It seems odd that we are having a conversation like this in 2013. And I have refrained from posting here at Ricochet about the "gay stuff." You see, I'm probably the most conservative gay guy you would ever meet – aside from my partner. So I'm not going to be the one screeching about wanting special rights, or turning the American flag into a rainbow flag, or other silly PR stunts that the gay progressives drool over.
It may also come as a surprise to those who have read GayPatriot, or follow me on Twitter, than I'm ambivalent at best on the issue of same-sex marriage. I know what the gay progressives are up to with the issue – and "love" is the last thing on their checklist. I remind my gay leftist cheerleaders that religious liberty is spelled out in the Bill of Rights; marriage is not.
In any case, I believe that one can have policy disagreements over specific issues that fire up gay people; I've been doing it most of my life! But then came this issue which a more fundamental problem: Should there even be gay candidates in the Republican Party?
Virginia Rep. Randy Forbes, a senior House Republican eyeing a powerful committee chairmanship, is causing friction with some of his colleagues by pushing the House GOP campaign arm to deny support for some of the party’s gay congressional candidates.
Forbes has waged a lengthy crusade to convince his colleagues and the National Republican Congressional Committee brass they shouldn’t back some gay candidates. His efforts on Capitol Hill were described to POLITICO by more than a half-dozen sources with direct knowledge of the talks.
The issue is particularly acute because House Republicans have two promising openly gay candidates in 2014 vying for seats held by Democrats. Richard Tisei, who narrowly lost to Democratic Rep. John Tierney in 2012, is running again in northeastern Massachusetts. And in San Diego, Carl DeMaio, a former city councilman, is trying to knock off Democratic Rep. Scott Peters.
When I first read this, I laughed it off. But it may actually be a serious problem. The Democrats have gone to great lengths to purge those with pro-life views from their party and they've been quite successful. I suppose one could say the same about pro-choice candidates in the GOP; but it seems to me Republicans have accepted pro-choice candidates if they fit a particular congressional district. Democrats, not so much.
And I have no problem with members of Congress expressing their support or opposition to same-sex marriage and having a debate on those moral, liberty and freedom fault lines.
But do I really want to belong to a political party who has a member of Congressional leadership lobbying to deny a gay Republican candidate the resources to win a winnable district? I'm not sure I can stomach that.
A bunch of friends pointed out to me that Forbes is really an outlier and the real story is the push back from Speaker Boehner and others in the GOP to support Tisei and DeMaio. That's the glass half-full perspective. I just can't believe this is an argument at all for a party whose public relations message has been "Big Tent" since I was a Reagan teenager.
But Forbes has a lot of support from the Christian conservative arm of the GOP. For example, the very vocal Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association:
Forbes is right, Boehner is wrong: GOP should not support gay candidates, whose lifestyle undermines the party platform.— Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) December 5, 2013
Fischer's tweet sent off a firestorm on Twitter, which heartened me a bit. But if I was Tisea or DiMaio, I'd have to ask myself if I really wanted to be a candidate for such a political party. Personally, I would never become a Democrat. Their party has become a statist-Social Democrat-esque nightmare that has balkanized American politics over race, class and gender.
I follow the Buckley Rule: Elect the most conservative candidate that can win a general election. In Massachusetts and California, that may be Tisei and DiMaio. Shouldn't we let the Republican voters in their districts make that decision, not a Congressman from Virginia? And shouldn't the national party encourage all conservatives regardless of race, creed, color, religious and sexual orientation, to be engaged in our political process?
Dang, maybe I'm just going squishy.