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In CPAC’s Conservative Circus, Are Gays The High-Wire Act?

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Last week was the perfect storm of Conservative carnival cacophony.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of All Ages….” should have been the rallying cry, starting on Valentine’s Day, when homophobe Tucker Carlson did a spot with Clayton Morris of “Fox And Friends,” discussing a new right-wing “study.” It went like this:

Carlson: “College students are more liberal… on certain social issues, gay marriage, abortion, capitalism… College students become more liberal after four years of college — we know that.”

Morris: “And so, what is the answer, how do we fix this, if degrees are making graduates more likely to support same-sex marriage, abortion… How do you fix this?”

How do you “fix” the fact that facts makes people smarter and less ignorant? I don’t know. How do you take back smart and install stupid?

Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody!

Then, on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. the Cato Institute, that self-described libertarian think-tank that is funded by billionaire Progressive (?) George Soros, yet boasts Fox’s Tucker Carlson as a Senior Fellow, hosted an event called, “Is There a Place for Gay People in Conservatism and Conservative Politics?” It featured a debate which pitted Andrew Sullivan against Maggie Gallagher (though, not long enough!) and a speech by gay British MP Nick Herbert (also not long enough.)

Herbert, a Conservative, actually shared that in British politics, gay has become OK, and boasted that their conservative party will have more openly-gay elected officials than their liberal party. (Anyone feel like moving?)

But the “really big shew,” the “big top” (although certainly not a “big tent,” as the Log Cabin Republicans thought was coming) was CPAC — the 37th annual Conservative Political Action Conference. And boy, did they put on a show.

From homophobe Jason Mattera, who mocked the halls of liberal educational institutions, proclaiming a “feminist new black man” is “a crossover between RuPaul and Barney Frank,” to homophobe (and domestic-violence restraining order recipient) Ryan Sorba, the man who for years has been claiming to be writing a book titled after his lecture, the “Born Gay Hoax,” who denounced the entire conference for allowing a gay Republican group to co-sponsor the event (and was booed!) to homophobe Rep. Mike Pence’s call for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, to homophobe Rep. Steve King, who has tried to repeal his state of Iowa’s same-sex marriage law, and who actually included not only (the expected) “Liberals and Progressives” as the “enemies of America,” but “Che Gueverians, Castroites, Socialists, Trotskyites, Maoists, Stalinists, Leninists,” and, wait for it… yes, Marxists too, the call rang out loud and clear: if you’re queer, get out of here.

But the promise of hate speech like that — unsurprising from the CPAC crowd — didn’t stop GOProud, Jimmy LaSalvia’s new gay Republican group, from showing up. Although months ago Liberty Counsel threatened to pull out if GOProud pulled into town, they stayed.

Gay blogger “Gay Patriot,” was at CPAC too. He claimed he was welcomed with open arms (Ryan Sorba, Mike Pence, Tucker Carlson, Jason Mattera, Steve King, Tom Tancredo, et al, not withstanding) by the CPAC conference.

Now, I’m sure GayPatriot thinks he was welcomed, just as I’m sure Jimmy LaSalvia thinks he was welcomed. And I’m sure the more libertarian attendees there did welcome them. But they’re not the CPAC base. This is the CPAC base. Tell me who among the list of co-sponsors or exhibitors would support us, support repeal of DOMA and DADT, support passage of ENDA? Pretty much nobody.

It’s clear the majority of America’s right-wing hates the LGBTQ community. So what do we do? I, for one, have been calling them out on their lies, hatred, and disgusting accusations full-time for well over a year now.

To be honest, I have a hard time with the idea of anyone in our community supporting that part of America — in this case, CPAC — that hates the LGBTQ community. And I’m very comfortable classifying their overall treatment of the LGBTQ community as “hate.” I’m also very comfortable classifying their treatment of the LGBTQ community as “oppression.”

(Let’s not forget, David Mixner calls the federal government’s treatment of the LGBTQ community “Gay Apartheid.”)

