As the amount of hate mail that GP and I receive has increased of late, I wondered what, if anything, Log Cabin has done to take issue with the mean-spirited anti-Republican comments in the gay media. While so many hate us for supporting President Bush, last night as I worked on my piece, Republican Parents of Lesbians, I realized once again how mixed this Administration’s record on gay is.
And yet while the record is mixed, the impression we get from our gay peers, from the gay media and even from the largest gay Republican group with a full-time office in Washington is that President Bush and his Administration are extremely anti-gay. To be sure, he — and some of his appointees — have done several troubling things. He has backed the Federal Marriage Amendment. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings singled out for criticism one episode (of a PBS television program her department funded) featuring a same-sex couples.
That said, the Clinton Administration also had a mixed record on gays and yet gay activists go ga-ga over the man. Just like his successor, Bill Clinton did some very troubling things. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) refused to rescind its endorsement of that Democrat in 1996 when, in the dead of the night, he signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law.
Yet, just like Log Cabin, HRC basically refuses to acknowledge this president’s accomplishments. Under his administration, gay military discharges are at an all-time low. The president has appointed an openly gay man as Ambassador to Romania and has appointed a number of gay individuals to top posts. Before the election, he said that he disagreed with the GOP Platform on civil unions. And he spoke compassionately about tolerance for gay men and lesbians in the third presidential debate. As I wrote yesterday, he “has refused to cave in to the demands of social conservatives that he rescind a Clinton-era Executive Order barring discrimination against gays in the federal workforce” while picking “as his second in command and closest advisor a man who cherishes his lesbian daughter and welcomes her partner into his family.”
A serious student of President Bush’s attitudes toward gays — or an activist truly interested in working to improve the lot of gay men and lesbians in American society — would look at his comments and the actions of his administration and see a record on gay issues as mixed as that of his predecessor. And yet the same activists who swoon at the mere mention of Clinton’s name fall into apoplectic fits of name-calling at the mention of Bush’s.
And through this all, at least in the past year, Log Cabin’s national leaders have only addressed the negative parts of the president’s record on gays. They chose to ignore the positive things he has said. And the negative things he has refused to do. Instead of presenting an accurate picture of this Republican president, they join the chorus of gay activist critics eager to denounce this man and his administration.
This, I believe, is perhaps the greatest failure of the current leadership of Log Cabin. They have not told the whole truth about this Republican president’s record on gays. They seem to be more interested in belonging to the community of gay groups where George W. Bush in reviled that in participating in the much larger world of conservative ideas and Republican activism where the president is respected even by those, like GP and myself, who do not always agree with his policies.
Just read nearly any conservative blog for a period of time. You will find that even the most partisan of them have faulted the president for an action he (or his administration) has taken or a comment he has made. Polipundit has taken the president to task for not holding the line on federal spending. I have made clear my opposition to the FMA while my blog-league wondered recently “what on earth was the White House thinking in giving [Jeff Gannon] a press pass and access to the White House in this day and age of terrorism?” Dirty Harry, Michelle Malkin and LaShawn Barber have all taken the administration to task for paying pundit Armstrong Williams to promote its programs. I could go on.
The point is that many conservative bloggers, just like many Republican groups, support the president while disagreeing with him (or his Administration) on one policy or another. While we have focused on the positive aspects of our president and his administration, we have not hesitated to talk about the negative ones. It’s unfortunate that Log Cabin has chosen to focus on the negative and to cast its lot with the gay organizations who seem more eager to attack the president than to provide an honest assessment of his record on gay issues.
-Dan (aka GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com