I was having a discussion this week with a gay conservative friend of mine online regarding the recent xenophobic, sexist and homophobic happenings in the Republican party when he suddenly blurted out, “Well, what about the Democrats and Jeremiah Wright? Where were the Democrats condemning him?”
This is that to which gay conservatives have been reduced: countering the myriad examples of Republican craziness taking place just in the last two weeks with sputtering about a four-year-old mostly manufactured controversy involving an aging Chicago minister whose peripheral views were widely condemned at the time by many Democrats (including Obama) as being out-of-touch with reality and anti-Semitic. In May 2008 Obama resigned his membership in the church.
I’m still waiting for a single high-profile national Republican to resign from his or her church over the kooks who have taken over the GOP.
Who can blame gay conservatives for feeling besieged and engaging in desperate false equivalencies in response to legitimate questions about the future of their movement? Thirty-five years after creating the Log Cabin Republicans, what do gay conservatives have to show for more than three decades’ efforts?
They have a 2012 GOP convention platform so wing-nutty conservative that it makes the party’s 1980 ultra-conservative platform written at the beginning of the so-called Reagan revolution seem like a progressive’s dream with its high-minded talk about ideological “big tents” and tolerating dissent about social issues.
Noted the New York Times in an Aug. 28 article “Platform’s Sharp Turn to Right Has Conservatives Cheering,” the 2012 platform “delves into a number of politically charged issues. It calls state court decisions recognizing same-sex marriage ‘an assault on the foundations of our society,’ opposes gun legislation that would limit ‘the capacity of clips or magazines,’ supports the ‘public display of the Ten Commandments,’ calls on the federal government to drop its lawsuits challenging state laws adopted to combat illegal immigration, and salutes the Republican governors and lawmakers who ‘saved their states from fiscal disaster by reforming their laws governing public employee unions.’”
Of course, the Log Cabin men have joined no less than House Speaker John Boehner in downplaying the importance of party convention platforms, with Boehner going so far as to ask disingenuously, “Have you ever met anybody who has read the party platform?”
However, as the Times noted in that same article, “Gerald M. Pomper, a professor emeritus of political science at Rutgers University, studied meaningful platform pledges from 1944 to 1976—and later updated his work by looking at the 1990s—and found that winning political parties try to redeem roughly 70 percent of their concrete platform pledges.”
“It seemed strange to me that people would have fights over platforms and would put in a lot of effort to try to influence them if they didn’t mean anything,” Pomper said in the Times article. “If they didn’t, why were practical people fighting over this? Putting something into the party platform is a pledge that you’re going to do something about it.”
Of course, this sort of attention-deflecting by the so-called “economically conservative but socially progressive” wing of the Republican party—the wing to which I believe most of my Log Cabin friends sincerely belong—has worked for years to bamboozle independents. “Pay no attention to those yahoos on-stage,” they’ve long insisted to anyone who would listen. “It’s those of us on K Street and Wall Street behind the curtain pulling the moderate levers who are really in charge here.”
The Log Cabinites even went so far as to withhold their endorsement of Bush senior in 1992 because of the overt homophobia displayed at the 1992 GOP convention—a principled move that nobody expects them to repeat in 2012 with Romney in a GOP that tolerates little dissent from wingnut orthodoxy.
Just as with the rest of the GOP, the Log Cabin men — and they are almost all men — used the right-wing Caucasian hillbillies in the Bible Belt to do their electoral bidding, nurturing their hatred and paranoia regarding immigration, the federal government and the coming menace of a Caucasian minority to bring them to the voting booth. Except the Bible-toting hillbillies were paying attention when party leaders and right-wing radio hosts (who are, after all, often the same people) exhorted the yahoos to run for state and local offices, get elected to seats on GOP state committees, and start their own organizations to fight the political machine in Washington.
And now you have a GOP convention that is mostly elderly, white, undereducated and so utterly lacking in critical reasoning skills they easily conflate in their feeble minds the notions of premarital sex and rape.
So you’ll forgive me if I’m having a difficult time working up any sympathy for the more moderate wing of the Republican Party, including the Log Cabin boys who these days are often overshadowed by the unintentional comedy troupe known as GOProud.
You people created this monster. If there weren’t so much at stake, it might be amusing watching you deal with it.