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    February 12, 2007

    Conservative, desperate & dateless

    Posted by: Chris

    NytpollRELIGIOUS RIGHT SEEKS: A true social conservative for the GOP presidential nomination with a consistent history of opposing abortion rights and gay rights, and please be eligible to win a general election.

    Pity the poor social conservative; their issues are not just low on the national agenda, but now they're low on the Republican agenda.  Their GOP partners have lost control of both houses of Congress, and their ally in the White House is at historically low poll numbers.

    And when these conservative Christians look ahead to 2008, the picture is even bleaker.  None of the three leading Republican presidential contenders appears to be a true-blue believer.  As a piece in Sunday's New York Times put it, social conservatives are holding out for "Mr. Right":

    Is it the hero of 9/11, Rudolph W. Giuliani, whose support of abortion rights is anything but heroic to social conservatives? Is it the hero against gay marriage in Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, who nevertheless once championed gay rights? Or is it a hero of wartime, John McCain, who has also betrayed them on issues like federal judicial appointments?

    Not to mention McCain's checkered rhetorical past, calling Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell "agents of intolerance" during the 2004 presidential primaries.

    The only contenders truly on the right wing on the issues are second-tier candidates like Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, or third-stringers like Congressmen Duncan Hunter of California and Tom Tancredo of Colorado. So do social conservatives swallow hard and back lukewarm first-string contenders, throw their support for these protest candidates, or just sit this one out and concentrate on smaller races?

    If the dilemma sounds familiar, it should. It's the same place gay rights supporters found themselves in 2004.  Three candidates backed full marriage equality, but all three — Rev. Al Sharpton, Carol Moseley-Braun and Rep. Dennis Kucinich — were third-tier. 

    Most gay Democrats instead chose to back a second-tier candidate, Howard Dean, and he rode their support to lead the pack.  Then Dean imploded in Iowa, and gay Dems held their nose and went for John Kerry, who had a perfect Human Rights Campaign score even though he backed a constitutional amendment in his home state of Massachusetts to ban gays from marrying.

    Four years later, we look to be again in the same position.  The first-tier Democrats, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards, are about at the same place as Kerry (and Edwards) four years ago.  There are tempting second-tier options, like New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, or even switching to the GOP for Rudy Giuliani.  And then there's the temptation to follow Tim Gill away from the high-profile White House race, where gay money matters only at the margins, into smaller races where we can make more of an impact.

    As for the social conservatives, don't feel too bad.  John McCain has been running very hard to the right, especially on abortion and gay rights, for the last year or so.  He even met with Falwell to apologize for lambasting him in 2004, and did penance by giving the commencement address at Falwell's Liberty University.  Since Liberty Univ. expels openly gay students, McCain's appearance was the equivalent of George Bush's 2004 visit to Bob Jones University, strongly criticized by McCain at the time. 

    Anti-gay, anti-abortion conservatives won't have to hold their noses too tightly to cast their lot with McCain, who appears to be the establishment GOP candidate for 2008 anyway.



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    1. Alan down in Florida on Feb 12, 2007 5:16:10 PM:

      "Pity the poor social conservative; their issues are not just low on the national agenda, but now they're low on the Republican agenda. Their GOP partners have lost control of both houses of Congress, and their ally in the White House is at historically low poll numbers."

      Pardon me while my liberal heart bleeds.

    1. RHH on Feb 12, 2007 6:12:35 PM:

      You mean with only 18 months until the election, there isn't a "true-red" social conservative in the race yet? What can I say but "Yawn"? Yeah, I always turn to the New York Times to get my information on the GOP. Guiliani, McCain and Romney will fall by the wayside in the first primaries, and then the people with conservative values but less name recognition will come to the fore.

    1. Kevin on Feb 14, 2007 12:50:50 AM:

      GAY ALERT!!! CNN just reported that Anderson Cooper is in Brazil again, Chris. To report on global warming. Coincidentally on the eve of carnival.

      Keep your gaydar up, Chris :) Just be on the lookout for a gray-haired gringo closet case...

    1. Alan down in Florida on Feb 14, 2007 12:33:05 PM:

      Rupert Everett on Anderson Cooper from Out Magazine:

      If you were trying to promote yourself as Anderson Cooper, are you gay first and foremost, or are you Anderson Cooper? If he does agree to talk about it, well then you can’t talk about anything else, and no one WANTS to talk about anything else, which is understandable. They’ve got someone prepared to talk about it, so they’re like little kids—every journalist just wanting to know more and more and more, and as you’re talking about it you’re draining everyone of interest in you. Then people start thinking, ‘Oh, my god, he’s such a bore—I wish he’d shut up about being fucking gay, these fucking fags.’ And then you trigger another phobia, which is this impression that gay men and lesbians never stop going on about it.

      Same issue Josh-Kilmer Purcell talks about Cooper as if he's admitted his sexuality and everyone knows about it - which considering Anderson was recently quoted in a str8 magazine that he's about ready to have children is clearly something with which Mr. Cooper would seemingly disagree.

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