Showing posts with label Republicans Against Gay Rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Republicans Against Gay Rights. Show all posts

August 16, 2016

Trump Said ‘He is a Champion of Gay Rights’_Let’s Examine This



 Trump, Pence tried the kiss at RNC but could not consummate. Macho men don’t kiss.

During his 75-minute speech at the Republican National Convention in July, Donald Trump looked genuinely surprised at the roar of applause when he said, "As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens."

Momentarily going off script, Trump added, "I have to say, as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said. Thank you."

Since the Orlando gay nightclub shooting in June, which killed 49 people, Trump has portrayed himself as a warrior for gays while accusing his rival Hillary Clinton of being weak on terror and taking money from countries with bad records on gay equality. He has used the massacre to double down on his promise to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States.
"The bottom line is that the only reason the killer was in America in the first place was because we allowed his family to come here," Trump said after the massacre. (The gunman was an American citizen who reportedly declared his allegiance to the leader of ISIS during the attack.) "Clinton wants to allow radical Islamic terrorists to pour into our country—they enslave women and murder gays. I don't want them in our country."

"I'm much better for the gays," he told Fox News at the time. (National gay rights groups roundly disagreed.)

In a foreign policy address in Youngstown, Ohio, on Monday, Trump promised to impose an "ideological screening test" for anyone hoping to immigrate to the United States, one that would "screen out any who have hostile attitudes toward our country or its principles." That, he said, would include people who "support bigotry and hatred." The Associated Press reported prior to the speech that Trump planned to impose an ideological test for new immigrants to determine their opinions on American values like religious freedom, gender equality, and gay rights.

"I call it extreme vetting," Trump said on Monday. "I call it extreme, extreme vetting."

But there are some within Trump's own party who might have difficulty passing a test on gay rights and the basic tenets of equality advocated by the gay rights movement, including marriage, anti-discrimination policies, and hate-crime legislation.

Here are a few of them:

Donald Trump:

Trump himself does not support nationwide marriage equality and has said he would "strongly consider" appointing judges to overturn it. In one 2011 speech, Trump likened his refusal to embrace same-sex marriage to his reluctance to use a new kind of golf putter, as the New York Times reported:

"It's like in golf," he said. "A lot of people—I don't want this to sound trivial—but a lot of people are switching to these really long putters, very unattractive," said Mr. Trump, a Republican. "It's weird. You see these great players with these really long putters, because they can't sink three-footers anymore. And, I hate it. I am a traditionalist. I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay, but I am a traditionalist."

The Republican Party platform committee:

The 2016 Republican Party platform promises to defend "marriage against an activist judiciary," describing the Supreme Court's historic 2014 gay marriage ruling this way: "Five unelected lawyers robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman." The document also endorses the "First Amendment Defense Act," a federal bill—now in committee, and not yet debated—that seeks to allow businesses and individuals to discriminate against LGBT Americans on religious grounds.

The platform also supports "the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children," a provision that was born out of a fight to allow parents to take their kids to "conversion therapy"—a bogus practice that attempts to "un-gay" patients. Conversion therapy has been made illegal in several states. (According to Time, the original language proposed by Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council and a delegate from Louisiana, was a more strident defense of the "therapy.") The platform also rejects gay and lesbian families by saying, "A man and a woman family is the best, ideal vehicle for raising children."

Gov. Mike Pence:

Trump's vice presidential pick, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, was something of a pioneer in laws allowing businesses to refuse service to gays on religious grounds, when in 2014 he rushed through a bill known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. After his state lost 12 big conventions and an estimated $60 million amid a national backlash, Pence pushed state lawmakers to tweak the bill to protect gays and lesbians. But as my colleague Hannah Levintova pointed out in mid-July, Pence's staunch opposition to gay rights goes back even longer:

In 2003, Pence, then representing the sixth congressional district of Indiana, co-sponsored an amendment that would have prohibited same-sex marriage. Four years later, he voted against the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, which aimed to prevent job discrimination based on sexual orientation. While in Congress, he opposed a bill aimed at more effectively prosecuting hate crimes based on sexual orientation and voted against the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

States suing the Obama administration over bathroom laws:

Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina signed into law a sweeping bill earlier this year that struck down workplace protections for LGBT employees and forced transgender people to use public restrooms matching their biological sex—sparking a heated legal battle between the US Justice Department and North Carolina.

