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What Does Election Of Reince Priebus As GOP Chair Mean For Gay Rights?

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What does the GOP’s election this afternoon of Reince Priebus as Chairman mean for gay rights? Not a lot. And yet, as the man who is tasked with rebuilding the foundering Republican Party, which will have to include massive fundraising, and doling out money to candidates, Priebus will get to decide which candidates are “viable,” and which are not. But considering that so very few, if any, Republicans will support LGBT equality, or support any element of gay rights, there’s little he can do directly to make things worse for us. Whatever candidates out there who support gay rights will not get much cash from the RNC, regardless of who the Chair is.

That said, there’s a lot about Priebus that should make every member of the LGBTQ community, and our supporters, heck, everyone on the Left, truly concerned. Here’s why.

The Chair of the GOP — the Republican National Committee — is as much a behind-the-scenes job as it is the face of the RNC. Now-former Chair Michael Steele, who just lost his re-election bid to Wisconsin’s Reince Priebus, never really understood either of those job descriptions.

Amid the usual cries of “take our country back,” and claims the Democratic party wants to “take our country where we don’t want it to go,” the 168 mostly-very-old-and-mostly-very-white members of the GOP today elected Reince Priebus as their Chair for the next two years. Saying “Barack Obama’s agenda is not good for America,” and adding, “We fired Pelosi,” to his list of accomplishments, Michael Steele, after losing the first four rounds of votes, pulled out of the race and urged his supporters to vote for Maria Cino. As usual, they did not follow his advice.

Reince Priebus, 38, fourteen years younger than Steele, in 2007 became the youngest-ever chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party. In today’s voting, Priebus emerged as the early front-runner, though many were surprised his first-round of votes netted him only one more than Michael Steele, who was widely-expected to lose. Priebus won every one of the seven elimination rounds.

Immediately after the final vote that Priebus won with 97 of 168 votes, Priebus’ first words as newly-elected Chair were, “I want to thank God, I want to thank Jesus for this moment. I am so blessed.” He went on to talk about himself as “a little kid growing up in Kenosha,” and, “my first date with my wife, Lincoln Day dinner with Henry Hyde and Jim Sensenbrenner — which should tell you a little bit something about me.”

Indeed it should.

Henry Hyde was a Republican Congressman from Chicago, Illinois, (he died in 2007) who served as the lead House manager during President Bill Clinton’s 1998-1999 impeachment trial. It was during this time news broke that Hyde himself had had a four-year affair, while married himself, with a married woman.

Hyde was an extreme right-wing Republican whose name was given to the Hyde Amendment, a law that bans any federal funds from paying for abortions.

Jim Sensenbrenner, also a long-time House Republican, was also a manager in the House for the impeachment of Bill Clinton. He also introduced the PATRIOT ACT into the House and was a strong supporter of the war in Iraq. He continues to serve in the House, now as the Ranking Republican on the House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming, which should scare anyone who has children or hopes to be alive fifty-years from now.

Introducing himself to America, Priebus chose his words and his role models with great care: two extreme right-wing Republican Representatives (not Senators, so he looks more “of the people,”) who were intimately involved with the impeachment of a Democratic president. What could be better?

Priebus, in his acceptance speech, also talked about his “two great kids, Jack and Grace,” and that he could not wait to “rebuild this party.” Saying “the Democrats have taken this country on the wrong path,” he added, “together, we can defeat Barack Obama in 2012.”

Of course, he invoked Ronald Reagan’s “city on a shining hill” quote.

Priebus is staunchly pro-life. He has promised Maggie Gallagher, NOM, and the Susan B. Anthony List that he will support and defend traditional marriage, and he, as you can already tell, talks a lot about God, the bible, religion, and the constitution, such as in his response to the question, “What is your position, how was your position shaped and what experience do you have?

“I believe we all have to live mission driven lives.  Certainly we all try to please God.  I’m a 100% Psalm 139 pro-life republican.  I support our Republican platform which I think is rock solid on the issue of abortion.  I believe Life beings absolutely at the time of  conception so every question after that then you believe the Declaration of Independence, the 14th Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause protects that independent human life.  If we start there then every single question after that is really easy.  That’s where I start when I think of the issue of abortion.

