Karger remains in the race but focused on NH

Fred Karger

The Iowa caucus is tonight and one name that has been mentioned in very few news reports is openly gay candidate Fred Karger.

Karger is mostly sitting out Iowa but has spent more time campaigning in New Hampshire than any other candidate. Two recent polls have him tied with Michele Bachman and Rick Santorum in that state.

The New Hampshire primary takes place Tuesday, Jan. 10.

While his bid was always considered a long shot, he is one of just eight Republicans still left in the race. Herman Cain suspended his campaign. Buddy Roemer is seeking the nomination of Americans Elect. One candidate who is not anti-gay, Gary Johnson, announced last week that he will seek the nomination of the Libertarian Party, rather than the Republican Party. Thaddeus McCotter, another candidate who has been excluded from all of the debates, also left the race.

So while Karger is a long shot, he also remains in the narrowing field along with Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, John Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Santorum.

Karger has been excluded from the debates to keep him from embarrassing the other Republicans over their homophobia.

To keep him from participating in the debates, rules were changed to refuse him a place on stage with other candidates. Those rules included raising the percentage candidates had to poll to qualify and increasing the number of polls in which a candidate had to score that higher percentage. Then polls where he scored the required 2 percent were discounted.

Still, Karger continues in the Republican race, but don’t look for him until next Tuesday.

While other candidates who don’t finish in the top three may be considered big losers in the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, Karger will be considered a big winner if he finishes with more than 1 percent of the vote in New Hampshire or with more votes than any of the other better-known candidates.

—  David Taffet

Republicans tout support for ‘traditional values’

Candidates jockey for position as most anti-gay at forum sponsored by ‘family values’ groups

Rep. Newt Gingrich

Rep. Newt Gingrich

Lisa Keen  |  Keen News Service
lisakeen@mac.com

Current Republican presidential frontrunner Newt Gingrich used a right-wing Christian forum Saturday, Nov. 19, to claim “the left” is trying to “drive out the existence of traditional religions … and use the government to repress the American people against their own values.”

He made the comment in the context of a discussion about whether religious-oriented adoption agencies should be allowed to refuse adoptions to same-sex couples. Some states, such as Massachusetts, have cut off government funding to adoption groups that refuse to obey state laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.

At that same event, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that gay couples in Texas cannot adopt, which isn’t true, strictly speaking. Gays and lesbians can adopt as individuals, and in most cases, that person’s partner can do a second-parent adoption separately.

Without referring to gay groups or the LGBT community specifically, Gingrich lashed out against a movement that, since the 1960s, has gone from “a request for tolerance to an imposition of intolerance … [and] closing down those with traditional values.”

Gingrich said he would support a law that would cut off “all federal funding to any jurisdiction that discriminates against religious beliefs in that format.”

The forum was the “Iowa Thanksgiving Family Forum,” sponsored by the Family Leader group of Iowa, as well as the National Organization for Marriage and Focus on the Family. Its format was an “around the family table” kind of conversation with Gingrich and five other Republican presidential hopefuls, including Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain and Perry.

Mitt Romney, who has been eschewing most Iowa events, declined an invitation.

The candidates responded to questions from a moderator and from several representatives of the host groups, including Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage. The topics centered around such broad themes as values, morality and liberty, with a strong bent toward the view that the country is divided into conservatives — who are all happy, God-loving citizens — and liberals, who are all sad and out to destroy religious freedom.

As has become his routine, Santorum boasted about his superiority in the GOP field when it comes to opposing marriage between same-sex couples. Same-sex marriage, he said, “radically changes the entire moral fabric of our country.

“Gay marriage is wrong,” said Santorum. “As Abraham Lincoln said, the states do not have the right to do wrong. … America is an ideal. It’s not just a Constitution.”

But only Cain spoke up when Brown solicited responses for what each candidate would do, as president, if the U.S. Supreme Court should overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.

