Mitt Romney not running for president in 2016. Francis Underwood responds

mitt_romney_2012Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, announced in a conference call this morning (Friday, Jan. 30) he will not be running for president.

Thank (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).

“After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee,” Romney said in a statement, which he planned to read to supporters on the call.

Rumors had swirled Romney was mulling another run after he lost to President Obama in 2012. The two-time GOP nominee and former Massachusetts Gov. Republican told donors a few weeks ago he was mulling a third run. But according to the Associated Press, major GOP bundlers, who previously backed Romney, said they plan to support former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Other former Romney operatives have also jumped onto Bush’s presumed campaign.

Bush announced last month he is mulling a run for the nation’s top post, following in the foot steps of his father, George H.W. Bush, and brother George W. Bush. Jeb’s son is first-term Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, formerly of Fort Worth.

But in politics there will be curve balls. And Francis Underwood, the fictional president on Netflix’s hit series House of Cards, is full of ‘em. He chimed in with some advice on Twitter:

Here’s hoping he doesn’t heed Underwood’s advice. And if he does, here’s hoping Olivia Pope will derail him.

—  James Russell

GOP presidential candidates run toward 2016

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Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry

This past weekend, potential 2016 Republican presidential contenders spoke to the grassroots. They’re gearing up for what’s expected to be a blood bath, pitting establishment Republicans against those more aligned with the Tea Party.

Up in Des Moines, Iowa, 20 presidential contenders spoke at the inaugural Iowa Freedom Summit, hosted by the hard right Rep. Steve King and conservative advocacy group Citizens United. Among the speakers were broke straight boy and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. and failed presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, business mogul Donald Trump and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

The goal of the summit, according to its website, was to “bring grassroots activists from across Iowa to hear directly from conservative leaders on how we can get America back on track by focusing on our core principles of pro-growth economics, social conservatism, and a strong national defense.”

The perceived “establishment” — perennial candidate Mitt Romney and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — were not in attendance. But another establishment contender, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, braved the event and bellowed to the crowd.

The Huffington Post reported that, fortunately for us, same-sex marriage and other LGBT issues were not high on the agenda. In fact, the only mention of same-sex marriage was when King, introducing Christie, mentioned his veto of a bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage in his state. But these potential candidates’ agendas speak far louder than their words. Cruz, for instance, needn’t worry about his conservative bonafides. He has announced plans to introduce an amendment allowing states to ban same-sex marriage anyway even if the Supreme Court makes marriage equality legal nationwide.

Fortunately Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, another 2016 contender, filled the hate gap. Speaking at the “The Response: Louisiana,” a prayer rally sponsored by the staunchly anti-LGBT American Family Association on the Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Jindal spoke for 15 minutes about God, himself, moral decay and the United States. He insisted it wasn’t a chance to score political points with social conservatives.

—  James Russell

LGBT vote a ‘key factor’ in Obama win

The LGBT vote was a key factor in President Barack Obama’s victory on Tuesday, according to an analysis by UCLA’s Williams Institute:

In a contest of razor-thin margins, the 4.5 million votes cast by the LGBT population was a critical component of the president’s winning coalition. …

“In this close election, data suggest that the overwhelming LGBT support for President Obama constitutes a key factor in his victory,” said Williams Institute Distinguished Scholar Gary J. Gates.

It’s an outcome that Gates predicted in a Gallup Special Report last month:

A new Gallup Report finds that 71% of LGBT Americans who are registered voters support President Obama for reelection, while 22% support Governor Mitt Romney. From June to September, non-LGBT registered voters preferred Romney to Obama by one percentage point, 47% to 46%. However, when LGBT voters are added to electorate, Obama moves slightly ahead of Romney (47% to 45%).  These findings suggest that the highly Democratic vote of the LGBT population could be enough to swing a very close election toward Obama.

—  John Wright

SEE: Actor Elias Taylorson transforms himself into the Presidential candidates

Well, it’s Election Day. You’re probably trying to decide between voting for Obama or Romney (though I suspect most of you have already decided pretty easily). But to be fair, you don’t need to vote for either — you could  just vote for Elias Taylorson.

Taylorson is a local actor and theater entrepreneur who, even since he was confined to home temporarily following a childhood head injury, has entertained himself by playing dress-up in the mirror. (Well, he is an actor.) As a kid, it was cottonball wigs, flesh-toned Band-Aids to create saggy eyes and eye-pencil moustaches … plus plenty of mugging for the camera. Over the years, he says, he has continued to mug, but the process has become more formalized.

“The technique is just makeup and hair pieces — I don’t rely on Photoshop face morphing,” he explains. “I take the photo myself standing in front of my bathroom mirror.”

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Richard Grenell, gay former Romney campaign spokesman, visits Dallas

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Richard Grenell

While serving as a spokesman for the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, Richard Grenell attempted to get his partner’s name listed in the U.N.’s “blue book” directory.

