Tue Feb 19, 2013, 05:50 PM
DonViejo (20,105 posts)
Homophobia in GOP Makes It Hard for Party to Compete Nationally - by Peter Beinart
Homophobia in GOP Makes It Hard for Party to Compete Nationally
by Peter Beinart Feb 19, 2013 4:45 AM EST
All the efforts to attract more blacks, Latinos, Asians, and women won’t help the party much as long as it continues its anti-gay, anti-lesbian practices, says Peter Beinart. The GOP has to change on sexual issues—and the sooner the better.
There’s nothing cooler in today’s overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly Anglo Republican Party than being neither. For its State of the Union rebuttal, the GOP tapped Cuban-American Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Rubio had already introduced Mitt Romney at the Republican National Convention, while Puerto Rican first lady Lucé Vela Fortuño introduced Romney’s wife, Ann. When a Senate seat opened up in South Carolina last December, party elders chose African-American Rep. Tim Scott. And Republicans have just founded a new organization to groom minorities in the party. The GOP will never rebound, explains the group’s chairman, African-American former Republican congressman J.C. Watts, “until you get people that look like me in the trenches.”
Republicans probably overestimate the traction they’ll get from changing the color and accents of their pitchmen. There’s something deeply patronizing about the GOP’s assumption that while its voters are motivated by ideology, Latino and black Democrats act merely on ethnic or racial affinity. The harsh truth is that the single biggest reason Latinos and African-Americans vote Democratic is that they mostly agree with Democrats that government should do more for people in need, even if that means less military spending and higher taxes. Even immigration drives Latino voting far less than many Republicans seem to believe.
But at least the GOP’s new cult of racial and ethnic diversity bespeaks some recognition of the way America has changed. Where the party remains in deep denial is on the question of sexual orientation. For the Republican Party to truly compete in 21st-century America, it’s going to need more than merely black and brown spokespeople. It’s going to need openly gay and lesbian ones, too.
When it comes to accepting lesbians and gays, today’s Republican Party lags decades behind the Democrats. In 1977, when Ed Koch first ran for mayor of New York, he publicly consorted with former beauty queen Bess Myerson to deflect rumors that he was gay. In today’s Democratic Party, such a charade would be almost unimaginable. The party boasts openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual members of Congress, and a lesbian Democrat leads the race to be the next mayor of New York. In today’s GOP, by contrast, not much has changed since 1977. Gays now serve openly in the Marine Corps, but being a gay or lesbian politician in the GOP still generally requires staying in the closet—at least until you’re outed in some humiliating scandal.
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Homophobia in GOP Makes It Hard for Party to Compete Nationally - by Peter Beinart (Original post)
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