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    February 24, 2008

    Log Cabin's main man McCain

    Posted by: Chris

    Mccainthumbs The good folks over at Log Cabin -- Scott Tucker in particular -- have taken the time to respond to a column I wrote last week that casts doubt on whether gay Republicans should be so happy with John McCain as their party's nominee. While Tucker acknowledges that I'm "a generally reasonable voice" (and thanks for that), he feels I "missed the boat" with this column and headlined his response, "And the Delusion Begins…" (Ahem!)

    Tucker makes a stronger case than I did for McCain as a independent-thinking moderate, arguing that more so than past nominees, McCain succeeded without any support from the social conservatives and the "religious right." He also points out that the Arizona senator did not simply vote against the federal marriage amendment, "McCain gave the most impassioned speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate against the amendment, calling it 'antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans.'"

    Both points are well taken, although McCain's lack of evangelical backing was not for lack of trying. He went out of his way to recant his previous criticism of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson as "agents of intolerance" and even gave the commencement address at Falwell's Liberty University, which expels openly gay students. Tucker dismisses McCain's Falwell flip-flop by misstating my point:

    Okay, so, if I’m hearing you correctly, it’s a deal-breaker for a politician to appear with those who preach intolerance of gays?  Guess you won’t be voting for Barack Obama then.

    Note that the Obama reference is linked to an item about the Donnie McClurkin controversy. In fact, my point was that McCain took back his criticism of Falwell for no reason other than to mollify evangelical Christians. Of course McCain's unconditional embrace of Falwell was very different from how Obama dealt with McClurkin, the "ex-gay" gospel singer.

    Obama said that while he accepted McClurkin's support, he disagreed fundamentally with McClurkin on gay rights. Obama has also repeatedly said to black ministers that the black church needs to own up to its homophobia. Suffice it to say that McCain's Liberty commencement included no such challenges.

    More tortured was Tucker's logic in defense of Log Cabin's attack ads against Mitt Romney, who was (for a Republican) supportive of gay rights but reversed himself almost completely in his presidential run. Here's what I wrote:

    “Governor Romney [spent] tens of millions of dollars to hide his record and to distort the record of his opponents,” the gay GOP group said in a statement [after Romney quit the race]. “In the end, voters did not find this version of Mitt Romney to be credible. Too many voters learned the truth about his record, and that record didn’t match his new found conservative rhetoric.” …

    [I]s it really the Log Cabin view that Romney’s pro-gay past is inconsistent with being a true conservative, and his anti-gay presidential campaign reflects “newfound conservative rhetoric”?

    In response, Tucker said this:

    No. That’s why the ads we launched highlighting Romney’s record made no mention of gay issues. It is our view that the Romney who once ran from the Reagan legacy like it was a smelly gym sock, only to brand himself a “Reagan conservative” in a later White House run, is not consistent and not conservative. Ditto his flips on taxes, guns, abortion, and just about every other major issue.

    It's a very strained position that Log Cabin is taking. So Romney reinvented himself on a whole range of issues to appear more conservative to GOP primary voters, but his 180-degree flip-flop on gay rights wasn't yet another example of taking a newfound conservative position? C'mon -- of course it was, and by pointing out all the other ways in which Romney tacked to the right, Log Cabin only reinforced that support for gay rights is not conservative and opposing gay rights is conservative.

    Log Cabin would have been far more effective attacking Romney's credibility, including on gay issues, rather than reinforcing notions about what "qualifies" someone as being conservative.

    Most disappointingly, Tucker makes no effort to address the real criticism of my column: that with public support so overwhelming (including among Republicans) on a whole range of gay rights issues, LCR should expect more than opposition to every form of gay rights, including workplace protection, hate crime laws, repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," civil unions or domestic partnerships.

    McCain is on the wrong side of every one of those issues. Is that really worth cheering about?



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    1. Out of Eygpt on Feb 24, 2008 6:13:15 PM:

      Video Flashback, March 2007 (2/21/2008)
      Given the universal praise for this video, I'm shy to admit this but... I don't get it. I don't really understand how the things Clinton is saying in the video have an Orwellian quality to them, or how her campaign did in general. Is the point that she's the establishment candidate? Can someone spell it out for me please? C. Crain

      "....You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals-- Worldly Wisdom)….Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has 450 prophets. Get 2 bulls for us…… Then you call the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire---he is God.” Midday passed…… But there was no response, no one answered, and no one paid attention. At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel (America) and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O Lord; answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
      Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord –he is God! The Lord—He is God!” 1 Kings 18: 16-39

      Having turned from God, they sit there, spiritually dead, sheep, clones of one another, mass-produced products of a perfectly franchised, risk-free, loveless society of abundance---heartless, comatose. Rather than looking up for their Shepherd, they look horizontally at a counterfeit, yet another fallen creature promising them what they long for deep down, but what she will never be able to deliver-----a change of heart, a meaningful existence, hope for a better tomorrow, for she, as her audience, is struggling to work out her own salvation in a God-less society, where man has put himself on the throne.