As a matter of fact, turns out, gays do think Republicans hate us. Just a few weeks ago in the wake of the Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll which found, for instance, that 77% of Republicans think same-sex couples should not be allowed to marry, I took a poll. 47% of respondents believe “Republicans hate us,” while an additional 41% said, “hate is too strong a word, but essentially, yes.”

So, while the Democratic party hasn’t lived up to its obligation or promises, we certainly have more to gain selectively supporting Democratic politicians than Republican ones. (And let’s not forget the 39 steps the Obama administration and the DNC have taken against the LGBTQ community!)

But what do you do when “they” are actually “us?”

Many of us have been struggling with our relationship with gay Republicans for some time now. I’ve given it a lot of thought and have decided this.

First, there’s enough evidence to suggest that, just as people are born, not made, gay or straight or bi or trans, so are Republican and Democrats. Yes, biology plays a large role in which way we lean, from a political standpoint. So, it’s equally unfair to ridicule someone for being gay as it is for someone being Republican. And I suppose it could be very hard being a gay Republican.

On Twitter, I had a productive conversation with blogger and CPAC attendee GayPatriot. Here’s an excerpt:

davidbadash: .@GayPatriot How you can support the very organization that thinks who you are is a threat to the American family is beyond me.

GayPatriot: @davidbadash There is no one here at CPAC trying to write me out of the Constitution. They are being open, kind & friendly.

davidbadash: .@GayPatriot So, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage is friendly?

GayPatriot: @davidbadash I’m getting a better reception at CPAC than I EVER have with my gay friends or at gay-centric events. TRUTH.

Perhaps. Though what some say to your face and then behind yor back can often be different, as Jimmy LaSalvia found with NOM.

But I believe it’s critical that the LGBTQ community does not take the wrong stance, or think that the tide has turned, and that CPAC, the GOP, the RNC, or Republicans or Conservatives in general support us.

Here’s what happens when we make that mistake.

Jimmy LaSalvia and his GOProud group strongly endorsed then-candidate for Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. On February 5, just days after taking office, McDonnell slashed gays out of that state’s anti-discrimination policy.

So, did we gain anything by GOProud and GayPatriot (and other gay bloggers, like Chris Geidner) being at CPAC? Well, I don’t know.

Geidner, who blogs at Law Dork, and now writes for D.C.’s MetroWeekly, this week, in, “A Gay New Yorker in the CPAC Court,” quoted Craig Held, an openly-gay New York City college student who went to CPAC:

”…I think the reaction to GOProud has been good. I think the Republican Party is definitely going in a more open direction. I think they’ve realized they need to stop alienating people,” he said, ”Being gay doesn’t mean you can’t be a Republican. True conservatism is for individual rights; it has nothing to do with gay marriage – with not allowing gay marriage.

”I think that’s the direction the Party need to go in. And, I think it’s slowly getting there. Baby steps.”

Bruce Carroll writing at Bretibart calls this year’s CPAC a “Milestone Weekend for Gays,” and says,

“Last week at CPAC we saw the many years of work by dedicated conservative gays and lesbians standing up for their values and the principles of freedom and liberty finally pay off. There was a tipping point for gays in America last week at CPAC. It happened because they have been coming out to their parents, friends and relatives over time… as American conservatives who just happen to be gay.”

I’m not so sure. There’s too much hate there for me to agree. Maybe that’s starting to slowly change. Only 1% of CPAC straw poll voters chose “stopping gay marriage” as their top political issue. But those voters were mostly the 18-25 set, only 2395 of CPAC’s reported 10,000 attendees, and they’re also the ones who gave Ron Paul the landslide win as their choice to be the next Republican presidential nominee.

But here’s what I do know.

On the road to full equality, there are many vehicles. Maybe which ever arrives first is the right one, but we have no idea which will be the one that brings us into the future. Maybe, collectively, we need to ride them all. If gay Republicans want to hang out with other Republicans, maybe, just maybe, it will help us change hearts and minds a little. We can’t afford to eliminate anyone who might help us win equality. (Not sending them money until they start voting for us, however, is the right thing to do!)

There are many roads to reach our success. I will not fight anyone for trying. I will for not.


Note: This piece was first published in The Bilerico Project.

