GOP Fundraiser Robert Mosbacher Dies; Tied Gays to White House
Robert Mosbacher, a prominent GOP fundraiser, oil mogul, and Commerce Secretary under George H.W. Bush, died of pancreatic cancer on Sunday at 82.
Mosbacher connected gay groups to the White House at a time when the 'culture wars' were in their infancy:
Mr. Mosbacher left his Commerce post in 1992 to raise funds for Bush's reelection campaign. It was a period during which the GOP intensified anti-gay, anti-abortion rhetoric, requiring Mr. Mosbacher -- whose daughter Diane is a lesbian -- to walk a delicate line between the personal and political.
At the Republican National Convention that year, conservative television pundit Pat Buchanan declared "cultural war" on homosexuals and delegates waved placards reading "Family Rights Forever/Gay Rights Never." In support of his daughter, Mr. Mosbacher agreed to meet with gay leaders, reportedly making the Bush administration the first to be briefed on gay issues. The party's evangelical right pilloried Mr. Mosbacher. His daughter told The Post, "Dad said ... he didn't know what else family values is if it's not supporting your kids and who they are."
Mosbacher also made an impression on Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who worked for Mosbacher Energy for 18 years:
“When I stepped into the City Controller's office, managing about 75 people — the first time I'd had to manage a staff that large — I very much channeled Bob Mosbacher. I was sort of a cog in the wheel there, a number cruncher, but he had a profound influence on me. He made it clear he knew something about me personally. He felt it important to make that connection to people. It was good for business and it made the office run more smoothly. I also learned you never fall in love with a deal. The numbers always have to make sense. That is a value I absorbed there and have tried to take into government.”