“My Christian faith is the foundation of my view on the issue of abortion.  My opinion and view of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution shapes my opinion on the issue of abortion.  I was involved in a Care Net crisis pregnancy center in Kenosha, WI.  I helped them get implemented in a town called Racine, WI all in the SE area of Wisconsin which I think is a great place and a safe harbor for women facing difficult situations where pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, food and diapers and an opportunity to share the love of Christ with people who are in real trouble and making some tough decisions.”

On marriage, Priebus told Maggie Gallagher, “It’s foundational in our lives… I don’t believe anybody should be denied dignity in this discussion, everyone should be loved. But at the end of the day, I believe that marriage — through the sanctity of marriage — should be between one man and one woman,” because, “Children are better off with a mom and a dad.”

The two LGBT Republican organizations, of course, are thrilled. Both released glowing and hollow statements.

Via Log Cabin Republicans: “As Chairman Priebus stated ‘we must come together over common interests. We must unite'” said R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director.  “I look forward to continuing our successful partnership with the Republican National Committee, and urge Chairman Priebus to continue the Committee’s strong record of coalition-building which was an important part of GOP success in 2010.  Inclusion wins and our party is strongest when we embrace a big tent philosophy centered on the core principles that unite us as Republicans. It is onward and upward to win back the White House.”

GOProud says, “Today is a good day for conservatives and for the Republican Party. The election of Reince Priebus marks the end of Michael Steele’s disastrous tenure at the RNC.

“Last July, GOProud joined with other foreign policy conservatives in calling on Chairman Steele to resign after his reckless and outrageous comments about the war in Afghanistan. In December, after Steele chose to seek re-election, we urged RNC members to replace him.

“Michael Steele’s tenure as Chairman can only fairly be characterized as an unmitigated disaster. Were it not for the hard work of outside groups, who were forced to step in to fill the void left by an ineffective RNC, success at the ballot box in November would never have occurred.

“The election of Reince Priebus marks a changing of the guard. Finally we will have an RNC Chair who understands that his or her role is to raise money and build party infrastructure, not to sell books, hire friends and family, and pontificate on policy.”

Blah, blah, blah. Gay Republicans will support anti-gay Republicans any day of the week. (Party First! Which, if you look at GOProud’s Facebook page, seems to have several meanings, but I digress…) Oh, and they seem to prefer the GOP to not take a stand on LGBTQ issues. How they get to that point is beyond me, but, whatever.

Oh, and by the way, Priebus owns five guns. In GOP terms, just enough to win the Chair, though one candidate had sixteen. The one with none lost.

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News

‘Supposed to Be Hard’: Political Experts Explain Their Thinking on Biden and the Election

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Two weeks after the political class’s response to President Joe Biden’s poor debate performance threw the 2024 election into chaos, four political experts share their thinking about where the race actually stands and what Biden’s supporters should do.

“He can’t win right!? They point to the polling right?” wrote political strategist and pollster Cornell Belcher, a frequent NBC News/MSNBC political analyst, linking to a report about the latest polls which show President Biden ahead of Donald Trump. “Well this is the 2nd poll (credible poll) in 2 days showing the Pres race in statistical deadlock two weeks after debate! Using polls to push Biden out feels like red wave 2020 bs all over again.”

Belcher was commenting on the latest Marist College poll produced for NPR/PBS NewsHour. It found Biden beating Trump 50-48 in a one-to-one matchup. When factoring in the four third-party/independent candidates including RFK Jr., Trump came out ahead of Biden, 43-42.

FiveThirtyEight’s regularly updated polling aggregator currently shows Trump up over Biden by 1.9 points, a drop from Thursday where he was more than two points over Biden. FiveThirtyEight also currently shows; “Biden wins 50 times out of 100 in our simulations of the 2024 presidential election. Trump wins 49 times out of 100.”

READ MORE: Critics: Where’s Trump’s Hour-Long Press Conference With Policy Questions from Reporters?

Former Republican and former GOP communications director Tara Setmayer, a resident scholar at Harvard’s Institute of Politics, says the Democratic “freak out needs to stop.”

“Enough.”

