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Log Cabin Republicans’ Cooper Responds to Rachel Maddow Slam

Log Cabin Republicans’ Cooper Responds to Rachel Maddow Slam

by Karen Ocamb on December 16, 2010

R. Clarke Cooper - Photo by Karen Ocamb

Progressive gay MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow slammed the Log Cabin Republicans on her show Wednesday night for endorsing Mike Fitzpatrick, the Republican who defeated Rep. Patrick Murphy, Democratic hero of the congressional effort to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Maddow had just interviewed Murphy, fresh from his success in leading passage of the DADT repeal in the US House of Representatives. She was clearly angry and suggested that Log Cabin’s endorsement hurt the LGBT movement for equality.

I immediately called LCR Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper for a response, knowing that LCR has worked hard to lobby Republicans on DADT repeal, and other LGBT equality issues. Cooper assumed the reins of the partisan organization (the counter-part to the National Stonewall Democrats), seven months ago and helped secure the 15 GOP votes in the House for the DADT repeal vote yesterday.

In his email response, Cooper said, in part:

“Log Cabin Republicans recognize the role that Representative Patrick Murphy took on in efforts to end the failed ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, however it is a mistake to argue, as some have, that his loss had anything to do with his work for repeal.  Such claims are, in fact, dangerous to the equality movement because they send the false message that support for ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal is politically dangerous.”

You decide. Here’s Rachel’s slam, followed by Cooper’s entire statement about why LCR supported Fitzpatrick.

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R. Clarke Cooper’s response:

As we have discussed before, endorsement of pro-equality Republicans benefits all of us in the community regardless of party identity.  Log Cabin Republicans are proud of all of our endorsed candidates from the 2010 election, including returning ally Representative-elect Mike Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania.  The decision to endorse Representative Fitzpatrick was made after careful consideration.  The Log Cabin Republicans national staff had several lengthy conversations with the candidate, weighed his track record of staunchly opposing the Federal Marriage Amendment, speaking out for employment nondiscrimination, and his past support for the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, and secured the promise of Fitzpatrick’s support for repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ following the release of the Pentagon’s Comprehensive Working Group study.  In all assessments, this race was about the economy and an incumbent who was out of step with his District. We look forward to working with Representative -elect Fitzpatrick on a range of pro-equality issues, and as Republicans, we appreciate that he also stands for lower taxes, pro-growth economic policies, and common-sense solutions to the challenges facing our country today.  Representative-elect Fitzpatrick earned Log Cabin’s endorsement, and we stand by it one hundred percent.

Log Cabin Republicans recognize the role that Representative Patrick Murphy took on in efforts to end the failed ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, however it is a mistake to argue, as some have, that his loss had anything to do with his work for repeal.  Such claims are, in fact, dangerous to the equality movement because they send the false message that support for ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal is politically dangerous.  The truth is Republicans won this year because of our positions on taxes, smaller government and Americans’ frustration with the out-of-touch Democratic leadership in Washington.  No majority is ever permanent, and we knew the pendulum was going to swing hard in the GOP’s favor this year, which made it all the more important for Log Cabin to cultivate allies within a Republican Congress.  When every other gay rights organization has wedded itself to the Democratic Party instead of working across party lines to build coalitions, pro-equality legislation is only hurt. Our efforts must be about at the end of the day securing support for passage of the legislation we agree upon.

Log Cabin Republicans endorsing pro-equality candidates like Representative-elect Mike Fitzpatrick, Senator Susan Collins and Representative-elect Richard Hanna are crucial for maintaining lines of communication with the party.  At the end of the day, Log Cabin endorsed Representative-elect Mike Fitzpatrick because we are Republicans, and we believe his election helps to build a stronger, more inclusive GOP that is good for all Americans.  Furthermore, his voice within the Republican Conference will strengthen bipartisan support for legislation, and will only benefit all gay and lesbian Americans.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Michael@LeonardMatlovich.com December 16, 2010 at 8:12 PM

Balderdash! I’ll take the certainty of an ally like Murphy over the Pie in the Sky promises of Mike Fitzgerald being “pro-equality” SOMEDAY.

