McCain went on the attack at a time he was criticized for having nothing positive to offer America. He looked out of touch and in over his head. At times, he seemed angry and bitter that he will never be president.
Obama was steady and looked presidential. He did what he needed to do - avoid a major gaffe and counter McCain's desperate attacks.
I'm not sure what McCain does next. If he wants to live in a White House, he can always apply a fresh coat of white paint to one of his umpteen homes that he can't keep track of.
In response to mounting criticism of gay conservatives, Dale Carpenter, a prominent gay writer, is threatening to bolt the movement. In a recent column, he spoke of his "rising anger" with how gay advocates treat his ideological brethren. Of course, we know this is a bluff because Carpenter and other gay conservatives have nowhere else to go. They are dependent on the very liberalism they condescendingly deride and rejected by the very political party they claim to be a part of.
What is notable about Carpenter's tirade, is how it is at odds with his often intelligent columns. He regularly offers sharp legal critiques and prescient political analysis. However, when discussing gay conservatism, Carpenter uncharacteristically becomes irrational, falling into an undeserved victimhood that is a hallmark of gay Republicans.
For example, Carpenter is upset because Jonathan Crutchley, the co-founder of the gay cruising site Man Hunt, was skewered after giving a contribution to John McCain. Carpenter surmises that there is a witch hunt because of Crutchley's political affiliation. This is not true. If he were just another gay business owner, no one would care whom he contributed to. However, it is preposterous for a man whose commodity is sodomy to give money to a candidate who wants to appoint Supreme Court Justices who would be in favor of outlawing gays from having consensual sexual relations. It is this type of cognitive dissonance that earns gay conservatives such deserved contempt.
Republicans in Congress have blocked gay rights progress for nearly three decades. It was President George W. Bush who stumped for a Federal Marriage Amendment. It was Sen. Majority Leader Trent Lott who once compared gay people to kleptomaniacs and alcoholics. I could fill 10 columns with despicable acts and words lobbed at the GLBT community by members of the Republican Party. While the Democrats are not perfect (see Sam Nunn), anyone who compares the two parties is smoking something that has higher street, than political value.
The modern Republican Party was molded by President Nixon's "southern strategy" and built by Ronald Reagan, a president who ignored the AIDS crisis. It has been home to horrendous bigots, such as Sen. Jesse Helms, Rep. Bob Dornan, commentator Pat Buchanan and Vice President Dan Quayle -- who pushed the term "family values," which notably did not include GLBT families.
In 1988, Republican Pat Robertson ran for president. Robertson lost, but he amassed a huge mailing list, which was transformed into the Christian Coalition. Under the leadership of Ralph Reed, this organization married the Republican Party and this list is today referred to as "The Base."
As long as this crowd is on speed-dial to the White House, gay conservatives are a politically powerless sideshow. This group should be boisterously rooting for a collapse of the GOP, so the party can be rebuilt from scratch as an inclusive entity.
The core problem with Carpenter's arguments, is that he invokes a mythical conservatism that is fighting a liberal straw man. The small government party that wants to keep out of peoples' bedrooms is dead. It has been replaced by a brand of Republicanism represented by Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and Bush. Not only are these politicians anti-gay busybodies, but they aren't even fiscally conservative. In 2009, America is projected to run a half-trillion dollar deficit, plummeting from the seven hundred billion surplus under Bill Clinton.
The issue I have with gay conservatives is that they consistently subjugate GLBT concerns. This is revealed when Carpenter says that "we disagree" with the movements "most visible activists...about how much weight should be given to purely gay issues in a time of economic and military turmoil."
I wasn't aware that Congress had to choose between the economy and protecting GLBT people from job discrimination. I had no idea that passing a hate crime law might hinder our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Apparently, Carpenter and other conservatives think they should get to the back of the line and wait for their rights to be doled out at a time of peace and prosperity (when Democrats are in the White House, I presume).
