And they’re off!

The horse race for the Republican presidential nomination is officially under way with the Iowa caucuses. Who will pull up lame, and who will win it down the home stretch?

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Republican hopeful Mitt Romney

Watching the press coverage of the Jan. 3 Iowa Caucus was like watching a horse race: Announcers breathlessly telling viewers the latest results; charts and graphics that looked more like the screens of a sports-book in Las Vegas than political coverage.

In reality, Iowa chooses only about 1 percent of the total delegates to the national conventions. So focusing so much attention on this process is more about the hoopla than the impact.

What Iowa does do is weed out the also-rans and focus attention of a few frontrunners. And unlike a horse race, the winners in Iowa are less important than the losers.

Already Michelle Bachmann has dropped from the field and I expect John Huntsman to soon do the same. Texas Gov. Rick Perry probably should have dropped out, but he insists on plugging on despite his dismal showing in Iowa.

That leaves four contenders for the Republican nomination in the field — and none of them are even remotely LGBT friendly. In fact, Rick Santorum’s strong finish in Iowa will almost guarantee a tougher line of anti-LGBT rhetoric from the remaining candidates. Each one will be trying to out-conservative the other and the “family values” canard will rank high in their strategy.

Santorum, pushing his socially conservative views, managed to bubble up through other candidates like Gingrich, Bachmann and Perry and strike a note with evangelical voters. According to some polls it is because of his “strong moral character,” code for being anti-LGBT and anti-choice. But the truth is, those two issues are not enough to carry him to the White House. And I suspect the GOP knows that.

A lot of Santorum’s success was due to his very effective ground campaign in Iowa. He spent a lot of time in the state and focused on his key constituency — and that falls outside the mainstream GOP profile.

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Hardy Haberman Flagging Left

Meanwhile, Texas Congressman Ron Paul surprised everyone with his third place finish in Iowa. Personally, I hope he decides to run on a third party ticket. He might split so many votes away from the Republicans that President Obama will have a clear path to re-election.

And then there is former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

The biggest problem for the GOP is that Romney is just so, well, Mitt Romney. It seems that everyone wants someone with more charisma and momentum than Mitt, but they just can’t figure out who that might be.

For now, it looks like Romney will be strong in New Hampshire and South Carolina. His organization is well funded and has a great infrastructure in the remaining states, whereas Santorum will have to scramble to keep up.

I suspect Romney’s biggest challenge will be Newt Gingrich, the man who came in fourth in Iowa. While he most likely doesn’t have the staying power to win the nomination, Gingrich does have a grudge — and that can go a long way.

The Romney campaign and Ron Paul heaped negative ads on former House Speaker Gingrich, and it really showed at the caucuses. Now the question is whether Newt and his super-PAC money will fire back with equal vehemence.

Of course, we all know the Super-PACs do not coordinate with the campaigns (nudge, nudge, wink, wink), so that remains a mystery.

So, what does all this mean for LGBT Americans? Well in my opinion, it’s probably a good thing.

As the GOP candidates try to “out-socially-conservative” each other, their real feelings about LGBT rights will become clear. There are no friends among this group of candidates, and considering how much LGBT Americans have gained in the past few years, I seriously doubt much of our votes or money will go to anyone as far to the right as this field of contenders looks.

As this horse race comes down to the wire in November, the real question is: Can the Obama campaign do enough to remind LGBT citizens why they should support his re-election? Will President Obama’s opinions finally evolve to the point where he can actively support issues like marriage equality? Will LGBT voters be willing to risk losing the gains of the past four years, like the repeal of DADT?
Personally, I think the smart money will bet on President Obama in the home stretch.

Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and a board member of the Woodhull Freedom Alliance. His blog is at DungeonDiary.blogspot.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 6, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

8-year-old to Michele Bachmann: “My mommy doesn’t need fixing”

Michelle Bachmann

Everyone knows how Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann feels about LGBT people: She doesn’t like us, even though some people claim she is married to a gay man herself.

Michele Bachmann is very vocal about her support for a federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. She and her husband Marcus owns — and he operates — a clinic where they purport to turn gay people straight. Michele Bachmann has said, according to the Human Rights Campaign, that, “If you’re involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it’s bondage. It is personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement.” And her husband Marcus has said, in essence, that gays and lesbians are “barbarians that need to be educated.”

So you can bet that when an 8-year-old boy named Elijah approached Michele Bachmann at a recent meet-and-greet event in South Carolina to promote her new book, Core of Conviction: My Story, to let her know that his mom was a lesbian and didn’t need to be cured or converted, Michele was none too happy to be cornered that way.

Watch the video below, and you’ll see that all starts out friendly enough: Michele is seated behind a table as a woman and young boy approach. There are polite greetings and then the mom tells her son, “Don’t you have something you’d like to say?”

The youngster mumbles few his message, then Michele Bachmann tells him she’s sorry, but she couldn’t hear him. She pulls him closer and bends down with her ear near his mouth as he repeats: “Miss Bachmann, my mommy’s gay but she doesn’t need any fixing.”

The look of shock on Michele Bachmann’s face is priceless, but when she straightens up, the look she gives Elijah’s mom — well, let’s just say that if looks could kill, Elijah would be an orphan.

—  admin

Starvoice • 08.26.11

By Jack Fertig

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY

Phil McGraw turns 61 on Thursday. The former Wichita Falls resident has used his talk show Dr. Phil to address LGBT issues regarding youth and same-sex marriage. He recently spoke to CNN about the damages of ex-gay practices in the wake of Michelle Bachmann’s presidential campaign.

