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Posts for February, 2013

UPDATED: Prominent Republicans file amicus brief in Prop8 case

Timothy Kincaid

February 26th, 2013

New York Times

Among them are Meg Whitman, who supported Proposition 8 when she ran for California governor; Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Richard Hanna of New York; Stephen J. Hadley, a Bush national security adviser; Carlos Gutierrez, a commerce secretary to Mr. Bush; James B. Comey, a top Bush Justice Department official; David A. Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s first budget director; and Deborah Pryce, a former member of the House Republican leadership from Ohio who is retired from Congress.

They are supporting equality. So far there are 75 names attached to the brief, which will be filed this week.

UPDATE: Here’s the list – so far:

Ken Mehlman, Chairman, Republican National Committee, 2005-2007

Tim Adams, Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, 2005-2007

David D. Aufhauser, General Counsel, Department of Treasury, 2001-2003

Cliff S. Asness, Businessman, Philanthropist, and Author

John B. Bellinger III, Legal Adviser to the Department of State, 2005-2009

Katie Biber, General Counsel, Romney for President, 2007-2008 and 2011-2012

Mary Bono Mack, Member of Congress, 1998-2013

William A. Burck, Deputy Staff Secretary, Special Counsel and Deputy Counsel to the President, 2005-2009

Alex Castellanos, Republican Media Advisor

Paul Cellucci, Governor of Massachusetts, 1997-2001, and Ambassador to Canada, 2001-2005

Mary Cheney, Director of Vice Presidential Operations, Bush-Cheney 2004

Jim Cicconi, Assistant to the President & Deputy to the Chief of Staff, 1989-1990

James B. Comey, United States Deputy Attorney General, 2003-2005

R. Clarke Cooper, U.S. Alternative Representative, United Nations Security Council, 2007-2009

Julie Cram, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director White House Office of Public Liaison, 2007-2009

Michele Davis, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and Director of Policy Planning, Department of the Treasury, 2006-2009

Kenneth M. Duberstein, White House Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President, 1981-1984 and 1987-1989

Lew Eisenberg, Finance Chairman, Republican National Committee, 2002-2004

Elizabeth Noyer Feld, Public Affairs Specialist, White House Office of Management and Budget, 1984-1987

David Frum, Special Assistant to the President, 2001-2002

Richard Galen, Communications Director, Speaker’s Political Office, 1996-1997

Mark Gerson, Chairman, Gerson Lehrman Group and Author of The Neoconservative Vision: From the Cold War to the Culture Wars and In the Classroom: Dispatches from an Inner-City School that Works

Benjamin Ginsberg, General Counsel, Bush-Cheney 2000 & 2004

Adrian Gray, Director of Strategy, Republican National Committee, 2005-2007

Richard Grenell, Spokesman, U.S. Ambassadors to the United Nations, 2001-2008

Patrick Guerriero, Mayor, Melrose Massachusetts and member of Massachusetts House of Representatives, 1993-2001

Carlos Gutierrez, Secretary of Commerce, 2005-2009

Stephen Hadley, Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor, 2005-2009

Richard Hanna, Member of Congress, 2011-Present

Israel Hernandez, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, 2005-2009

Margaret Hoover, Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, 2005-2006

Michael Huffington, Member of Congress, 1993-1995

Jon Huntsman, Governor of Utah, 2005-2009

David A. Javdan, General Counsel, United States Small Business Administration, 2002-2006

Reuben Jeffery, Undersecretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs, 2007-2009

Greg Jenkins, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Advance, 2003-2004

Coddy Johnson, National Field Director, Bush-Cheney 2004

Gary Johnson, Governor of New Mexico, 1995-2003

Robert Kabel, Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, 1982-1985

Theodore W. Kassinger, Deputy Secretary of Commerce, 2004-2005

Jonathan Kislak, Deputy Undersecretary of Agriculture for Small Community and Rural Development, 1989-1991

David Kochel, Senior Advisor to Mitt Romney’s Iowa Campaign, 2007-2008 and 2011-2012

James Kolbe, Member of Congress, 1985-2007

Jeffrey Kupfer, Acting Deputy Secretary of Energy, 2008-2009

Kathryn Lehman, Chief of Staff, House Republican Conference, 2003-2005

Daniel Loeb, Businessman and Philanthropist

Alex Lundry, Director of Data Science, Romney for President, 2012

Greg Mankiw, Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers, 2003-2005

Catherine Martin, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Communications Director for Policy & Planning, 2005-2007