The truth is, I agree more with Dan Quayle than gay conservatives like Dale Carpenter. Family Values actually do matter and I will not apologize for placing the protection of my family above tax cuts for the very wealthy. Carpenter does not like it when gay conservatives are called self-loathing, but what else can one call people who don't prioritize legal protection for themselves and the ones they love?
If Carpenter and other gay conservatives leave the movement, nothing will really change. Gay progressives will still be doing the lion's share of the work, while conservatives will enjoy the privileges of their newfound freedom, while complaining about those who are largely responsible for their liberty.
Truth Wins Out (TWO) today called on Parents and Friends of 'Ex-Gays' (PFOX) to drop its frivolous lawsuit against the Washington, DC Office of Human Rights. PFOX claimed it launched its suit because so-called "ex-gays" are not protected under its sexual orientation anti-discrimination law.
"The ex-gay community is the most bullied and maligned group in America, yet they are not protected by sexual orientation non-discrimination laws," said Regina Griggs, PFOX executive director.
"If so-called 'ex-gays' are now heterosexual, they are covered under the basis of sexual orientation," said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. "This nonsensical lawsuit is frivolous and a desperate, grandstanding attempt for free media attention. PFOX should apologize for clogging up the court system with a loony lawsuit that will ultimately be dismissed."
TWO also disputes that so-called "ex-gays" suffer discrimination. PFOX has never offered any evidence and has long invented or greatly exaggerated potential cases. PFOX is a political organization that sells the idea that people can "pray away the gay." It was founded by lawyer Roy Cohn's ex-boyfriend, Anthony Falzarono, and bankrolled by the Family Research Council. It was later run by therapist Richard Cohen, who was banned for life by the American Counseling Association. The current leader is Regina Griggs, who has an openly gay son.
Campaign Kicks-off With Full-page Ad in the Chicago Tribune on Friday
What: The Dump Dobson coalition, a partnership of local and national gay, lesbian bisexual and transgender (GLBT) organizations, is holding a press conference on Thursday, Oct. 16, (11AM) to denounce the Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC) for its plan to honor James Dobson in its Radio Hall of Fame. The awards ceremony is planned for Nov. 8., and the Dump Dobson Coalition is strongly urging MBC Founder Bruce DuMont, to rescind the award or face a protest outside of the dinner.
The Coalition has launched a website, DumpDobson.com, and will unveil a new ad campaign at the press conference, which will debut with a full-page in the Chicago Tribune on Friday, Oct. 17. This will be followed by a robust "signature ad" campaign in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media. The Dump Dobson Coalition is headed by the The Gay Liberation Network and Truth Wins Out and has so far been joined by Equality Illinois, SoulForce and the National Youth Advocacy Coalition.
"Bruce DuMont would never honor a Don Imus, disgraced for his anti-African American remarks," said Bob Schwartz of the Chicago-based Gay Liberation Network. "Nor would 1930s radio icon Father Charles Caughlin -- the widely syndicated pro-Nazi and anti-Semite -- be feted. Yet, in honoring James Dobson, Mr. DuMont appears to promote a 'gay exception' to the standards of public civility and decency rightly accorded other groups of people."
"There is still time to reverse the reckless and irresponsible decision to honor James Dobson in the Radio Hall of Fame," said Truth Wins Out's Executive Director Wayne Besen. "It is unconscionable that the Museum is giving its imprimatur to a demagogue who has profited from divisive and discriminatory rhetoric. If the museum wants to regain its respect and credibility, it will dump Dobson."
Where: Outside of the Renaissance Chicago Hotel (1 West Wacker Drive) 11 AM
Who: Bob Schwartz, Gay Liberation Network Wayne Besen, Truth Wins Out Other Speakers TBA
Background: The Museum of Broadcast Communications opened up its Radio Hall of Fame balloting to allow people on the Internet to vote. James Dobson used his Focus on the Family show, which runs on 3,000 radio stations, to essentially stuff the ballot box. As a result, the Radio Hall of Fame is now honoring an anti-gay bigot who has built his radio empire on the backs of GLBT people. Honoring this ideologue is especially troubling during an economic downturn, which allows people like Dobson to scapegoat and promote discrimination. Dobson once said that allowing gay people to marry will "end the earth." Seven scientists have accused him of distorting their work to support his anti-gay teachings. It is outrageous and unacceptable to reward a man who has lied, deceived and caused so much needless pain and suffering. The Dump Dobson coalition was formed to educate people about the danger of honoring Dobson and to urge the MBC to take prudent and responsible action.
