Friday, February 28, 2014

Republicans And Their Own Peculiar Version Of A "Gay" Lifestyle


To be a conservative always means swimming against the tide of history. Under intense pressure from business groups, Jan Brewer may have vetoed her party's latest crazy anti-gay legislation in Arizona, but that isn't stopping other conservatives in other states the GOP controls from trying to pass identical loathsome legislation. GOP bigots are on this particular warpath in Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Oklahoma.
Louise Melling, the deputy legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the efforts are part of a misguided attempt to preserve an outdated social order. She noted that federal courts have repeatedly rejected biblical claims as a justification for discriminatory action. Cases rejected by the courts have included a Christian school that paid men more than women in the 1980s because men traditionally are the heads of their households, and a South Carolina barbecue chain that defended its refusal to serve black customers in the 1960s on religious grounds.

“At moments of social change, what you see is a resistance, and a desire to create or preserve certain pockets,” Melling said. “Historically we’ve rejected those claims, based on our understanding and deeply held beliefs about religious freedoms.”

…Republican consultant Ron Bon­jean, by contrast, said the veto helped the party as it heads into the midterm-election campaigns.

“Republicans have been burned time and again by a few ‘lone wolf’ Republicans that have hijacked the message and painted our party in a bad light over issues such as abortion and rape,” Bonjean wrote in an e-mail. “Many prominent Republicans could see the danger being seen as intolerant and many wanted to prevent the party from stepping on another political land mine that would have turned off voters across the board.”
As Asam Nagourney pointed out in a NY Times analysis this morning, this latest manifestation of resistance to social change by conservatives and reactionaries, is frightening Republican professional politicians who know how to read polls. "The decision," he wrote, "by members of the Republican establishment to join gay activists in opposing the bill reflected the alarm the Arizona battle stirred among party leaders, who worried about identifying their party with polarizing social issues at a time when Republicans see the prospect of big gains in Congressional elections on economic issues. No less important, the bill produced almost unanimous opposition among one critical Republican constituency-- business owners--who feared it would entangle the state in lawsuits and prompt a damaging boycott."
More than anything else, the division was a window into a Republican Party that remains torn on gay rights issues, be it the Arizona measure, same-sex marriage or permitting gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military. Some of the party’s most committed voters continue to be intensely opposed to gay marriage, but their views are at odds with an increasing percentage of the American electorate, particularly younger and independent voters.

“The establishment’s reaction to the Arizona law reflects the reality that much of the country’s views on these issues have changed,” said Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota who sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

Frank Keating, a former governor of Oklahoma, said that while he opposed same-sex marriage, issues of public accommodation had long ago been settled. He said that he, too, would have vetoed a bill like the Arizona one.

“This isn’t 1964 anymore,” he said. “We’ve moved beyond that. If you open up your doors to the general public, you can’t pick and choose who you are going to deal with.”

Many Republicans, including some who oppose gay marriage, said this bill crossed a line, enshrining discrimination in a way that they argued violated fundamental Republican principles.

Same-sex marriage continues to be an issue that can reliably turn out the party faithful, but it no longer produces the near-unanimity among Republicans that was once the case. Opposition to gay marriage and other gay issues is strong among the Tea Party, but that wing does not have the power that it once had.

“The new increment of energy at the grass-roots level is libertarianism,” Mr. Pawlenty said. “And many libertarians do not embrace the typical conservative view on this issue.”

Over the past four years, an increasing number of Republican leaders have argued that the party needs to embrace gay marriage, or risk losing younger, independent voters who polls suggest support it.

“It just makes the party look small and out of touch,” said Steve Schmidt, a Republican consultant who has warned that the party is hurting itself by being identified with opposition to gay rights. “Arizona has become an outlier state in which an extreme ring of the party is able to put forward legislation that damages the entire brand of the Republican Party.”
I guess it's better than the "closet case" brand the Republican Party has suffered through, as one hypocrite after another has been found to be having sex with men-- some with boys-- while preaching anti-gay Republican Party dogma. Some, like Senator Larry Craig (R-ID), Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), Rep. Robert Bauman (R-MD) and Rep. Ed Schrock (R-VA), have been publicly and traumatically outed and banished. Others, like Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) , Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) and Aaron Schock (R-IL) are told they will be tolerated as long as they don't get caught in a public toilet or with an underage boy, aberrant behavior for normal gay people, but more typical for fearful, mentally deranged closet cases.

Aside from flamboyant couture and a penchant for hanging around gyms and posing without his shirt on, Aaron Schock's outward manifestation of his status as a notorious closet case seems to be expressed through a decadent and lavish lifestyle-- and one not financed by his own income. A corporate whore to the nth degree, young Schock thinks nothing of being wined and dined-- and not always legally-- by special interests who count on his votes to betray the ordinary families of Quincy, Peoria, Springfield and a safely red swathe of central Illinois.
"These are not supposed to be slush funds so that lobbyists and others seeking influence can contribute in order to help support a member's lifestyle," Sloan said. "I think they'd be in a hurry to tell you if the purposes were all innocent and legitimate."

