Eric Marcus

Log Cabin Republicans: Building a Bridge to Nowhere

Filed By Eric Marcus | September 14, 2008 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, Democrats, is it a choice, John McCain, liberals, log cabin republicans, Marvin Liebman, palin

Okay, so it's displaced anger. I can't punch out any of McCain's political operatives (the guy with the shaved head comes to mind). I can't tell Sarah Palin to just shut the #$@* up already about that bridge to nowhere! And the guy who's heading the ticket seems too pathetic and addled to inspire much more than disgust.

But gay people who belong to the Republic Party (if they can refer to the Democrat Party, I can call them the Republic Party and hope that they'll find it insulting) are an easy target, especially those who belong to the Log Cabin Republicans. Their endorsement of the McCain/Palin ticket inspires both disgust and fury.

Since I usually answer a question on Sunday, I thought I would have a look through my books to see whether I've ever addressed a question about the Log Cabin Republicans. Turns out that I have, but I only did so obliquely. Here's the question and answer from the 2005 edition of Is It A Choice?:

• Are all lesbians and gay men liberals?

The vast majority of visible and politically active gay and lesbian people are comparatively liberal, so there is the mistaken impression that all gay people are Democrats and support liberal causes.

But plenty of gay and lesbian people identify themselves as Republicans--including at least one U.S. congressman--and more than a few gay men and women are conservatives, including the late Marvin Liebman, who was a founder of the modern conservative movement. (The national organization for gay Republicans is called Log Cabin Republicans--www.logcabin.org.)

Some gay people have even been known to support and vote for conservative anti-gay candidates and to write anti-gay editorials. Don't ask me to explain this, because I can't.

In my professional capacity as an author I've always tried to strike a tone of moderation and my above answer seems, in light of recent events, to be bizarrely moderate.

I think that the Log Cabin Republicans are nuts. They've fallen all over themselves because McCain's consigliere, the one with the shaved head, told them over lunch at the convention in Minneapolis that "I admire your organization." He also encouraged them to "keep fighting for what you believe because the day is going to come."

What day is going to come? Tomorrow? That we can be sure of. But certainly not the kind of tomorrow many of us would like to see, when gay people have the right to marry and are protected by the federal government from discrimination. And taking the wide view, a tomorrow where all Americans are entitled to healthcare--as a right, not a privilege. A tomorrow where we take care of the world in which we live and treat it like the fragile living organism it is instead of a resource to be exploited and abused. You get the picture. You've heard Obama give the speech. But you certainly haven't heard McCain or Palin give that speech.

I always say that gay people are just like everyone else. At this critical moment in our nation's history I find that disappointing and infuriating (this is a moment when I'd like all gay people to be better than everyone else). But I would have special contempt for the Log Cabin Republicans if it were to turn out that their votes push McCain and Palin into the White House and condemn the rest of us to go along with them across their bridge to nowhere.


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You could call them 'publicans.

The Bible-reading subset of Christians may be offended.

Gay republicans tend to fall into two camps poor and stupid or rich and callous. Neither set are people I care to be with. The last one I met, with body piercings and heavy makeup no less, told me he had major reservations regarding Obama so he would be voting for McCain this fall. The reason, “McCain would be more likely to respect peoples individuality.”

The gay Rethug I met prior to that stated people unfortunate enough to contract a deadly illness while uninsured, (as in just the few weeks or months while between jobs) are better off to society dead than being covered by government provided health care. This just after I told him I had been uninsured for a few months while being between jobs.

Then these guys wonder why they can’t get laid.

Go figure.

Frank Rich reminds us in today's NY Times that by choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate he's giving us the Republican Party that wouldn't hesitate to go after people like us. So contrary to what the Log Cabin Republicans say regarding John McCain being someone they can work with, the version of the Republican Party he would bring into the White House would have us fighting to keep our rights and even force us to once again defend the books that speak honestly about our lives (and defend the librarians who stand up for what's right).

Y'know, Eric, I agree with pretty much everything you say here, except for one thing, and it's something that infuriates me every time I hear or read it. It's some form of this statement:

"I always say that gay people are just like everyone else."

In a word, bullshit. Gays are not like everyone else, nor are lesbians, bisexuals, or transpeople. We are different from straights. We have different interests, different perspectives on the world around us, different tastes in media, clothes, social groups, sexual and romantic partners, and on and on.