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COMMENTARY

FDR, JFK, and LBJ: White House (Finally) Takes (Cautious) Victory Lap on Biden’s (Huge) Successes

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The White House is coming off a year of approval rating declines, thanks in large part to Republican obstruction and attacks, but President Joe Biden, Democrats, and the nation now have a lot to celebrate.

“We now have a presidency where the president has delivered the largest economic recovery plan since Roosevelt, the largest infrastructure plan since Eisenhower, the most judges confirmed since Kennedy, the second largest health care bill since Johnson and the largest climate change bill in history,” White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, not known for bragging, told Politico’s Ryan Lizza. “The first time we’ve done gun control since President Clinton was here, the first time ever an African American woman has been put on the U.S. Supreme Court.”

“I think it’s a record to take to the American people,” Klain added.

Lizza and Eugene Daniels of Politico’s Playbook note, “At the start of the summer, this conversation would have been vastly different. Now, gas prices have dropped, and the last CPI report hints that inflation may finally be trending down after hitting a peak. Election forecasters are writing pieces at least entertaining the idea that Democrats might not suffer the long-predicted midterm wipeout. And there’s that burst of legislative victories that were squeezed out of Congress in July and August that had Biden, a lover of alliteration, calling this period ‘a season of substance.’”

The Guardian’s Martin Pengelly observes, “Klain’s references to historical figures chimes with Biden’s own interests. The president has regularly consulted historians, among them Doris Kearns Goodwin, Michael Beschloss and Eddie Glaude Jr, while Jon Meacham, a biographer of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and George HW Bush, has been a close adviser in shaping Biden’s effort to restore ‘the soul of the nation’ after the presidency of Donald Trump.”

Pengelly adds: “Democrats control Congress by narrow margins. Opposition parties commonly do well in the first elections of a presidential term, and Republicans remain favoured to take control of one or both chambers. But legislative successes, most recently the passage of a major domestic and climate crisis spending plan, the Inflation Reduction Act, have given Democrats hope.”

With just 80 days to Election Day – less, if you include early voting – FiveThirtyEight put the likelihood of Democrats retaining their Senate majority at 63 in 100 chances, but give Republicans 78 in 100 chances of taking over the House.

You can hear Chief of Staff Ron Klain on Politico’s podcast here.

 

Image: Official White House Photo by Erin Scott via Flickr and a CC license

 

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Trump Is Privately Admitting Dr. Oz Will ‘F–king Lose’: Report

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Donald Trump has a long list more than 200 hand-picked candidates he’s endorsed, and he’s very proud of his record – for the most part.

Dr. Oz is going to “fucking lose” his race for a U.S. Senate seat “unless something drastically changes, Trump has said privately of his chosen man in the Keystone State, according to two sources who’ve discussed the midterm election with the ex-president,” Rolling Stone reports.

The magazine adds, “the former president is coming to the same conclusion that numerous party consultants and conservative bigwigs arrived at earlier this summer: Oz is very likely doomed.”

Trump seems to be taking this projected loss personally, given the Pennsylvania GOP nominee, like himself, has wide name-recognition thanks to his TV show.

READ MORE: Dr. Oz Trounced in Newsmax Interview as Host Demands Explanation for ‘Wegner’s’ and ‘Crudité’ Ad

“In recent weeks, some Trump allies have repeatedly flagged polling for the former president showing Dr. Oz down, at times by wide or double-digit margins, to his Democratic opponent. Trump has sometimes responded by asking advisers how it’s possible that someone who was that popular on TV for so long is doing so poorly in the polls. When Trump has inquired if the polling has been ‘phony’ or skewed, multiple people close to him have assured him that — as one of the sources describes to Rolling Stone — ‘this is not a matter of the polls being ‘rigged,’ there are major problems with this campaign and, more specifically, this candidate.'”

Indeed, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who suffered a stroke just days before winning the Democratic primary for that Senate seat, is beating Oz in polls by double digits. One recent GOP insider poll showed Fetterman beating Oz by 18 points. The latest Fox News poll shows Fetterman beating Oz by 11 points.

