Alex Blaze

Log Cabin Republicans' mixed priorities

Filed By Alex Blaze | September 16, 2008 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Democrats, federal marriage amendment, FMA, gay Republicans, John McCain, John McCain homophobic, log cabin republicans, marriage, McCain/Palin, palin, party politics, patrick sammon, Republicans, same-sex marriage, Sarah Palin, sarah palin homophobe, The Advocate

Patrick Sammon, president of the Log Cabins, did an interview with The Advocate about his organization's endorsement of McCain and Palin. Here's his view of who comes first for the LCR, gays or Republicans:

The Advocate: Where do gay rights fall in terms of priorities for Log Cabin Republicans as an organization?
Patrick Sammon: We're a gay rights organization working from inside the Republican Party, and so we're completely focused on how do we advance equality for LGBT people. And the fact is, doing so will require votes and support from Republicans, and so we made this endorsement of Senator McCain with the very clear focus on how this decision will impact and benefit our community. The fact is, even those who disagree with our decision should realize there's a 50% chance that Senator McCain wins this election, and I ask those people, do they really want our community sitting on the sidelines for the next four years? I say no. I say that Senator McCain, in the totality of his record, is someone who has demonstrated that he can be a maverick, that has demonstrated he's an inclusive Republican, and I believe that if he's elected, as a community we will make progress on some of the issues that are so important to all.

The entire interview sounds like a desperate attempt to make these two clowns seem passable on LGBT issues, repeating lines about how we don't know pretty much anything on either of these two people, how everything they've done to hurt queer people isn't important, and how John McCain isn't a homophobe.

In preferring lots of bad arguments to a few good ones, Sammon bizarrely makes the argument that McCain is better on gay issues, even if he's done less, because his party is simply awful on them.

What demonstrates that to you?
He's the only candidate in the field who's actually paid a political price for a vote that benefited gay and lesbian people. The fact is, one of the reasons social conservatives distrust him is because he twice voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment -- that took political courage, and he paid a price for it with his base. He paid a price that made it harder to win the nomination. I think he needs to be applauded for that. He's not where we want him to be on every issue -- I'm the first one to admit that -- but at the end of the day, on the most significant issue that our community has faced, he was on the right side of it.

Sammon is making the argument that because McCain voted against the FMA, he's better on gay rights. Even though Obama voted against the same FMA in 2006, McCain gets points for that but Obama doesn't because he's a Republican, so, you know, he really cares. The Democrat was just voted against it for political points.

(I also love the line about how McCain paid a political price among Republicans. Such a high one, I suppose, that he got the GOP's presidential nod.)

But of course their arguments to support McCain and Palin on gay rights are dumb. There's no defending their records, but the LCR's are still an org that needs to raise funds. And even though they didn't endorse anyone for president in 2004 because of Bush's homophobic campaign, 23% of LGB people still voted for him. That's a lot of possible donations, and the group is trying to center itself among them.

That doesn't make their arguments any less dishonest. But Sammon wants to defend a group of people who are Republicans first and gay second to The Advocate, so of course he wasn't going to answer a direct question on priorities honestly.

But this helps shed some light on their decision, if it could be taken at face value:

How much did the vice-presidential pick matter? What if McCain, for instance, had chosen Mitt Romney?
It's very unlikely Log Cabin would have endorsed had someone been selected who had used gay and lesbian people to win elections. People like Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee had a history of trying to use gay issues to win. Mitt Romney did antigay mailings in Iowa during the campaign. He did an antigay TV ad. Someone like that is someone that would have been deeply troubling to us. Contrast that to Sarah Palin: Even if we don't agree with her on every issue, in her '06 governor's race in Alaska she could have [used] a lot of antigay rhetoric and it wouldn't have hurt her in a Republican primary in Alaska. And she actually had more inclusive language when talking about the issues.

If we can actually believe that the group wouldn't have endorsed McCain if he picked Huck or Mitt, then it apparently came completely down to verbal homophobia. Material job discrimination, legal discrimination, health care inequality, etc., are meaningless, but symbolic and verbal acts of homophobia are what really makes this group tick.

There are quite a few gay Democrats right there with them on that. The only difference is that they're more reticent to go to the Republican side.


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McCain is not where we want him to be on any issue. Patrick Sammons says: "We're a gay rights organization working from inside the Republican Party, and so we're completely focused on how do we advance equality for LGBT people." All Patrick Sammons is completely focused on is Patrick Sammons and the spotlight this puts him in. What a dishonest POS.

John R. Selig | September 16, 2008 7:07 PM

Just for the sake of discussion, let's see how the first paragraph of the Advocate article that you have cited Alex would read with just a few alterations.

The Advocate: Where do Jewish rights fall in terms of priorities for B'nai Brith Nazi's as an organization?

