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Ingraham, Perkins Balk At GOP 'Pledge' For Lack Of 'Family' Angle

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The Republicans had really hoped to win over the public with their "Pledge to America" yesterday. The reception has been mixed, to put it nicely, and will likely get worse when the public realizes the document was written by a lobbyist for AIG and Exxon.

Even age-old GOP allies like Tony Perkins and Laura Ingraham aren't impressed by the party's new "not a platform." Why not? It's not specific enough about "family" issues. We all know what that means.

Though most of the Pledge addresses pressing economic issues, the documents does indeed address positions on social issues, and reads. "We pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our American values." Yes, it's a robotic pledge of conservative allegiance, but certainly broad enough to get the point across. Or, it should be, in theory...

While pro-life group the Susan B. Anthony List and the political organizers at American Values have both endorsed the "Pledge," which is more specific on abortion-related matters, other key conservative players refuse to fall into line, because the "Pledge" lacks a specific enough gay angle.

"As nice as it is to see some concrete ideas on how to fix the economic crisis the Democrats exacerbated, the Republicans' tepid approach to social issues is disappointing," wrote Ingraham yesterday. She continued, "Anti-family policies, the anti-scientific insistence on embryonic stem cell research, and the reversal of the Mexico City policy must be addressed."

"Anti-family" is also a broad term, one whose meaning comes into starker focus when coupled with Family Research Council leader Tony Perkins' remarks, "While I have some disappointment that the pledge to honor the 'values issues' such as traditional marriage were not more clearly defined within the document, this is a significant improvement over the '94 Contact with America which was silent on the moral issues." From Perkins' perspective, something is better than nothing, but still not great.

It's not surprising the GOP's pledge would be concerned with dollars and cents: that's what's worrying Americans. It's worth remarking, however, that the lukewarm responses from social conservatives shows the growing rift between that camp and the GOP establishment, which currently prefers the Tea Party's "common sense" over Perkins and company's "social values."

While this may sound like good news to some pro-equality activists, don't get too excited: independent voters currently favor Republicans just as much as they did in 2008, which means they'll lean away from Democrats, who tend to be more progressive when it comes to the L,G,B, and T.

Social conservatives may no longer be leading the broader right wing movement, but they may still end up getting what they want: a "Family" friendly Republican Congress.

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Comments

  1. I am very gay friendly, pro gay marriage, pro gay adoption, etc. I live in a rural, Christian, small town, "pro family" area and have talked to my neighbors quite a bit about the subject. I want to emphasize that it isn't always what you're saying, but how you say it and who is saying it that can get a message across.

    My neighbors by and large don't hate gay people. The overwhelming majority of them have a "live and let live" attitude about homosexuals. I'd say 99% of them are protestants, and a good majority of them have kids in the military. When we're chatting at the feed store I try to bring these issues up, check out the reactions, and see what works.

    If you are curious, most of them said they would be fine with gays marrying if they didn't teach about it in elementary schools or force ministers to marry a gay couple if the church didn't want to. They would be fine with gays openly serving in the military if they had separate showers.

    Now, I basically live in that rural America that people are fearful about. It is this America that the radical Right panders to and gets all in an uproar. Rather than fight it the way say Rachel Maddow or Gaga does, I think these people would be more able to convince by the Ellen's and Neil Patrick Harrises.

    All of them said that they like Ellen. When I said she was married, my neighbor goes, "Yeh, but she's not one of those flashy Northern ones. She's from the South."

    The more I talk to people, the more I realize is that what they don't want is the entire country to turn into Boston.

    These right wingers message could be easily fought by people like Ellen with stable relationships, warm, kind personalities, and that folksy "I'm just like you".

    That is, if anyone cares to.

    BTW, true story. Our Christian school as a community service project painted the house of an old black man and his "roommate". This one teenage girl (VERY religious) said to me, "I think that man is gay and that other man is his boyfriend."

    "Probably," I said. "What do you think Jesus would do today?"

    She thought about it and then said: "Paint his house."

    So...they aren't "unreachable". Don't give up on those rural folks, okay?

    Posted by: Rin | Sep 24, 2010 10:34:21 AM


  2. I trust someone has brought this up before, but doens't you 'dar ring like a five-alarm fire every time you see Laura Ingraham and Tony Perkins?

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 24, 2010 10:52:04 AM


  3. Fuck rural folks. As long as they continue to vote for idiots, they're as much a part of the problem as ever.

    They're all fine with gays, IF (insert stupid pointless condition that proves that they're not fine with gays at all here).

