It’s a reflexive statement that has effectively passed into cliché, but when gay Republicans say that gay people aren’t ”single-issue” voters they have a point, well illustrated by the fact that a quarter of LGBT voters sided with John McCain in 2008. Some in our community prioritize or think about issues in a way that makes them more comfortable with the GOP than with Democrats. Fair enough in a free country.
But the unstated point of the cliché is that LGBT people who vote Democratic are monolithically single-issue — or, worse in the minds of many conservatives, far-left liberals simply ticking off items on a menu provided by Move On and Daily Kos. Unsurprising and pretty much the language both ends of the political spectrum use to define their opponents.
That’s not a prelude to a false-equivalence column where I find ways to go on about how the right and left wings are equally craven. We can leave that for CNN and The Washington Post. It’s just the frame I have for my own already declared support for President Obama, which, despite how much I write about gay things — it is my job, after all — isn’t completely contingent on the president’s LGBT record.
Yes, political progress for our community has been amazing over the past four years, to the point that the 27 percent of LGBT McCain voters should seriously consider switching. But in terms of my own support, those successes are not the entirety of my reasons for supporting the president.
There are other things equally important to me. I want a government that pursues rational economic policies. I want a foreign policy predicated on diplomacy and engagement, that avoids reckless wars. As a small-business owner, I want a healthier economy that spurs business growth and lets me hire employees and provide adequate benefits. I’m a ”small c” capitalist who believes in the shared responsibilities of society.
Not long ago, this would have made me a run-of-the-mill establishment Republican. In these days of right-wing irrational ideology, it makes me a solid Democratic vote. Two recent moments really clarify this for me.
First was Paul Ryan’s Sunday interview on Face the Nation. Mitt Romney and Ryan claim that they can balance the nation’s debt by cutting taxes and eliminating tax ”loopholes.” Implied in a claim that you can reduce the deficit through closing loopholes is the idea that you know some loopholes that should be closed. But asked to name one, Ryan refuses, going as laughably far as to say that he didn’t want to have the debate over loopholes in public but in Congress. Ah, courage!
As entertaining as it is to see Ryan self-destruct his ”truth-telling” reputation, it’s appalling to see a candidate for a major party lie so blatantly.
The second thing was Romney’s wildly misguided insertion of his weirdly smiling face into the aftermath of the murder of U.S. diplomats in Libya. The falsity of Romney’s attack is well documented elsewhere. But it’s the craven nature of his attack that fills me with dread that this man still has some chance of being president. He possesses the right to criticize the administration’s foreign policy; he lacks the judgment to at least wait until we get the bodies of our dead home before launching a desperate attack by press conference.
I keep wanting to believe that the decline of the Republicans as a serious political party — rather than a warmongering, nativist party that promises people the world while promising they won’t have to pay for it — would have to hit bottom sooner rather than later. But Romney and Ryan are showing that for a shot at the White House they’ll always be ready to take it down another notch.
Sean Bugg is the co-publisher of Metro Weekly. You can reach him at sbugg@MetroWeekly.com or follow him on Twitter, @seanbugg.