Huffington to Keynote Log Cabin Republicans Convention in Dallas
Conservative columnist and author Arianna Huffington will deliver the
keynote address to the Log Cabin Republicans National Convention in Dallas,
August 14-16, 1998. She will join conservative activist Ward Connerly,
founder of the California Civil Rights Initiative, who will receive the
Spirit of Lincoln Award for his staunch support of domestic partner
benefits as a member of the University of California Board of Regents.
Starting July 2, you will be able to register for the Log Cabin Republicans Convention via our all-new website -- new design, new secured transmission, new updates and information! Remember -- its Log Cabin Republicans Online, debuting on July 2, at www.logcabin.org!
Please find below Arianna's latest column, weighing in on the growing battle within the Republican Party on Log Cabin and inclusion. See you in Dallas!
Take Us To Some Leaders, by Arianna Huffington
June 22, 1998
Nature abhors a vacuum, and so does the political process. Into the vacuum of a GOP agenda so devoid of substance that it makes "Spice World" look like "Citizen Kane," various abhorrent fungal growths have blossomed.
In the beginning, there was Pat Robertson, and it was not good. He warned of "earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor" aimed at Orlando, Fla., for allowing the hanging of rainbow banners from city flagpoles during gay pride celebrations. Apparently he's confusing biblical truth with Hollywood movies. (But then, so do most studio executives.) My forecast for Pat is: scattered shame, with a complete loss of credibility in the afternoon, followed by evening repentance. Heavy at times.
And on the second day, we had Trent Lott. And it was also not good. Our nation's Senate Majority Leader went on Armstrong Williams' show and compared homosexuality to alcoholism, sex addiction and kleptomania. I think a more apt metaphor is Trent Lott's Senate leadership record and chronic fatigue syndrome. I called Rep. Jim Kolbe -- an openly gay Republican who is the chairman of a House appropriations subcommittee -- to ask him how he felt being compared to a kleptomaniac by the Republican Majority Leader. "I prefer to think that Trent Lott is misinformed rather than prejudiced," he told me. "But I'm not going to leave the Republican Party because I disagree with one of its leaders. Individual liberties and respect for individual rights remain for me the core principles of the Party of Lincoln."
Richard Tafel, the executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, the largest national gay Republican organization, called Lott's comments an insult to "every gay person in the Republican Party." And those numbers are not insignificant. In 1994, 33 percent of the gay vote went to the GOP. Will gay voters still support the Grand Old Party in 1998 despite continuing humiliations?
The most bizarre explanation for Lott's loose lips was provided by GOP pollster Frank Luntz. "The remarks," he said, "were made on a very small, very insignificant cable channel." So politicians' beliefs are to be discounted unless they are uttered on a show with a Nielsen rating that exceeds the low single digits? Or was Luntz really saying that Lott's views had not yet been poll-tested for wider audiences and were thus still in their beta version?
The ironic but unavoidable implication of the excuse is that Lott is a hypocrite -- that he will say pandering things in one forum and then give his more nationally acceptable views in a wider forum. We just happened unfairly to catch him in his pandering phase. Sorry, Trent. Let us know when we can begin taking you seriously again.
When Luntz was asked whether the GOP intends to run on a platform that homosexuality is a condition that can be treated, he replied that the GOP intends to run on a platform that "taxes are a condition that should be treated." Which brings us to the next vacuous GOP vacuum filler.
Republicans may run on a platform of Paul Bunyanesque zest for cutting taxes, but they have definitely not governed by it. After passing the so-called Taxpayer Relief Act, which created 824 amendments to the Internal Revenue Code and added 285 new sections, the GOP has now passed the Tax Code Termination Act. Who are they kidding? Why should anyone believe that this bill, which is supposed to abolish the Tax Code altogether by 2002, is anything other than a pollster's fantasy creation, intended to generate a cheap contrasting issue for the midterm elections between anti-tax Republicans and pro-tax Democrats? The White House very kindly obliged by foolishly taking the passage of the Termination Act seriously and criticizing it.
The GOP missed a great opportunity this session to enact a positive agenda. This failure is all the more unfortunate since such an agenda had already been fleshed out by the Renewal Alliance, a caucus of 30 Republican members of the House and Senate committed to addressing neglected social problems. The leadership had promised to attach the Community Renewal Act to the budget, but that promise turned out to be as empty as everything else about the 105th Congress.
Instead, the Republican leadership has expended an enormous amount of energy perfecting the art of sublimely obtuse parliamentary maneuvers designed to keep down campaign finance reform and the tobacco bill. As a result, they have given their Democratic opponents a host of craven embarrassments they can use in the fall. And use them they will.