Cruz wins Iowa caucuses, Clinton barely edges Sanders

Ted CruzTexas Sen. Ted Cruz won Iowa’s Republican caucuses last night, beating businessman Donald Trump 28 percent to 24 percent, with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio receiving 23 percent.

The most drama came in the Democratic caucus. In the caucus, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton garnered 49.9 percent to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 49.6 percent. While the Iowa Democratic Party called the race for Clinton, Sanders declared the race a “virtual tie.”

Two candidates also announced they were suspending their campaigns: Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat who came in a very distant third in the caucus, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who won Iowa’s GOP caucus in 2008.

While LGBT issues did not play a deciding role among Iowa Democrats, they were a hot topic among Republicans. Evangelicals and social conservatives dominate the state’s GOP caucuses. Cruz and Trump played a tug of war for the social conservative endorsement. Among vocally anti-LGBT leaders, Cruz had the backing of Bob Vander Plaats of the Family Leader, while Trump earned the endorsement of Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr.

“From threatening to overturn nationwide marriage equality, to campaigning with a notorious ‘kill the gays’ pastor in Iowa, to using transgender Americans as a punchline on the trail, Ted Cruz has spared no opportunity to attack the dignity and rights of LGBT Americans,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign.

Gregory T. Angelo, president of the Log Cabin Republicans, dalso enounced Cruz’s win.

“Log Cabin Republicans will continue to advocate for a common-sense conservative presidential nominee while ramping up our campaign to make Hillary Clinton’s anti-gay past known. Log Cabin Republicans does not endorse in primary elections, but we encourage all our members to step up as our members in Iowa did today to advocate for a stronger, more inclusive GOP. This presidential race is fluid and far from over,” he said in a statement.

Candidates are now focusing their eyes on New Hampshire’s primary election on Feb. 9.

—  James Russell

Step right up!

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

—  Tammye Nash

Bad guy for a good cause: Shalom, Rev. Cruz

By Michael Precker  |  Special Contributor

Michael Precker

Michael Precker

I’ve always had mixed feelings about B’nai Zion, the fervently Zionist organization that supports many worthy causes in Israel.

On one hand, there’s a long list of projects that benefit from their generosity and hard work, from David Yellin College in Jerusalem to B’nai Zion Medical Center in Haifa to Ahava Village for Children in Kiryat Bialik.

At least here in Texas, it’s easy — and certainly more relaxing — not to pay so much attention to Middle East affairs. But to their credit, the B’nai Zion folks I know care intensely about Israel. They read, they advocate, they visit.

On the other hand, at least around here, they lean waaaaaay to the right on the Israeli political spectrum. Not to oversimplify, but opinions seem to run the gamut from hoping the Palestinians somehow disappear voluntarily, to not wanting to wait for them to volunteer.

On Nov. 8, they’re having their annual gala at a fancy Dallas hotel. Proceeds are earmarked for a new underground emergency department at their Haifa medical center. If another war ever breaks out in the north, as happened in 2006, we’ll be grateful for all they’re doing now.

As fundraising groups commonly do, they’re bestowing honors on several people, presumably to sell tickets and generate contributions.

One honoree is Anh Vo, a remarkable woman who landed in Dallas as a penniless refugee from Vietnam and built the Cindi’s chain of deli restaurants that enjoy a lot of Jewish business. Her family has generously supported Jewish causes in return. Another is Dr. Hyman and Connie Tolmas, a couple with a long history of philanthropy in New Orleans and Dallas.

The third is the Rev. Rafael Cruz. He’s the father of Ted Cruz, the senator from Texas who is running for the Republican presidential nomination. There is a wide range of opinion about the ultra-conservative senator, and I’ll keep mine to myself. But he is undeniably a brilliant, canny elected official who commands respect even from those don’t like his politics.

But let’s talk about Dad. Fleeing Castro’s Cuba in his teens, he embodied the American Dream: learned English, worked his way through college, became a successful engineer, built a family — well, actually two families. Senator Ted is the product of the second one.

He also became a born-again Christian, a minister and a political activist wildly popular among evangelicals and the hard right. It certainly helps that he’s a virulent homophobe with fewer filters than Grandma after a flask of brandy.

Just a few recent examples:

• Last week Cruz told the World Congress of Families that it’s only a matter of time before gay activists push to legalize pedophilia.

• It’s “appalling” that Houston elected a gay mayor.

• Legalizing gay marriage “goes to the heart of the destruction of the family” and “could destroy America.”

• An anti-discrimination ordinance means that “if the football team in the high school decides that they want to shower with the girls and the girls complain, they can be sued.”

That’s just part of Cruz’s regular rants against Obama, government in general, the Environmental Protection Agency in particular, the media, liberals and all the usual bogeymen out there. has a list of “The 68 Most Controversial Things Ted Cruz’s Dad Has Ever Said,” and a simple Google search will find you many more.

Sadly, he fits right into American political discourse these days. But even if you agree, should he fit into an event aimed at bringing the community together to support a noble cause?