Take Peoria Republican Aaron Schock's Generation-Y PAC, for example. According to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission, the fund started 2012 with $50,004.18 cash on hand. Over the next 24 months, the PAC had total receipts of $550,633.00. About half of that came from other PACs. But of the over $600,000.00 available to spend, less than half of GEN-Y's disbursements went to candidates and committees. More than $250,000.00 went to expenses apparently involved in running the PAC itself.

That included over $56,000.00 spent at hotels. During the 24-month period examined by NBC5 Investigates, the Schock PAC listed three stays at the legendary Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles, totaling $9,462.27. There were three nights at L.A.'s luxurious Mondrian, and other stays at the Luxe and Beverly Wilshire. Gen-Y dropped another $12,285.00 at the Wynn in Las Vegas. In Chicago, the PAC listed 14 stays totaling over $11,000.00 at the Peninsula, and another four stopovers at the Trump.

The Generation-Y PAC dropped over $26,000.00 on private aircraft. Fine restaurants across the country added another $36,909.00. They shelled out $11,604.00 at a Colorado ski resort, with hundreds more for snowmobile rentals - all during a 24-month period.

Who enjoyed the largesse? Schock's staffers won't say.

"Gen-Y conducts its activities with all applicable rules and regulations," campaign spokesman Karen McDonald told NBC5 Investigates in a statement. "All activity is properly disclosed, and the committee is in full compliance with federal campaign finance laws."

"This is all we're offering on the record," she said.

"I think the reason they don't tell you is they have no good reason why members of Congress need to stay at the most expensive hotels in Los Angeles," Sloan said. "They'd rather not talk about it, and hope that it's just ignored, and their constituents don't notice."

Sloan and her organization point to one other tantalizing fact: The source of Leadership PAC funds. Often, thousands upon thousands of dollars come from the political action committees of special interest groups, hoping to curry favor.

"I think constituents have a right to wonder why somebody would give you so much money, what they would want in return, and how you're spending the money," she said. "It's a completely reasonable question for any constituent to ask."

Click here to view a three-month sampling of all of the "Itemized Disbursements" which NBC5 Investigates found for GEN-Y PAC over a three-month period in early 2013.
Schock is already under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for several serious breaches of campaign finance laws and Illinois media has their eyes on his shady dealings. This week, the Chicago Sun-Times let local readers know about the high life young Schock is living and who's footing the bill. And long ago, veteran DC reporter Al Kamen blew the whistle in Schock's real hometown paper, the Washington Post-- Aaron Schock Gets Ripped, about what we could expect from the rule-bending Aaron Schock over time.
Appearances matter.

Rep. Aaron Schock seems to understand this better than most members of Congress. After all, his chiseled physique and fashion sense has landed him, shirtless, on the cover of Men’s Health and in a photo spread in GQ in which he sported designer suits.

But the looks of his spending from campaign and PAC coffers aren’t quite as attractive. The sophomore Republican from Illinois has spent thousands of dollars from his campaign and political action committee on luxury hotels from Palm Beach to Manhattan, town-car service, antique stores and concerts.

That’s all perfectly legal: As long as the trips and expenses are legitimately related to campaigning and fundraising, they’re fine. “It’s an appearance problem,” said Melanie Sloan, director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the watchdog group that analyzed Schock’s spending. “He seems perfectly happy to live high on the hog as long as someone else is footing the bill.”

In the past three election cycles, Schock’s campaign and PAC spent $85,622 on luxury hotels, about half of which were four- and five-star outfits, including the Waldorf Astoria in Chicago, the famed Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla., and the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, Calif.

…CREW says the group first flagged Schock’s champagne tastes while scouring House members’ financials for a report titled “Family Affair.” In that analysis, they noted that Schock had used campaign funds for a fancy hotel stay in Greece (he later repaid the campaign) and for DVDs of the P90X fitness routine (billed under “healthcare,” by the way).

Other purchases included:

$5,522 on what the campaign called “office equipment” from Euro Trash, an Illinois-based antique-import and design business whose must-see Web site (dig the massive chandeliers and to-die-for European antiques) declares that “everyone can and should live well.” Shearer, though, said the campaign purchased used office furniture, not antiques.

$1,565 in “travel expenses” from “J Bondi Inc.” in Beverly Hills. Shearer says this was for concert tickets (that company, CREW says, appears to be a holding company owned by Elton John).

$859 on “gifts” from Storks Snapshots ($407) and the Bare Belly Boutique ($452), upscale maternity boutiques in Illinois. We’re still awaiting an explanation from Shearer on that one.
One of the big problems with closet cases is that because they grow accustomed to living a lie to hide their sexual identity, they inevitably slip into lying about everything, the way normal people take a breath of fresh air or a sip of water. And eventually mental illness sets in. Living in the closet is a sick thing conservatives force on their own gays. And right-wing gays see how normal gay men and women live their lives and they are eager to see their own party dragged into modern times. But, like Schock, they are too scared to do anything about it. There are a dozen active Republican homosexuals in Congress now-- and not one of them has come out… while gay Democrats are getting married and having children and leading normal, healthy lives. Man up, Aaron; it's not too late to save yourself. Don't wait 'til you're caught doing something sexually embarrassing.

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