While generally supporting the president, I disagree with him on a number of issues. I have criticized him for his support of the Federal Marriage Amendment and for failing to follow the Gipper’s vision of federalism. I have not, however, devoted as much time as I should to his apparent inability to veto pork-laden and otherwise bloated budget bills. But, thankfully, a number of House and Senate Republicans, particularly three Senators elected in 2004, North Carolina’s Richard Burr, South Carolina’s Jim DeMint and especially Oklahoma’s Tom Coburn, have stood up for fiscal discipline.
Taking the lead in the fight for fiscal responsibility, along with his Arizona colleague, John McCain, Senator Coburn is challenging “special projects that senators insert into spending bills until the practice stops.” Together with another Arizona Republican, Representative Jeff Flake, Coburn has proposed requiring “that every earmark be specifically included in the text of the legislation Congress is voting on” (via Instapundit), thus preventing legislators from slipping in expensive projects at the last minute.
Yet, this Republican who is spearheading an effort near and dear to the hearts of Reagan Republicans, including this blogger, has also made some unusual comments about gays. In his 2004 campaign, he warned of lesbians lurking in the lavatories in schools in southeast Oklahoma. Almost two years ago, he claimed that some kind of gay “agenda” threatens our freedom:
the gay community has infiltrated the very centers of power in every area across this country and they wield extreme power. That agenda is the greatest threat to our freedom we face today. Why do you think we see the rationalization for abortion and multiple sexual partners? That’s a gay agenda.
Despite this strange views on gay issues, when he served in the U.S. House of Representatives, he was, according to The Advocate “a vocal supporter of AIDS funding.” He met with a Log Cabin group and told them, “We have a common enemy. It is called HIV.” At that meeting, he noted “the great strides being made in the battle against AIDS, adding that no one should allow his or her own prejudices or feelings of persecution keep him or her from doing the right thing.”
Given his leadership on AIDS funding and his commitment to containing the growth of federal spending, Coburn would be my favorite U.S. Senator were it not for his attitudes toward the gay community.
While we may disagree with other Republicans on a handful of issues affecting the gay community, most (but, alas, not all) of them do not make anti-gay remarks — or like Senator Coburn — issue strange warnings about the gay community. Unlike that Oklahoma Republican, those who do, rarely champion issues of concern to us.
Thus, the case of Senator Coburn presents an interesting dilemma for gay Republicans. If the Oklahoman had not made such strange statements on gays and lesbians, I would agree with my friend Rick Sincere, another openly gay blogger, who believes that “Congress needs more Tom Coburns.” We do need more legislators like this man, eager to fight for fiscal discipline, but is it too much to ask that such Senators not have such unusual notions of the gay community?
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com