Friday, December 06, 2013

Irony: NRCC Backing Gay Candidates While Steve Israel's DCCC Gives A Big Push To A Virulent Homophobe


LGBT activists in Ohio were shocked when they heard Steve Israel was recruiting virulent homophobe Jennifer Garrison to run for Congress. Israel is now pressuring pro-equality Democrats in Congress-- including gay members-- to contribute money to Garrison's campaign. She isn't a garden variety anti-gay politician. She built her entire political career on intense homophobia. It's how she was first elected to the state legislature (where she was able to kill a workplace anti-discrimination law and where she stopped an anti-bullying law). This is literally the most contemptible human being Israel ever picked to run for a congressional seat. Of course, it's important to remember that Israel himself is an "ex"-Blue Dog and pal-ed around with all the Democratic homophobes who vote against hate crimes legislation in years past. In 2007 when the House finally passed a hate crimes bill that included LGBT citizens, 25 Republicans crossed the aisle and voted with the Democrats. As they crossed, they passed 14 of Israel's closest allies going in the other direction. Of the 14 Democrats who voted against the Hate Crimes bill, almost all were subsequently defeated for reelection. The only ones left in the House are Israel cronies Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC) and Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN), both of whom Israel is determined to protect with DCCC money, some of it given by gay donors who are specifically told their contributions would go towards insuring LGBT equality.

Clearly, gays and lesbians should not be giving a nickel to the DCCC or to anything Steve Israel is involved with. That said, the NRCC is worse than the DCCC, a lot worse. How an organization can be worse, let alone a lot worse, than one that is already graded an "F," is worth a separate discussion. For now, let's remember that while the NRCC was trying to teach congressional Republicans how to talk to women voters without insulting them, they don't offer similar tutorials yet on how GOP elected officials could approach Hispanics, Blacks or gays without insulting them!
“Let me put it this way, some of these guys have a lot to learn,” said a Republican staffer who attended the session in Boehner’s office.

There have been “multiple sessions” with the NRCC where aides to incumbents were schooled in “messaging against women opponents,” one GOP aide said.

While GOP party leaders have talked repeatedly of trying to “rebrand” the party after the 2012 election losses, the latest effort shows they’re not entirely confident the job is done.

So they’re getting out in front of the next campaign season, heading off gaffes before they’re ever uttered and risk repeating the 2012 season, when a handful of comments let Democrats paint the entire Republican Party as anti-woman.

Individual Republicans have continued to give Democrats plenty of ammunition about being insensitive to women’s issues. From Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) talking about rape and pregnancy at a Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this year, to House Republicans passing a 20-week abortion ban in June, to Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) blaming military sexual assault on “hormones,” there have been repeated instances where GOP lawmakers have come off as tone-deaf to female voters.

…[T]he longtime “gender gap” between the parties continues to be pretty stark for the GOP. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney lost women to Barack Obama by 11 percentage points in the 2012 election, and the 2013 campaigns saw a similar trend. A series of recent polls show a continued double-digit lead for Democratic candidates among women, with the margin soaring to much higher levels among single female voters. The GOP-- which lost female voters by large margins in every competitive Senate race in the 2012 election-- also saw a 10-point increase in its unfavorability rating to among women to 63 percent, according to an October ABC/Washington Post poll.
So it makes sense that some Republicans want to try to learn how to talk to women voters without alienating them (even if most GOP congressmen are deriding that whole idea and refusing to participate). And when it comes to gays, the Republicans won't even try. In fact, despite NRCC attempts to portray the party as an equal-opportunity committee, most Republicans in Congress are committed homophobes and are consumed with fear of and hatred for the LGBT community. Let's take 6th term Virginia conservative Randy Forbes for example.

Forbes, a former Sunday School teacher, isn't known in Washington for having accomplished anything legislatively. In fact, since his election in 2001 the only thing he's done aside from collecting a paycheck, warmongering and talking smack about gay people is founding the Congressional Prayer Caucus.

Even though the Republican-controlled Virginia legislature tried making Forbes' swing district safer by cutting out black-majority Petersburg and putting it into an already D+27 district, voters in Chesapeake, Powhatan and the Richmond 'burbs he represents, only gave Romney the same narrow margin over Obama that they had given McCain-- 50-49%. VA-04 is a winnable district even if Steve Israel refuses to allow the DCCC to go up against Forbes. Due to Israel's sheer incompetence, there is no multi-cycle DCCC plan to defeat Forbes and he knows he is free to act out the most extremist right-wing positions without any fear of electoral accountability. And his latest escapade involved attacking the NRCC for being… pro-gay!