Now, about half of all American states are suing over President Barack Obama's May directive from the Education Department and the Justice Department saying public schools should let transgender kids use the bathroom they want. The guidance said public schools should treat their transgender students in a way that matches their gender identity.

Conservative backlash has been fierce, catapulting the bathroom access debate onto the national stage. "This is the most outrageous example yet of the Obama administration forcing its liberal agenda on states that roundly reject it," said Mississippi Republican Gov. Phil Bryant in May.

For his part, Trump said North Carolina should allow people to "use the bathroom they feel is appropriate."

Loads of state leaders:

In April, the Huffington Post published a comprehensive roundup of the full-blown national assault on gay rights. At the time, there were more than 100 anti-gay bills awaiting a vote in 22 states.

JAMES WEST

May 20, 2016

GOP Votes Down the LGBT Anti discrimination bill-Shouts of Shame were Audible


                                                                 

It was a chaotic scene on the House floor Thursday morning after an amendment to help protect LGBT people from discrimination failed by just one vote as Republicans succeeded in convincing a few members of their own party to switch their votes to help ensure the measure would not pass.

House Democrats could be heard chanting "shame, shame, shame" on the floor as the measure went from garnering up to 217 votes at one point down to just 212 when the vote was gaveled. Boos erupted from the House floor as the measure failed.

Republican leaders kept the vote open longer allowing members to switch their votes.

The vote was originally scheduled to only last two minutes but was held open for eight minutes.


The amendment — sponsored by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-New York, — would have prevented federal contractors from receiving government work if they discriminate against members of the LGBT community.

"Kevin McCarthy was personally twisting arms on the floor," Maloney, who is openly gay, said about the House majority leader. He went on to say, "I don't think I've ever seen anything that craven and that ugly in my time in Congress."


McCarthy's office did not respond for comment.

Twenty nine Republicans kept their votes and remained supportive of the amendment along with every voting House Democrat.

Democratic Rep. Mark Takano, D-California, told reporters Republican Rep. Bob Dold, R-Illinois — who supported the amendment — approached Maloney following the vote to say what happened on the floor was "bullsh*t."

A spokesman for Dold didn't refute Takano's account of the conversation.

"I am certainly crestfallen and disappointed that the result changed," Takano said.

House Democratic leadership even tweeted out names of Republican members whom they believe switched their votes.
"House Republicans are so committed to discriminating against LGBT Americans, that they broke regular order to force their Members to reverse their votes and support Republicans' bigotry," House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland released a video that was an homage to Star Wars and called Republicans the "Empire" after the vote.

House Speaker Paul Ryan was holding his weekly press conference while this amendment vote was being held on the floor. When asked about Republicans switching votes so the measure would fail, Ryan told reporters he was unaware of what was going on since he was not in the chamber.

The speaker typically does not vote but Ryan made clear he opposed the amendment.

"This is federalism. The states should do this. The federal government shouldn’t stick its nose in this business," Ryan said.

ALEX MOE
NBC News

January 12, 2015

State Attorney Fired for going afterGay College Student Cannot Collect Unemployment…??


       
 Andrew Shirvell attorney that went after gay student because he(student) was protecting his gay civil rights


Sometimes on the lower courts you get rulings and decisions that really tell you about living in America. It tells you it’s not how you see it on TV or read it on main media.  Here you have  a State Attorney that goes after a college student who is outspoken about gay rights, he has a blog like I have mine here. This state attorney went after him and got fired. The publicity of the state office going after this gay guy defending his civil rights did not go well with his bosses. 
On top of everything else, now the attorney want to collect unemployment. Aren’t the republicans  always talking about how bad unemployment benefits are because it keeps people from working. The hypocrisy is that they don’t believe you should have it but for them is ok. Please read on as the story develops:


The state attorney fired for an anti-gay campaign against a college student can't collect unemployment benefits, the Michigan appeals court says, rejecting claims that his off-hours activities were protected by the First Amendment.
 

The attorney general's office was justified in firing Andrew Shirvell in 2010 because his posts on Facebook and an anti-gay blog, as well as his campus visits and TV appearances, clearly had an adverse impact on the agency's credibility, the court said in a 3-0 decision released Friday.