…………………..

THIS WEEK

Mercury in Leo stimulates creative thinking, but also a lot of self-promotional BS. While in Leo he’s agitating the Pluto-Uranus square, leading people to take their notions way too seriously, but those aspects can trigger bits of revolutionary genius. The trick there is to not challenge everyone around you, but to challenge yourself.

………………….

VIRGO  Aug 23-Sep 22
As naughty fantasies come inside your head, explore them safely there. Putting them into reality could be delicious, but be careful! However you explore them, you learn a lot about yourself.

LIBRA  Sep 23-Oct 22
Everyone wants an argument. Can’t they just be nice and agree with you? There’s nothing wrong with sticking to your guns. Shooting them off freely drives away people you care about.

SCORPIO  Oct 23-Nov 21
You may feel hassled by an overbearing boss. Bite your tongue and take it all in as feedback to help you do your job better, no matter what the tone. There’s always room for improvement.

SAGITTARIUS  Nov 22-Dec 20
Your idea of playful banter can really upset some people. That could be a good thing when done in the right time and place. In any event, there will be a price to pay, so make sure it’s worth it.

CAPRICORN  Dec 21-Jan 19
Capricornian brilliance at sex is one of the zodiac’s best-kept secrets. The more it stays that way, the better off you are. Keep that info on a need-to-know basis.

AQUARIUS  Jan 20-Feb 18
If you can’t avoid debate, keep one eye inward to see how your arguments reflect your deepest fears and insecurities. Keep a friend nearby with whom you can have an honest talk about that.

PISCES  Feb 19-Mar 19
Taking a cut in pay might be a necessary strategy for long-range benefits. Don’t get taken advantage of. If money gets tight, you have the creative resourcefulness to make it through.

ARIES  Mar 20-Apr 19
Your idea of fun and good humor upsets some people. In the right time and place that could be a good thing, but think ahead about consequences and whom you can afford to piss off.

TAURUS  Apr 20-May 20
Arguments at home reflect and exacerbate your insecurities and doubts. Reflect on childhood patterns and how they affect you now. Probably best to do that on your own.

GEMINI  May 21-Jun 20
Your mouth is getting even further ahead of your brain than usual, and your libido is somewhere inbetween. The brilliance of your ideas depends on how much you challenge yourself.

CANCER  Jun 21-Jul 22
Hiding financial problems from your partner will make the situation worse. It may be time to renegotiate how you deal with bills and expenses. Explore ideas now, but don’t make decisions.

LEO  Jul 23-Aug 22
Others admire your brilliance nearly half as much as you do, but a good showman always leaves the audience wanting more. The ability to listen makes you more popular than the ability to talk.

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or Starjack.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

WHAT’S BREWING: No marriage pledge, marriage support and King trial

Mitt Romney

1. Mitt Romney signed an anti-equality pledge from the hate group National Organization for Marriage. Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum signed an earlier version written by another hate group that included a statement that black children were better off during slavery than they are today. Romney was governor of Massachusetts when the state legalized same-sex marriage in 2004.

2. CNN reports that the American Psychological Association has called on states to legalize marriage equality. The organization voted unanimously to support the legalization of same-sex marriage. In their statement, they said that it’s common knowledge that marriage benefits straight people so it makes sense that it would benefit same-sex couples.

3. In the Lawrence King murder trial, the half-brother of defendant Brandon McInerny testified that they were beaten and abused by their father. An aunt agreed and said that there were drugs and alcohol in the house. McInerny’s father died soon after he was arrested. A teacher testified that she told King to stop parading around the school in make-up and that he made sexually inappropriate comments to other students.

—  David Taffet

Gov. Perry may be the answer to some people’s prayers, but will it earn him a gay glitter-bomb?

Tom Schlueter (via Twitter)

Right Wing Watch reports that one of the groups that’s endorsed Gov. Rick Perry’s Day of Prayer believes Perry is actually an answer to its prayers. In an article defending the event funded by the American Family Association, an anti-gay hate group, the AFA’s own OneNewsNow quotes Tom Schlueter of the Texas Apostolic Prayer Network:

“One of the things that we have been asking the Lord for many, many years has been a time when one of our political leaders will rise up and make this kind of a call to the state or to the nation,” Schlueter told OneNewsNow.

Right Wing Watch goes on to note that Schlueter, pastor of Prince of Peace Church in Arlington, once tied Hurricane Rita to the vote on Texas’ constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions. So you can add Schlueter to the long list of whackos who’ve endorsed Perry’s Day of Prayer. But here’s our question: Will Perry’s love for anti-gay bigots be enough to earn him a glitter-bomb?

In case you missed it, GOP presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann became the latest victim of a gay-rights glitter-bomb at a right-wing convention in Minneapolis on Saturday. Bachmann joins Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty among members of the Republican presidential clown car who’ve fallen victim to the latest fad in activism. And although Perry hasn’t officially declared that he’s running for president, Karen Ocamb at LGBT POV raises the possibility that Perry could be next.

There’s been quite a bit of debate about the effectiveness of these glitter bombs — which are now apparently being coordinated by “glitteratti” from GetEQUAL — in advancing LGBT equality. We won’t wade into that debate here, but if someone does decide to glitter-bomb Perry, we just hope they do a better job than they did on Bachmann in the video below.

—  John Wright