Buck McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee-- and a future arms manufacturer and war contractor lobbyist (his family already started the firm for him)-- wants to put his crony Mac Thornberry (R-TX) in as his successor. But Forbes wants that job. McKeon, himself a virulent homophobe who was the conduit for millions of Morman dollars flowing into California's anti-gay Prop 8 battle, has been conducting an especially nasty whispering campaign against Forbes who is determined to get that Armed Services chair (and is less likely to allow pork to flow through McKeon's lobbying firm). What McKeon's operatives did was get Politico to expose Forbes' insane homophobia and blow it up into a Belway scandal-in-a-teacup.

Even as Democratic congressmen keep donating wads of cash to the DCCC despite the Jennifer Garrison recruitment, Forbes has said he will withhold his NRCC dues if the NRCC supports gay candidates, which they are doing in two instances. Politico is covering for McKeon by saying he isn't the only source:
Forbes has waged a lengthy crusade to convince his colleagues and the National Republican Congressional Committee brass they shouldn’t back some gay candidates. His efforts on Capitol Hill were described to Politico by more than a half-dozen sources with direct knowledge of the talks.

The issue is particularly acute because House Republicans have two promising openly gay candidates in 2014 vying for seats held by Democrats. Richard Tisei, who narrowly lost to Democratic Rep. John Tierney in 2012, is running again in northeastern Massachusetts. And in San Diego, Carl DeMaio, a former city councilman, is trying to knock off Democratic Rep. Scott Peters.

On Wednesday, Forbes told Politico he thinks “GOP leaders can do whatever they want to do,” in terms of giving money to gay candidates.

He said he is more concerned about members being asked to contribute to the campaigns. The NRCC is partially funded by collecting tens of millions of dollars from House Republicans, who pay dues to the organization.

“There would be a different situation if they tried to force other members to give money,” Forbes said.

Asked whether he would have a problem with the NRCC donating money to DeMaio, Forbes said, “That’s a little different situation.”

“I don’t think they’ve done that yet,” Forbes added.

When asked if he would withhold political contributions to the NRCC if they backed DeMaio, Forbes said, “I’m not going to be hypothetical on what we would or wouldn’t do at this particular point in time because you’ve got a lot of scenarios. I don’t think we’ve had primaries and nominations to nominate people. So I don’t want to prejudge.”
The mirror image of this came in DCCC-ville this week when Steve Israel requested contributions for homophobic fanatic Jennifer Garrison-- that's her with her phony smile on the right-- from Democratic members. Do any have the guts to just say no? We're watching. Needless to say, Steny Hoyer is as attracted to Garrison's across-the-board, right-wing perspective and he's already given her $5,000 and is pressuring unions, other Members and his lobbyist cronies to fund her.

It's worth mentioning that it isn't only GOP closet cases who refuse to go to bat for LGBT equality. Fearful and mentally ill gay closet cases like Patrick McHenry (R-SC), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Lindsey Graham always vote against equality but even openly gay Republicans leave much to be desired in that realm. Take Carl DeMaio for example. He's running against conservative corporate whore, New Dem Scott Peters and I could care less which one wins. But when DeMaio couldn't decide what to run for, he was briefly a mayoral candidate this year. He went out of his way to make sure voters knew LGBT equality would not a priority for him and pledged to not advocate for social issues while in public office. While DeMaio says he supports same-sex marriage, he was publicly silent when Proposition 8 was put on the state ballot and has accepted campaign contributions from deranged homophobic backers of Proposition 8. During last year's mayoral campaign, the Union-Times pointed out that the LGBT community wasn't backing DeMaio. "During the mayoral campaign," they wrote, "DeMaio has been booed at various LGBT-centric events, including a mayoral debate in Hillcrest, a rainbow flag-raising ceremony for the community and the annual Pride parade in which he walked alongside his longtime partner. Meanwhile, Filner drew loud cheers at the debate and parade and won every voting precinct in Hillcrest-- the heart of the city’s gay community-- in the June mayoral primary.

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