Cain said he would “lead the charge to overturn the Supreme Court.” After some prodding from the moderator, Gingrich did offer up that he thought it important to “make DOMA not appealable” in the courts.

Brown’s questions came near the end of the two-hour event, held at the First Federated Church in Des Moines. His first, directed to Rep. Paul, was whether he would support an amendment to the federal Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. It was an odd question, given that Paul has for years been on record publicly as opposing such an amendment and voted against it in 2004.

Paul reiterated his opposition, noting that he believes generally that the issue should be left to the states or, preferably, to individual churches and families.

But Paul added that he does support DOMA.

Brown then asked other candidates to explain why they believe a federal marriage amendment is necessary. Santorum jumped in with a recap of his strategy to “stop this problem” through battles state by state. Bachmann touted her own leadership against same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

The forum was marked by dramatically emotional moments in which the candidates shared personal stories related to their faith.

Santorum acknowledged having decided to keep an emotional distance from his infant daughter who he believed would soon die in order to avoid the pain of the potential loss.

Herman Cain talked about what it was like to hear that he had stage four cancer.

Michele Bachmann recalled what it was like, as a child, to watch her mother sell the family’s dishes and other possessions after she divorced Bachmann’s father.

The moderator, Fox News contributor Frank Luntz, and news reports indicated 3,000 people were in attendance at the forum. The chief sponsor, The Family Leader, helped organize last year’s ousting of three Iowa Supreme Court justices who voted with the unanimous court to say the state constitution required equal treatment of same-sex and heterosexual couples under marriage laws.

© 2011 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 25, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

WATCH: Randy Rainbow drunk dials Rick Perry

Randy Rainbow is reliably clever in his newest video wherein he tries to chat up Gov. Rick Perry after a drunkenly good time at . If only Herman Cain would quit interrupting. In short, it’s brilliant — as usual.

And if you need some heavy dosage of Rainbow, you can always go here for his previous videos. It’s the best advice for winding down your Monday.

—  Rich Lopez

Republican candidates: Obama’s biggest plus

Herman Cain and Gov. Rick Perry

Herman Cain and Gov. Rick Perry

 

David Webb
The Rare Reporter

One after another, Republican presidential candidates seem determined to self-destruct, which puts the Democratic incumbent ahead of the pack

Anyone wanting to see President Barack Obama serve a second term in the White House for the sake of LGBT equality has got to be feeling pretty good about now as his Republican challengers struggle to survive what must be one of the most peculiar national campaign seasons ever.

When the Republican candidates aren’t self-destructing in mass, they appear to be too busy destroying each other to make any headway with the nation’s voters.

Herman Cain, the black, anti-gay Georgia businessman who has led the pack of Republican contenders for president in recent weeks, likely will soon suffer a steep plunge in opinion polls as a result of several women telling the New York Times and other members of the media he sexually harassed them years ago.

Cain calls the allegations “baseless,” but Republican heavyweights, such as Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, are showing signs of nervousness and demanding answers as the controversy persists and the number of allegations grows.

Cain attempted at first to brush off the allegations by refusing to discuss them with the media. But that strategy obviously collapsed earlier this week when he finally called a press conference on the campaign trail near Phoenix to answer the charges. The former Godfather’s Pizza CEO denied guilt and defiantly vowed to remain in the presidential race.

In a debate with the other Republican candidates this week in Michigan, Cain insisted the sexual harassment allegations would not affect his campaign. He cited a continuing flow of campaign contributions from his supporters as proof of his invincibility.

That resolve could dissipate though if more details of Cain’s alleged improprieties emerge: Two of four women whom Cain allegedly sexually harassed when he was head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s have spoken out publicly. And a fifth report has emerged that he made a woman with whom he dined uncomfortable by allegedly asking her for an introduction to another woman — in addition to sticking her for an $800 bill for two bottles of wine. The dinner followed a speech Cain gave to USAID in Egypt in 2002, according to the Washington Examiner.

