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Nov 05 2012

Voting With Your Feelings

I reported recently that the Log Cabin Republicans had, unsurprisingly, endorsed Mitt Romney. The Huffington Post has interviewed some of the LCR leadership and got some very interesting responses. Like the fact that they outright told the religious right that Romney is lying to them:

Even though Log Cabin is a Republican group, it waited weeks to announce its endorsement, and some observers hoped it would never come. On two previous occasions, in 1992 and 2004, the group did not endorse a presidential candidate at all. In the latter case, it refused to support George W. Bush because of his position in favor of the Federal Marriage Amendment. But R. Clarke Cooper, the president of Log Cabin, said Tuesday that Romney’s support for the amendment does not disqualify him from getting the group’s endorsement because “times have changed.”

“There’s no appetite to pass or even consider that amendment,” Cooper told The Huffington Post. In his statement, he called Romney’s support for the amendment “an empty promise made to a vocal but shrinking constituency.”

I actually suspect they’re right, in a sense. Like George W. Bush, I don’t think Romney really cares much about fighting the “gay agenda.” I think he’s probably relatively moderate on such questions. But like Bush, he is still eager to appease the base and politics clearly matters much more than principle (something no one has ever detected in him, of course). There’s no big constituency in Congress at this point to push the issue right now, but I would bet that Romney will happily sign any anti-gay legislation that comes his way, purely out of political necessity.

But this line really stuck out to me:

In interviews with HuffPost over the past several months, members of Log Cabin have said that while they are troubled by Romney’s positions on the gay rights issues of the day, they feel that deep down inside, Romney is a friend to gay people. As one Log Cabin Republican board member explained at the Republican National Convention this year, “We don’t listen to what a candidate actually says. We try to feel where they seem to stand.”

Again, there’s a sense in which this is correct, at least the first part. What is said by any politician should always be taken with a grain of salt. But that shouldn’t be replaced by vague assumptions about what they “feel.” The key to understanding how a politician will act is to ignore what they think and “feel” and look at what will be in their own political best interests. Because that is the basis for their actions nine times out of ten.

24 comments

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  1. 1
    slc1

    It’s called whistling past the graveyard.

  2. 2
    jamessweet

    I parse this as meaning “feel” as in “to sense using a variety of methods”, e.g. “Perhaps the FtB vetting team should have tried harder to feel what Thunderf00t was really all about before signing him on.” You might be right and I might be wrong, of course, but FWIW that’s how I took it.

    In any case, this all dovetails with what I commented on the last post about LCR’s endorsement: They are all kinds of wrong for endorsing Romney, and I will condemn them for it; but condemnding them for endorsing Romney while being gay is treading into dangerous territory. Gay people have just as much of a right to be horribly wrong as heterosexuals :D

  3. 3
    Gregory in Seattle

    Every oppressed group has its quislings.

  4. 4
    slc1

    Re Gregory @ #3

    Uncle Toms.

  5. 5
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    There are other ways of knowing, after all.

  6. 6
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    More properly, “Uncle Marys.” The more you know!

  7. 7
    raven

    Like the fact that they outright told the religious right that Romney is lying to them:

    This is probably wrong.

    Romney has consistently come across as a cold, sociopathic personality who has contempt for anyone not Mormon, not rich, or not Mitt Romney. He isn’t a likable guy.

    I doubt he hates gays any more than he hates Democrats, poor people, women, nonMormons, or nonwhites. Or me for that matter. But that isn’t saying much.

  8. 8
    Modusoperandi

    …while they are troubled by Romney’s positions on the gay rights issues of the day, they feel that deep down inside, Romney is a friend to gay people.

    Even if true, Romney’s deep down insides won’t be holding the veto pen when some terrible anti-gay bill crosses his desk for signing.

  9. 9
    raven

    they feel that deep down inside, Romney is a friend to gay people.

    AFAICT, deep down inside Romney is completely empty. A Morbot zombie.

    These guys are delusional, suffering from Stockholm syndrome, or in denial.

    Romney is a friend to Romney, Mormons, and the ultra-rich and that is it.

  10. 10
    Gregory in Seattle

    @slc1 #4 – A quisling is someone who actively collaborates with their oppressors either in the hopes of receiving preferential treatment or because it gives them an excuse to be an oppressor themselves. An Uncle Tom is someone who fights to keep a not so bad status quo rather than risk it for the possibility of a better future.

    The LRC is not fighting to maintain the status quo: they are actively collaborating with those who have been quite open about oppressing them. They seem to think that if they put Republicans into office, they will be spared. That makes them quislings.

  11. 11
    KathyO

    “We don’t listen to what a candidate actually says. We try to feel where they seem to stand.”

    This assumes that Romney has feelings.

  12. 12
    eric

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; candidates that outright lie about how they intend to govern are inimical to democracy as a form of government. The people cannot choose the course of the country when the candidates have no intention of enacting the policies they say they will enact.* Once the candidates break the connection between voting behavior and policies supported, you might as well just draw names from a hat.

