Alex Blaze

Log Cabin Republican's McCain/Palin endorsement is about access

Filed By Alex Blaze | September 04, 2008 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: gay Republicans, John McCain, lcr, LGBT, log cabin republicans, log cabin republicans endorsement of mccain, McCain/Palin, patrick sammon, sammon, Sarah Palin

There's been a bit of hand-wringing in the LGBT blogosphere about the absolutely tortured logic in the Log Cabin Republicans' endorsement of McCain and Palin. They claim that his opposition to the FMA outweighs everything - including his opposition to ENDA, his support for DADT, and his campaigning for state-level marriage amendments - so they endorsed.

It makes little sense, but they're not morons. That press release shouldn't be taken on face value; rather, I think this is more likely to have been the reason:

The 2008 convention is full of firsts for the group.

"The Republican National Committee gave us space for events, a hotel room block, credentials for members -- all unprecedented for Log Cabin," the group's president, Patrick Sammon, said in an interview. "We have a booth in the exhibition hall where delegates can go throughout the week. It's a very significant increase in presence for us."

On Tuesday, the group met for its "Big Tent" luncheon at the University Club, one of three major events that Log Cabin is holding here this week. Log Cabin officials say there are at least two dozen gay delegates here, though exact numbers are elusive because party officials don't track the sexual orientation of the delegates.

Access is the #1 goal for too many non-profit advocacy groups. And when they get it, the lavishly reward whoever gave it to them.

Mike DuHaime, who thanked the group at LCR's Big Tent event, went on to praise the group to Congressional Quarterly:

Mike DuHaime, McCain's deputy campaign manager, welcomed the endorsement, stating, "It's very helpful. He's running an inclusive campaign."

Indeed, this helps out McCain. He can nominate a fringe-of-the-fringe fundie to be VP and still get the LCR endorsement. He's a reformer, maverick, and a man who stands up for his values. (Don't ask me how blatantly pandering to everyone accomplishes that, but it's the magic of an uncritical media and two groups of people who have nowhere else to go.)

LCR doesn't have much else to back up this endorsement in terms of money or resources. Instead, I'd imagine that they're going to try to recenter themselves among gay Republicans, many of whom were disappointed that the group didn't endorse Bush in 2004. 23% of LGB people voted for Bush despite LCR's non-endorsement - that's a lot of potential donors.

Moreover, I'm struck by how many gay Republicans I've read repeat over and over that McCain is basically a "good guy" and stress that he's not a homophobe, whatever that means. For a significant group of queer people, the verbal act of being hated, being insulted, or being told that they're not a part of the home team is the deepest, most important, and most material form of discrimination that exists. No matter what his stance is on policy, McCain apparently comes off as being a tolerant guy in person.

So ignore their nonsensical press release describing why they endorsed the ticket. They care about tax cuts before everything else but still want to feel welcome in the party. McCain gave them that, so they endorsed.


As a bonus, here's Joe Solmonese's response to the LCR endorsement:

"John McCain claims to be a maverick who breaks with his party, but on matters of LGBT equality, he's shown that he's anything but," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

"He actively campaigned for a constitutional amendment that would have banned marriage and domestic partnerships for same-sex couples in his home state of Arizona. He went so far as to appear in television commercials for that campaign, is now supporting an amendment to strip marriage equality from California couples and has said that he would vote for a federal marriage amendment if laws already banning marriage equality were to be struck down by federal courts," he said.

HRC is equally concerned about the Log Cabin endorsement of Vice Presidential candidate Palin:

"Sarah Palin has also supported bans on marriage and even domestic partner benefits in Alaska. The Republican Party, McCain and Palin's party, has declared in its platform that they want to pass the federal marriage amendment. Their party's platform also calls gay and lesbian Americans unfit for military service, supports policies that would allow faith-based organizations to deny us jobs and services using federal dollars, and attacks judges who acknowledge our equality under the law. The Human Rights Campaign endorses mavericks on both sides of the aisle-- neither John McCain nor Sarah Palin is among them," said Solmonese.

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Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | September 4, 2008 8:19 PM

Alex, it's part of the "Don't see, doesn't exist" mentality that's so prevalent in America right now. LC Republicans believe the GOP actually loves them, deep down beneath the contemptible rhetoric and support for policies that exclude us and result in gay bashings and even deaths.

The power of belief, in face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, should never be underestimated in this country.

I’m starting to move from disappointment, to depression to outright bitterness vis-à-vis politics here. And it’s only taken six months.

Okay so I'm voting for Obama but why would I care what one non inclusive organization would say about the other?

I'd like to know how LCR came up with that figure. It's being touted everywhere, but I know Stonewall Dems had to give an exact accounting. The Dem Party has a diversity inclusion that gives LGBT people a special part of each state delegation and urges delegates to provide that info.

Stonewall's numbers are real. LCR? Probably not so much.