The court overturned a ruling by an Ingham County judge, who said Shirvell was entitled to jobless benefits because he was fired for exercising free speech.

"The department, as the chief law enforcement agency in the state, represents all of the citizens of Michigan irrespective of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or creed. ... Shirvell's conduct reasonably could have created the impression that neither he nor the department enforced the law in a fair, even-handed manner without bias," the court said.

There's no dispute that Shirvell targeted Chris Armstrong, an openly gay student government president at the University of Michigan. Shirvell appeared on local and national TV shows to defend his blog and criticize what he called Armstrong's "radical homosexual agenda."

In response, Attorney General Mike Cox's office received more than 20,000 complaints.

"Shirvell's conduct undermined one of the department's specific missions — i.e. the integrity of its anti-cyberbullying campaign," said judges Stephen Borrello, Christopher Murray and Peter O'Connell. "By employing an individual such as Shirvell, whose conduct Cox agreed amounted to bullying, the department undermined its own message."

Reached for comment, Shirvell of Palm Coast, Florida, said he'll appeal the case to the Michigan Supreme Court.

"Every public employee, whether liberal or conservative, will now be in fear of what they're doing on their off hours," he said.

Armstrong's attorney, Deborah Gordon, said the decision was "excellent."

In a separate matter, a federal jury in 2012 ordered Shirvell to pay $4.5 million to Armstrong for defamation and emotional distress. An appeal is pending.

"You cannot expect to behave in such an outrageous, illegal, harmful, menacing manner and think that your employer is going to keep you on board as a government employee and it's not going to affect how you're perceived by the public," Gordon said.

December 6, 2014

Republicans Trying to Delay Workplace Protections for LGBT


                                                                         





Gay rights advocates are firing back at House Republicans who they say are trying to delay new workplace protections for LGBT employees.
The Department of Labor issued new rules Wednesday preventing federal contractors from discriminating against employees because of their sexual orientation.
But gay rights advocates say some House Republicans, including Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.), are trying to block the rules by questioning whether proper procedure was followed.
Tico Almeida, founder and president of the gay rights organization Freedom to Work, accused Kline of being on the “wrong side of history,” in an interview with The Hill.
"Kline represents a moderate district where the majority of voters support LGBT workplace protections, so this is clearly an example of Kline pandering to the extremist Tony Perkins element of the Republican base,” said Almeida, who is also the former chief counsel on LGBT issues to Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.). Perkins is head of the Family Research Council, a prominent opponent of gay rights initiatives.
"Kline is waging a war that is a real political loser for the Republican Party, and he’s on the wrong side of history,” Almeida added.
Kline and subcommittee Chairman Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) wrote to the Labor Department earlier this week complaining that the agency did not open the rules up for public comment.
The Labor Department sent the rule to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget for approval on Oct. 20.
The lawmakers did not air any specific grievances with the rules, but asked the agency to withdraw them until they go through a formal public comment period.
“Public comment is essential to all rulemakings,” Kline and Walberg wrote.
“At no point was a draft rule made available to the public for comment prior to the final rule being sent to OMB,” they added. "Such a notice-and-comment period would have provided the public an opportunity to alert (the Labor Department) to problems that may arise implementing the executive order.”
Neither the Labor Department nor Kline’s office responded to a requests for comment. But a spokesman for Kline did point to the letter.
The LGBT workplace protections spring directly from President Obama’s executive order from July, which called for the Labor Department to issue these rules.
The workplace protections will prohibit federal contractors from firing, disciplining or not hiring an employee because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.
Though the rules do not apply to all private companies, government contractors that discriminate against gay employees risk losing billions of dollars in federal contracts if they don't comply.
These companies are already prohibited from discriminating against employees because of their sex, race, color, religion or nationality.
LGBT workers are protected in 18 states and Washington, D.C., but previously there were no federal rules protecting gay employees across the country. 

November 24, 2014

AS we Get win after win for gay marriage its easy to forget that some people are dead against it but that is good


 

Duggar family - Woodbridge, VA
Reality telvision celebrities, Jim Bob Duggar, center, and his wife, Michelle Duggar make a stop on their "Values Bus Tour" outside Heritage Baptist Church on Wednesday October 16, 2013 in Woodbridge, VA.The Washington Post—The Washington Post/Getty Images
Brian Moylan is a writer and pop culture junkie.