Grenell, who’s openly gay, said his request went all the way to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s top attorney, who stalled for years before denying it and citing the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

Under President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the policy was changed in 2010, and same-sex partners can now be listed in the U.N. directory, an official in the office of the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. confirmed this week.

But Grenell, who said he didn’t know whether the policy had been changed, just laughed when asked whether it could convince him to vote for Obama on Nov. 6.

“We have an administration that just lied to us on Libya,” Grenell said. “I fear for every gay person’s safety if we allow this administration to continue their weak national security record.”

The response is hardly surprising from Grenell, a gay Republican who is perhaps best known in the LGBT community for his brief stint earlier this year as a national security spokesman for Mitt Romney’s campaign. Grenell resigned from the position a few weeks after being appointed in a firestorm of controversy over his sexual orientation.

Grenell, who’ll keynote Metroplex Republicans’ Grand Ol’ Party on Saturday, talked about that episode and more in an interview with Dallas Voice this week.

—  John Wright

Stonewall Dems to host watch party for 1st presidential debate at Pekers

Schlein.Rob

Rob Schlein, president of Metroplex Republicans, says he believes Romney will win the debate because Obama is not prepared.

The first debate between President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney — which some are calling a make or break moment for the GOP nominee — is Wednesday night in Denver. And the focus of the 90-minute affair will be domestic policy, meaning there’s a decent chance moderator Jim Lehrer will ask a question about marriage equality or some other LGBT issue. Either way, local gay Democrats plan to gather at Pekers on Oak Lawn Avenue for a watch party. From the Facebook page:

FREE EVENT — You know you’re going to watch the Debate between Pres. Barack Obama and that other guy… so why not enjoy it with other progressives and help us cheer President Obama FORWARD!

The watch party will be at Pecker’s 2615 Oak Lawn Dallas, TX 75219. The debate begins at 8CST. We will have some Obama merchandise for donations and a great time will be had by all!

For more questions please contact info@Stonewalldemocratsofdallas.org.

On the gay GOP side, Metroplex Republicans President Rob Schlein said he’s planning to watch the debate at home. Thomas Purdy, president of Log Cabin Republicans Dallas, couldn’t immediately be reached.

“Do I think it’s make or break? I think [Romney is] going to do just fine, and I think it’ll help him a lot,” Schlein told Instant Tea on Monday. “I don’t think Obama’s prepared. He has not done his debate prep, because he thinks he’s all that.”

Sounds like it’s on.

—  John Wright

Should Mayor Mike Rawlings be booed during Sunday’s gay Pride parade?

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings breaks me off some beads during last year’s gay Pride parade.

In an op-ed in today’s Dallas Voice, GetEQUAL’s Daniel Cates notes that Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings gave $2,500 to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

“Yes, this is a man who maintains that he is a proponent of equality, yet his only recent campaign contributions have been to Tom Leppert ($1,000) and Mitt Romney ($2,500),” Cates writes. “You heard that right: Mike Rawlings, ‘believer’ in equal rights, wants Mitt Romney, a man who would roll back almost every civil rights gain the LGBT community has made, to be president of the United States. Weren’t we just upset with Chick-Fil-A for making donations to bigots? Where is their Pride float?”

According to Open Secrets, a website that tracks campaign contributions, Rawlings gave $2,500 to Romney on May 16, 2011, shortly before he was elected mayor, and he gave $1,000 to Leppert on June 21, 2011, three days after he defeated David Kunkle in a runoff. According to Open Secrets, those are Rawlings’ only two campaign contributions for the 2012 election cycle.

Although I had been aware of these contributions by Rawlings for some time, I got to thinking about them recently during the Democratic National Convention.

—  John Wright

ABC lists Irving-based Gold’s Gym alongside Chick-fil-A for political views

The recent Chick-fil-A controversy has sparked responses from both sides but also a closer evaluation of other companies’ views – and political contributions.

ABC News highlighted several companies that have given to anti-gay organizations and political foundations.

Gold’s Gym International CEO and President Robert Rowling donated more than $1 million to American Crossroads, an organization started by GOP political strategists including Karl Rove and a super PAC backing Mitt Romney.

Gold’s is a subsidiary of private Texas-based TRT Holdings, which also owns Omni Hotels. Omni is one of the few major hotel chains that doesn’t offer domestic partner benefits to its employees throughout the U.S.

Omni’s Dallas convention center hotel offered DP benefits after the issue was raised by Dallas Voice and Mayor Tom Leppert convinced the company to do so, even though it hadn’t been considered as part of the operating agreement between the city and the hotel.

Direct-sells company Amway is also under pressure from the gay community after LGBT activist Fred Karger obtained the company’s president’s tax records revealing that he’d donated $500,000 to the National Organization for Marriage Education Fund. Karger called for a boycott of Amway last Thursday.