This is hardly a new dilemma. Israel and its supporters have long argued about whether the country is so needy and embattled that it should accept support from pretty much anybody, no matter what they do or what they think about any other issue.

For whoever invited Rev. Cruz to the B’nai Zion gala, the answer obviously is yes. He’ll no doubt say wonderful things about Israel and get a standing ovation. Perhaps he’ll have the prudence to go easy on the gay-bashing, at least for one night.

For me, I hope the day comes when Israel won’t need to mobilize the Rafael Cruzes of the world. I also hope that B’nai Zion’s underground emergency room in Haifa is finished soon — and that they’ll never have to use it.

Michael Precker is a graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism who spent 30 years as a professional journalist, including stints with the Dallas Morning News and Associated Press. He left the field of journalism to work as a writer and publicist.

—  Tammye Nash

March Against Hate on Monday: Dump the Trump; Lose the Cruz


Donald Trump

Are you already tired of the 2016 presidential race, even though it’s not yet 2016. Are you tired of listening to Ted Cruz’s hatefulness and Donald Trump’s stupidity? (Or is that the other way around?)

If so, then you might want to join the coalition of local community organizations and others gathering next Monday, Sept. 14 to march to “Dump the Trump and Lose the Cruz.”

The March Against Hate (Anti-Donald Trump March) steps off at 5 p.m. The march begins in front of the Cathedral Virgen of Guadalupe, 2215 Ross Ave., and concludes at the American Airline Center, 2500 Victory Ave.

Trump, who’s leading the field of Republican presidential candidates, will be speaking at a meeting at the AAC at 6 p.m.

Among the coalition organizing the march are LULAC Council 102, Dallas Councilman Adam Medrano, DISD trustee Miguel Solis, state Sen. Royce West, Dallas County Schools trustee Omar Narvaez, Tejano Democrats and more.

Domingo Garcia, president of LULAC Council 102, said his organization is supporting the effort to “deliver a clear message to Donald Trump that Hispanics, blacks and women are not political pinatas.”

Garcia said that participants are asked to bring only United States flags, to wear red, white or blue clothing, and to march peacefully. He added that all organizations and community groups are invited to participate.

For information, call 214-941-8300 or email

—  Tammye Nash

Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee are going to jail!

Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

HAH. Got you.

I’m not entirely wrong, however. Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz is set to go to jail today, but it’s not because he broke the law.

He plans to meet with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who has been in jail since last week after defying court orders to issue marriage licenses despite her religious objections to same-sex marriage, according to the Texas Tribune.

Cruz, the Texas senator who vehemently opposes any form of LGBT equality, issued a statement last week condemning the arrest, calling it “judicial lawlessness [crossing] into judicial tyranny.”

The tactic is part of Cruz’s larger strategy to shore up enough votes to clinch the crowded GOP presidential primary. To do so, he has to secure the evangelical Christian vote, a core Republican primary constituency that has huge sway in early presidential primary states like Iowa and South Carolina.

Cruz is not the only GOP candidate headed to jail today, however. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, another favorite among the Religious Right, also plans to meet with Davis.

No word yet if either believes prisons violate their religious liberty as well.

—  James Russell

Craig James sues Fox Sports for religious discrimination

Craig JamesCraig James, who ran for the U.S. Senate Republican nomination against Ted Cruz, has sued Fox Sports after he was fired from his analyst position after just one day on the air.

During the Senate debates, James said he would never ride in a gay Pride parade, as the third contender for the nomination, former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, had. He said during the debates that being gay is a choice.

Fox Sports said James said things that wouldn’t be appropriate in the workplace and called him a polarizing figure.

“We just asked ourselves how Craig’s statements would play in our human resources department,” Fox Sports southwest senior vice president of communications Lou D’Ermilio told the Dallas Morning News. “He couldn’t say those things here.”

James is represented by Plano-based Liberty Institute.

The lawsuit alleges that Fox Sports fired James for one reason only — his religious beliefs about marriage,” Liberty Institute wrote in a statement sent to Dallas Voice. “In so doing, Fox Sports violated the law, including the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA) and Texas contract law.”

“What Fox Sports has done to Craig James is inexcusable,” wrote Liberty Institute President Kelly Shackleford. “It’s also illegal. No one should be fired from their job because of their faith. This is the ultimate intolerance.”

Actually, we agree someone should not be fired for expressing their religious beliefs, but find it pretty ironic that if the word “faith” is replaced by “sexual orientation” or “gender identity,” Liberty Institute wouldn’t be defending anyone’s freedom.

James said nothing inappropriate on the air. Maybe Fox Sports should have looked into his background and decided he was polarizing before he was hired rather than after putting him on the air for one appearance. Hopefully no one from Fox added insult to injury by wishing James “Happy Holidays” rather than a “Merry Christmas.”