When gay marriage is passing in state after state, it’s easy to forget that not everyone is on the bandwagon

You would think that, decades after Anita Bryant went on a crusade to rid gay people from public life, we’d be sick of hearing D-listers call us names and voice their hatred against us in public. The latest to really take a stand against gays is Michelle Duggar, the human baby factory who is the matriarch on the reality show “19 Kids and Counting.” This may sound strange, but I would actually like to thank her for her recent behavior.

The Duggars stirred up controversy when they recently asked for people to post pictures of married couples kissing on their Facebook page and then deleted a picture of a gay married couple kissing. (Hello? Who do you think is keeping TLC in business?) When the news of this leaked, activists directed people to sign a Change.org petition to “end LGBTQ fear mongering by the Duggars” and calls for the show to be canceled because of their behavior. It now has well over 120,000 signatures.
For what it’s worth, this isn’t Michelle’s only recent offense. She also recorded a robocall asking that the people of Fayetteville, Arkansas, vote to repeal a law that stops discrimination based on gender identity. Basically she wants people to be able to discriminate against transgender men and women.
Now some people think that we need to silence the Duggars and those like them. I think we should let them keep going. Nothing defeats complacency like knowing exactly where gay people stand with millions of Americans. Now, it’s not a shock that the overly religious Duggars don’t like gay people. That’s sort of like saying that Paula Deen likes butter. But, when gay marriage is passing in state after state, it’s easy to forget that not everyone is on the bandwagon. There are still large groups of Americans out there who want to rob us of our rights, and if we don’t stay vigilant, we’ll never win the war.
Right now we’re having a bit of success in dealing with pop culture homophobes. In May, HGTV decided to cancel a show they were planning to air featuring David and Jason Benham when it was discovered that they had made some nasty comments about gay people very publicly.
Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty made some very homophobic comments to GQ this January, and was mouthing off once again this May about how gay sex is unnatural. He was suspended from A&E briefly for his behavior and the ratings for the show tanked after his disclosure.
That’s why we need these people to keep talking. There’s no doubt in my mind that there is hatred in the hearts of many people for LGBTQ men and women in this country, but if that hatred just stays in their hearts they’ll be working against us without our knowledge. The louder they become, the easier it is to target them. And when we can target them, well, we’ve seen that we can do things to shut them up. If only we could give them all a pie in the face like Anita Bryant got.
Having loudmouth opponents also serves as an effective recruiting tool for allies to gay civil rights causes. Like it or not, reality stars like the Duggars and especially the Robertsons–whose most recent season finale still clocked almost 4 million viewers–have a huge stage. When they make these sorts of remarks there is always a media firestorm and each time that happens, I would like to think that there is at least one fan out there who thinks, “God, what an idiot.” Hopefully that opens up some minds and shows those out there who may not be very hospitable to the “gay lifestyle” that bigotry is distasteful no matter how it manifests itself.
We don’t get to teach these lessons, show our strength or fight these battles if these people are silent. We need people like Michelle Duggar to be loud in order to get the hard work of activism done. So no matter how much it sucks, we have to just take it on the chin every time one of these yahoos has the bright idea to spout off. Trust me, it’s for the greater good. Every time a reality star says something ignorant about the LGBT community, a gay angel gets her wings.
Oscar Wilde, one of the world’s most public and tragic gay men, said “True friends stab you in the front.” There is no doubt in my mind that there are plenty of misinformed people in America carrying daggers against gay people, including those who have a public forum to discuss those views. Why would we want them hiding that hatred in the shadows when, out in the open, it can be diffused, acted on and used as a teaching tool to get more people on our side. We should all thank Michelle Duggar. She thinks that she’s stabbing gay Americans in the front, but what she’s really doing is bloodying herself.