The Fetterman team is displaying massive political savvy with its mocking memes of the celebrity TV doctor, mostly around his “crudité” video from April. They’ve resurfaced it, making a mockery of the man they already claim doesn’t actually live in Pennsylvania, but is a carpetbagger from New Jersey.

READ MORE: ‘Grifter’ Dr. Oz Mocked for Video Blaming Biden for $6 Salsa as New Disclosure Puts His Wealth at Up to $400 Million

Oz calling Redner’s, a local grocery store chain, “Wegner’s” in the video while complaining about the high cost of vegetables to make “crudité” has not helped the celebrity physician known for selling “diet scams” and “false and baseless medical claims,” and the Fetterman team has milked it for all it’s worth – even creating a parody account for the non-existent supermarket.

37% of respondents in that Fox News poll added they are “extremely” concerned that Mehmet Oz (Dr. Oz) “may not be familiar enough with the state of Pennsylvania to carry out the job of senator effectively.” Just 13% of respondents said they were “extremely” concerned that John Fetterman “may not be healthy enough to carry out the job of senator effectively.”

 

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Fulton County DA Slams Lindsey Graham’s Efforts to Avoid Testifying: Causing ‘Substantial Injury’ to Grand Jury

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Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis is punching back hard at U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s efforts to avoid testifying to the Special Purpose Grand Jury (SPGJ) investigating efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Politico’s Kyle Cheney points to a new court filing in which Willis urges the judge to not indulge Graham’s efforts to delay.

A stay would “significantly harm” and “result in substantial injury to the Special Purpose Grand Jury,” Willis warns. She calls Graham’s testimony “crucial,” and notes that Graham has already delayed the grand jury’s work by six weeks by filing motions in “three separate jurisdictions.”

READ MORE: Georgia DA Says ‘Possible’ Trump Could Be Subpoenaed, Lindsey Graham ‘Doesn’t Understand Seriousness’ of Investigation

Granting Graham’s request “will ensure that the Senator’s involvement with the SPGJ will not be resolved for months.”

She notes on Monday U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May denied Graham’s attempt to delay his testimony, but on Wednesday Graham filed an emergency motion to get the court to grant his request.

In her conclusion she eloquently reminds Sen. Graham and the judge what the law is about.

“Senator Graham insists that he seeks to delay his appearance before the Special Purpose Grand Jury not just for his own sake, but also for the sake of the separation of powers, federalism, and ‘for the People,'” Willis writes. “The Special Purpose Grand Jury, however, is the People: a collection of citizens called together to perform their civic duty on behalf of their neighbors and families. They have sacrificed their time, effort, energy, and attention for months in order to investigate matters that affect themselves, their community, and the nation as a whole. The District Attorney asks that this Court deny Senator Graham’s motion in order that he, for a single day, can assist them in that great task without further delay. The People have requested Senator Graham’s testimony and stand ready to receive it. All that is left is for the Senator to meet them.”

READ MORE: ‘Should Expect to Be Indicted’: Giuliani Now Target of Georgia DA Investigation Into Efforts to Overturn Election – Report

Willis also explains exactly why the grand jury needs his testimony.

“As this Court recognized in its Order, Senator Graham’s testimony is sought by the SPGJ not simply because he possesses necessary and material information but also because he is expected to provide information regarding additional sources of relevant information,” Willis tells the court. “As a result, delaying the Senator’s testimony would not simply postpone his appearance; it would also delay the revelation of an entire category of relevant witnesses or information, each of whom would require additional time and resources to secure on behalf of the SPGJ.”

On Monday, Judge May wrote: “Senator Graham has direct personal knowledge of conversations with Georgia election officials which have been the subject of public dispute as to the nature of his inquiries and requests, including any implicit or overt suggestions to discard ballots or otherwise alter the election results.”

Judge May added, “the District Attorney described Senator Graham as a ‘necessary and material witness in [the Special Purpose Grand Jury] investigation’ not only because of his personal knowledge of the phone calls with Georgia election officials, but also because he possesses ‘unique knowledge’ concerning ‘the Trump Campaign and other known and unknown individuals involved in the multi-state, coordinated efforts to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.’”

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