Kevin Martin, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission, 2005-2009

David McCormick, Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, 2007-2009

Mark McKinnon, Republican Media Advisor

Bruce P. Mehlman, Assistant Secretary of Commerce, 2001-2003

Connie Morella, Member of Congress, 1987-2003 and U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2003-2007

Michael E. Murphy, Republican Political Consultant

Michael Napolitano, White House Office of Political Affairs, 2001-2003

Ana Navarro, National Hispanic Co-Chair for Senator John McCain’s Presidential Campaign, 2008

Noam Neusner, Special Assistant to the President for Economic Speechwriting, 2002-2005

Nancy Pfotenhauer, Economist, Presidential Transition Team, 1988 and President’s Council on Competitiveness, 1990

J. Stanley Pottinger, Assistant U.S. Attorney General (Civil Rights Division), 1973-1977

Michael Powell, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission, 2001-2005

Deborah Pryce, Member of Congress, 1993-2009

John Reagan, New Hampshire State Senator, 2012-Present

Kelley Robertson, Chief of Staff, Republican National Committee, 2005-2007

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Member of Congress, 1989-Present

Harvey S. Rosen, Member and Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers, 2003-2005

Lee Rudofsky, Deputy General Counsel, Romney for President, 2012

Patrick Ruffini, eCampaign Director, Republican National Committee, 2005-2007

Steve Schmidt, Deputy Assistant to the President and Counselor to the Vice President, 2004-2006

Ken Spain, Communications Director, National Republican Congressional Committee, 2009-2010

Robert Steel, Undersecretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance, 2006-2008

David Stockman, Director, Office of Management and Budget, 1981-1985

Jane Swift, Governor of Massachusetts, 2001-2003

Michael E. Toner, Chairman and Commissioner, Federal Election Commission, 2002-2007

Michael Turk, eCampaign Director for Bush-Cheney 2004

Mark Wallace, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Representative for UN Management and Reform, 2006-2008

Nicolle Wallace, Assistant to the President and White House Communications Director, 2005-2008

William F. Weld, Governor of Massachusetts, 1991-1997, and Assistant U.S. Attorney General (Criminal Division), 1986-1988

Christine Todd Whitman, Governor of New Jersey, 1994-2001, and Administrator of the EPA, 2001-2003

Meg Whitman, Republican Nominee for Governor of California, 2010

Robert Wickers, Republican Political Consultant

Dan Zwonitzer, Wyoming State Representative, 2005-present

The New York Times is suggesting that this sort of amicus brief – along with the level of signatories – might be very influential in the swing-votes on the Supreme Court.

Sun-Times politics wonk: Republicans want marriage equality passed and over with

Timothy Kincaid

January 28th, 2013

Recently a friend and I play a smart-phone game in which you spell words to flip letters and gain control of the board. If you play creatively and protect your letters, you can situate yourself into a non-losable position. And when I’m so lucky as to do so, Anthony will play a word that ends the game, letting me win, and move on to the next game.

And, according to Rich Miller, the political reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, that is what Illinois Republicans want to do on the issue of marriage equality: lose the battle and move on to the next one.

Talk to just about any top Illinois Republican these days off the record and they’ll freely admit that they want the bill legalizing gay marriage to be approved as soon as possible.

The reason so many Republicans would like to see the bill passed is because they know that with the huge, new Democratic majorities in both legislative chambers, that it’s eventually going to pass anyway.

They want to get this issue out of the way and behind them as soon as possible. The issue is trending hard against the GOP’s historical opposition, and they want the thing off the table before it starts to hurt them.

After New Hampshire Republicans refused to reverse marriage, and after New York Republicans met in caucus and came out with enough votes to pass marriage, and after the call by Wyoming Republicans for marriage (and it’s very close vote in today’s committee hearing), and after Rhode Island’s House Minority Leader lecturing the Senate Leader about delaying votes, and after the Illinois GOP chairman’s endorsement of equality (without losing his position), this argument makes a lot of sense.

And I’m sure that BTB readers will happily agree. Let’s pass marriage equality and move on.

Illinios GOP anti-gays have trouble ousting State Chairman

Timothy Kincaid

January 25th, 2013

Thing got very interesting in Illinois at the start of the year. In a move I didn’t anticipate, the state Republican Party chairman endorsed marriage equality and began lobbying legislators to support a marriage bill.