    Posted by: Roscoe | Sep 24, 2010 10:55:47 AM


  4. Rin, that is a wonderful insight to rural America. I wish more stories like that would surface, to show that not everything West of Philadelphia or South of DC is full of hateful, bigoted, Tea Partiers.

    Unfortunately, your story does not make good theater or drama. Unless someone is screaming something absolutely foul and corrosive, it barely makes a blip in the American conscious. What we remember are the screaming, farting pie holes who want so spew their brand hatred and fear in the name of EVERYONE who is not bothering to pay attention.

    What we need to happen is for your Rural America to say "[You] don't speak for me or us, and stop saying you do".

    Or just don't empower those individuals any further come election day.

    If Angle and O'Donnell want people to let God tell them who to vote for, then if these people truly do believe in God and the goodness of Christianity, then they will vote for the candidate that will paint that elderly, gay, African-Americans home, not the candidate who wants to burn it down.

    Posted by: Rad | Sep 24, 2010 10:56:47 AM


  5. How dare anyone try to define what a family is. Eff' this people.

    Posted by: Joel V | Sep 24, 2010 11:09:53 AM


  6. Rin, I appreciate your rural view but why would we be happy about anything with restrictions? You can marry, but don't talk about it and you can serve in the military but I don't want you in the same shower with me. Really? How would these people feel if I put the same restrictions on them? You can marry your sister but don't talk about it, and certainly don't teach it in schools. And you can serve the country as long as you are seperated from the rest ofus. This is offensive and defeating. I give you props for bringing these issues up, but if you truly "believe", then you should challenge the views that want us to be seperate and quiet. And to say that Ellen or NPH are the right spokes-people because they are white and nice... wow. Just wow. I think what you describe demonstrates the real problem in this country.

    Posted by: Wayne | Sep 24, 2010 11:17:01 AM


  7. Unfortunately Rin's story, while quite touching does have a certain feel of the old south and "knowing one's place".
    To wit the "separate showers" observation much like separarte water fountains, lunch counters, train carriages etc. plays into the stereotype of all gays as sexual predators that no male of any age or orientation is safe from.
    BTW Boston and Philadelphia were the birthplaces of the country and the majority of the people there still beleive in and hold true to the ideals on which this country was founded, unlike many in other parts of the country.

    Posted by: jerry | Sep 24, 2010 11:17:12 AM


  8. To follow up on Jerry's point check out this pic I changed a while back: https://1986212741753226957-a-1802744773732722657-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/kjamproductions/miscellaneous/Apartheid[6].jpg

    Did anyone by pick on "and the reversal of the Mexico City policy" portion of Laura's rant? So now we're supposed to dictate the social policy of another country? WTF????

    Posted by: Keith | Sep 24, 2010 11:39:37 AM


  9. The GOP screwed up with this one because it was all about taxes and spending before, not social issues. The social conservatives were feeling left out this year, which is bad for Tony and Laura and their book sales. This whole thing muddies the waters and will lower turnout among independents for Republican candidates. Main issue: jobs, jobs, jobs.

    Posted by: anon | Sep 24, 2010 11:51:48 AM


  10. @Wayne,

    I'm not saying that these people are "right" RIGHT NOW, I'm saying that their opinions are not so far past the point of return that people can't talk to them--because honestly, that is exactly what people are NOT doing. They aren't having a dialog. They are telling them that they are either a) evil, awful bigots, or b) that they are right to be afraid of gays.

    I was afraid of the water after seeing Jaws, so afraid at 6 years old that I wouldn't go into a pool. A ridiculous fear that I only got over by stepping into the water. Had people made me feel stupid I might never have learned to love to swim.

    All that they see is what's on political talk shows, not real life people.

    People have just written them off as bigots who can't change. My point is that they CAN change and work for equality when they aren't afraid anymore. They are being told by TPTB to be afraid of gay families. When they realize that Ellen, likeable old Ellen, is the RULE not the EXCEPTION then the fears ago away.

    When they see that Jim and Diane's boy Carl is gay and in Iraq and served with honor and you ask them if that boy Carl that used to mow their lawn for them ought to be allowed to serve openly, they'd say "Well, yeah. That Carl is good people!"

    I know this. I know it because I talk to these people. I believe they can see their better angels and change. I believe it.

    Posted by: Rin | Sep 24, 2010 12:04:25 PM


  11. @Jerry,

    I have to disagree about the "birthplace" of the country. I live in rural Virginia--you know that place that Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Patrick Henry, and George Washington was from.