—  Dallasvoice

Karger tops Paul in Puerto Rico primary

Fred Karger

Although Mitt Romney won Saturday’s Puerto Rico primary with more than 80 percent of the vote, gay candidate Fred Karger out-polled Ron Paul.

Karger received 1.43 percent of the vote, while Paul received 1.22 percent.

In his third primary appearance, this is the first time Karger received more votes than one of the top-tier candidates.

“We spent the past six days campaigning hard in Puerto Rico and it worked,” Karger wrote in a campaign email. “Ron Paul has been in all 20 debates, raised $35 million and has 80 percent name identification, and it looks like we beat him with our message of jobs now, moderation and inclusion.”

Santorum, who said last week that if Puerto Ricans want to be Americans, they should learn English, received 8 percent of the vote. Karger ran TV commercials in Spanish. So some Puerto Rico Republicans are so extreme they would rather vote for a candidate who tells them to change their native, local language than for someone who is gay and moderate on all other issues.

Fewer than 100,000 people are registered as Republicans in Puerto Rico, but 20 delegates were at stake. With more than 50 percent of the votes, Romney gets all of the delegates.

From here, Karger next competes in the April 3 Maryland primary. He also will appear on the ballot in his home-state California primary on June 5.

Later that month he will be one of five candidates on the June 26 Utah ballot. He credits his inclusion there as a result of the work of Utah Log Cabin. Results of that primary will be interesting in the state with the largest Mormon population. After that church funded much of the support for Prop 8 in California that stopped same-sex marriage, Karger started the website Top 10 Craziest Mormon Beliefs.

—  David Taffet

Efforts to resurrect local gay Catholic group are misguided

Article on fledgling Dignity Dallas chapter raises questions about why LGBT people would want to be part of a faith that doesn’t accept them

The Feb. 17 Dallas Voice informed us, under the eyebrow “Spirituality,” that some locals are working to re-establish the LGBT Catholic organization, Dignity Dallas.

This is so weird it ranks right up there with Rick Santorum’s assertion that, if one of his daughters was raped and impregnated, he would advise her to make the best of a bad situation.

It ranks right alongside Mitt Romney’s sacred underpants, Newt Gingrich’s moon base and Ron Paul’s un-conservative earmarks.

I do not know Jim Davis, and perhaps he is a very nice man. Certainly, he seems sincere in wanting to re-establish a local branch of Dignity since he is willing to be quoted saying, “I want my name out there.”

Out where? The Catholic Church does not recognize Dignity’s existence. It certainly does not recognize Dignity’s value. The DV article reports that, according to DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke, the group is “still a place to take refuge from the mounting attacks by bishops and the pope.”

Well, isn’t that the problem? Hey, people, the church does not want you. It thinks your sexuality, gender identity and/or gender expression is a choice. It thinks you should turn straight. It thinks you should be celibate. It thinks you should at the very least keep your mouth shut. Not to mention other parts of your anatomy.

Here is some of what the church has to say about LGBT people:

According to published reports, on Oct. 31, 1986, under Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) made public a “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons.”

In the letter, he calls homosexuality “a more or less strong tendency … toward an intrinsic moral evil” and “an objective disorder.”

In other words, not only is homosexual activity wrong, but homosexuality itself is wrong. Evil. Disordered. Wrong.

Googling for items related to Catholic positions on homosexuality is fascinating and terrifying. For example, it is fascinating to note the many references to the Book of Genesis and its “creation” of Adam and Eve and their “union” as the basis for heterosexuality and hetero-only marriage. (There is no mention of who wrote the book, though many Catholics and other religions believe it was dictated by God.)

But it is terrifying to read the November 2000 “Statement” issued by the Catholic Medical Association. The statement lists “considerations” — the first being all the bad childhood experiences it alleges turned some of us away from the path of righteousness, including not enough rough-and-tumble play for boys. In a sort of footnote to the list, it alleges that adult women are turned to homosexuality by having an abortion. That’s a new one on me and perhaps on you as well.

The statement then makes “recommendations,” which include this questionable gem: “The priest … is in a unique position to provide specific spiritual assistance to those experiencing same-sex attraction.” Is this a joke? I’m not going there.

In any case, the Catholic Medical Association statement was issued years after the American Psychological Association changed its retrograde position and stated: “The research on homosexuality is very clear. Homosexuality is neither mental illness nor moral depravity.”

I have nothing against the Roman Catholic Church — nothing against any Abrahamic faith. I simply do not believe the practitioners should be passing judgment on all of us or meddling with marriage and abortion and contraception and military service and workplace rights and intimate relationships among members of our community.

And yet they do, or they try very hard to. So why would any LGBT seek to dignify such patriarchal, paternalistic views? It’s a puzzle.

Phyllis Guest is a longtime activist on political and LGBT issues and is a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas. Send comments to editor@dallasvoice.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 24, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas