One of the reasons I am eager to see Patrick Guerriero leave Log Cabin is that while he professes to be of the party of Ronald Reagan, even dispensing a Ronald Reagan Award to a number of (largely worthy) Republican politicians, he, by and large, avoided the Gipper’s rhetoric and ideas, preferring the rhetoric of the gay left. Three months ago, I wrote how in “eagerness to be accepted by national gay groups,” Log Cabin uses the same watchword as the gay left, “equality,” over and over (and over) again.
The realization of equality, however, “has been anathema to conservatives and libertarians for generations.” Understanding the natural tension between realizing equality and preserving our freedom, since the founding of our party in the 1850s, Republicans have preferred freedom, liberty, the ability to live our lives as we choose with government interference only to protect our lives, liberty, property and pursuit of happiness.
So focused has Log Cabin been on this watchword of the gay left, that it has even spun the Governor’s speech to reflect that agenda, headlining its release Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Makes Strong Case for Equality at Log Cabin Republicans Dinner in Los Angeles. Now, I’ve read a great deal of coverage of the speech and have even contacted the Governor’s campaign (and Log Cabin) to get a text of his remarks, which they do not (alas) have (though the woman from the campaign (who took my call) was immensely polite, promising to get a transcript to me if one is made).
And while the media coverage suggests that the Governor made a great speech, expressing his love for Log Cabin and his appeal for tolerance of gay people, I could find only one reference to equality in his speech. When he acknowledged disagreements “with activists on critical issues,” the Golden State’s good Governor did pledge to “respect them and foster a spirit of ‘respect, equality and inclusion’ in California.” Hardly a strong case of equality.
The Governor, however, did make a strong case for tolerance. “While we may not agree on every issue,” this good man said, “we are united in the values of love, understanding and tolerance.” He emphasized this point in the speech: “we need a higher level of understanding, not a lower one. And we need an understanding of tolerance that is stronger, not weaker.”
Despite these strong statements, Log Cabin’s release chose not to give its release on the event a more accurate title, like, say, “Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Makes Strong Case for Tolerance at Log Cabin Republicans Dinner” perhaps because some gay leaders frown on that notion. After the speech Geoff Kors, executive director of the left-wing Equality California, pooh-poohed the Governor’s speech, saying “Our community doesn’t want to be tolerated. We want to be equal.”
Given the anti-Republican nature of Geoff’s group, he clearly does not speak for me. So, when he references the community that does not want to be tolerated, he must then be referring to other left-wing gay activists like himself. And I will do what I can to give him what he wants. I will do my best not to tolerate gay left-wing activists.
Neither should Log Cabin. Instead, Log Cabin’s outgoing president Patrick Guerriero acts as if his primary audience is not gay Republicans or even gay moderates (particularly, given the conext of the following remarks, those considering voting to re-elect the outstanding Governor of the nation’s largest state). In an interview with The Advocate, Patrick seemed almost defensive of his dinner with Arnold:
It’s likely this man is going to be reelected and have a heavy impact on the future of equality for LGBT citizens. . . In light of that, LGBT Californians must continue their dialogue with the governor.
When it appeared likely that George W. Bush would be re-elected (in September 2004), Patrick’s group refused to endorse that Republican. I guess that he’s just not interested in a dialogue with President Bush.
Perhaps in his interview, Patrick offered stronger words in defense of the Governor. Perhaps he focused on the pro-gay bills Schwarzenegger signed, Or perhaps he told The Advocate of all the others good things this man has done since taking the helm of a nearly bankrupt state nearly three years ago. Perhaps he said that of the two-major party candidates, Arnold Schwarzenegger was by far (way far) the better. Perhaps he said all these things, but the Advocate reported chose this one quote.
That said, after being at the helm of an organization in the media spotlight for over three years (and a lengthy career in elective office before that), Guerriero should know better than to offer mealy-mouthed lines like that, that the only reason people should support the man is because he’s likely to be reelected. Especially when his argument undermines the rationale behind Log Cabin’s most controversial action during his tenure.
The leader of Log Cabin needs to be aggressive in defending Republicans, particularly those good men like Arnold Schwarzenegger (and women like Connecticut’s Jodi Rell) who have risked alienating social conservatives in our party by promoting tolerance of gay people–and signing legislation to that effect. They need to show — to the GOP as well as the gay community — that gay Republicans are concerned with a great variety of issues, not limited to those which affect us because of our sexual orientation.
It is this failure to articulate Republican principles which has put this blog so often at odds with Log Cabin and its national leadership. Perhaps, the transcript of the Governor’s speech (if it becomes available) will reveal that he made more references to equality than those I could find. But, after reading numerous articles (and blog posts) on the speech, I could only find one time when the Governor used the word “equality,” yet easily discovered a number of references to understanding and tolerance.
It seems that Log Cabin picked up on the Governor’s one use of the word, “equality” because that has become a watchword for that ostensibly Republican group — as it has for the gay left. Instead of focusing on rhetoric which appeals to those on the left side of the political spectrum, Log Cabin needs to use words which appeal to conservatives.
That they picked out the word “equality” and eschewed “tolerance” shows an organization closer to the leaders of the gay left and their socialist forebears than to those of the GOP and our forebears in freedom whose great achievement we celebrate tomorrow.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com