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Does Athena Help Explain the Collapse of Log Cabin?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:34 pm - January 2, 2010.
Filed under: Blogging,Log Cabin Republicans,Tim Gill Watch

Earlier today when flying from Florida (where I was vacationing with the PatriotFamilyWest) to Cincinnati (to visit the ol’ Homestead), I was reading the dead tree copy of the Wall Street Journal.  I had forgotten how much I enjoyed reading a newspaper.  It’s an experience you just don’t get reading articles online.  I didn’t seem as hurried as I do when surfing the web.  

As I reading Peggy Noonan’s reflection on the past ten years, I wondered if the explanation she offered for the failure (and/or disappointing performance) of many institutions in that era could also apply to one whose decline accelerated in the “aughts,” all but collapsing in the year just concluded:

Maybe the most worrying trend the past 10 years can be found in this phrase: “They forgot the mission.” So many great American institutions—institutions that every day help hold us together—acted as if they had forgotten their mission, forgotten what they were about, what their role and purpose was, what they existed to do. You, as you read, can probably think of an institution that has forgotten its reason for being. Maybe it’s the one you’re part of.

The problem with Log Cabin, however, was that its leaders never really seemed to develop a mission beyond their own advancement.  Or so it often seemed to those of us Republicans who happen to be gay.  If they had a mission, they didn’t do the greatest job of communicating it.

As did many institutions about which Peggy writes in her essay.  Their leaders, like those of the Catholic Church, “forgot they were servants of a great institution, and came to think the great church existed to meet their needs.”

One leader of Log Cabin departed to take a job with a left-wing group which had generously supported the organization during his tenure, causing one to wonder if he adopted its agenda while at the helm of the supposedly Republican organization not merely because of their financial support but also in order to further his own career.

Food for thought.  And perhaps future blog posts.

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23 Comments

  1. I’d certainly support that thesis; they forgot the mission.

    One important omission on the part of LCR-natl’s leadership in my opinion was their concentration on Federal politics inside the Beltway at the expense of the chapters…and especially at the expense of starting new chapters aimed at local and state politics, not just affecting the National Elections.

    If gay Republicans are to have any long-term impact and influence within the GOP, they need to get involved locally…and the need the support of other local gay Republicans at the local and state levels.

    Comment by ted b — January 2, 2010 @ 9:14 pm - January 2, 2010

  2. “They forgot the mission.”

    Beginning with George W. Bush, whose “compassionate conservatism” blather insulted real conservative principles and made huge swaths of the Republican Party such important missions as, oh, cutting (not increasing) domestic spending and government. Or letting the undeserving rich / undeserving big entities fail like they ought to.

    Bush and Cheney were great on defending us after 9-11; my comments above are, of course, in regard to domestic policy and philosophy.

    Another top offender was Alan Greenspan and his rising lieutenant Ben Bernanke, who forgot the mission of the Fed – which is to preserve the value of money and *prevent* (not cause) a succession of irrational, system-threatening financial bubbles.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 2, 2010 @ 9:33 pm - January 2, 2010

  3. Aargh, sorry typo, “made huge swaths of the Republican Party -forget- such important missions as…”

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 2, 2010 @ 9:34 pm - January 2, 2010

  4. The Fed has never been very good at preserving the value of money. Since it’s founding the dollar has shrunk to 1/21th of it’s purchasing power in 1912 after nearly 200 years of fairly stable buying power in terms of real commodities and cost-of-living via gold, silver coin and the various colonial currencies and the 19th-Century dollar.

    And against gold it’s lost nearly 98.2% of it’s “real value”; $20/oz. gold vs. $1100/oz. gold. That’s 1/55th in less than 90 years…

    Great job, gang!!

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — January 2, 2010 @ 11:54 pm - January 2, 2010

  5. Is Log Cabin really collapsing? Just asking cus I honestly dont know.

    Comment by American Elephant — January 3, 2010 @ 5:47 am - January 3, 2010

  6. #4 Ted – Your numbers are right. To your point: the darker, more cynical side of me wonders if the Fed’s real mission has been all along to destroy the value of money – i.e., to tax the People via inflation, for the benefit of the “paper-money aristocracy” and of the federal government.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 3, 2010 @ 11:34 am - January 3, 2010

  7. Are conservatives who are gay the same as conservative gays?

    I ask this because the “gay agenda” is largely liberal by definition.