Pointing to that same Marist poll, she focuses on a different question.

“This poll also shows character matters more than age. That’s to Biden’s advantage.”

NPR’s headline on its article detailing the poll reads: “After Biden’s debate performance, the presidential race is unchanged.”

“Biden actually gained a point since last month’s survey, which was taken before the debate,” NPR reports, adding: “the survey also found that by a 2-to-1 margin, 68% to 32%, people said it’s more concerning to have a president who doesn’t tell the truth than one who might be too old to serve.”

READ MORE: ‘No Change’: Biden Debate Performance Has Had ‘Almost No Impact’ on 2024 Race Report Finds

To Setmayer’s point, NPR also says, “A majority said Biden has the character to be president (52%), while a majority also said Trump does not (56%).”

Mike Madrid, the Latino GOP political consultant and Lincoln Project co-founder, offered advice to Biden supporters on how to think about Democrats and pundits pushing for the President to drop out of the race, and how to deal with the day-to-day emotional toll.

“Getting lots of questions on how to lower the anxiety level people are feeling. Best thing you can do is unfollow the people attacking Biden gratuitously. Don’t engage them. Unfollow them. It’s not an honest discussion. It’s a frenzy that’s doing real damage.”

“You will not get an explanation from the political arsonists fueling this panic,” he added. “Stop looking for one. Unfollow them. Drop your subscription. Quit listening. That’s the best thing you can do in the pro-democracy fight right now. Their gaslighting is now a suppression tactic.”

To someone who said they are “scared,” and the situation is “confusing, maddening and sad,” Madrid advised: “Nothing has changed. Stop watching TV and get off Twitter. Take the weekend off. Please.”

The Lincoln Project’s Stuart Stevens, a political strategist for decades and author of “The Conspiracy To End America,” writes: “I worked in campaigns for 30 years. I am hardwired to respond one way when your guy is in trouble: fight harder. Don’t start looking for exit ramps or magic bullets. Play the next play. Do your job. Ignore the scoreboard. It’s supposed to be hard.”

READ MORE: ‘Betrayal’: Trump Hosts ‘Russian Puppet’ Viktor Orbán as Biden Hosts NATO Leaders

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News

RFK Jr. Apology Over Sexual Assault Allegation ‘Disingenuous’ – Unsure if More to Come

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Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the independent candidate running for president, has apologized to the woman who accused him of sexual assault, and separately told reporters he does not know if there are more potential accusers.

The 70-year old anti-vaxxer and conspiracy theorist who has said a worm ate a portion of his brain, has not denied allegations of sexual misconduct. A recent Vanity Fair profile reports that in 1998, Eliza Cooney, 23-years old at the time and working as a part-time baby sitter for RFK Jr. and his wife’s children, felt his “hand moving up and down her leg under the table” during “a meeting in the family kitchen.”

There are other allegations in the Vanity Fair profile that include Kennedy being shirtless in Cooney’s bedroom and asking her to rub lotion on his back, which she said was “totally inappropriate.”

And this: “A few months later, Cooney says, she was rifling through the kitchen pantry for lunch after a yoga class, still in her sports bra and leggings, when Kennedy came up behind her, blocked her inside the room, and began groping her, putting his hands on her hips and sliding them up along her rib cage and breasts. ‘My back was to the door of the pantry, and he came up behind me,’ she says, describing the alleged sexual assault. ‘I was frozen. Shocked.’ ”

RELATED: ‘What in the F’: RFK Jr. in Photo With Alleged ‘Barbecued’ Dog Carcass Disgusts Critics

The Washington Post Friday morning reported RFK Jr. “privately apologized to a woman who accused him of sexual assault, saying he does not remember the alleged incident and that any harm he caused was ‘inadvertent.’ ”

“’I have no memory of this incident but I apologize sincerely for anything I ever did that made you feel uncomfortable or anything I did or said that offended you or hurt your feelings,’ Kennedy wrote in a text message to Cooney sent at 12:33 a.m. on July 4, two days after her accusations became public. ‘I never intended you any harm. If I hurt you, it was inadvertent. I feel badly for doing so.’ ”

Cooney told The Post that Kennedy’s texted message was “disingenuous and arrogant.”