    Separate showers aren't the same, btw as the analogy towards blacks and colored fountains. The reason why male troops and female troops don't shower together is out of comfort to female troops, not because the military doesn't respect women as much as men.

    I wouldn't want to be in the same shower as a guy not my boyfriend even if he was my best buddy in the world. And, no, its not because I think he would rape me or anything like that. Heck, if I was a lesbian I wouldn't want to be in the same shower as another girl. It's...weird. Whether you are attracted to them or not you realize that you are now being "considered" as a form, like...are my thighs fat? Are my breasts too saggy? Is my stomach not tight enough?

    The world is not all about men, ya know. Lesbians are in the military. If you think that lesbians are somehow immune to the same struggles all women have with body image you're crazy.

    Serving openly is one thing. What you are asking is for self-enforced sexual androgyny or that women (and men) no longer consider themselves sexual beings while at work. You don't leave it at the door.

    I would always, always worry that someone is checking me out and finding fault with me. Women are raised from the cradle to be worried about this. I think you don't realize that because you see this only from a male perspective.

    Posted by: Rin | Sep 24, 2010 12:13:45 PM


  12. I'm a little confused about your issues with body perception in the shower... I couldn't agree more that women are conditioned to be worried about their bodies, but straight women look at and judge other straight women all the time.

    The presence of a lesbian in your shower would change absolutely nothing in that regard.

    Posted by: DN | Sep 24, 2010 12:57:28 PM


  13. Regarding showers, what are you supposed to do with bisexuals? Or people who are unsure of their sexuality?

    How about we strive to provide individual private showers for our soldiers whenever we can, and when we can't we just expect them to be professional and abide by rules? When they don't, they can be dealt with accordingly.

    Posted by: Wes | Sep 24, 2010 1:10:14 PM


  14. "Yeh, but she's not one of those flashy Northern ones. She's from the South."

    So they're not prejudiced against gays, just 'Northerners.'

    Will they ever stop fighting the civil war? I say this as a Virginian myself.

    Posted by: Wes | Sep 24, 2010 1:12:00 PM


  15. Rin, in high school they force the gays and the straights to shower together in gym class. It's a non-issue and the authority figures don't allow you to not do this. Why do you assume that our servicemen can't handle what high schoolers are forced to endure every day?

    P.S. for every touching country bumpkin story you give me I'm sure I can find 10 gays who were run out of their community or treated poorly by their small town as a whole.

    Regardless there are good and bad people everywhere. Lady Gaga is doing a wonderful job informing her mostly youthful audience on issues that are important to her (and me) so while Ellen ALSO has a place and a part to play in this life, I don't think it's fair to imply that one is more important than the other.

    Posted by: Randy | Sep 24, 2010 1:14:53 PM


  16. @RIN: Thanks for your thoughful comments. Changing hearts and minds is a one step at a time strategy and doesn't happen over night, but when you are successful, it sticks. There are those that will bash you for trying to have a dialogue, but your approach does, and will, change minds. And they won't stop being or voting for the intolerrant homophobes until they are outnumberred or they change.

    Posted by: HawaiiBill | Sep 24, 2010 1:23:37 PM


  17. Rin,

    The separate shower analogy to black segregated areas is very valid. Whether or not it has crossed your mind, there are thousands of gays and lesbians around the world serving in our military and foreign forces who are showering with their straight comrades right now with no problem. Some are out, some aren't. They have somehow found a way to resist the urge to hit-on/rape/have sex with other troops in an area used for bathing, in a time-frame which should be but a mere fraction of their overall duty time. Any discomfort a troop may have comes from preconceived notions of how gay people act and disregards the fact that they have made a commitment to their country, not YEARS worth of training and work in order to sneak a peek in a bathroom. I guess we should have separate showers for gay teens in high schools also. Always gotta protect the children.

    The separation of men and women could be argued on the basis of hygiene but more realistically is the fact that the world is overwhelmingly heterosexual and that a heterosexual male is FAR more likely to successfully sexually assault a woman than another male. Maybe in the future, but unlike gays and lesbians, unisex showers aren't happening in practice right now.

    As someone who has deployed and showered with all sorts of old, young, fat, skinny, attractive and ugly men I can honestly say that showering takes up an extremely short amount of time during a single day due to time and resource limits, and may not even happen at all if circumstances dictate. The persistent fascination with showering only demonstrates the right's refusal to accept facts and realities, like many of their beliefs. There is no logical, legitimate reason any troop should have to neglect their commitment to the military on the basis of using the same facilities as a homosexual.