    This site has had many healthy discussions about DA/DT, gay marriage, the likes of Kevin Jennings, etc. Conservatives are prone to ask the benefits to society as a whole for such changes in the status quo. Liberals are prone to argue “equality” and other victim status issues.

    In effect, I am suggesting that gay who is conservative is not the same as the conservative gay who is, in fact, two people. He is the conservative man and he is the gay man. If his issues concerning being gay outweigh his conservative values, then I would imagine that he and the rest of us need a lot of dialogue about the politics of being gay.

    In the final analysis, the political weight of the gay vote is so minimal that liberal gays have only found political strength in selling their souls to the whims of the Democrat pandering machine. When Obama does not go full tilt into putting their agenda into action, they are stunned and saddened. But Obama’s polling shows that he is far better off tossing the liberal gays peanuts while reassuring the general population that he sees marriage as between one man and one woman, etc. etc.

    Liberal gays have the easier job, because they will always be able to p*ss and moan about how nobody knows the trouble they have seen and nobody knows their sorrow.

    As a hetero who has employed and worked with many gays, I have had many come to Jesus meetings with liberal gays who can’t leave their “victimization” problems at the door.

    Comment by heliotrope — January 3, 2010 @ 11:40 am - January 3, 2010

  8. The Fed point is relevant to Peggy’s article because she says:

    If there was one damning and utterly illustrative quote that captured Wall Street in the past 10 years it was that of Charles Prince, CEO of Citigroup, in July 2007. Worrying investment trends were beginning to emerge, but why slow down? He told The New York Times, “As long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance.”

    But she doesn’t name what “the music” was: namely, Greenspan’s 1% interest rate regime and now Bernanke’s 0%. Such rates destroy the dollar. They also set off investment booms (aka bubbles). They were/are the fundamental thing that enables Wall Street and Freddie-Fannie cliff-diving. Oh yeah, Peggy might also have mentioned Freddie-Fannie.

    She talks about her hopes for rebuilding and repairing American institutions in the new decade, but that is in some sense a conservative project. Liberals can do it but they have to be the right kind: socialists and hippies won’t succeed at it. America will have to go Reagan – or go Palin, haha – for Peggy’s wish to come true.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 3, 2010 @ 11:48 am - January 3, 2010

  9. I am suggesting that [the] gay who is conservative is not the same as the conservative gay who is, in fact, two people…

    Since I don’t count myself as a full-on conservative, I can’t speak to that directly. But I would say this: there is a conservative gay agenda, one based on American traditions of individual rights and formal equality-before-the-law. And there is a left-wing gay agenda, the “gay agenda” you mean that is based on equality of outcome, usually a forced and undeserved equality of outcome.

    In the final analysis, the political weight of the gay vote is so minimal

    Well, I believe it’s around 4% of the electorate. Not the largest, but larger than the Jewish vote.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 3, 2010 @ 11:57 am - January 3, 2010

  10. something from the world of Andrew Sullivan back in 2003:

    Conservatives have long rightly argued for the vital importance of the institution of marriage for fostering responsibility, commitment and the domestication of unruly men. Bringing gay men and women into this institution will surely change the gay subculture in subtle but profoundly conservative ways. When I grew up and realized I was gay, I had no concept of what my own future could be like. Like most other homosexuals, I grew up in a heterosexual family and tried to imagine how I too could one day be a full part of the family I loved. But I figured then that I had no such future. I could never have a marriage, never have a family, never be a full and equal part of the weddings and relationships and holidays that give families structure and meaning. When I looked forward, I saw nothing but emptiness and loneliness. No wonder it was hard to connect sex with love and commitment. No wonder it was hard to feel at home in what was, in fact, my home.

