Tuesday, April 12, 2005

LGBTPolitics: Fear and Loathing in the GOP

I've been chewing this one over as I eat my yogurt and peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, and I've decided it's okay if I admit that I'm not quite sure how I feel about Bill Clinton's recent statement (semi-quoting David Brock) that with regards to a GOP political consultant (who recently married his gay partner in Massachusetts and who is organizing an anti-Hillary fundraiser), there might be "some sort of self-loathing" for Arthur Finkelstein, the longtime GOP operative who helped Gov. George Pataki unseat Democrat Mario Cuomo in 1994.
At a news conference Monday about his foundation's AIDS initiatives, the former president was asked whether the anti-Hillary efforts made him angry.

"Actually, I was sort of sad when I read it," he said.

"I thought, one of two things. Either this guy believes his party is not serious and is totally Machiavellian in its position, or you know, as David Brock said in his great book 'Blinded by the Right,' there's some sort of self-loathing or something. I was more sad for him."
And yes, that's David Brock of Media Matters for America.

The expected PC response by a Republican of course followed:
Kieran Mahoney, a GOP consultant who has worked with Finkelstein, said Clinton was "engaging in pretty basic stereotyping by suggesting that because somebody's gay they have to be a Democrat."
Andrew Sullivan endorsed John Kerry in the last election, and the Log Cabin Republicans refused to endorse Bush as well. And of course there's Mary Cheney. And Alan Keyes' daughter.

So is a homosexual Republican self-loathing?

Well, there's certainly a conflict of interest being a member of a party that actively fights against your civil rights. But again, that same statement could be said about women, minorities, the working class, and apparently any person who doesn't want to have her face plastered all over the media as her husband fights for her right not to be a vegetable.

Or anyone with a pulse, in my opinion.

So what would be the alternative for a gay conservative? The Democratic party has certainly become wide open enough to accomodate anybody who could win an election. I'm pretty certain if a gay hispanic totalitarian communist could beat Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania, the Democratic party would sign him and run him. If a piece of fruit could beat Santorum, Howard Dean would be making phone calls to its jungle nightly.

There are of course other memberships for conservatives, for wacko religious righters and libertarians. And it's not as if the Democratic party is really the only valid home for a liberal. In fact, it may be the worst home.

But I suppose the issue at hand is really tantamount to whether people can support a political party which acts against their personal or social interests. And resoundingly, that answer seems to be yes. I'm a married white male in medical school. Certainly, the Republican party would better support my heterosexual marriage, my whiteness, my maleness, and my eventual status in the upper middle class. Certainly tax breaks, private accounts, anti-affirmative action policy, and blanket tort reform would bolster my future, even at the expense of others.

But my conception of what the world ought to be for everyone, not just myself, is very dissonant with the policies of the Republican party. And thus, I'm very much allowed to not be a Republican. I voted Green in 2000; Democrat in 2004. And no one would accuse me of being self-loathing.

So if I can be a Democrat, then a gay person can damn well be a Republican without someone, even a very well-meaning demigod of the centrist movement, accusing him of hating himself.

Even if there might be a little bit of truth to it.

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