Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A New Breed Of Conservatives Who Aren't Anti-Gay


Gay conservative Republicans like Aaron Schock (R-IL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Miss McConnell (R-KY), and Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Patrick McHenry (R-NC) have traditionally locked themselves in closets and voted against LGBT equality in the hope they would fool someone. Gay conservative Democrats have usually been less hypocritical. Maine Blue Dog Mike Michaud stayed in the closet until he came out when Paul LePage started the GOP rumor machine whirling in time for the gubernatorial election. His LGBT record has been so-so, better than most conservatives but not great. Most gay conservative Democrats just come out of the closet these days-- Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ) and Sean Patrick Maloney (New Dem-NY) are good examples.

They are two of the worst Democrats in Congress-- they both tend to vote with Boehner and the Republicans on most core issues-- except on LGBT and women's health issues. Both have excellent voting records on LGBT equality, although working class gays might find minimal solace in that, given the two Democrats' anti-working family perspective on everything else. I often run into Democrats who refuse to believe that gay Democrats can be described as "conservative." That's not only silly, it's getting even sillier and soon we will have gay Republicans voting horribly on everything but gay issues. Carl DeMaio (R-CA) is openly gay and conservative and likely to beat conservative New Dem multimillionaire Scott Peters in San Diego this November. (Polls show DeMaio leading, probably because plenty of disillusioned Democrats have no intention of bothering to come out and vote for a disappointing conservative like Peters.) You don't have to be anti-gay to be conservative. You just have to be for conserving the wealth and power of the wealthy and powerful. That's always been the name of the game. The bigotry and hatred was just convenient to get 2-digit IQ voters to betray their own economic self-interests.

The wonderful Salon article by Tim Donovan I keep referring to Clueless rich kids on the rise: How millennial aristocrats will destroy our future, makes it clear that the next generation of disgusting Republicans won't be anti-gay, just anti-working class. Sinema and Maloney are ahead of the curve. And so is freshman Republican David Jolly, who won the special election to replace Bill Young in Pinellas County and is, as far as I know, straight. And not anti-gay. In fact, he's pro-gay and says he has been since college.
“Republican David Jolly (Fla.) announces support for gay marriage” reads the headline of the story written by the Washington Post's Sean Sullivan, who covered Jolly during his campaign for Florida’s 13th Congressional District. Jolly, when asked by the Post if he supports gay marriage after a Florida judge overturned the state’s ban, said that his personal views on marriage are that it should be limited to one man and one woman. But, he added, states should not be defining the “sanctity” of marriage.

From there, the story quickly went viral. And in almost every article, blog post, story, and tweet, Jolly is portrayed as “coming out” for gay marriage.

Jolly says this has been his viewpoint all along. And not since his campaign, but from his days at law school.

“I can tell you exactly where my thinking began to change,” said Jolly. “It was my constitutional law class in 1998. That began a year of soul-searching on this issue.”

Jolly position on same-sex marriage, he insists, “is not an evolution.” Actually, Jolly’s position is shaped by a libertarian belief that government is not key to the sanctity of marriage.

“To me, that means that the sanctity of one’s marriage should be defined by their faith and by their church, not by their state,” Jolly explained in a statement to the Washington Post. “Accordingly, I believe it is fully appropriate for a state to recognize both traditional marriage as well as same-sex marriage, and therefore I support the recent decision by a Monroe County Circuit Judge.”

...Now that Jolly is talking about the issue, he’s not pulling any punches. He says the state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages goes against the U.S. Constitution and should be overturned.

Asked if he thinks Attorney General Pam Bondi should abandon her legal efforts to uphold the ban, Jolly reiterated his position that the amendment should be overturned but said he was unclear what the charter of Bondi’s office requires her to do to uphold Florida law.

Jolly also made it a point to say that he thinks one of the great “upcoming fights” is over religious liberty. He said he’s worried that the government will overstep its authority and force religious-based schools to teach about matters that go against their beliefs.

But that fight is for another day. Today, Jolly is making headlines for all the right reasons. The only issue is they should probably have been written months ago.
That doesn't mean Jolly is a liberal or a progressive by any stretch of the imagination. He's a conservative, albeit a new breed of conservative who feels secure enough that he can win reelection without catering to the redneck homophobic hatemongers who so many conservatives are always peering over their shoulders for. A couple of weeks ago, Jolly joined all the Florida Republicans to vote of a crazy amendment by coal industry shill David McKinley (R-WV) denying Climate Change and insisting that the government spent no money on it. Jolly voted for it despite the fact that every single inch of Pinellas County will be uninhabitable, mostly underwater in fact, by the end of the century. Now, that's a conservative!

Jolly's Democratic district-- which Obama won in 2008 and 2012 and which voted against Bush both times as well-- is socially moderate. Jolly is smart enough to know that someday the Democrats won't have a bumbling moron and incompetent like Steve Israel running the DCCC and that he'll have a real race on his hands. He's preparing now-- even though, thanks to Israel's startling arrogance and willful stupidity, he has no opponent in November. His voting record is conservative without being too overtly hateful. His 13.43 ProgressivePunch crucial vote score is even better than Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's 9.06 and she's in an even bluer district, although, again thanks to Israel (and Debbie Wasserman Schultz) she has no Democratic opponent this year. And she isn't anti-gay either and she voted to allow her entire district to sink beneath the waves as well.

Prediction: Aaron Schock will come out of the closet and marry his congressional heartthrob Adam Kinzinger and both will start voting relatively well (you know, "for a Republican") on LGBT issues, while still voting horribly on everything else. And they will be called "moderates."

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