June 28, 2014

The Republicans dilemma in this age of Millennia and Obama


September 28, 2009 Issue

THE POLITICAL SCENE about conservative Republican strategy in the Age of Obama. In late spring, the writer travelled to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to hear a political talk by Pat Toomey, the conservative former congressman who had effectively driven Sen. Arlen Specter out of the Republican Party. Toomey’s decision to challenge Specter in the 2010 primary caused Specter to join the Democrats, all but assuring them a filibuster-proof majority. The Toomey challenge crystallized the stresses that tore at the Republican Party in the early months of the Barack Obama era. Toomey was a candidate of the conservative base. Republican moderates and the Party’s leadership, wary of the base, saw in Toomey’s move the flawed impulses of a defeated and contracting Party. In Bethlehem, Toomey talked about the economy, and the perils posed by the Democratic program in Washington. He did not mention abortion or gay marriage, both of which he opposes. He also said that the Republican tent had to make room for constituencies besides social conservatives, but that there needed to be a unifying idea—personal freedom, and its corollary, limited government. It was Toomey’s calculation that Obama’s policies and governing philosophy would do more to rehabilitate conservative doctrine than Republicans themselves ever could, and that by 2010, the American public would ask the Republicans to apply a brake. The way back for Republicans was through resolute opposition to the Obama spending programs. Jim DeMint, the junior senator from South Carolina, and Toomey are natural allies. Mentions the Club for Growth. DeMint and Toomey stand on the side of the Republican divide which believes that the Party failed because it strayed from its core principles, and that if Republicans hold fast in opposition the Party can regain its lost identity. DeMint is a first-term senator in establishment Washington, but he has managed to become a leading insurrectionary voice. In a July 17th teleconference call with activists opposing Obama’s health-care initiative, DeMint said, “If we are able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo.” With this remark, DeMint emerged as the de-facto voice of the Republican opposition. He has tapped into the wrath of the conservative base, which was magnified by Fox News, talk radio, and the Internet. The loss of Congress in 2006 sent the Republican Party into a period of pained introspection, its partisans divided into roughly two camps: those who insisted that renewal could come from a return to low-tax, limited-government fundamentals; and reformers who believed that the Party had become too harshly doctrinaire and urgently needed to broaden its appeal. Sen. Specter says that the Party has now become a captive of the DeMint wing. The question remaining for many Republicans is whether the Party can develop a strategy beyond opposition, an argument for governing that will expand its appeal beyond its ideological core.

The Republican dilemma in the age of Obama

The NewYorker.com.

BY 

May 2, 2014

The End Of The Ignorant Opportunist Sara Palin

                                                                                 
                                                                              

After this weekend, it's probably safe to say that Sarah Palin is done. Like Jesse Ventura or Ross Perot, she may show up every once in a while to hurl red meat or use stunt cameos to remind us a little of her awkward charms. But recent events seem to confirm that she is an Obama-era novelty politician — and not much else.

First she gave a speech to the NRA in which she joked that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists, offending people who otherwise make up her base. Next, Robert Costa reported on theever-smaller crowds that have been greeting Palin in Iowa.

When Palin took the stage at the Hy-Vee Conference Center under a banner that read "Heels On, Gloves Off" on Sunday at an event for Senate candidate Joni Ernst, the ballroom was half-full, with a couple hundred attendees scattered in clumps. [Washington Post]

If the politically engaged seem bored with Obama, they have all but forgotten Sarah Barracuda, the manqué of anti-Obama populism. After years of halting appearances on Fox News, gaffes about Russia, and a parody by Tina Fey that nearly eclipsed the original, it may be hard to remember the whirlwind national introduction to Sarah Palin, which culminated in her galvanic speech to the Republican National Convention in 2008. Sarah Palin wasn't a joke back then — she was a live threat. In a few days, with the help of an ace stylist, an ace speechwriter, and sheer novelty, Sarah Palin almost transformed that election.

It later became a reason to knock Palin's vanity and ambition, but Lisa Kline's work as a stylist gave Palin a frontier glamor — that red leather jacket, the military-cut coats — that put starbursts in commentator's eyes. She was an idealized image of a hockey-mom governor from the endless Alaskan wild. Obama was new, but cool and aloof. Sarah seemed relatable and engaging.

Until the introduction of Sarah Palin, the 2008 election had been almost entirely framed as one of "change" vs. "experience." But speechwriter Matthew Scully must have discerned a kind of frontier populism in her accent, history, and politics, and wrote a convention speech that gave the election a completely different cast.

Here's how CNN summed up the speech:

She slammed Obama for "saying one thing in Scranton and another in San Francisco," argued that he had written two memoirs but never authored a major piece of legislation, and asked what he would do "when those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot," a reference to the stage where Obama gave his acceptance speech last week. [CNN]

My personal favorite line was this: "The American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of 'personal discovery.'" You could almost hear that punch landing.