Although Cain and his handlers no doubt thought that trying to ignore the controversy might make it go away, he instead came off to many as arrogant and inept.

Things aren’t going any better for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who quickly ascended in the polls after he announced his candidacy for president earlier in the fall. But Perry, another major foe of the LGBT community, fell to the bottom just as fast after giving a series of poor debate performances with other GOP candidates.

The governor continued his fall from grace when he spoke at an event in New Hampshire recently and appeared to be under the influence of some sort of intoxicant, although he issued a denial and attributed the odd behavior to a casual speaking style he had adopted for the evening.

In the Republican debate this week Perry again stumbled by not being able to remember the name of a federal agency he wanted to eliminate if he were elected president. Before the debate Cain’s answer to the sexual harassment question was expected to dominate news coverage afterwards, but Perry’s slip-up instead became the lead.

It was Cain’s second break of the evening during the debate. Earlier, Romney had declined to answer a question about whether he thought Cain was unfit for the presidency because of the sexual harassment allegations.

The problems stunting the Cain and Perry campaigns ordinarily would work to the advantage of the other major Republican contender, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, but the savagery the other GOP candidates’ campaigns will inflict on him in coming months no doubt will offset the advantage.

Political analysts expect Romney, who also demanded answers from Cain this week, will be portrayed in multi-millions of dollars’ worth of advertising as a flip-flopper who can’t be trusted by Republican voters.

For that matter, LGBT voters probably can’t trust Romney either — and we certainly cannot trust Cain or Perry, who already have made it clear they would not support gay rights issues.

In the case of Romney, he does indeed appear to have flip-flopped on issues. Although he once seemed supportive of the LGBT community when he was the governor of Massachusetts, there’s no telling what stand he might take in an effort to win the Republican nomination and the presidency.

As for Perry, his disdain for the LGBT community is well known in Texas. He has long fought rumors that he is secretly gay, and that could be part of the reason for his vehement opposition to any LGBT human rights advances. It was for that reason the picture of him going down on a corn dog at a state fair made him the laughing stock of the country.

Likewise, Cain has already vowed to reverse any gay rights gains seen during Obama’s administration, and the revelations about his alleged sexual harassment of women should concern all LGBT voters. If he repeatedly treated women over whom he had power with disrespect, it’s unlikely that he showed any mercy to gay and lesbian associates he encountered.

But despite the dangers the three major Republican candidates pose to the gay rights movement, the one who wins the nomination will enjoy significant LGBT support. Many LGBT voters believe the Republican Party’s policies regarding the economy, national defense and other issues represent the best course for the country — regardless of the impact on the gay rights movement.

The saving grace for gay rights activists who want to see Obama remain in office is that the Republican Party has failed to come up with a candidate to electrify the nation’s voters. As discouraging as the country’s economic situation remains, Obama continues to outpoll other candidates and would likely win the election if it were held today.

And — at least at this time — it appears unlikely any of the Republican candidates are going to change that scenario by Election Day next year.

David Webb is a veteran journalist who has covered LGBT issues for the mainstream and alternative media for three decades. E-mail him at davidwaynewebb@yahoo.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November, 11, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Gay Dems to party during GOP debate

Both Stonewall Democrats of Dallas and Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats plan watch parties for tonight’s GOP presidential debate in Michigan, which begins at 7 p.m. local time. DSYD’s watch party, “Republican Retox,” will be hosted by Jenna Skyy at Axiom Sushi Lounge in the ilume:

To spice things up a bit, we’re going to play a little game while we listen to all the intelligent things that will likely be said by the GOP candidates. Think something along the lines of “Waterfalls”… but with choice phrases like “family values” and “defense of marriage.”

We’re also planning a political trivia game with a surprise twist that NO ONE will want to miss.

