its other members? That doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but I'm certainly open to hearing more of your logic.

    1. JC Allen on Sep 1, 2008 7:03:47 PM:

      Forgive me if I don't follow in lock-step with the marxists of this country...

    1. Charlie on Sep 1, 2008 10:24:52 PM:

      Well, JC, no need to apoligize. I get that the Democratic party might be too socialist for you, but I still don't see how they see you as gay more than they see you as an individual. If they're truly marxist, they don't give a damn about your sexual orientation. (Right?) And the way I see the Republican party, there are big segments of it that DO care about your sexual identity, and believe you should be treated as lesser as a result of your decision to act on that orientation.

      I'm really not attacking you or suggesting you are wrong. I'm seriously curious to know the background behind your logic, because obvious from my comments, it runs counter to the logic I've been using.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Sep 1, 2008 10:40:53 PM:

      I get that the Democratic party might be too socialist for you, but I still don't see how they see you as gay more than they see you as an individual.

      Easy.

      They think that, because I am gay, I won't mind them taxing and taking the money for which I work hard to give it to people who won't.

      They think that, because I am gay, I won't mind their insistence that the world should just accept Iran getting nuclear weapons.

      They think that, because I am gay, I won't mind them protecting and aiding criminals.

      They think that, because I am gay, I fully support their belief in unlimited abortion, including infanticide.

      This is no different than Barack Obama's political mentor, Emil Jones, claiming that black people who supported Hillary Clinton were "Uncle Toms" -- or the rejoinder from the target that said Emil Jones had no right to call "Uncle Tom" given the fact that he worked with a white mayor and a white governor. It's the same as Kwame Kilpatrick berating a black female police detective that she should be "ashamed" for riding in a car with a white officer named White.

      The entire mentality of the Democrat Party is, "You are __________ , so you MUST vote Democrat -- and if you don't, you're an 'Uncle Tom', or a 'traitor', or 'self-loathing'".

    1. Charlie on Sep 2, 2008 12:16:44 AM:

      Thanks, NDT, that almost makes perfect sense to me. But I'm left with a question: do you really think it's the leadership of the Democratic party itself that believes you should just accept these things because you are gay, or do you really mean it's the (supposed) leaders of the gay rights movement, groups such as the HRC, who are actually cramming these ideas down our throat?

      I agree that there are Democrats/liberals who fit the model you've constructed, but don't you think it would be equally easy to find a handful of other Democrats whose quotes and actions could create a different model, and that it would be equally easy to find Republicans whose quotes and actions would make them seem equally (albeit differently) small-minded? As both know, here in San Francisco, there's plenty of people who truly believe that Republicans are all evil and selfish, and we both know it's not true, but isn't it equally lazy to create a model for the entire Democratic party and try to make them all fit into it?

      To me, the problem here is not with the Democrats themselves. They're liberal and you either agree with their policies or you don't. The problem is that there are the prevailing notions that 1. Democrats are always our friends, and 2. A gay person should set aside his potential concerns with liberal policies and vote Democratic simply because he is gay, in all cases. It's my opinion that it's our (supposed) leadership that's poisoned us with this idea, in an attempt to create us into a voting bloc, they've ultimately turned us away from common sense and turned us against each other. Your thoughts?

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Sep 2, 2008 12:54:56 AM:

      But I'm left with a question: do you really think it's the leadership of the Democratic party itself that believes you should just accept these things because you are gay, or do you really mean it's the (supposed) leaders of the gay rights movement, groups such as the HRC, who are actually cramming these ideas down our throat?

      Yes and yes.

      The Donald Hitchcock case has been the best example of how exactly the Democrat Party works and what its expectations of gay and lesbian people are.

      Simply put, the lesson is this; those who dissent and criticize the party and its decisions will be punished, while those who go along and assist the party in the punishment will be rewarded. The DNC doesn't much care about how the obedience is gotten; it just demands it.

      That being said, I agree with you that, in order to ingratiate themselves with the party, lgbt organizations and their leaders have promised their obedience and their consistent voting bloc -- and, rather than trying to argue on issues, have decided to create an ersatz racial identity.

      What is worst, in my opinion, is that this racial identity is based on a cynical and cruel attempt to play on and manipulate the fact that most gay men fear being rejected and lonely most of all -- and will quite often go against even their most core beliefs to avoid that. There is a reason that HRC (and to be fair, LCR), were secretly supporting the harassment campaigns against gay Republicans carried out by Mike Rogers and John Aravosis; their goal was to reinforce this entire meme of punishing those who dissent and painting them as racial traitors.

      Both Aravosis and Rogers said they continue to collect information from their network of sources, which include employees of the Human Rights Campaign and Log Cabin Republicans, and plan on outing more staffers and members.

