If LGBTs really want to win equality, we must back the candidates that will help our pocketbooks, even if they take anti-LGBT positions
I always give a five-minute speech at our monthly Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas meetings, and I was recently reviewing some of my remarks from July, 2008, when I asked the question, “What political price would my critics pay to resolve all of their gay civil rights issues? Would they accept any political doctrine, if it was bundled with promises of improvement in gay civil liberties?”
I said to our group that I didn’t want an America that looks like Europe: one that can’t generate enough jobs for its younger workforce, whose immigration policies have created many social ills and whose government-controlled socialized medicine results in less availability of care for all, and with the best care for only those who can afford to travel to another country.
America answered that question in 2008 — and unfortunately got it wrong. While the LGBT community finally secured some victories, what we got in exchange was bigger government, bigger debt and a much-worsened economy.
ObamaCare is an impending disaster that threatens our quality and availability of health care. The economy is stagnating because Obama and his administration seem to know little about capitalism or how to inspire confidence among those with cash to invest.
So again I ponder my question from 2008, because we Republicans will likely have a GOP candidate for president that saber-rattles his or her threat for a federal marriage amendment, or the reinstatement of “don’t ask, don’t tell” to placate the social conservatives.
Let’s be realistic, we Republicans need SoCons to win elections.
However, despite this pressure, our next Republican president will more than likely follow through instead on fiscal efforts to repeal ObamaCare, neuter the EPA’s hard work to shut down power plants that will severely hamper our economy (many in Texas), allow us to explore for oil domestically, steer us to a more balanced budget and get rid of the Dodd-Frank Banking bill that has caused cash-for-title loan stores to spring up like Texas ragweed.
For those who are upset at Rick Perry’s decision to sign the National Organization of Marriage’s pledge to move forward on an amendment to the Constitution, I say I’m willing to pay that price — a danger, in my view, that is as exaggerated as the reported threat of Hurricane Irene — in exchange for fiscal conservatism that is more likely to win the day and return us to prosperity.
After all, the process for amending the Constitution of the United States is so burdensome and so difficult, it seems to me the pledge to NOM is as empty as most men’s promises to stay monogamous until “death do us part.”
That said, I don’t believe that Rick Perry is our party’s best hope to beat Obama.
In the swing states that really matter — Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania — Mitt Romney, who has never been a great friend of Log Cabin’s, polls better. He’s one of them, and his dad was a very, very popular Michigan governor.
And if Jon Huntsman can organize some support he would be a brilliant choice, too.
But, we don’t get to decide in isolation who our nominee will be. By the time the candidates reach Texas, we will likely have our winner.
And, if that winner is Rick Perry, he can count on my vote and my vocal support.
We say in Log Cabin that “inclusion wins,” and we appreciate and welcome those with ideas that differ from our own.
All we can do is to try to elect people that can win who are most compatible with our views, and try to exert influence on those who differ, who do win.
For the LGBT community, economic power is the most liberating one. Paying your debts down, burning up your mortgage and having, pardon my language, some “screw you” money in the bank — that stands the best chance to obtain the equality we seek.
For if it weren’t for a handful of very wealthy billionaires in New York who were with us, their Republican senate majority leader would have never passed gay marriage in that state.
Let me be clear on this: It wasn’t just Log Cabin. It wasn’t just the Human Rights Campaign. It was former Republican National Committee Chair Ken Mehlmen, PayPal founder Peter Thiel and their very rich allies that really got this done!
Because, at the end of the day, money is power. And we need to vote on the party that will best give us a chance to prosper, to accumulate wealth and, hence, all the power we need to accomplish our goals.
Obama has shown that he does not stand with those who seek economic prosperity and to accumulate wealth, and for this reason I will vote Republican — even if Rick Perry is our nominee. And I hope you will, too.
Rob Schlein is president of the LGBT Republican group Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 31, 2011.