While I was delighted by his support, I feared that he would not hold his position much longer. And the Party does have a provision for removing the state chairman should he do something odd or out of character for a Republican. (Daily Herald)

According to party rules, a special meeting can be called if at least five of the 18 state central committeemen request it.

So, not surprisingly, a committeeman has been rallying the forces to removed Pat Brady from office. Sugar Grove dairy magnate and state Sen. Jim Oberweis wants him gone because, you know, there are more important issues to deal with, you see. But he’s not finding it as easy as he expected.

Oberweis said he emailed “six or seven” committeemen, and several expressed their support for a special meeting. Oberweis said he has yet to see “five hands go up.”

Because, as it turns out, Republican leadership in Illinois may not love Teh Ghey so much, but what they really don’t like is losing. And they took a little glance at the last election results and decided that kicking out a marriage supporter is just not smart politics. As Republican House Leader Tom Cross put it:

“It reaffirms people’s worst fears about our party. I think we bragged about being the big tent party over the years. And there are going to be people that adamantly oppose gay marriage and people who support it. And we need to be the party that says, ‘Hey, that’s fine.’”

Various groups, including women, Latinos and young people aren’t listening to Republicans, Cross said,

“In the last election, we lost Kane County, DuPage County, Lake County, Will County. And we lost almost all demographic groups,” Cross said. “Old white guys aren’t going to win the elections any more,”

Now Oberweis may yet win. Brady may go. It seems to good to be true that the anti-gay forces in the Illinois GOP can’t get five committeemen to oppose ‘The HomoSEXshull Agenda’.

But at the moment it seems possible. And if so, we just may be sitting in front row seats for the biggest political extravaganza in decades: the drastic reformation of a political party. This could prove to be a VERY interesting year.

GOP “Political Insiders” Support Avoiding Same-Sex Marriage As An Issue

Jim Burroway

January 15th, 2013

The National Journal hosts a panel they call Political Insiders, consisting of a selected group of about a hundred politicians (current and retired), consultants and strategists from each party. Obviously, the panel isn’t necessarily representative of the larger political class, but it can be a good indication of how the pulse is beating on several issues. A recent Political Insiders question asked the following:

Which statement comes closest to your political views on gay marriage?
Democrats
(109 votes)
Republicans
(99 votes)
My party should support it 97% 27%
My party should oppose it 0% 11%
My party should avoid the issue 2% 48%
Other 1% 14%

A few select responses:

“Wouldn’t it be fascinating if for once the Republicans were on the front side of a historic wave, rather than thrashed around in the undertow?” one GOP insider asked.

…”The lines have been drawn on this. Such a polarizing topic, and given other pressing issues, this is a red herring with dynamite taped to its back. No good can come from messing with it,” another added.

That second line is indicative of how far we’ve come in such a short time. It was only a few years ago when you’d hear Democrats muttering those rueful sentiments. But now, only 2% of the Dems on this panel want to avoid it, with 97% seeing it as both a winning issue and the right position to take. My, but how the wedge has shifted.

I wonder though, is there any other issue — any issue at all — in which nearly half of the Republican members of this panel think the party should avoid?

Virginia Republicans suddenly support gay judge

Timothy Kincaid

January 15th, 2013

20130114-222750.jpg

Poor Belshazzar could be forgiven for not reading the handwriting on the wall considering how fast it’s been scribbling. I swear I wouldn’t be surprised if the Republican Party sent out a press release saying, “Hey, about that marriage thing, you knew we were kidding, right? I mean c’mon it was just a joke. Ha ha. Dude, I mean seriously, of course we support you.”

Well, okay maybe that would surprise me. But not much more than what’s happening in Virginia.

It seems that a Mr. Tracy Thorne-Begland was nominated as a General District Court judge. True, it’s more like People’s Court than Supreme Court, but last year the legislature just wasn’t having it.

Not cuz he’s gay, hrmph mutter mumble, but because he’s one of those ‘openly aggressively gay’ gays and had gone on TV as a Navy pilot opposing DADT. And that was violating military policy and breaking the law and so such.

Ah, but that was last year. And since then it seems they’ve seen the hand writing on the wall. And it was writing “mene mene of you are going to lose elections if you don’t drop the anti-gay crap”. So this year they have a whole new tune.

In the interim Thorne-Begland got a temporary appointment and, by golly it turns out that all his confirmation problems turned out to be a huge comical misunderstanding. (WaPo)

Republican leaders, who are hoping to de-emphasize some of the social issues that dominated the previous session, said they were changing course in this case because they had received more information. Morris said he initially believed that Thorne-Begland had violated Navy regulations by coming out on national television but later concluded that he had not because he was not in uniform on TV.