“I’m not sure how somebody has a true apology for something that they don’t admit to recalling. I did not get a sense of remorse.”

READ MORE: Critics: Where’s Trump’s Hour-Long Press Conference With Policy Questions from Reporters?

Also on Friday, hidden in the middle of a Boston Globe soft profile of the presidential candidate whose support has reportedly now hit ten percent – possibly enough to change the outcome of the election – is Kennedy’s apparent acknowledgment there could be more allegations of sexual misconduct.

“Asked if other women might come forward with similar allegations he said, ‘I don’t know. We’ll see what happens.’ ”

The Globe notes Kennedy “is currently on the ballot in nine states, and submitted enough signatures to eventually get on the ballot in 15 states. There are five other states where the campaign claims to have enough signatures but hasn’t turned in them in yet, in some cases because the window to do so hasn’t opened.”

FiveThirtyEight reports there is a 58% chance the election “is decided by a smaller margin than the vote share for third-party candidates,” meaning Kennedy, who has the largest portion of third party votes, may have the potential to change the election outcome.

In a parenthetical addition, Vanity Fair updated its report, writing: “After this story was published, Kennedy told the Breaking Points podcast, in response to Cooney’s allegations, that he is ‘not a church boy… I have so many skeletons in my closet.’ When pressed to respond directly to her claims, he told the anchor, ‘I’m not going to comment on it.’ ”

READ MORE: ‘Betrayal’: Trump Hosts ‘Russian Puppet’ Viktor Orbán as Biden Hosts NATO Leaders

 

 

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OPINION

Critics: Where’s Trump’s Hour-Long Press Conference With Policy Questions from Reporters?

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Following President Joe Biden’s 58-minute long unscripted, solo press conference without a teleprompter, fielding questions from reporters and responding with nuance and depth on a range of issues including foreign and domestic policy, some critics are calling on his opponent, ex-president Donald Trump, to do the same.

It’s been a long time since Trump has held an actual unscripted, lengthy, solo press conference, with questions from reporters, and well-over a year since he did one that wasn’t centered on his legal crises.

“When is last time Trump did an hour long press conference? Anyone know?” asked Bloomberg News’ Steven Dennis Thursday night after the President’s press conference.

“So now the media will demand that Trump hold an hour-long press conference on complex foreign policy issues — right?” snarked attorney and legal commentator Tristan Snell, who headed the successful New York State civil prosecution of Trump University.

READ MORE: ‘Dead Heat’: Biden Ahead or Tied With Trump in Two New Post-Debate Polls

“Trump is getting a free pass just like he did in 2016. No way he could do a press conference for 40 minutes after 3 long days with world leaders. He is incoherent most of time when he’s not spewing bile,” declared CNN Political Commentator Karen Finney Friday morning.

“It’s now time for the corporate media to dissect every word Trump says for the next two weeks, have debates on his mental state, amplify the small number of Republicans who want Trump to drop out and demand he hold a press conference where we can dissect him even more,” remarked attorney and SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah Friday morning.

“Per CSPAN last time Trump held a press conference that approached an hour in length at which he took questions from reporters, he was still president,” observed Aaron Fritschner, Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) Friday morning.

READ MORE: ‘Betrayal’: Trump Hosts ‘Russian Puppet’ Viktor Orbán as Biden Hosts NATO Leaders

He adds, “Per the CSPAN archive, the last time Donald Trump took questions from reporters in a press conference was on February 8th. National and campaign reporters made an issue of the lack of press conferences with Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. To date, they have not done so with Trump.”

On November 8, 2022, from Mar-a-Lago, after polls closed, Donald Trump delivered remarks discussing the midterm elections. He spoke for about four minutes to supporters and took no questions from reporters, whom he mocked. (Full C-SPAN video.)

Semafor’s David Weigel argues, “A lot of the ‘whatabout Trump’ stuff is cope, but he really is getting an easy ride with interviewers compared to 2016 or 2020.”

“Most of his interviews are softball-fests. When he did All-In the campaign had to clean up his green card/diploma answer.”

READ MORE: ‘No Change’: Biden Debate Performance Has Had ‘Almost No Impact’ on 2024 Race Report Finds

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