    For today’s generation of gay kids, all that changes. From the beginning, they will be able to see their future as part of family life — not in conflict with it. Their “coming out” will also allow them a “coming home.” And as they date in adolescence and early adulthood, there will be some future anchor in their mind-set, some ultimate structure with which to give their relationships stability and social support. Many heterosexuals, I suspect, simply don’t realize how big a deal this is. They have never doubted that one day they could marry the person they love. So they find it hard to conceive how deep a psychic and social wound the exclusion from marriage and family can be. But the polls suggest this is changing fast: the majority of people 30 and younger see gay marriage as inevitable and understandable. Many young straight couples simply don’t see married gay peers next door as some sort of threat to their own lives. They can get along in peace.

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,460232,00.html#ixzz0bZSiiPXL

    Comment by rusty — January 3, 2010 @ 12:25 pm - January 3, 2010

  11. and from 2009′s right wing nuthouse rick moran follows up with. . .

    Gay unions will eventually be established as legal in most of America — hopefully by state legislatures and not the courts. I believe conservatives can embrace this change as part of the natural evolution in society and the simple recognition that denying two people in love the legal and cultural benefits that come with being married simply because they are of the same sex is wrong.

    http://rightwingnuthouse.com/archives/2009/04/18/the-conservative-case-for-gay-marriage/

    Comment by rusty — January 3, 2010 @ 1:19 pm - January 3, 2010

  12. Shorter Andrew Sullivan: Gay promiscuity is all the result of lacking marriage, and has nothing to do with the fact that, since its very inception, the gay community has promoted disdain towards all those “heteronormative” things like monogamy and commitment and instead, following the free-love movement of the 1960s from which it came, promoting promiscuity, irresponsible behavior, and, “if it feels good, do it”.

    When Sullivan takes responsibility for his own choice to be a promiscuous idiot in full public view, then his argument will make sense. But for him to blame the fact that he can’t stop himself from having anonymous and unprotected sex with multiple strangers on the absence of gay-sex marriage is nothing more than a poor cop-out, and likely why the only people who believe it are the professional victims of the Obama Party.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — January 3, 2010 @ 3:40 pm - January 3, 2010

  13. Rusty:

    I believe conservatives can embrace this change as part of the natural evolution in society and the simple recognition that denying two people in love the legal and cultural benefits that come with being married simply because they are of the same sex is wrong.

    When it comes to evolution, gays are flat out dead enders.

    Please do explain on what grounds conservatives will EMBRACE gay marriage. What exactly is in it for me and the rest of society?

    Can’t you and your partner or partners just get along in the privacy of your own homes? What, pray tell, is gay marriage going to add to your life?

    And please explain why I need to change my attitude. I am all ears.

    Comment by heliotrope — January 3, 2010 @ 4:40 pm - January 3, 2010

  14. Heliotrope. . .you may or may not change your attitude.

    but just with the addition of Sarah Lynne and Samuel David into the Cheney family tree. . .there will be continued support of ss couples and families, all across the nation and the world.

    even conservatives like moran can come to reasonable conclusions.
    just in my little family and friends circle, I can number over 450 folk who support my little world. as more and more glbt folk increase their circles, the evolution will continue.

    yes, you may have a point that glbt folk cannot naturally procreate, but you do have to admit, that even under the most harsh conditions, glbt folk still pop up in families, even the best of conservative families aka the Cheneys. . .

    Comment by rusty — January 3, 2010 @ 6:15 pm - January 3, 2010

  15. Rusty,

    We all have gays in our families. You were talking about natural evolution and embracing gay marriage. What’s in it for me and what’s in it for gays?

    Comment by heliotrope — January 3, 2010 @ 7:06 pm - January 3, 2010

  16. what’s in it for gays. . .probably for the same myriad of reasons that hetero folk seek marriage. some want to celebrate their union with family and friends, others are seeking benefits and priveleges that come with marriage, other are hoping for some sense of security and bonding, some are hoping to make a statement, others are expressing their love, . . .pretty much the same as hetero folk

    as for you H, well not quite sure what benefits you would come away with.

    but Sullivan wrote his little snippet back in 2003. . .it is 2010 and I think there has been a little change. . .I think 5 states, plus the District. . .plus some other countries and municipalities across the globe.

