GOP Death Watch

GOP Presidential Wannabes Aren’t Homophobes–But Only When The Media Fails to Ask About Gays

Rick PerrySnow White and the seven dwarfs (aka the GOP presidential field) met at the Ronald Reagan library in Simi Valley, CA, Wednesday night and–surprise!–they didn’t have anything bad to say about gays. Of course, that’s only because the moderators, NBC’s Brian Williams and Politico’s John Harris, didn’t bother to ask a single question about marriage equality, DADT, or anything remotely gay related. Always good to know how the national media ranks the importance of our issues.
Appearing on stage hoping for the ghost of the Gipper to alight with his blessing were Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. However, the punditocracy had concluded in advance that the debate was about Perry and Romney, so the bulk of the questions were directed at them, with each firing back at the other, largely on economic issues.

Romney, who waffles so much that he uses maple syrup for cologne, assured backers that his experience made him well qualified to be president, even as he repudiates everything he’s ever done or said. Perry, who is George W. Bush without the brains, stood proudly on his record of executing more than 200 inmates, even if they night have been innocent.

As for Michele “Crazy Eyes” Bachmann, the debate was an object lesson in media attention spans. Having been the press darling at the beginning of the summer, the Tea Party favorite is now being cast as the second runner-up in the GOP beauty contest. (You know, the one whose smile at the winner looks suspiciously homicidal.) As for the rest of the field–they might as well be named Other for the visibility they got out of the debate.

One thing the debate demonstrated was that none of the candidates was another Reagan (and it would be snide to add, thank God). Indeed, there’s reason to believe that Reagan wouldn’t make the cut as a candidate given the extemism of the current GOP. While Reagan maintained a shameful silence as thousands died from the expanding AIDS epidemic, he could also be surprisingly nondoctrinaire about gay issues. He invited the first gay couple to spend a night at the White House, and his opposition was largely responsible for the defeat of a 1978 California ballot measure that would have banned gays from teaching.

Hard to imagine any of the current crop of Reagan worshippers being as forward thinking in 2011 as Reagan was 33 years ago.

If you’re disappointed that this debate was a missed opportunity for more verbal gay bashing, not to worry. Next Monday, CNN and the Tea Party Express are holding another GOP presidential debate. Given the Tea Party’s involvement, we can almost guarantee that there will be plenty of chances for the candidates to practice their homophobic vocals then.

Photo via Gage Skidmore

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  • MikeE

    lol @ “snow white and the 7 dwarfs”

  • Ted

    Rick Perry is going to be our next president I think we should all just get used to it.

  • Jim Hlavac

    Reagan did not maintain a “shameful silence” about AIDS — he authorized the spending of 100s of millions of dollars to the CDC, NIH, and other agencies the minute they asked for the money and the directives needed to being the studies. Within a few months of the first cases reported, the money began to flow into the research and the care of the afflicted.

    No one had a blessed clue what was going on, except that men would just up and die — and the word “AIDS” didn’t even come to being until ’84, for it was called “GRID” at first. What did anyone want him to say? What can a president say? He didn’t say anything about cancer, Legionaire’s disease, Lyme Disease, or anything else that was health related, either, and the latter two appeared at the same time as AIDS.

    But does anyone believe that Reagan could have said something that would do anything whatsoever to stem the disease? I always marvel at people who complain he said nothing: I would like to know what you thought he should have said? But he sure authorized the money, and the medical services, and the hospital care, and the research and everything else that worked at actually doing something practical; and not just deliver a speech to “say something.”

  • Politically Incorrect Thug

    Let me get this right: John Gallagher, the writer of this article, is disappointed because the GOP debators didn’t jump on the gay-hating bandwagon? He’s mad that they’re NOT a bunch of perceived homophobes who want us dead? Methinks Mr. Gallagher is an angry individual who was looking for something in the debate—anything—to set him off so he could have written a seething article of condemnation this morning, but since they didn’t deliver on that level, he settled for the above sloppy reporting. Sorry they disappointed Gallagher’s inner radical, but next time he should 1) be an unbiased journalist, or 2) not bother putting the story on a gay website if it isn’t directly related to gay issues.