“Fitzpatrick opposes Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”repeal at this time, according to the Bucks County Courier Times. In response to an inquiry about the Senate’s recent failure to move forward with legislation that would end the law, Darren Smith, a Fitzpatrick spokesperson, was quoted as saying Democrats were forcing the issue too soon by not waiting for the completion of a Pentagon study due Dec. 1. ‘What Congress has essentially done here is prejudged the outcome of that study’, Smith reportedly said. ‘If we ask the military to figure something out, why are [Senate Democrats and the White House] taking action now’?” – Washington Blade, 11-2-10.

Does THAT sound like someone we could count on to go against his homohating Repug caucus Masters? Even Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe wouldn’t do that last week and in September.

LCR’s endorsement of him was all the more indefensible given that the Repugs would obviously have taken the House without Fitzgerald. Your entitled to your opinion, but I’m entitled to mine, and here it is at its cold core: Cooper and his self-important clique are self-loathing fools stlll desperate for a pat on the head by the Old Guard status quo. One need look no farther than the demise of the gay-centric “Republican Unity Coalition” which had no less than President Ford, Sen. Alan Simpson, David Rockefeller, and Mary Cheney on its board to know that fantasizing that the current leadership of the GOP has any more potential for supporting a SINGLE gay rights bill than it was during the Bush fils years is political masturbation. I’m confidant Cooper knows gay RUC cofounder, and now NO LONGER REPUBLICAN Charles Francis, and suggest he get a reality check from him along the lines of what he wrote in a 2009 Blade article:

“THE IDEA WAS THAT A MAINSTREAM GAY/STRAIGHT ALLIANCE WITHIN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY COULD HELP THE PARTY MOVE FORWARD INTO THE 21ST CENTURY. WE WERE WRONG.”

As for Cooper’s “hard work” and helping “secure the 15 GOP votes in the House for the DADT repeal vote yesterday,” with respect, it appears Cooper’s charm offensive and your admirable desire to believe the best in people has temporarily blinded your journalist side. Indeed, Mr. Cooper is busy posing for statues as he did on his Facebook page yesterday:

“…seeking House Republican votes for repeal of DADT. Representative Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Representative Judy Biggert (R-IL) were the first secured, now working to expand the list of pro-repeal Republicans.” FACT: Both women have been supporters of repeal for years, and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen has been an official cosponsor of such legislation since 2005. Having worked for her years ago, he may have influenced her support, but his suggestion that their support only came THIS WEEK thanks to him or was in danger of going astray but he pulled it from the fire is shameless and dishonest; tricks perhaps he learned working for the Bush/Rove Reich.

As for his other statue posing, in regard to the decision in the DADT challenge, while I give LCR credit for filing the lawsuit [years before he came along], it is the JUDGE whom we owe the REAL appreciation. People act as if—and LCR is happy to let them believe—it was the FIRST lawsuit against the ban, but it most certainly was not. Several have been filed going back 35 years…and some of THEM got rulings that the ban was unconstitutional, too, only to be reversed on appeal. Still, some managed to get specific service members ordered reinstated such as Leonard Matlovich, Miriam Ben-Shalom, Grete Cammermeyer, Keith Meinhold, Justin Elzie, et al.

Finally, Mr. Cooper has only 9 shopping, er lobbying days left to fulfill his prediction that ENDA would be voted on by Christmas. “Log Cabin Republicans will work with the already established pro-equality Republicans to secure additional Republican votes and to whip their colleagues’ votes for ‘yes’ on ENDA.” That, for readers unware, was, as you’ll recall, Cooper’s claim in your November interview with him. I see “pro-equality Republicans” is something of a would-be magical incantation for him. Psychiatrists have another term for it: “magical thinking.”

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