Matt Comer

Greener pastures

Filed By Matt Comer | March 30, 2009 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Democrats

The Democratic Party's Good Ol' Boy Club just got a new member; it doesn't hurt he brings along plenty of cold, hard cash with him.

The Daily Beast interviewed evangelical, multimillionaire, religious right leader Howard Ahmanson on his recent decision to switch party affiliation from Republican to Democrat. The man was a leading contributor to the campaign to see Prop. 8 passed in California and has been the solid rock of financial support for Republicans and fundamentalist conservatives for years.

With his switch to the Democratic Party, it seems Ahmanson is looking for greener pastures and a way to make a larger dent in the progress to fulfilling America's greatest promises of liberty and justice; all without changing a single one of his socially conservative views. Time to takeover the Democratic Party? If Ahmanson has his way, yes.

In the Daily Beast interview with Washington Post syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, Ahmanson said the California Republican Party's shift in strategy tempted him to join "the 'enemy' camp."

"This was a particularly local California phenomenon," he told Parker. "A few things on the national level made me nervous, but here, they said, "No new taxes whatsoever no matter what." They were going to make this a touchstone of orthodoxy in the party...I'm afraid I just got extremely frustrated having to read about this day after day after day. This is no longer my party."

His views on homosexuality haven't really changed all that much; accept for the killing and stoning of gays part. Back in 1985, Ahmanson told the Orange County Register that his ultimate political and religious goal was to see "total integration of biblical law into our lives." For years he followed R.J. Rushdoony, a minister who advocated returning to Levitical laws on stoning gays. Despite leaving Rushdoony's church in the 1990s, Ahmanson continued to serve on the pastor's foundation, granting it $1 million over ten years.

He told Parker that some of his views on homosexuality had been products of his "wild youth," but said he thought gays could convert from homosexuality and heterosexuality.

Blah, blah, blah, right? No.

I'm sure a lot of folks will be tempted to throw this guy off as nothing more than a loon. But his money and his influence will beg we pay attention. For those who think the Democratic Party isn't susceptible to an influx of conservative ideals or cash, think again. Off the top of my head, I can think of more than a handful of conservative Democrats in North Carolina alone who'd be more than willing to take his cash and run with Ahmanson's rhetoric.

After Parker's interview went up, an L.A. activist and blogger acquaintance of mine put it this way: Republicans already overwhelmingly support anti-LGBT agendas; Democrats less so. Infusing money into the Republican Party for the purposes of turning it anti-gay is futile; it's already anti-gay. Now, infuse the same load of cash into border-line conservative Democratic districts across rural California, the mid-west and the South, and then we've got a problem.

I, for one, don't necessarily have a problem with "conservative" Democrats. Even some of my views seem conservative and "blue-doggish" when compared to many of my friends who've either grown up in or are now living in places like California, D.C. or New York. But, being conservative doesn't mean being anti-gay.

We'll have to work hard and be vigilant to see that Ahmanson and other conservative Democratic funders don't manhandle their way through our Party and destroy our progressive bases.

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Well, with Congresscritters soon dependent upon him for campaign contributions, we can kiss all of the gay rights bills that we've been promised good-bye.

Brad Bailey | March 31, 2009 6:50 AM

The primary concern of either party is getting and maintaining political power. Because the gay community is an unpopular minority and represents only about five percent of the electorate, the Dems are not in any hurry to take on our cause. Witness Bill Clinton's promise to allow gays in the military. What we got was Don't Ask Don't Tell. He even signed the DOMA bill into law. Obama promised us the same thing during his campaign, only to put the subject on the backburner now that he's president.

I share Matt Comer's wariness of Ahmanson's political turn-around. Beware of fundies bearing gifts.

Stick a fork in this bible thumper. He wants homophobe Govenor Bobby Jindal as President in the next election and will pay any political party honchos to do it. Both parties are sold out to "Jesus" voters and DNC is now having prayer meetings to gain donations. Ahmanson knows the GOP meltdown due to nutty Palin, so he goes where the current power and money is, DNC. What a snake, don't buy it.

As someone who has been monitoring and writing about the antics of and havoic wrought by Howard F. Ahmanson, Jr., for almost 20 years, I find this switch of Ahmanson's alarming. As pointed out his money will give him access to just about any Democratic incumbent or candidate.

Ahmanson has not been above financing "stealth" candidates.

He has only found one anto-gay initiative he would not fund and that was one of Lon Mabon's early efforts which Ahmanson termed "mean spirited. He did though that same year send $ 25,000 to Colorado to support the Amendment 2 ionitiative which was later overturned by the U. S. Supreme Court.

While he is complaining about Republicans in the California Legislature and their "no new taxes" stance, it is he who is the most responsible for these legislates being where they are as he has hand picked them for the last 20 years. The majority of the members of the Republican caucuses in both houses of the legislature are radical evangelical Christians who have made the "no new taxes" an article of faith.

Most have forgotten the prediction made by Pat Robertson and Ralph Reed made in the mid-90s when they said they controlled the Republican Party and in 15 years they would control the Democratic Party.

And the Democrats have been working very hard to portray themselves as the party of the pious. They are pandering to anti-abortion and anti-gay members as they raise such people to places of prominence in the party.