Bernie Schwartz: We're a Jewish rights organization working from inside the Nazi Party, and so we're completely focused on how do we advance equality for Jewish people. And the fact is, doing so will require votes and support from Nazia, and so we made this endorsement of Adolph Hitler with the very clear focus on how this decision will impact and benefit our community. The fact is, even those who disagree with our decision should realize there's a 50% chance that Adolph Hitler wins this election, and I ask those people, do they really want our community sitting on the sidelines for the next four years? I say no. I say that Adolph Hitler, in the totality of his record, is someone who has demonstrated that he can be a maverick, that has demonstrated he's an inclusive Nazi, and I believe that if he's elected, as a community we will make progress on some of the issues that are so important to all.

Now I realize that this is a stretch and it isn't the same but You think you get my point. We can substitute David Duke the KKK and Blacks or Lou Dobbs and immigrants and Latinos or any number of other options.

As I have said many times, there is a need for members of the LGBT community in both the Democratic Part and the Republican Party. It makes sense for Log Cabin Republicans to endorse candidates who support our community (or who at least don't support anti-LGBT policies). However, when they endorse candidates like John McCain and Sarah Palin they are endorsing people who will do us great harm. Furthermore, they actually give such candidates permission to disregard our issues since they will support them anyway.

Shame on the Log Cabin Republicans!

I couldn't have said it better than Richard Cohen, former McCain adulator, who eviscerates McCain over lies:

"McCain has turned ugly. His dishonesty would be unacceptable in any politician, but McCain has always set his own bar higher than most. He has contempt for most of his colleagues for that very reason: They lie. He tells the truth. He internalizes the code of the McCains -- his grandfather, his father: both admirals of the shining sea. He serves his country differently, that's all -- but just as honorably. No more, though.

"I am one of the journalists accused over the years of being in the tank for McCain. Guilty. Those doing the accusing usually attributed my feelings to McCain being accessible. This is the journalist-as-puppy school of thought: Give us a treat, and we will leap into a politician's lap.

"Not so. What impressed me most about McCain was the effect he had on his audiences, particularly young people. When he talked about service to a cause greater than oneself, he struck a chord. He expressed his message in words, but he packaged it in the McCain story -- that man, beaten to a pulp, who chose honor over freedom. This had nothing to do with access. It had to do with integrity.

"McCain has soiled all that. His opportunistic and irresponsible choice of Sarah Palin as his political heir -- the person in whose hands he would leave the country -- is a form of personal treason, a betrayal of all he once stood for. Palin, no matter what her other attributes, is shockingly unprepared to become president. McCain knows that. He means to win, which is all right; he means to win at all costs, which is not."

For the love of Pete;
How do fiscal conservattives, let alone LGBT's, support McCain when he supports Bush's economic policies, referred to in the international community as "print and spend?"

The call has come every day for nearly a week at 5 am Eastern time. It is a conference call with associates in Vienna and in Gibralter, and always concerns the same thing, the Singapore market runs and the effect upon the Western economy as well as how "The House"(the bank) can weather what is occuring.

Bush created both a credit and a currency famine. This seems to be little understood in the US; basically, the US has run out of money and exhausted available credit. The value of the dollar, and through interlocking economies, the Euro, has only been sustained by a line of credit that is spent down as soon as it is extended. To keep spending, more money is circulated but it is backed only by the line of credit.

It is more complex than this, but that is the essential. Bush has taken out two new credit cards for every one card that he needs to pay on, and uses the remaining credit to recklessly spend, and then gets four credit cards to pay down the two, again spending as soon as he does so..

Maura--

The reason why o one in the US knows this is that Democrats were so cowed by the 1984 election and the subsequent Reagan hagiography that they aren't been willing to stand up and point out the ruin that Friendman-style Reagan economics have unleashed on the country.

Until someone stands up and says that voodoo economics just. doesn't. work., and communicates that clearly, we will keep on having a Republican part that runs around and promises everyone that we can cut taxes, balance the budget by 'cutting waste', and fix our trade deficit without major sacrifices.

"Voodoo Economics just doesn't work. Print and spend policies are reducing the value of the currency to the point to where it will take a wheelbarrow full of hundred dollar bills to fill the tank of your car if the runs on the market continue and printing of unsecured Federal Reserve Notes continues.

Love and Kisses to the Fed;
Maureen Eileeen Hennessey, LL.M, LL.B, PhD.

For what it's worth, I was in flight school the same time as Lt. McCain was, so I'm somewhat familiar with the rampant homophobia that pervades such fraternities. If I hear one more 'don't bend over in the shower' joke... I can tell you that unless Mr. McCain has come a very long way, his stripes have likely not changed much. If the LCRs are truly committed to human rights they'll make a lot of noise within the Republican party about the hypocrisy that's become one of the Republicans' hallmarks, and take them to task for it. The powers that be are playing them like a fiddle, just like Rove Bush & Cheney have done us straights for 8 years.
Byron in Ohio

I can understand Sammon's reasoning when he says that McCain has a 50% chance and we need to have a foot in the door.

That doesn't mean we should endorse him though. There's a difference between offering full-throttled support and working behind the scenes.