Well golly gee, I’m awfully glad that was all cleared up. For a moment there I thought it might have something to do with obvious political trends or the fact that Corporate America had a lil’ chat about what is good for business.

And so today a joint House and Senate panel voted unanimously to advance his approval to the floor.

“I share with you a high degree of comfort you will be certified and elected on the Senate side,” Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr. (R-James City) told Thorne-Begland on Monday.

Ya think so, Mr. Majority Leader? Well, I tekel u-pharsin word for that.

Sen Kirk backs pro-gay Illinois GOP Chairman

Timothy Kincaid

January 10th, 2013

Confirmed bachelor, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) has weighed in on the brouhaha resulting from Illinois GOP State Chairman’s support for marriage equality. (WBEZ)

“Senator Kirk has full confidence in Pat Brady’s leadership as chairman of the Illinois Republican Party and looks forward to working with him to elect Republicans in 2014,” Lance Trover, a Kirk spokesman, said in a statement.

Illinois GOP Chair Resists Calls To Resign Over Marriage Support

Jim Burroway

January 10th, 2013

Chicago’s WBEZ reports:

The head of Illinois’ beleaguered Republican Party is staring down a revolt from some state party bosses after he bucked the official GOP line last week and urged state lawmakers to approve same-sex marriage.

State GOP Chairman Pat Brady faces growing calls for his resignation, at a time when some Illinois Republicans are rethinking the party’s image and stance on social issues, following a dismal showing in November’s elections.

Brady told WBEZ that he hadn’t spoken to party members before speaking out in support of a proposed marriage quality bill. Brady calls the ban on marriage quality the “last condoned discrimination” in Illinois. It is unclear whether there are enough votes in the party’s state committee to force his ouster. Brady isn’t backing down from the threat:

“If people want to throw me out because I took a stand on an issue of discrimination [as] the chairman of the Republican Party, the party founded by Abraham Lincoln, then that’s – that’s up to them and they’re free to do it,” Brady said. “But I’m not backing down.”

Pat Brady lobbies for marriage equality

Timothy Kincaid

January 2nd, 2013

The effort to pass marriage equality in Illinois has a valuable new ally, Pat Brady. He has pulled out his phone and started calling legislators to encourage support for the bill.

Though you probably haven’t heard of Brady, he has a rolodex to envy. It’s not from his years with high power law and accounting firms, nor his work with the state attorney’s office or the Department of Justice.

No, Pat Brady has the ear of a number of legislators in the state for another reason. He’s the Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party. (Daily Herald)

Brady said he was making the calls as a citizen, outside of his official role with the Illinois Republican Party.

“I think it’s time for people to support this,” Brady said.

2013 is already turning out to be very interesting.

UPDATE: Brady’s efforts are extremely important, as vote count by conservative site Illinois Review suggest that the bill cannot pass without some Republican support. The sponsor of the bill, Senator Heather Steans, says she has the votes, “if everyone shows up”.

Suburban Romney voters supported marriage equality

Timothy Kincaid

November 30th, 2012

Walter Olson of the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute took a look at the voting results from this month and found something interesting: marriage equality passed in three states – and a ban was defeated in one – in part due to suburban Romney voters.

The Maryland ballot referendum, Question 6, essentially asked voters to confirm or reject a new law allowing same-sex marriage. In 11 of the 18 counties that Mitt Romney carried, Question 6 fared better than President Obama, a sign that GOP voters had crossed over in support. While the phenomenon could be seen everywhere from farm towns to blue-collar inner suburbs, the biggest swings tended to come in affluent bedroom communities. At one precinct in Hunt Valley, north of Baltimore, with 2,116 votes cast, there was a 28 percentage-point swing, leading to a landslide for Romney and the ballot question: Obama drew a paltry 37 percent, but Question 6 carried the precinct with a whopping 65 percent.

And it wasn’t just an odd quirk. Consistently, in all four states, a significant number of suburban Republicans went to the polls and voted for Mitt Romney and marriage equality.

This isn’t to say that Republicans supported marriage equality as a whole or that Democrats did not. Rather, it says that enough Republicans in suburban counties went against their party – exit polls suggested 20 to 25 percent – to make up for those rural conservative Democrats who voted to oppose our marriage rights.