    1. Geena The Transgirl on Feb 25, 2008 1:00:22 AM:

      In the interest of informed blog reading, the following is
      a link to Senator John McCain's 2006 commencement address
      to the graduates at Falwell Liberty University


    1. Kary on Feb 25, 2008 12:36:25 PM:

      In addition to the complete lack of support for any gay rights of any kind, Mc Cain is a warmonger. He was for the war before it began, during the next 6 years, supported the surge, and thinks we could be there for a very long time (100 years), as long as the "casualty rates" aren't too high. What?!?!? I will never understand gay Republicans. Never. McCain is an American war hero. He is a nightmare for gay people. Get a grip.

    1. Kevin on Feb 25, 2008 2:36:35 PM:


      I'm not articulating a position on the war. But seriously -- what does a candidate's stand on Iraq war policy have to do with gay anything, besides tangentially "don't ask, don't tell" (which is like saying someone's position on minting penny coins is a cornerstone of their economic policy.)?

      So if someone supported U.S. presence in Japan from 1945 to the present day, they too are a "nightmare" for gay people? And Joe Lieberman, who is as strong as any other Democrat on gay issues, is also a "nightmare" for gay people?

      I'm not defending or attacking anyone's position on the war (including yours), or Log Cabin's position on Chris' column, but I have to say: start learning that the world doesn't fit into your narrow leftist view of it, and get a grip yourself.

    1. Tim C on Feb 26, 2008 12:23:45 PM:

      John MCain presents no little of a quandry. Can Log Cabin endorse him? No. To get an endorsement, he would have to give on something: DOMA, ENDA, DADT, equalization of federal tax/benefit consequences for civil unions. Log Cabin can wish him well, and certainly must keep the communication lines open, but at this point they cannot endorse. But John McCain is a little piece of a bigger picture. The bigger picture is that gays cannot abandon half of our two party system. Do that, and you get the current situation. One party knows that it owes us nothing and can pander to the people it does owe, who probably don't have our best interests in mind. The other party takes us for granted, figuring we have nowhere else to go All they want is our money and our silence, and at the end of the day, we have nothing but cancelled checks and the status quo. Oh, and DOMA and DADT.

      There is a significant kerfluffle in Virginia right now over how to advance a healthy two party relationship. Virginia Equality is going to give an award to a retiring Republican state legislator. Delegate Vince Callahan (R-McLean):
      -- in 2005 and 2006 voted in favor of putting the "marriage protection" amendment on the ballot
      -- in 2004 he voted for a bill which prohibits Virginia law from recognizing out-of-state civil unions
      -- in 2005, Callahan voted for a bill that would have prohibited gay adoption in Virginia
      -- in 2007, he voted for a bill that would have required Virginia students to have parental permission to participate in extracurricular activities, including gay-straight alliance clubs

      Pretty anti-gay, right? But:
      -- in 2006, he voted in favor of requiring the "marriage protection" amendment pass one more vote of the legislature before appearing on the ballot
      -- in 2007, Callahan voted for the hospital visitation rights bill
      -- in 2007, he co-sponsored a bill to add sexual orientation to the non-discrimination law for state employees
      -- in 2004 and 2005, he voted for legislation that would have allowed private companies to extend health care benefits to same-sex couples. The legislation passed in 2005
      -- Callahan also signed Equality Virginia’s non-discrimination pledge for employment in his office

      So, what does a gay organization do? How do we award steps in the right direction? The behavior that is rewarded is the behaviour that is reinforced. Callahan took heat from his basic consituancy for each of his "pro gay" votes, and received very little public thanks from the gay community. I'm sure he didn't receive much in the way of campaign donations from any gay Virginians. If a Republican legislator knows with fair certainty that he is going to get heat from his core voters for "pro gay' votes but receive little thanks or notice from those who benefit, what is his incentive for stepping outside the lines? Occasionally, you get someone who just does the right thing, but they seem to always pay a price. A Republican legislator friend of mine in GA who has a very pro gay voting record each cycle has to battle off primary challengers put up by the right wing and then in the general election has to battle the Democratic candidate backed by the gay organizations. Luckily the Dems have been having a harder time finding a candidate in her district, but the right wing keeps pressing. Why don't more gays consider her an ally? Because she has that R after her name. Gay voters and gay political organizations have to become more mature.

    1. Brian Miller on Feb 26, 2008 9:43:41 PM:

      Perhaps it's a good time to remind people that, based on voting records, there is no difference on gay issues between McCain, Clinton and Obama. For gay people who are unlucky enough to be Democrats or Republicans, the election is effectively over.

      Those of us looking for candidates who favor equality under the law, however, can focus on exciting candidates on the Libertarian side rather than develop dispirited partisan mantras to cover up for "our guy's" massive shortcomings and identical record to his/her opponent.

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