The point here is that being the same as straights is neither what we are in reality nor an ideal we should be striving for. We are different, and the point we should be making is not that we're just like the straights, which is patently untrue, but that yes, we are different and there's nothing wrong with being different. The point is that our difference is something that should be honored and celebrated, not swept under the rug and devalued by assimilationist statements like the one above.

Personally, I choose to take pride in who I actually am, not in how close I come to the "normal" ideal of straights. It's time we all got over this assimilationist group-think and started taking pride in the vast depth of diversity which our community actually is rather than being ashamed of how we fail to be like straights. If that kind of ideal is truly your goal, then you're excluding a hell of a lot of us out here who will never achieve it, either because we can't or because we don't believe we should have to in a truly free society.

Dear Rebecca,
I agree with you! I said that "I always say that gay people are like everyone else." I didn't say that I really believed it! There are many ways in which we're the same, but it's not even fair to say that straight people are like everyone else. We're all so different from one another (putting aside our shared humanity, although I wonder sometimes about the humanity of right-wing Republicans) that it's really silly to suggest that we're all the same. But I've certainly used that as a short-hand argument to suggest that gay people aren't aliens from another planet.
At this point in life I could care less about the issue of what constitutes "normal." But so many of the kids and teens who write to me care deeply whether they're normal. So let's just agree to expand what the definition of what normal is to include us all.

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex. and Questioning people are different, just like everybody else.

My guess is that the more motivated a person is to make money to the exclusion of other motivations, the easier it is to ignore the discrepancies in the Republican Party.

I have read the statements of transgender business owners that want to have the right to hire and fire who they want and believing that any profit motivated business owner would think the same way and hire the best candidate for the job, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. They do not support ENDA.

They either have not been in a business where people are treated as commodities, or do not understand the the job applicant pool is so large that people will hire and fire people for any reason regardless of job skills because there is always someone else out there willing to do that job, be it from a foreign country.

The Log Cabin Republican probably falls into the highly business profit oriented thinking. They might even be related to thinking like used car sales managers.

If you read the Republivcan Core values, it is so full of conflicting ideals, and with the misrepresentation of "Personal Responsibility" to mean do good (it really means do anything you want, just admit it when you are caught). With a core value to do whatever you want for money (supporting less government laws i.e. less restrictions against cheating other people out of money or jobs) any GLBT business owner that is highly motivated by the almighty dollar can easily fit the ideals of a Log Cabin Republican.

It is those that believe in truth and honesty and treating all people the same (and yes being transgender, I honestly thought that as I was growing up that when I finally found a girlfriend, and then a wife, I would be cured of being transgender. I thought my being ignored by women was the cause of being transgender. Hence I did not tell my wife because it was going away) that find LCPs an anathema. And yes, you may have trouble living up to the ideals, but you still try to reach those ideals. But those ideals are not part of the Republican Core values.

Reading the history of the Republican Party, abolishment of slavery was not about equal rights, it was about the sin of slavery.

So here you have the basis of a GLBT that can be a Log Cabin Republican, someone that is driven by the doller and is willing to be accountable for any actions they may do, either good or bad, just willing to accept accolades or blame. If it hurts, GLBT's, who cares, money and business is the core, and since they can get away with limited ethics, can siddle up with staunch Christians, because they are more diven by business than a moral code.

Deanna

Can I just throw out there that I'm actually enjoying the fact that LCR endorsed McCain and now it "comes out" that Palin tried to ban a book about "Daddy's roommate" from the local library?

It just kinda goes along with McCain's support of an Arizona marriage amendment even after it was voted down by the public once.

It keeps them consistent. Consistently assholes.

if they can refer to the Democrat Party, I can call them the Republic Party and hope that they'll find it insulting

I can't stop laughing at that. Too funny!

I think that, fundamentally, gay liberals don't care much to understand gay Republicans, so we aren't really going to make much headway on that bridge. But I'll keep putting up posts that get less than 2 comments trying to explain and start productive conversations about them.

Other than that, maybe we can stop conflating "gay Republicans" and "Log Cabin Republicans." That group obviously doesn't represent even a majority of gay republicans, since 23% of gays voted Bush in 04 even when LCR didn't endorse.

Personally, I've found that it's not all about tax cuts with them, as the line usually goes - I knew a gay republican for a while who was just really, really racist.

I should add that I know that the word "productive" is completely contextual and relative to a particular goal, and if that goal is to change them or to at least learn to live with them, then I'm on that page. But if it's to have a good laugh or relieve some stress, then most of the conversations I read about them online would qualify as "productive."