SDD, meanwhile, is joining with other local Democratic groups at the Angelika Dallas for “What the Heck Will They Say Next?”:

Say what you will about the GOP debates, they’ve been entertaining. From Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 to Mitt Romney’s flip-flop of the week, you never know what’s coming next. And Rick Perry, don’t even get us started.

This November 9, join New Leaders Texas, Obama for America, and Dallas area Democratic clubs as we watch the next debate live on the big screen, drink optional adult beverages, and play GOP bingo (with some nifty prizes to boot). Admission free.

 

—  John Wright

Will this debate sink Perry’s presidential hopes?

Gov. Rick Perry

Texas Gov. Rick Perry came out of the gate strong when he jumped into the race to become the Republican nominee for president in 2012. How could he not? He had that great hair, and that supposed good ol’ Texas boy charm on his side, not to mention the prayers of all those people who attended The Response in August. He was riding high, jumping to the tops of the polls and apparently leaving folks like Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann in the dust.

And then he opened his mouth and talked. And things started going downhill fast.

Perry’s troubles started with the Republican debates. At the first one, on Sept. 7, he was taken to task for calling Social Security “a ponzi scheme” and for his controversial executive order requiring schoolgirls to be vaccinated against HPV. And while the audience applauded when Perry said he doesn’t lose sleep over executions in Texas, there were plenty of people who found that statement appalling.

And things got worse at the Sept. 22 debate, from which Perry came away looking “shell shocked,” according to the Huffington Post, after other candidates, like nutball Rick Santorum, attacked him for being too lenient on immigration policies.

And now, as Perry prepares for his third debate tonight in New Hampshire, sponsored by Bloomberg News and The Washington Post, some folks — like MSNBC — are calling this “do or die time” for him. This MSNBC report shows that Romney has regained the lead in the polls, holding a precarious three-point lead over Herman Cain in Iowa and a robust 30-point advantage over the other candidates in New Hampshire, the sites of the earliest primaries, according to the most recent NBC News-Marist polls

And where is Perry? In Iowa, he is tied for fourth place with Bachmann, with 10 percent each, behind his fellow Texan, Ron Paul who has 11 percent. And in New Hampshire, where Romney leads with 44 percent and Cain and Paul are tied for second with 13 percent each, Perry scraped in 6 percent for fourth place, barely beating out Jon Huntsman, who had 5 percent.

Poor Rick — he went from the top of the heap to scraping the bottom of the barrel in just a little more than two months. Talk about your monumental flame-out! I guess that means that it takes more than a pretty face and good hair to win the presidency — and the support of rabid right-wingers like the Rev. Robert Jeffress. And I guess that means we’ll probably have to keep putting up with Perry here in Texas until at least 2014.

—  admin

Poll shows Perry now trailing Romney

Thanks to his disastrous performance in last week’s debate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has fallen behind Mitt Romney in the latest poll of likely voters in the GOP presidential primary. The Fox News poll released Wednesday shows Perry with 19 percent, behind Romney with 23 percent. Herman Cain is third with 17 percent. The poll’s margin of error is ± 3 percent. From The Houston Chronicle:

While one poll isn’t a trend and it will take additional polls to confirm the findings, the results seem to indicate that Perry’s poor debate performance may have done more damage to the Perry campaign than originally thought.

Perry has attempted to mitigate the damage from that debate by claiming that he is truer to conservative principles, even if Romney is the more avuncular debater.

As part of that damage control effort, CNN reported that Perry has also participated in telephone-townhalls with conservative activists in Iowa and South Carolina, where he again tried to explain his positions on immigration, border security and the controversial HPV vaccinations that he mandated.

To top it all off, Perry told a conservative blog earlier today that he may have been over the top in his description of critics of the Texas DREAM Act, walking back from his earlier comments at the debate where he said that critics of the program did not “have a heart.”

Read the full poll results here.

UPDATE: Perry is also now fourth in a poll of likely Iowa caucusgoers, behind Romney, Michele Bachmann and “undecided.”

—  John Wright