Tonight, at the Liberty Education Forum (LEF) silent auction, the 501 (c)(3) auxiliary to Log Cabin, I bid on and won two items. Each item acknowledges a great Republican. I won “RONNIE AND NANCY,” a book by Bob Colacello, described on the dust jacket as an “attempt to paint a portrait of a marriage that changed the course of history” as well as a polo shirt with the logo, “W the President.”
I bought these as a goodwill gesture to my hosts this weekend — and because I appreciated their acknowledgment of these two Republican presidents.
Tonight, I had the honor to meet two readers of the blog, one with whom I have corresponded in the past, another who just struck up a conversation with me (not knowing who I was). He asked why I had come to the convention; I replied because of my blog. When I identified the blog, he was a bit overwhelmed and called me a “celebrity,” the second, but not last time this weekend I would earn that title. I am flattered that he enjoys the blog and fascinated that my blogging makes me a celebrity.
I was also touched by what he and his fellow New Yorker (the one with whom I had corresponded) said about GP. Like me, they miss him on the blog — and expressed their support for him at this difficult time. Once again, the basic goodness of our readers.
As I was paying for the items that I had won, a man close to the Log Cabin leadership — but whom I had not yet met — looked at me and said, “Write good things.” So, it seems that not only does Log Cabin know about this blog, but its leaders also pay attention to what we say. They know it gets read and has an impact.
For now, I will some good things and will save the criticism for a later post. By and large, I think they did a good job with the convention. My concerns (which I will address later) involve the absence of debate in the program and the absence of a plenary to vote on organization policy and elect leadership. That Log Cabin uses the same language on gay issues as the other gay organizations. And that they made no effort to even consider whether there is a conservative view of gay issues which differs from that of the Human Rights Campaign and other mainstream gay groups.
I was particularly impressed this (Saturday) morning with the makeup of their panel, “Saving Social Security.” It included two libertarians: The Cato Institute‘s Michael Tanner and Freedom Works‘ Max Pappas. Back when I was involved in Log Cabin, the national office all but ignored the libertarians. And as I noted in an update to a previous post, Log Cabin has joined several conservative groups in calling for Social Security reform without tax increases.
I met Patrick Guerriero last night and found him to be a warm and engaging individual. I understand better now why so many people in Log Cabin like him. He has better political skills, better political savvy, than all but a handful of gay leaders I have met. He handles his critics, at least publicly, far better than his predecessor, a good quality in someone in the public eye.
Club presidents commented on the “transparency” of national office operations and the reduction in tension between the national office and the clubs, a tension which was a hallmark of the organization when I was a club leader and president in the late 1990s. Indeed, Patrick did something his predecessor had never done at LCR conventions (at leas the four that I attended) and made public the overall income and expenses of the organization. He did not, however, give a breakdown of the sources of the income or detail the expenses.
On that score, the current leadership certainly represents an improvement on the past. And they are aggressively and visibly supporting Social Security reform, a key initiative on President Bush’s second term agenda.
While a few people at the convention made snide remarks about our man W (on that in a later post), I found that overall, people at the convention liked and supported the president–at least those with whom I spoke. Many faulted the organization for failing to endorse this good man. A handful said that LCR did the right thing. Several individuals did tell me that they just didn’t vote for president. While others believed that LCR national could have finessed the endorsement. Tonight, at the banquet, I sat next to a Jewish lesbian from Massachusetts who voted for the president entirely on foreign policy.
Last night, I went out for dinner with a diverse group of Log Cabin members. After dinner, an older man, a doctor from Boston (whose inspiration made last night thoroughly enjoyable and also, well, quite interesting) bought port for the table. Once our glasses had been filled, he asked that we stand and lift them to George W. Bush. Only one man hesitated, but soon he was persuaded to join us in toasting the President of the United States.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com