Not too long ago, a Republican friend who, like me, receives Log Cabin’s regular e-newsletter “Inclusion Wins,” wondered if that title were a misnomer for when it comes to social conservatives and the GOP, Log Cabin doesn’t seem very inclusive. While they wanted the party to include gay people, many in the organization are eager to exclude social conservatives.
Now, I agree that social conservatives sometimes have too much sway over the direction of the GOP, particularly in some states. The problem is not that they’re part of the party, but that they attempt to control it. It’s not giving them a place at the table that bothers me, it’s giving them the seat of honor.
But, some in Log Cabin would rather they left the party altogether. Should John McCain win the White House this fall, James Vaughn, the group’s California director commented, “The phone line between the White House and the religious right will be cut.” Seems they delight in cutting social conservatives out of the party.
With comments like that, one wonders how much attention the GOP will pay to Log Cabin, given gay Republicans represent a much smaller portion of the GOP base than do evangelicals. (In the most recent presidential election, we know they didn’t really speak for gay Republicans.)
Comments like Vaughn’s (and others in the article where I found it) suggest that some Log Cabin leaders don’t understand the way politics works, how parties build coalitions of diverse groups in order to win a majority at the ballot box.
Should the GOP exclude social conservatives from its ranks, it would forfeit any chance it has of holding the White House this year — or regaining a majority in Congress. To win, the party needs focus on an inclusive message of ideas, one which its presidential presidential victors embraced in the 1980s and its congressional candidates in the 1990s, ideas which social conservatives, small businessmen and other entrepreneurs, corporative executives, farmers, gay people and countless others could support.
It’s fine with me if representatives of each of these groups has an open line to the White House and has access to GOP leaders. Just so long as the party is inclusive of all who contribute to building the party, promoting its ideas and electing its candidates.
And while I’ve seen Log Cabin make some great efforts at the club level to build the party in their various jurisdictions, I am only beginning to see some efforts at the national level. At the group’s convention later this week, I’ll be eager it to see what it plans on doing to help lead the GOP to victory this fall.
Should they contribute to that victory, the national GOP should welcome them into the fold. Just as it welcomes any group who contributes to Republican success, even social conservatives.
UPDATE: When I e-mailed James Vaughn to alert this piece and promised to post any comment he had on the statement I quoted above. Please quick on more to read his remarks in their unedited entirety:
â€¦ my comment to the BAR was taken out of context a bit. When I said the line to the WH would be cut it was in reference to driving an agenda to specifically push for things like a ban on marriage. Not that there’d be no contact at all. I’m not trying to exclude social conservatives from the Party (although they don’t necessarily seem some of them to want to extend the courtesy the other way) but more that they are pushing for things they think motivate the base when I don’t think it does. So it was pushing a losing agenda that I meant the line would be cut, not excluding them entirely. Hope this helps to understand my thinking.