—  David Taffet

Ted Cruz: I still hate gays, and here are 2 bills to prove it

Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz

Declared 2016 presidential candidate and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, in his ever-vigilant efforts to save the United States from the horrors of marriage equality, has filed two pieces of legislation to protect states’ ability to discriminate against LGBT citizens. The bills are intended, obviously, as an end-run around the U.S. Supreme Court, which will be hearing oral arguments in four marriage equality cases next Tuesday (April 28), and which is expected to rule sometime in June, likely in favor of marriage equality.

One of Cruz’s bills would establish a constitutional amendment shielding states that define marriage as between one woman and one man from legal action, according to Bloomberg News. The second would ban federal courts from weighing in on the issue again until such an amendment is adopted.

Cruz, a Tea Party darling here at home in Texas, is trying to “broaden his appeal to evangelical voters in early voting states, namely Iowa, by sending a message to the court,” Bloomberg News suggested. The newspaper also notes that Cruz’s anti-equality marriage bills would face “solid opposition” in the U.S. Senate, but that his intent is “to force his competitors [in the 2016 Republican primaries] to keep the issue alive even if the court rules in favor of same-sex marriage.”

Or perhaps, this was just part of his effort to reaffirm his anti-gay credentials after attending a fundraiser Monday night (April 20) in Manhattan at the home of gay, white, rich real estate developers Mati Weiderpass and Ian Reisner, owners of Parkview Developers. That event, he claimed, proves he is “’a big tent Republican’ instead of a panderer.” He issued his statement making sure everybody knows he is an anti-gay bigot who opposes marriage equality just a couple of hours before introducing his two bills.

Earlier this month, on his first trip to Iowa as a declared presidential candidate, Cruz declared that any Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage equality nationwide would be “fundamentally illegitimate.”

Cruz and Utah Sen. Mike Lee filed similar legislation last year, but those bills died when the session ended.

Just in case anybody wants to send good ol’ Ted a note to let him know what you think of his bills, click here.

—  Tammye Nash

Rick Perry to New Hampshire audience: Keep on farmin’ in the free world

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Freedom fighter and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Do you remember the good old days? When government didn’t get in the way of good ol’ Texas wheat farmers selling their product to Soviet Russia? Before the era of big government was over — unless you were in the banking industry? Before that closeted Communist President Jimmy Carter lead a boycott against the 1980 Moscow Olympics over its invasion of Afghanistan?


The half-dozen young people listening to former Texas Gov. Rick Perry talk yesterday (Thursday, April 16) in rural New Hampshire probably don’t either.

Thankfully for Perry, who is mulling his second presidential bid, most of the attendees at his “youth summit” were geriatric.

At Milford High School, Perry said that former President Jimmy Carter’s boycott of the 1980 Olympics was devastating for business if you were a wheat farmer, like Perry was – and for the kids.

“Remember 1979?” Mr. Perry asked the audience. “Remember where we were in 1979? No. 1, we were at 20 percent interest rates. Our kids were boycotted from going to the Olympics. President Carter made that decision. He didn’t let our wheat to be sold to Russia. I know. I was a wheat farmer.”

But Carter just didn’t kill business. As an advocate for youth around the world, Perry said he’s mad because the 1980 boycott killed so many young athletes’ dreams.

“These are kids who in some cases had spent their entire lives working to go represent America,” he said. “To use them as a tool, I think was in particular bad judgment, and I don’t think it had a bit of influence.”

After addressing the Most Pressing Issue of the Day, Perry bounced back from his 2012 campaign blunder. This time he remembered all three of the government projects he’d abolish: Common Core, No Child Left Behind and, of course, Obama’s ruthless reign of healthcare terror.

Since Texas can’t secede from America, he told the crowd, let’s make America become Texas. Perry touted his economic record in the state, dubbed the “Texas [$7.25 an hour] Miracle.” Watch me make the Texas Miracle into the American Miracle, he declared. Under President Perry, you too will be able to sell your wheat and take your ice skates to Russia.

Evoking a song by that other famous Canadian (the one not running for president), President Perry basically told the crowd: under me, you’ll be farmin’ in the free world.

—  James Russell

Gotcha: Cruz and Santorum asked if they would attend a gay wedding


Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

A radio host caught two Republican 2016 presidential hopefuls off guard yesterday (Thursday, April 17) when he asked if either would attend a same-sex wedding, according to Politico.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum, a conservative Republican, told host Hugh Hewitt he would not. While Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who announced his presidential campaign this month, dodged the question altogether.

“That would be something that would be a violation of my faith,” Santorum said.

“I haven’t faced that circumstance. I have not had a loved one go to a, have a gay wedding,” Cruz responded.

The question came after Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who announced his presidential campaign on Monday, April 13, told a television host he would attend a same-sex wedding. Rubio opposes same-sex marriage.

“If there’s somebody that I love that’s in my life, I don’t necessarily have to agree with their decisions or the decisions they’ve made to continue to love them and participate in important events,” Rubio told Fusion’s Jorge Ramos on Wednesday, April 15.

Rubio said that as a devout Roman Catholic, said he would also attend a friend’s second wedding after a divorce, even though he said his faith looks down on divorce.

—  James Russell