Thursday, September 02, 2004
by Wayne Besen
As if we needed another reason to root for George W. Bush's demise, conservative columnist David Brooks provides one in the New York Times Magazine:
"Should Bush lose, it will be like a pack of wolves that turns on itself. The civil war over the future of the [Republican] party will be ruthless and bloody…The immigrant-bashing nativists will battle the free marketers…The social conservatives will war with the social moderates."
Can we get advanced tickets, because front row seats to this show will be harder to come-by than a chair next to P-Diddy at this week's MTV Music Video Awards.
Unfortunately, Karl Rove is doing all he can to ensure that the Republican Party avoids destruction by trafficking in deception. In New York, it's early Halloween in perverse reverse where scary people put on friendly masks to win votes instead of treats.
Rove hopes to keep Republican leaders like Rep. Tom DeLay and Sen. Trent Lott out of sight, out of mind, because he knows they're out of their minds and the sight of them terrifies moderates. That's why we see a Prime Time line-up laced with tough, yet huggable Republicans like Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John McCain.
Because this phony mask of moderation is a joke, the true Republican spirit was best expressed this week by Republican comedian Chris Warren who complains about automatic teller machines that offer banking services in Braille.
"I say, 'Fill the machine with ones,'" he said. "How will they know?" Now that's the Republican spirit we've all grown to know and love!
The genuine Republican agenda was most evident in the GOP's pugnacious platform, where hate groups like the Family Research Council bragged of helping to edit the dictatorial document. The 93-page screed calls for a total ban on abortion, came out against potential life-saving stem-cell research, supported tax cuts for the richest Americans at the expense of the middle class and called for not only a Constitutional ban on gay marriage, but on humane domestic partnership benefits too.
Commenting on the terrible text, Cheryl Jacques, President of the Human Rights Campaign said, "It's one of the most discriminatory platforms in modern history."
Conservatives on the GOP Platform Committee were so extreme that they tried in vain to stop the "Unity Plank". This simple gesture acknowledged that party members of goodwill might disagree.
But as the fundamentalists on the committee fought reality, they were confronted by it as Vice President Dick Cheney spoke in favor of his lesbian daughter and of his opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment. His announcement was a living embodiment of the Unity Plank, as he and the President, presumably party members of goodwill, agreed to disagree.
What Cheney did was not necessarily courageous, because he waited until after the Senate voted on the Federal Marriage Amendment before he spoke. In fact, his comments may have had little to do with the issue of same-sex marriage or his daughter. From a strategic political perspective, I think the main goal of Cheney's statement was to show going into the convention that it is not he, but the president who is in actually in charge.
This is no small deal because even today many people, including some Republicans, think Cheney is the shadow calling the shots in the White House. Forests worth of newspaper have touched on this subject. There is even a popular book by John Nichols called, "Dick: The Man Who Is President".
I believe Cheney may have picked the gay issue because it was sure to garner a lot of media attention. But the underlying, and perhaps most important message was: "The president and I clashed on a hot button issue and he won. See, I'm not running the country after all." This certainly made Bush look like a strong and decisive leader before the convention.
Whether his remarks were personal or political, candid or canned is now inconsequential. The fact is, an archconservative Vice President acknowledged in no uncertain terms that he has a lesbian daughter. That she is running his campaign shows that he loves and respects her.
This acknowledgement is huge and will have a long-lasting impact on this nation. While states in America are politically divided into red and blue, both colors are part of the gay rainbow. Gay children are born into families of both Republicans and Democrats. Somewhere in red state America today there is a Republican father whose kid said, "I'm gay." Instead of feeling alone, he is likely saying, "if Dick Cheney can accept a gay kid, so can I."
In the midst of the most anti-gay platform in memory, 2004 may be remembered as the year the gay conservative closet began to crumble.
posted by sexy, at
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