Step right up!

Posted on 25 Nov 2015 at 12:05pm

GOP presidential race NOT the greatest show on earth, but certainly has its share of clowns

Haberman-Hardy-I have held my tongue regarding the current slate of Republicans running for their party’s presidential nomination.

I have held my tongue as I watched more than a dozen “candidates” jockey for position, each trying to move further right than the next. I have held my tongue as the press has breathlessly reported on the latest insane rant by what passes as politicians in the GOP.

I have held my tongue because as everyone knows my hand would burn should I ever press the Republican button on a voting machine.

But sometimes, the crazy just overwhelms me and I have to speak. So here goes.

More than a year ago, most folks with any political savvy anticipated the candidacy of the next in line in the Bush dynasty, Jeb (Jeb!), to run for president. He was carefully groomed, like his brothers George W. and Neil. George was maneuvered into a governorship in order to hone his political skills and prepare him for the White House. His brother Neil seemed to be on the same track until his political train was derailed by the whole Silverado Savings and Loan debacle.

Enter Jeb (Jeb!).

His time as governor of Florida made him an ideal choice for a GOP presidential candidate. The buzz in political circles was that Jeb (Jeb!) was the candidate to beat, and everything looked like pretty smooth sailing — until the Republican boat ran aground on the Tea Party reef.

The frustrations expressed by most Tea Party folks stem from a feeling that they have lost control of the country. The phrase “Take back our nation” is a common one among the Oolong crowd, but it really is thinly veiled code for “There is a black man in the White House.”

Add to this wage stagnation and economic woes — brought on by the previous GOP regime, but not really felt until the first Obama term — and you have a powerful force.

These are irate folks who believe that the Republicans, who pretty much caused their problems, must be the ones to fix things. I blame Fox News and the right wing talk radio machine for most of that.

Meanwhile, riding on the crest of the Tea kettle boil-over comes Ted Cruz and an assortment of people who all are saying the same things. The drone of their rhetoric pretty much drowned out Jeb (Jeb!) and left him looking uncharismatic, which frankly, he is.

Enter The Donald. Mr Trump, whose ego is only exceeded by his crass demeanor, broke through the clutter of GOP wannabes and the gullible public took notice. After all, compared to Jeb (Jeb!), Trump looks appealing — or at least different.

That difference is why he has topped the polls. When asked, a lot of Republican voters say, “He speaks his mind,” and “He is not intimidated by political correctness.”

They are correct, But those attributes do not a president make.

Trump is a bull in the GOP china shop, and his reckless bluster has stolen the spotlight from all other GOP candidates — except for one, Ben Carson.

Dr. Carson seems positively a statesman compared to Trump, and even though his soft-spoken performance is riddled with misinformation and downright idiocy, he looks safer than Trump.

The rest of the gang, with the possible exception of Mario Rubio, are cut from the same cloth, and it’s a polka dot pattern suitable for the circus.

So what does this mean for LGBTQ people?

Well, all of the GOP candidates are far from on the right side of our issues, and only the most deluded in the Cabin think the party will “come around” any time soon. The Republican Party is conservative, and that means resistant to change.

LGBTQ rights would be change, so don’t count on hearing any candidate lay out a plan for full equality for us.

Trump, for all his bellicosity, is probably the most benign for us. But that still comes with statements like, regarding same-sex marriage, he “just doesn’t feel good about it.” Yet he has said there should be “no discrimination against gays.”

Make of that what you will.

The ultimate battle for the GOP nomination has yet to play out, and I feel sure there will be more “entertaining” debates in the near future. My biggest problem is with the American people who have actually been hoodwinked into believing that there is anyone in the crowd of GOP hopefuls that is presidential material.

We are a country that has decided to eschew intellectualism in favor of spectacle. I feel sure P.T. Barnum is chuckling in his grave, knowing that an entire generation of fools may decide the fate of our country.

Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and board member for the Woodhull Freedom Alliance. His blog is at

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