Earlier we told you that Rob Schlein, president of the Dallas chapter of Log Cabin Republicans, read aloud a letter he’d written to former Mayor Tom Leppert during the group’s monthly meeting on Monday night. Schlein was kind enough to send over the full text of his letter this afternoon, and we’ve posted it after the jump.
February 28, 2011
I am disappointed in your actions as a candidate for the United States Senate from last week, and my feelings of support for you are now torn.
You see, you did many things right as Mayor. You fulfilled one of your early promises to me, which was to repeal the Verified Police Response policy so that police would answer business burglar alarms. What a concept! This, by the way was opposed by then Police Chief Kunkle and Councilwomen Angela Hunt.
As you may remember, my shop was being burglarized almost monthly because criminals knew that police wouldn’t dispatch upon a business property burglary alarm. Your help made the difference in me staying in business instead of closing down because I have had no further break-ins.
I supported you in your efforts to build a city-owned convention center hotel, even though many in our party didn’t see the need or feel it was appropriate. But, with the Convention Center running unoccupied, it made sense to me that a nearby hotel would make a difference, and pre-bookings show you were correct. I supported your efforts to complete the toll road inside the Trinity River levees, which was also a contentious issue.
With the help of Log Cabin Republicans, you engaged the gay community and helped alleviate their fears that you might be a right-wing zealot and try to take away long fought ordinances that were passed by the previous administration. You pointed out in an early Dallas News column that your outreach to Log Cabin demonstrated a willingness to stay engaged with our community. And, you hired an openly gay chief of staff.
You showed yourself to be a pragmatic leader capable of consensus building.
But, what you did last week has me, and perhaps others, questioning everything.
Your opportunity to model yourself like Chris Christie of New Jersey, or perhaps Rand Paul of Kentucky … as a straight talking, problem solving, urban Republican was tattered when you interjected yourself into a divisive social issue … Obama’s decision to not enforce DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. What were you thinking?
Didn’t you realize Obama’s decision was, in part, a political ploy to reignite the culture wars to serve as a distraction while difficult budget problems are being discussed? We are near a government shutdown over budget matters, and while Washington Republicans recognized Obama’s tactic, and treaded lightly on the subject, you stepped right on it like an IED on the battlefield by twittering, “Another mistake from Obama on DOMA. We need leaders in Washington to stand for the principle of marriage between one man and one woman.” OMG.
You had to know that the bridges you carefully crafted with the Dallas gay community by attending HRC Black Tie Dinners, marching in the Pride Parades, attending Log Cabin Republicans’ Grand Ol’ Parties, and coming to my and my partner’s home for several years to help celebrate Christmas would be damaged by that one small statement. Carol Reed suggested to me that it might have come from an overzealous campaign worker, and I hoped that was the case.
Your personal Facebook page exploded with rational complaints from gay constituents expressing outrage, disappointment, and grief, for they thought better of you. It’s not that other Republican candidates in the field don’t believe the same thing … they likely do. It’s that YOU, said it. Later, the many comments were removed from your Facebook wall, and blocks were put in place to prevent further discussion. Who on earth is handling your social media? Will you stop vocal dissent if you become our senator when you are already putting limitations on your Facebook Walls?
Interestingly, NONE of the other major candidates have social issues on their campaign websites, not Roger Williams, not Michael Williams, not David Dewhurst. So, to make matters far worse, yours does. It shows your stance on same-sex marriage. Tom, the same-sex marriage ban passed long ago. Why, then, do you wish to rub salt into a very old wound when you add, “I oppose legalizing government-sanctioned civil unions.” You are looking backwards on the issue, and to me, you are looking hypocritical. Did the website come from an overzealous campaign worker, too?
With all due respect, nobody likes a flip-flopper, or a political panderer. The social conservative folks may already doubt your gravitas as a conservative due to your history of being inclusive and consensus-seeking on the Dallas City Council. In my opinion, those people won’t believe you have changed now, just because you joined a gay-bashing church that displays signs on their front pylon “Gay is Not OK,” or because you made a tweet that would outrage us.
You may have destroyed the trust that took years to build from the gay community. Now, the socially inclusive Republicans and fiscal conservative Democrats that once supported you will have doubts about you, too. Great damage has been done at the outset of your campaign, in my view.
I wanted to see you be the candidate that could rise above the rest, to stand alone as a fiscal Conservative that focuses on the important economic issues of the day. I wanted to see you be the modern urban Republican that knows liberty is not just for the traditional family. I wanted to see you be the kind of Republican that says smaller government means government that stays out of our personal lives and out of our bedrooms.
I’m saddened now … to think that you are relegated to the pack where we will see few differences between you and the establishment candidates running for office. One difference, however, is that NOBODY else is using gay issues as a wedge, only you. There is little room on the far right for another Senatorial candidate. And now, there is a gulf in the middle with no one to occupy it.
As you go forward in your campaign, it is my hope the old Tom Leppert may re-emerge, as the new reinvented Tom Leppert has upset me, and no doubt a lot of people who once had great faith that you would, indeed, be a different kind of candidate. You have left many friends in your wake. This is truly a sad day for me.