Recently, someone asked me why I keep repeating some of the same charges I have been making against Log Cabin nearly since I started blogging. As I begin yet another post taking issue with that ostensibly Republican organization, I recall the words of French writer André Gide (my translation): “You know the story. Nonetheless, we will tell it again. All things have already been said; but as no one is listening, it is ever necessary to start again.”
I can repeat and repeat and repeat my points — and yet few (of my critics) will address them. As Gide might say, no one seems to be listening. In the first 75 hours after I had posted my piece asking for examples of Log Cabin criticism of Democrats — or others on the Left, only one person wrote in to provide such examples. While some have addressed points I raise in my points on Log Cabin, few address my primary charge against the group — that it seems to be bending over backwards not to offend the national left-leaning gay organizations.
While we’re pleased that Patrick so wittily and energetically took down Howard Dean, I note that all gay groups were doing so. By taking on Howard Dean, he didn’t risk offending HRC or NGLTF, who also made statements critical of the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Patrick — and other national leaders of Log Cabin — have to be unafraid to distinguish themselves from the gay left and willing to stand up against the gay organizations as Patrick did when he chastised them on Alito.
When I was active in Log Cabin, among the many complaints I heard about the national office was that it failed to provide an alternative to the national gay organizations which, these gay Republicans believed, ill-represented their concerns. And while the leadership of Log Cabin has changed, the left-leaning agenda of the national gay groups has not.
Indeed, if anything, it has become pronounced. I receive press releases, statements and news articles from (or about) these groups on a regularly basis. Frequently, they take gratuitous pot-shots at the president and the GOP — or otherwise misrepresent their record. And yet, Patrick has worked to increase his Log Cabin’s “standing among liberal national gay rights rights groups.”
It’s not just that Log Cabin seems to be bending over backwards not to offend the gay left, it’s that they lack a vision of their own. As I noted previously, a friend who attended their “convention” left the banquet not knowing what the group stood for. Even their allies are grumbling. Returning from that confab, Log Cabin member BoiFromTroy wrote:
Lacking a clear message–an overriding philosophy–Log Cabin stands for little more than tax cuts and sodomy. While both are things that Log Cabin members like, it is not a winning message in the heartland or on The Hill.
While I think Boi is a bit harsh on the president (W may be wrong on gay marriage, but he hasn’t launched a “jihad against” it), Boi wrote a solid post which all those who care about Log Cabin should read.
I don’t agree with all Boi has to say, but he does ask the right questions:
To do this, however, Log Cabin needs to articulate a centrist philosphy which supports equality for gays and lesbians while reaching beyond it to issues which will appeal to all Americans. What is, after all, the role of government? Is it to protect us from terrorism or to protect us from ourselves?
Had I written the post, I would rewritten the first sentence thusly:
Log Cabin needs to articulate a conservative philosophy which ensures that gay and lesbian Americans can live their lives openly and freely and show how this “freedom agenda” is in sync with the principles which have defined American conservatism since its inception. And show as well how it benefits all Americans.
Back in 2005, Log Cabin was off to a great start, co-sponsoring the most important conservative confab in Washington, D.C. and promoting Social Security reform. Earlier this year, it singled out Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn for promoting legislation to help in the fight agains AIDS. Well done, Log Cabin. I’d like to see more of such praise.
While we encourage Log Cabin to praise the GOP more regularly, we do not believe, as some of our critics have alleged, that Log Cabin should refrain from criticizing the GOP altogether. In fact, we welcome such criticism, provided the organization remembers a basic principle of politics — you criticize your friends differently than you criticize your enemies.
It would not surprise the careful reader of this blog to note that I don’t always agree with Bruce. At times, I have indicated my disagreement in an update (or comment) to the post. One time I recall writing a separate post to offer a different perspective. (Sometimes, if I don’t think the issue that pressing (or don’t have the time to do a post, I remain silent.) I don’t attack Bruce as if I were eager to score political points, but graciously as an individual expresses his criticism of an ally whom he wants to see succeed. Too often in its statements taking issue with the president, Log Cabin leaders seem to be attacking a political adversary whom they are eager to defeat.
I have often thought of doing a post where I would rewrite the Log Cabin statement (its release on withholding its endorsement of President Bush) which started the chain of events that resulted in my blogging here. I would do this to show how (I believe) the organization could have better handled a difficult issue. I would do two versions, one where Log Cabin would (reluctantly) indicate it was withholding that endorsement, the other where it would (reluctantly) indicate that it was endorsing the president. Each would be far shorter than Log Cabin’s 1,500-word statement (a statement longer even than all but a handful of my posts).
Boi is right; Log Cabin needs to develop a clear message, one that resonates with rank-and-file Republicans — and Americans across the political spectrum. As they do that, they need to bear in mind the concerns of gay Republicans and provide an alternative to the left-leaning national gay organizations. And they need to make sure that when they criticize the GOP and its leaders, they do so as Republicans, eager to find welcome in the party and eager as well to help it win elections and enact conservative policy proposals.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com