    Comment by rusty — January 3, 2010 @ 8:19 pm - January 3, 2010

  17. Thank you, Rusty. You made a stab at answering the questions. That is a start.

    Which do you think has been around longer, gay sex or the western institution of marriage? I imagine there was a day when a gay was clubbed senseless for his advances. On the other end of the spectrum, do you predict a time when a young man will wonder if he should give gay love an honest effort before he settles on heterosexuality? Neither do I.

    What is it about one man and one woman that has you so agitated? Certainly no cops are banging your door down. Can’t you just love, honor, cherish, obey, and slobber over your lover? Society has relented on letting you adopt children. If your boss is homophobic you have squadrons of lawyers who will represent you. Why this urge to be “married?”

    What is it about “marriage” that sticks in your craw? To be fair, I will tell you what it is about about gay marriage that sticks in my craw. If you are going to change who the “two” are, just flush the whole concept and let the good times roll. Why bar plural marriage, unions with your toaster oven or ties between Fagin and his band of little boys?

    At the core of it all, I am convinced that gay marriage is all about self-esteem, recognition and respect. If you think that you can legislate that threesome (think hate crimes) you are sorely mistaken.

    Here is the corse truth. Midgets have a congenital height problem. I am not about to embark on a journey of pretending they are like the bulk of society. In many ways they are, but in critical ways they are not.

    I’m no expert on why some people are gay. But I know that it is not a matter of legislation, vitamins or exorcism that will change gays into heterosexuals. Gays and heterosexuals each have to carve out their relationships with one another. There is brute bigotry and there is enlightened understanding. When you tell me that you deserve a seismic redefinition of marriage, I can not imagine what earthly good it will do for society. Most recently, Kevin Jennings has proved that much of the “gay agenda” is subversive, harmful and open ended. When a reasonable, thoughtful gay make his points about marriage, he is not speaking for the Christian hating, Mormon bashing, loose and militant gays who insist on floating turds in the societal punchbowl.

    Your turn.

    Comment by heliotrope — January 3, 2010 @ 9:12 pm - January 3, 2010

  18. Jonathan Rauch concludes in GAY MARRIAGE: why it is good for gays, good for straights and good for America:
    The problem of legitimacy remains. What happens if you adjust the boundaries of civil marriage but social marriage (including religious marriage) fails to follow? The answer, (Rasuch thinks) belongs in the next chapter, because the trick is in the transition.

    H, I work with people in handling transitions. little people, people who are dying, and with friends and family. Transitions are hard. In coaching parents to help little folk and even those assisting ailing parents, I remind folk of that unwary feeling some can have walking off an airplane and into a bustling airport. Disoriented and disconnected, people look for signs and sometimes assistance to get to their connection, to the baggage claim or even the exit.

    The transition of recognizing that folk in SS relationships are looking to secure the benefits and privilieges granted in marriage. Some are looking to use the current system of government to gain those privileges, others use lawyers and some are just leaving it alone.

    It is going to cause distress, like any transition. Some of us will be around to see whether or not SS relationships end up with the same benefits and privileges that are currently given to to folk through civil marriage. Boundaries will be adjusted. It’s a tough situation.

    Comment by rusty — January 4, 2010 @ 11:52 am - January 4, 2010

  19. little people is in reference to the very young. not midgets.

    Comment by rusty — January 4, 2010 @ 11:54 am - January 4, 2010

  20. The transition of recognizing that folk in SS relationships are looking to secure the benefits and privilieges granted in marriage — has begun.

    Comment by rusty — January 4, 2010 @ 11:56 am - January 4, 2010

  21. “When we are willing to be disturbed by newness rather than clinging to our certainty, when we are willing to truly listen to someone who sees the world differently, then wonderful things happen.”
    . : Margaret Wheatley

    Comment by rusty — January 4, 2010 @ 8:03 pm - January 4, 2010

  22. Who is “Athena”? What do Greek gods and goddesses have to do with Log Cabin Republicans?

    Comment by Rick Sincere — January 4, 2010 @ 11:11 pm - January 4, 2010

  23. If you don’t see this country running to the extreme right as the administration crashes left, you are in denial. If this continues, zero tolerance will have a new name and a new address in Washington. Obama is taking America on a scary ride and we will be the first thrown under the bus.

    Comment by Marioamante — January 25, 2010 @ 8:58 pm - January 25, 2010

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