  • Libertarian Larry

    @Jim Hlavac: You’re exactly right, but hardcore lefties are hard-pressed to believe it, the same way they don’t believe that G W Bush provided more aid to Africa than any other president in history, including Obama. Selective memory and all that, you know.

  • Jim Hlavac

    Another thing — my mother taught me “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it.” And well, these people do indeed have nothing nice to say about us. And so weren’t asked, and they didn’t tell us all about how terrible we are, which as someone here pointed out, we would just fuss and fume at. In a way, I found it refreshing, frankly.

    Perhaps, just perhaps, these people might be getting the hint from the broad majority of Americans that the country is fed up with talking about gay stuff; most people just don’t care. Poll after poll keeps showing a growing acceptance and a growing “who cares” attitude, which is something we can all live with. Maybe by not talking about constitutional amendments and laws against us they’ll stop even thinking about doing anything which their more looney wacko buddies want done.

    (And thanks Libertarian Larry)

  • the crustybastard

    Here’s a recap of the Republican debate, footage that somehow manages — in only 12 seconds — to encapsulate each of the candidate’s position fully and succinctly, with a magnificently representative public opinion expressed at the very end:

    Please to enjoy.

  • Libertarian Larry

    @Jim Hlavac: I’m with you. I’ve always believed the less noise made, the easier assimilation will be, and before you know it the people who always thought they hated gays are going to learn that many folks they know are gay, too. This militant in-your-face shit is going to get us nothing but a bad reputation.

  • christopher di spirito

    TX Gov. Rick “I’m a Prophet” Perry is a douche. His dead eyes totally creep me out.

  • jason

    If any of these candidates had stated that black people don’t deserve civil rights, you can be sure that NBC and Politico would be on their case. However, because it’s still acceptable to bash gay people, NBC and Politico have failed to ask the pertinent questions.

    Both NBC and Politico can fuck off. They are homophobic.

  • Jperon

    Why does this lie that Reagan never mentioned AIDS continue to circulate? Is it because people put their politics ahead of honesty?

    Reagan wasn’t perfect but he campaigned against Prop 6 and helped turn the tide on that anti-gay measure. He was sympathetic to the plight of immigrants, legal or not, and wanted to offer amnesty. He wasn’t animated by the same sort of hate that now dominates the GOP.

  • Keith

    Just because the GOP candidates didn’t parade their homophobia during the debate doesn’t mean they have changed their agenda to take away our rights. It just means that the moderators are complicit in allowing them to do it in silence.

    As someone who lived through the beginning of the GRID/AIDS epidemic, I can easily list off the top of my head 5 things Reagan should have done but didn’t. He could have changed the course of world history had he done so.

    1. He could have spoken about AIDS as a national emergency affecting all people.
    2. He could have spoken against the stigmatising of gay men as disease carries.
    3. He could have promoted safe sex education and practices.
    4. He could have set the tone for separating “moral” issues from medical issues.
    5. He could have put into place protections for people who were being harassed and discriminated against because of public hysteria regarding AIDS.

    I’m not a democrat. I think all parties in the US are crap. But painting Reagan as a pro-gay leader who did everything he could to fight this epidemic is nothing but blind revisionism.

  • declanto

    Be scared, be very scared. There was not one of these populist rabble who wish us well. Looking at this line-up, it’s no small wonder we can afford a nostalgic glance back to Ronald Reagan.

  • Thomas Maguire

    @Politically Incorrect Thug: “He’s mad that they’re NOT a bunch of perceived homophobes who want us dead?”

    But they are and they do.

  • delurker

    lol this post is like flypaper for all the consevoqueers. it sure got their pink panties in a bunch!

  • jason

    Let’s just hope that one of Rick Perry’s lovers comes out of the woodwork with bells on.

  • Libertarian Larry

    @jason: What’s sad is that he could have 100 lovers come out of the woodwork—but you’d be devastated unless one of them was male.

  • Jon John

    Perry dosen’t have the full support of the conservatives like Bush did, if they are not in it all the way, he will lose.

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