It turns out that in 2012, demographics drove the marriage vote in significant ways. While party registration and presidential selection may have influenced most personal votes, the culture of the community voters live in had tremendous impact on Republicans (and to some extent Democrats).

One quick way to look for towns where Republicans were especially likely to approve same-sex marriage is to consult the state-by-state Yahoo.com “Best Places to Live” series, which highlights communities with high incomes, high education levels and low rates of property crime. The list of “Best Places to Live in Minnesota” is dominated by outlying Twin Cities suburbs, most of which tilt strongly GOP: Sixteen of the 20 supported Romney — six of them by 60 percent or more. But only one town among the 20 voted to ban same-sex marriage, and by an anemic 50.28 percent (had nine voters there switched sides, the outcome would have been different).

This sort of information is valuable in that causes us to nuance our thinking and opens possibilities that we might have been otherwise quick to dismiss.

Michael Lucas on party and politics

Timothy Kincaid

October 24th, 2012

Porn king Michael Lucas has an op-Ed in the Advocate discussing why he is not (yet) a Republican.

Here’s the simple truth: I’m not a Republican. And here’s the less simple truth: I wish I could be.

I’m an intensely political person by nature, so it’s infuriating not to have a party that I can support. In many ways, that party should be the GOP. As an entrepreneur and an individualist, I am drawn to the Republicans’ hands-off approach to fiscal policy. But although I believe that government should not interfere with business, I believe just as strongly that religion has no business in government.

Lucas’ perspectives are probably more common than many bloggers and blog readers suspect.

Mehlman: Conservative case for marriage

Timothy Kincaid

October 13th, 2012

Considering that Ken Mehlman is perhaps best known for being George Bush’s campaign manager during his “ban gay marriage” reelection campaign, it’s a bit ironic hearing him now advocate for equality. Nevertheless, the message – in this case – is more important than the messenger. And this is a message that needs to be heard.

“Conservative” can mean adherence to a specific set of political positions. However, it also can also refer to a way of life, an approach to thinking and the manner in which one structures their personal affairs. While “conservative” (in this sense) may have a loose correlation with the political term, a far-left Democrat who has a wife and children, a college fund, and retirement savings invested for the long term is far more conservative than a Republican playboy who throws lavish parties and is invested only in risky schemes.

I suspect that because the terms are the same, many people (especially those who live in conservative areas) believe that while they cautiously plan and prepare and value tradition and family, those liberals out there in San Francisco are irresponsible and wife-swapping and are all divorced and their kids run free like animals. That may be an extreme, but I do think it likely that they genuinely believe that liberal people do not value marriage and family as much as they do.

Which raises an interesting disconnect. What do you do with the gay folk who are clamoring for the right to marry, raise kids, live in a white picket fence neighborhood, volunteer for the local boy scout troop, and march in the Halloween Parade? That’s so… conservative. Those aren’t “San Francisco values”. How can this be?

One answer, the one pushed by those who have an interest in dividing the nation and living off the discord, is that Teh Gheys are only trying to get into marriage – and other conservative institutions – to destroy it! They don’t really want to marry, they hate marriage (because it was designed by God) and they want to bring it to an end.

And if you live in that bubble and are looking for a way to make your conflicting impressions make sense, this is an appealing answer. And besides, it’s championed by people who claim that they are good conservatives, the same people who value tradition and family and morality and decency, so it must be true.

Which makes it all the more important that another answer be heard. And that it too be championed by people who are good conservatives. They don’t want to hear from the people who insist that there be no crèche at Christmas or those who think it’s better to live together before marriage or those who think that more taxes are the solution to an economy without jobs or the folks who insist that Palestinians have as valid a claim on Jerusalem as the Jews. They don’t trust their judgment and they aren’t going to agree with anything you say.

But a conservative – especially one they trust – well, they’ll maybe at least listen. So I love that Ken Mehlman starts his op-ed this way: (StarTribune)

What do Clint Eastwood, Dick Cheney, Ted Olson, and John Bolton have in common? All are strong, lifelong conservatives. Each has fought on behalf of smaller government. And all support the freedom of same-sex couples to marry.

You may think Eastwood a doddering fool, but they LOVED his speech about the empty chair. You may think Cheney a war-monger, they think he’s a defender of the nation. And John Bolton, well he’s that Fox News guy who stood up to the United Nations or something.

And Mehlman speaks their language.

But this amendment would put a one-size-fits-all government mandate on all private institutions, including our churches, by telling them that any marriage they choose to perform is null and void for the purposes of Minnesota.