    It sounds that although your quaint community isn't protesting against the glbt community they are just as discriminating as any mainstream, conservative politico. Kudos, for trying to start discussions there. Funny, Boston isn't even all that gay, with the large presence of working class Irish Catholics, minority communities, and suburban youth. It just happens to be metropolitan.

    Posted by: Toto | Sep 24, 2010 2:26:13 PM


  18. So, about the whole shower "issue", let me get this straight, we're supposed to be OK with sending our troops to war without proper body armor, vehicle armor, and, what the hell, faulty electricity that electrocutes them WHILE THEY SHOWER, but heaven forbid we might force that poor, straight soldier to have to shower with a fellow soldier who might happen to be gay? Utter and complete bullshit.

    Posted by: Mike | Sep 24, 2010 2:37:21 PM


  19. Separate showers based on sexual orientation forces people to publicly declare their sexuality, even if they may not fully know or be comfortable with what it is.

    That is forcing everyone to come out of the closet, making sexual orientation a front and center issue when it should be treated as irrelevant. Suddenly, where you shower is based on your orientation, and now you must publicly make a decision.

    Essentially, we'd be going from 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' to 'Ask, Tell, and Move Accordingly to Your Designated Showering Area'

    Posted by: Wes | Sep 24, 2010 2:40:24 PM


  20. I grew up in a wheat and cattle town of 1,800 people in eastern Washington. After Washingtonians voted on Ref. 71 and affirmed the Domestic Partner law passed by the legislature I saw a map of the state color-coded by county indicating the level of voter support or opposition to the legislation. My home county was the epicenter of opposition. These are people who are outwardly kind, gracious, generous and who -- if asked -- would probably respond much the same way as Rin's neighbors did when asked a direct question from a gay neighbor. And then they would -- given the chance -- vote "no" on every single possible gay rights issue imaginable. There has been a change in society in that these issues are now talked about openly, and that makes it more difficult for older generations to transmit their anti-gay attitudes to younger ones (hence, the lovely house painting story). But this is different from asserting that minds are changed. They very rarely are. Our greatest tool is the act of living openly and our greatest allies are the facts of demographics and attrition. Societal bigotries do not end because peoples' hearts have changed. They end because certain peoples' heart have stopped.

    Posted by: Atlanta Guy | Sep 24, 2010 2:52:21 PM


  21. Good point Atlanta Guy.

    The America you see in public is very different from the America you see in private.

    Ever wonder why there is so much viciousness and prejudice on the internet when people are often cordial and polite in real life?

    Anonymity. There's nothing different from the ignoramuses on Yahoo message boards than the friendly folks at the grocery store, except that you can't see their faces and they know it.

    Posted by: Wes | Sep 24, 2010 2:59:58 PM


  22. Hmmm. How is it again that Laura Ingraham is still single?

    Posted by: Tom | Sep 24, 2010 3:07:53 PM


  23. "People have just written them off as bigots who can't change"

    What you don't get is that they HAVE changed. And they've changed because of the work gay people and liberals have done over the last several decades, not because there's some inherent niceness in rural folks.

    It's gotten to the point that gay people don't HAVE TO flee rural communities to survive. That evolution didn't happen naturally. The ripples of social change have come from liberal cities on the coasts. It's great you can live among them and not get strung up, but don't be a fool and believe you could have done that 40 years ago.

    If the GOP hadn't latched onto us as a chew toy back in the 70s, far more progress would have been made. This country was RAPIDLY moving towards our freedom in the 70s with support from BOTH sides of the aisle. BOTH parties had liberal wings and BOTH parties had conservative wings. Then Anita Bryant came along and reminded people how easily hate could work in politics.

    Posted by: BobN | Sep 24, 2010 3:57:24 PM


  24. Wait, I'm confused. Didn't they take the "Contract With America" and just update and re-name it?

    Posted by: Rodney Wollam | Sep 24, 2010 5:22:26 PM


  25. @RIN But what amazes me is that some of their objections are lies told by the right to win their votes. No one can make a church marry anyone they don't want to. Many churches won't marry non-members or even perform interfaith marriages. Rabbis can't be forced to marry protestants in their Temple so why would Baptists be forced to marry two women? It's an argument that makes no sense. But it is one that is targeted to people like those you mention who don't think of themselves as anti-gay.

    As for the comments of the children, I think that shows that kids are far more aware of what's going on in the world than we give them credit.

    Posted by: Houndentenor | Sep 25, 2010 10:24:06 AM


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