    (*I’m not talking about success or failure of implementation; no candidate can accomplish everything they want to do. I’m just talking about trying.)

  13. 13
    Doug Little

    We try to feel where they seem to stand

    A monumental task with Romney.

  14. 14
    skeptifem

    I doubt he hates gays any more than he hates Democrats, poor people, women, nonMormons, or nonwhites. Or me for that matter. But that isn’t saying much.

    if you look at it in terms of dollars he has spent to oppress people he hates gays a lot more than other groups. It falls in line with the LDS church’s absolutely rabid anti-gay stance and the amount of time/money they are willing to pour into anti-gay groups like NOM.

  15. 15
    lofgren

    A quisling is someone who actively collaborates with their oppressors either in the hopes of receiving preferential treatment or because it gives them an excuse to be an oppressor themselves.

    I believe the African American-specific term would be House Negro.

  16. 16
    thalwen

    From what I understand, the LCR say the vote Republican based on economic issues. Now, I don’t think that Romney and the GOP are going to pass a Federal Marriage Amendment, but definitely aren’t going to repeal DOMA, appoint judges likely to rule DOMA unconstitutional at the Supreme Court level or support LGBT rights at all levels.
    What I don’t get is that they don’t understand that DOMA is an economic issue as it denies LGBT people a number of money-saving provisions available to married couples under Federal Law. Protection against discrimination is also a vital economic issue. So even if you ignore all the vile rhetoric from the right-wing hate groups and the Tea Party, you’re still left with a party that wants to make your economic status worse for no reason other than their bigotry towards you, and you still vote for them.

  17. 17
    regexp

    if you look at it in terms of dollars he has spent to oppress people he hates gays a lot more than other groups. It falls in line with the LDS church’s absolutely rabid anti-gay stance and the amount of time/money they are willing to pour into anti-gay groups like NOM.

    And your proof of this is what? The LDS church poured massive amounts of money into trying to pass Prop 8 and received a huge backlash as a result. So much that they’ve stopped funding such efforts. NOMs money (as far as we know) comes from a few really rich old people. Which is why they been fighting tooth and nail against public disclosure of those donors in states that require such disclosure. And unlike a lot of other organizations – say the Catholic Church who is pouring tons of money into this years efforts – the LDS Church learns from its mistakes.

    Saying that I believe the LCR is fundamentally wrong here. They should of backed away from a vile candidate and focused on Republicans who are for equality and local races that matter (such as protecting the Supreme Court judge up for re-election in Iowa). But I really don’t see them as much different than the HRC. Both groups have completely sold out.

    And for those of you calling out the LCR as “uncle toms” – may I suggest reading a history book sometime?

  18. 18
    andrew

    Do we trust him enough to believe he lied, hmm …

  19. 19
    lofgren

    And for those of you calling out the LCR as “uncle toms” – may I suggest reading a history book sometime?

    I love this all-purpose insult. Utterly contentless. I gather that you think uncle tom has something to do with “history” and that reading about history is important somehow to the understanding of that phrase. But what history? The history of the republican party? Of Mormonism? Of the gay rights struggle? Of modern economic theory? Of the golden age of civil rights activism? Of the Civil War? A biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe? 1850s literary criticism? A 1960s slang dictionary? Of the Log Cabin Republicans? What history can you possibly imagine will dispel this association?

  20. 20
    paul

    “We don’t listen to what a candidate actually says. We try to feel where they seem to stand.”

    Not so different, I suppose, than atheists figuring that it’s better to vote for a candidate who is only pretending to believe in god so they can get elected, rather than a candidate who self identifies as atheist but doesn’t have a snowball’s chance on Venus of winning.

  21. 21
    thalwen

    @paul:
    you’re assuming that the atheist candidate is more appealing on the issues or that an atheist would automatically prefer an atheist candidate to one that is religious but has no plans to legislate their religion.

    The LCR is more like an atheist voting for the religious candidate who plans to make their religious values law and belongs to a party that likes to actively screw over atheists.

  22. 22
    scienceavenger

    …they feel that deep down inside, Romney is a friend to gay people

    Not so unreasonable a position given the many closeted gay GOP scandels over the past few years.

  23. 23
    Doug Little

    Not so different, I suppose

    You suppose wrongly.

  24. 24
    Ichthyic

    “an empty promise made to a vocal but shrinking constituency.”

    no. it’s actually growing in power, which is why the teabagger movement now has representatives in congress.

    they may be right that Romney doesn’t give a shit about evangelical conservative issues, and he’s just placating them for votes. W didn’t either.

    the problem as even McCain pointed out during his primary run in 2000, is that this still EMPOWERS these people to think their issues are correct and important.

    lying to people inevitably ends up biting you in the ass.

    that is what’s been happening to the US for 40 years now; the neocons realized they could manipulate authoritarians with hotbutton issues, and that’s exactly what they did. now they’ve caused a huge number of people to be empowered into thinking these hobutton issues are what should be driving politics itself.

    so, again, fuck the log cabin republicans. they are destructive to their own cause no matter HOW you look at it.

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