As Republicans, we respect the individual and work to empower people to live as they see fit, with as little intrusion by the government as practical. This idea is grounded in an important Judeo-Christian value that we should all treat others as we would like to be treated.

The argument isn’t new. It’s not really that revolutionary. And to those who think conservative lives equals conservative politics, this is an appeal that allows them the ability to hear our appeal and to consider us as maybe, just possibly, a little bit, well, conservative.

This is the message that will eventually win them over. And let’s hope that Mehlman’s appeal will work with voters in Minnesota. (And some day later we can deal with the eventual outcome: the day that conservatives start ranting about how The Gays need to settle down and find a good man and get married and raise a family like decent people and lesbians do.)

Roy McDonald (Republican Four) appears to have lost primary

Timothy Kincaid

September 24th, 2012

The National Organization for Marriage finally has a non-made-up-totally-bogus reason to celebrate. It appears that Roy McDonald has fallen victim to their attempts to punish those Republican New York State Senators who voted for equality. (Times Union)

Marchione was up by 110 votes when counting began Monday in two counties of the 43rd State Senate District. McDonald gained 23 votes in Saratoga County, but was offset by a 26-vote pickup for Marchione in Columbia County, according to election officials in Saratoga and Columbia counties. Elections officials in Rensselaer and Washington counties tallied their absentee ballots last week.

All things considered, McDonald trailed by 113 votes with 50 ballots set aside.

This is very sad news and probably will hurt us on some level with close legislative votes in which we need some Republican support. But on some level, this is an inspiring story.

Sometimes victory comes in unexpected ways. Sometimes someone goes against the odds, does the right thing… and loses anyway. But there is nobility in doing the right thing because it’s the right thing, and sometimes in the loss comes a different victory, the victory of example. Of honor. Of respect. Sometimes this year’s loss gives birth to next year’s greater success.

I don’t know if this is one of those times. Maybe politicians will see McDonald as an example of why you always put the safe bet first, of why you use polls rather than conscience, of why you should kowtow to right-wing extremists. Maybe they will see this as evidence that ill will and malice are tools more effective than integrity, of how you win by following instead of leading.

But maybe (and I know I’m often too optimistic), maybe this off-the-cuff, unprepared but totally honest answer that Sen. Roy McDonald gave to the press at the time of the vote will live on to encourage others:

You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn’t black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing.

You might not like that. You might be very cynical about that. Well, fuck it, I don’t care what you think. I’m trying to do the right thing.

I’m tired of Republican-Democrat politics. They can take the job and shove it. I come from a blue-collar background. I’m trying to do the right thing, and that’s where I’m going with this.

Saland (one of the Republican Four) wins primary

Timothy Kincaid

September 24th, 2012

Steve Saland, one of four Republicans in the New York Senate to vote for marriage, has won his primary. On election day the results were too close to call, but now that the absentee ballots have been counted it is clear. (Poughkeepsie Journal)

After the remaining absentee and affidavit ballots were counted today at the Dutchess County Board of Elections Saland received 286 and Di Carlo 217, said Fran Knapp, Democratic election commissioner.

This gives Saland a grand total of 5,288 votes and Di Carlo 5,181 votes in Dutchess and Putnam counties — a 107 vote lead for Saland.

There are 34 ballots set aside for judicial review before the results become official.

Of the four, Sen. Alesi did not run for reelection, Sen. Grisante won his primary on election night, and Sen. McDonanald’s absentee ballot count has not been completed.

DADT Is Still An Issue for GOP Base

Jim Burroway

September 18th, 2012

ThinkProgress caught up with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) at last week’s Values Voter Summit and asked wither he would support re-instating “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the ban on gay military personnel serving openly which was rescinded one year ago this Thursday. Jordan answered, “We’ll look at guidance from our military, but I’m certainly supportive of going back to the previous policy.” ThinkProgress explains why we should pay attention:

Though first elected in 2006, Jordan is no back-bencher. He chairs the conservative Republican Study Committee, a group of more than 160 Republican congressmen dedicated to pushing conservative causes that wields major influence within the GOP caucus.

Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, said earlier that DADT’s revival was “not something that I would personally bring up.” Gov. Mitt Romney, too, has said that he would not pursue its implementation if he wins the presidential race. That’s not exactly a principled stand against DADT’s revival, but it does recognize that DADT is not a burning issue, even among a very substantial number fellow Republicans. But not being a burning issue is not opposition; it’s just a complacent acceptance of the status quo. And that complacency ignores the fact that there are still a lot of Republicans for whom it is a burning issue, and they have been ascendant in the GOP for the past four years.