    1. Charlie on Sep 2, 2008 2:24:16 AM:

      Thanks. I'm not sure that the first link tells me anything other than that Dean is an asshole, which I already knew, but the second link truly does get at the notion that the Democrats know exactly what we are good for.

      That being said, I agree with you that, in order to ingratiate themselves with the party, lgbt organizations and their leaders have promised their obedience and their consistent voting bloc -- and, rather than trying to argue on issues, have decided to create an ersatz racial identity.

      My only comment here is that I think you might be stating it backwards. It probably happened that a decision was made to create the identity and then align that identity with a particular party, not an alignment with a party that forced the creation of an identity. Not that it matters, but the former seems less insidious to me, and so maybe that's just what I WANT to believe.

      The identity itself is pretty scary. I didn't even realize how much I'd fallen under its sway until I started coming here. That being said, I do skew liberal, generally, so I was an easier mark, but I don't believe in the excesses of liberalism and I think the Democratic party is mostly ineffective even at their own stated principles, so I'm hardly a fan. Anyway, I've said before, there is no such thing as gay culture, or a gay community really, since there is absolutely nothing that unifies us except the vague notion of orientation and our willingness to settle into predefined cliches. And, apparently, our willingness to rip each other to shreds.

    1. Double T on Sep 2, 2008 10:12:17 AM:

      Hey Chris,

      When you going to "boot" Andoni off this blog.
      He's such a....what's the phrase..."gay Democratic hacks" (who) would exaggerate Sarah Palin's mixed record.....

    1. Cabana Republicana on Sep 2, 2008 2:56:44 PM:

      Log Cabin Endorses Sen. John McCain for President

      McCain is an Inclusive Leader Who Will Appeal to Independent Voters

      ( Minneapolis , MN )—Log Cabin Republicans today announced its endorsement of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for President of the United States . Log Cabin’s national board of directors voted 12-2 to endorse the Republican nominees for President and Vice President. Log Cabin announced the decision at its "Big Tent Event" during the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis .

      "On the most important issue that LGBT Americans faced in the last decade—the federal marriage amendment—Sen. John McCain stood with us. Now we stand with him," said Log Cabin Republicans President Patrick Sammon. “Sen. McCain is an inclusive Republican who is focusing the GOP on unifying core principles that appeal to independent voters."

      "Sen. McCain showed courage by bucking his own party’s leadership and the president—twice voting against the amendment. He gave an impassioned speech on the Senate floor, calling the amendment 'antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans.' He paid a political price for his vote," said Sammon.

      "Log Cabin Republicans is a grassroots organization and our membership overwhelmingly supports endorsing Sen. McCain,” said Log Cabin Board Chairman Pete Kingma. "Our board and staff members have spent recent months getting input and feedback from our members. The consensus among our members is strongly in favor of an endorsement because of his inclusive record. Our members also support him because he’s a maverick; a trait most recently on display with his decision to select Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate."

      "In recent years, too many Republican politicians have used divisive social issues in an effort to win elections. Sen. McCain is a different kind of Republican. He understands the GOP lost its majority in Congress in 2006 largely because the Party focused on divisive social issues. Sen. McCain knows the politics of fear and division will damage our Party and our nation so he’s focusing the GOP on unifying core principles such as limited government, fiscal responsibility, and a strong national defense," said Sammon.

      "We have honest disagreements with Sen. McCain on a number of gay rights issues. Log Cabin will continue our conversation with him and other Republican leaders about issues affecting gay and lesbian Americans. We will speak out when there’s disagreement—either during the upcoming campaign or when John McCain is President," said Sammon.

      Sen. McCain has had a long and friendly association with Log Cabin Republicans, dating back to the organization’s opening of a national office in the mid-1990s. "Sen. McCain has always shown a willingness to reach out and engage in dialogue with Log Cabin, while considering all sides of an issue," said Sammon. "We know that will continue when he is President."

      "Progress in the fight for LGBT equality requires support from both Republicans and Democrats," said Sammon. "Log Cabin’s endorsement of Sen. McCain will ensure our community has a strong voice making the case for gay rights to John McCain when he is President."

      According to the organization's bylaws, Log Cabin endorses only Republican candidates. Log Cabin Republicans endorsed then-Governor George W. Bush in 2000, but declined to endorse President Bush in 2004—largely over the president’s push for a federal anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment and his decision to use gay people as a wedge issue in winning re-election.

      "I expect Sen. McCain will receive strong support from gay and lesbian Americans," said Sammon. "LGBT people are not single-issue voters. Gay rights issues are a critical part of the equation, but so are many other issues impacting our daily lives—foreign policy, the economy, jobs, energy policy, health care reform, and taxes. Gay and lesbian Republicans believe Sen. John McCain is the most qualified person to lead our country."

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