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.