And so, I would have to say that those statements from McKeon and Romney answer the wrong question. The real question is this: If DADT’s revival were to gain traction, would you oppose it or support it? Because personally, I cannot even begin to imagine that a President Romney would suddenly grow a principled backbone and veto such legislation if it were to reach his desk.

NY primaries pit anti-gay Republicans against pro-gay incumbents

Timothy Kincaid

September 13th, 2012

There’s nothing that angers an anti-gay more than a pro-gay Republican. They consider it traitorous for someone who runs as a conservative or a Republican to vote for equality and they vow revenge.

The National Organization for Marriage has, for example, made it a high priority to “punish” those Republican legislators that voted for marriage equality. The top article in the NOM blog today is:

We promised that we would hold accountable all the politicians in Albany who betrayed us on marriage. We have delivered on our promise to not let the actions of those who flip-flopped and voted against the will of the people be forgotten.

We have fought the good fight, in the name of honor and integrity across New York State—but today we need your help to finish the job!

Today is Primary Day in New York.

But NOM is not alone. Primary opponents too have taken up marriage as an Alamo cause. Though perhaps not exactly wisely.

One rabble rouser who wants to see Sen. Grisanti replaced decided that the smart way to attract people to his arguments is to email them gay porn. Matthew Ricchiazzi, some bisexual dude who unsuccessfully ran for Buffalo mayor (and who evidently opposes equality) sent out this:


Yeah, that wouldn’t have been my first choice of campaign literature but I get the impression that he’s not very bright.

And then there was Juan Reyes who decided that Republican NY city councilman Eric Ulrich was too friendly with gay people. So he sent out this:

That didn’t exactly go as planned. As a result, Rudy Guiliani, who had stayed out of the race, endorsed Elrich.

After seeing what his campaign has done, which is disgusting, Juan doesn’t belong in politics. I don’t know where he belongs, but he belongs someplace else… I find these attacks, the gay-bashing attacks, childish, silly, and a real indication you don’t belong in public service.

It will be interesting to see how the primary goes.

UPDATE: Both Grisanti And Ulrich won their primary races tonight.

David Koch endorses marriage equality

Timothy Kincaid

September 1st, 2012

From Fox News

Billionaire businessman David Koch has helped direct millions to Republican candidates but he disagrees with the party on gay marriage.

“I believe in gay marriage,” the 72-year-old Koch told Politico. He was in Tampa as a New York delegate and to attend an event held by Americans for Prosperity — the political advocacy group he helps fund and lead.

And that could make things interesting. When a billionaire speaks, politicians listen.

Invisible support

Timothy Kincaid

August 29th, 2012

In an article entitled “GOP friendlier to gay community — at least behind the scenes“, CNN tells the story of Barbara Ann Fenton and Themis Klarides who propose and seconded, respectively, a proposal that the GOP platform endorse civil unions. It seems to tell a tale of party bosses and right wing activists who craft the voice of the party to be ragingly anti-gay, and delegates who don’t all necessarily agree.

Check out the article and see what you think.

Fenton said after the meeting she had only one disturbing run-in.

“One person did come up and tell me I should renounce my Catholicism — that what I was spewing was pure evil,” Fenton said. “It was hard to keep a straight face.”

But for the most part, the reaction she received from other delegates and Republican staffers was positive. She said she felt that behind the scenes, the party was much more supportive.

“People kept buying me drinks and kept coming up to me saying how they wanted to support my group for doing this. I don’t have a group,” Fenton said. “Some people asked me if I was gay. I told them you could still be for gay rights and be a heterosexual. I don’t think that’s political suicide. If it was, I wouldn’t be a part of this party.”

She said, “One guy even dropped a note in my lap. I thought I was going to get bashed with some nasty note, like you’d get in fifth grade. But what it said essentially was, ‘I’m in the closet. Thank you so much for this.’

“People may now realize you can be gay and still be welcome in the GOP party.”

Personally, I’m decidedly less optimistic than Fenton.

The Republican Convention, circa 1992

Randy Potts

August 29th, 2012

20 years ago, at another Republican National Convention, Mary Fisher stood up to say that “the AIDS virus is not a political creature” and challenged her party to see her as “one with the lonely gay man sheltering a flickering candle from the cold wind of his family’s rejection.”