In one of the best articles on the ex-gay myth in years, the Times of London captured the true essence of these dangerous programs when the newspaper went undercover at Exodus International's 2007 annual conference in Asheville, NC. The article cut through the spin, painted an accurate portrait of what Exodus is about and offered a genuine glimpse of the pain and suffering caused by sexual engineering programs.
Reporter Lucy Bannerman did her homework and rightfully highlighted the false advertising of Exodus that leads people to believe that they can pray away the gay. The counterfeit hope and unrealistic expectations are made clear when Exodus' leader Alan Chambers triumphantly appears at a pep rally.
"How many of you are in need of some hope here tonight?" A murmur passes through the dark auditorium, pleasing Chambers, the man with the microphone. Heads nod. "How many of you are at the end of your rope?" he continues. "How many are ready for an encounter with the Lord?"
Later in the expose, "an amazing week of breakthroughs, transformations and healings," is promised. And, an Exodus sexual engineer tells the reporter that she will have a "very impactful" experience. The reporter also points out that an Exodus's affiliate in the United Kingdom, Re-alignment Ministries, uses the slogan "reinventing people." Anyone who says that Exodus is not misleading people with pie-in-the-sky promises of heterosexuality is simply not telling the truth.
These days, it is awfully hard to tell George W. Bush and John McCain apart. Now, there is a new online game where you can try to guess which man said what. Check it out, it is a lot of fun.
In a Post-ABC News poll, Obama is leading 53 percent to 43 percent among likely voters, and for the first time in the general-election campaign, voters gave the Democrat a clear edge on tax policy and providing strong leadership.
Nearly two-thirds of voters, 64 percent, now view Obama favorably, up six percentage points from early September. About a third of voters have a better opinion of the senator from Illinois because of his debate performances, while 8 percent have a lower opinion of him. By contrast, more than a quarter said they think worse of McCain as a result of the debates, more than double the proportion saying their opinion had improved. McCain's overall rating has also dipped seven points, to 52 percent, over the past month.
Among the reasons McCain's path to victory seems steeper is that the percentage of "movable" voters continues to shrink. Thirteen percent of all voters are now either undecided or may change their mind before Election Day, down somewhat from recent polls.
Adding to McCain's burden as the standard-bearer for the party in power is an unprecedented grim view of the country overall: Ninety percent of Americans now see the country as headed in the wrong direction, the worst rating in polls dating to 1973.
Twenty-three percent of all adults -- and 18 percent of political independents -- gave the president good marks, putting him within a point of Harry S. Truman's record low in a February 1952 Gallup poll. The low ratings continue to have a dampening effect on McCain: More than half of voters, 51 percent, said that McCain, if elected, would largely continue to lead the country in the direction Bush has, and those voters overwhelmingly prefer Obama.
With the airwaves in battleground states reaching saturation level and coverage of the campaign intensifying, 59 percent of voters said that McCain is mainly on the attack, a marked increase over the 48 percent who said the same in August. And 35 percent of respondents said McCain is addressing the issues, in stark contrast with the 68 percent who said Obama is doing so.
That follows a report issued last week by the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project that found that nearly all of McCain's television spots in early October were negative ads, compared with about a third of Obama's.
On taxes, an issue that often benefits Republicans and that McCain has worked aggressively to highlight, Obama holds a significant lead for the first time as voters gave the Democrat an 11-point edge on whom they trust to handle tax policy.
Obama also continues to stay above the 50 percent mark on the key question of his experience: 54 percent in the new poll said he has enough experience to serve effectively as president, putting him about even with where Bill Clinton was on this question in early October 1992.