Watching this organization flounder during the 2008 presidential campaign has been like observing a train wreck in slow motion. No matter how the Log Cabin Republicans tried to spin it, the man its party nominated for president, John McCain, expressed open contempt for LGBT rights even as he shook hands with LCRs and called them “my friends.” The party continued to cleave to the bigot demographic all the way.
You’d think a public reality check would be in order, but unfortunately, it’s not the case. Patrick Sammon, who is stepping down from his post at LCR:
“We had an election that didn’t turn out as we hoped, but we had a progressive, pro-gay nominee, and the tenor of the campaign was 180 degrees different than four years ago,” he said. “We’ve unquestionably made progress in four years, and I’m proud of the work we did.”
Please help me out here — what progress has been made to moderate the party? Marriage amendments were still supported and passed. Adoption ban in Arkansas…passed. Their nominee picked Sarah Palin who is loved by the professional Christian set.
I’m sure that there is slow change occurring at the state and local level, but what is driving that isn’t coming out of DC or the LCR. It’s the cultural change — more people coming out of the closet and bringing anti-LGBT discrimination out into the open so it can be debated and challenged. One thing the LCR is right about is the need to broaden the GOP.
“There is a unique opportunity for Log Cabin to play a role in the redefinition of the Republican Party,” he said. “Log Cabin has a critical role to play in that discussion, by pointing to places where candidates were successful, like Gov. Mitch Daniels in Indiana, who won with a campaign that was conservative fiscally but not socially. That’s what we hope to advocate, and we want to try to engage the party in that dialogue.”
Sammon said the GOP needs to “get back to the basics” to coalesce party members in the move forward.
Bob Kabel, chair of the D.C. Republican Party and a longtime Log Cabin member agreed, saying that the “party is obviously doing a lot of self-examination.”
“I think that Log Cabin can be very helpful with that examination,” he said. “There are so many candidates Log Cabin has supported over the years who have been inclusive rather than exclusive, and who have had successful careers. Log Cabin needs to continue to make the case that you win by broadening the party.”
I just don’t see what influence the LCR has had to wrest the Republican Party from its dependence on the fundamentalist, under-educated and bigoted base that we saw emerge in public as the McCain mobs. These people do not want a big tent GOP. They are stuck in the past, in denial, and looking to silence anyone who doesn’t agree with their worldview.
The party will never draw the Independent voters if it continues down the path it did in 2008.