It’s not far-fetched to believe that George W. Bush’s  record on worldwide HIV/AIDS (called PEPFAR, the “President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief”) was partly inspired by this amazing speech given when his father was up for re-election. In 2012, however, “HIV” and “AIDS” do not exist in the party platform in terms of US-based efforts (PEPFAR’s focus is Africa); instead, where the platform mentions publicly-funded research it says that “research must consider the special needs of formerly neglected groups” and lists things like “breast and prostate cancer, diabetes and other killers.” If HIV/AIDS were implied here, it is at the very least unclear and, by any reckoning, an obvious repudiation of Mary Fisher’s call to action.

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This year, the Log Cabin Republicans in their most recent National Update in July had this to say:

As Republicans it is time to recommit to the defense of life and liberty and renew the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  This month the International AIDS Conference was held in Washington, DC, focusing on the need to fight complacency, particularly among gay and bisexual men.  Despite medical advances, LGBT minorities continue to be devastated by the crisis.  While GOP leaders work to rein in government spending, funding for HIV/AIDS programs should remain the priority they were to the Bush administration.

Strong words and yet, thus far in Tampa, not a word has been breathed about HIV/AIDS.  The focus for LCR in addition to a full page ad in Tampa has instead been on marriage equality.

Globe compares 2008 and 2012 Republican Party platforms

Timothy Kincaid

August 29th, 2012

The Boston Globe compares certain statements within the GOP Party platforms between 2008 and 2012:

GAYS IN THE MILITARY

2008: “We affirm . . . the benefits of traditional military culture and the incompatibility of homosexuality with military service.”

2012: “We will support an objective and open-minded review of the current Administration’s management of military personnel policies and will correct problems with appropriate administrative, legal, or legislative action.”

and

MARRIAGE

2008: “Because our children’s future is best preserved within the traditional understanding of marriage, we call for a constitutional amendment that fully protects marriage as a union of a man and a woman, so that judges cannot make other arrangements equivalent to it.”

2012: “We reaffirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

Those two quotes (out of five) might look as though they are less egregious. But I think that in context, and when including the other segments I discussed yesterday, it would be hard to make a case for much improvement. I think “more subtle” might be the best that could be said.

Babeu wins sheriff nomination

Timothy Kincaid

August 29th, 2012

Three months ago Paul Babeu dropped out of the race for Congress amidst a bit of a media circus. It went something like this:

The Phoenix New Times ran a story claiming that Babeu, as Sheriff of Pinal County, threatened to have a former boyfriend deported to Mexico if he disclosed their relationship. The paper demanding an investigation. Babeu responded by announcing that he is indeed gay but that the rest of their charges were false.

After a few more stories it became clear that the New Times was under the impression that by outing Babeu they could end his political career and that the boyfriend story was a vehicle to that end.

Especially disconcerting was an article ran by the New Times which consisted, frankly, of homophobic gay baiting. They ran a shirtless picture of Babeu from a dating website (calling it “sexually explicit”) and posted a picture of him in his underwear which was not on the site (provided by his former boyfriend – a man whose identity they and other media sought to shield). They insinuated that membership in a gay dating site should result in his being fired, equating it to porn production.

The New Times also sought quotes from his primary opponents, particularly State Senator Ron Gould, who ran an ad saying that Washington needs “a straight shooter”. They finally lost all credibility (with me, anyway) when they started running “caption that photo” contests with the pictures given to them by Babeu’s ex-beau.

Additional allegations arose about him dating a former student in Massachusetts. And a panel was assigned the task of looking at the whole mess. On May 11, he dropped out of the congressional race. I pretty much thought at that point that the Phoenix New Times had accomplished their goal and that Paul Babeu’s life in politics was over.

But to their surprise – and mine – his very conservative constituents did not denounce him. Instead, many seemed to rally around him and offer support. Rather than give up on public life, Babeu seems to have decided to broker for even stronger power in Pinal County. Choosing to run again for the office of Sheriff, he formed an alliance with a fellow Republican running for county attorney and a few county supervisor candidates.

And it seems that the Republican voters of Pinal County didn’t much care that Babeu is gay, supports marriage equality, and has a hook-up site membership. They overwhelmingly nominated him for reelection, giving him over 60% of the vote against three opponents. His political allies had mixed results, and “straight shooter” Gould lost the primary, so – depending on how the vote goes in November – it appears that Babeu has come out of the situation with increased influence.

The New Times is plenty bitter about Babeu’s win.

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