Palin gave what many in the Republican base had been craving all along. It was no longer McCain's long résumé against Obama's promise of change — it was a more primal election of "us" versus "them." She humblebragged, "I'm not a member of the permanent political establishment.... I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion."

And there on that convention stage we saw a preview of the "summer of rage" over Obama's health-care reform and the Tea Party rebellion of 2010.

For Republicans in 2008, alas, it became apparent that the McGovern presidential coalition had waxed in the past 40 years, while the Nixon coalition had waned. And for Palin, it's basically been all downhill since the convention: Saturday Night Live, a disaster interview with Katie Couric, an election loss, a boring reality television show, a number of her endorsed candidates flaming out, a clash with Roger Ailes, and one too many appearances on Fox News in which she seemed onpopulist autopilot or totally anodyne.

My theory is that Palin will have trouble finding a niche in the post-Obama world. She was the right minoritarian foil for the White House. The president is a brainy, cool-tempered, wonkish Hawaiian; he is a bit like the man from nowhere. Palin was slashing, heated, and defiantly Alaskan.

As his administration comes up more and more lame, what role will Palin play? Maybe none at all. The Obama-Palin dynamic may go down as a Pacific Ocean holiday from the Clinton-Bush rivalry that is the natural embodiment of our two-party, two-family American political system.

April 28, 2014

Republican’s Bad Boys in Congress

Trey Radel (left), Michael Grimm (center) and Vance McAllister are pictured. | Getty, AP Photo


The bad boys of the Republican Party are back, and it’s causing big problems for Speaker John Boehner.
Not since the days of the Jack Abramoff scandal a decade ago have so many House GOP lawmakers garnered this many scandalous headlines in such a short a period of time. And while it hasn’t altered the overall political landscape for House Republicans — they are still expected to pick up seats in November — it is causing some nervous moments inside GOP leadership.
On Monday, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) will be hit with more than a dozen federal criminal charges related to his ownership of a health food restaurant in Manhattan, according to two sources close to the case. Grimm, a former undercover FBI agent, owned the restaurant after he left the bureau in 2006 until he was elected to the House in 2010. The indictment will cover criminal actions allegedly taken by Grimm during that period, the sources said.

The charges against Grimm will include mail and wire fraud, filing false tax returns and health care payments, hiring undocumented workers, obstruction of justice and a slew of other criminal allegations, the sources added.
Grimm’s troubles are just the latest high-profile bad behavior in the House. Just before Congress left town for a two-week Easter recess, a video surfaced showing recently elected Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.) in a romantic embrace with a now-former aide — prompting calls by top Republicans in the state for the married lawmaker to resign. Earlier this year, Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor cocaine possession charge. He ultimately relinquished his seat.
Neither Boehner nor any of his top lieutenants have spoken to Grimm yet, according to senior aides, but the indictment will cause a sizable headache for the speaker and his leadership team.

If, as expected, the Grimm indictment covers just his restaurant-related activities, Boehner may be unable or unwilling — due to his own internal GOP politics — to call on Grimm to resign. Instead, Boehner would likely try to duck the issue and say it will be resolved by Grimm, his constituents and the Justice Department.
Boehner will also point out that the indictment covers a period before Grimm became a member of Congress, meaning that it really isn’t his or the House’s business. No one in leadership is looking forward to answering questions on the matter.

“It’s a total mess,” said a House GOP leadership aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The filing deadline for New York has already closed, meaning Grimm will almost certainly be on the ballot this November and give Democrats a great pickup opportunity on Election Day.

“We were prepared to deal with the ‘He’s under investigation’; we dealt with that last cycle,” the Republican aide noted. “But I don’t know how we deal with Grimm being indicted and just sitting there. It’s a nightmare.”

Federal prosecutors had been looking into Grimm’s fundraising during his 2010 campaign for Congress, including hundreds of thousands of dollars the New York Republican raked in from the followers of an obscure Israeli rabbi, but this indictment is not expected to include anything related to those donations. A superseding indictment covering that part of the Grimm probe is still possible, although it is not clear if that will happen, said a source familiar with the matter.
Ofer Biton, a Grimm business associate affiliated with the restaurant who also raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Grimm’s 2010 campaign, recently pleaded guilty to a federal visa violation and is cooperating with prosecutors.

Radel resigned after being nudged privately by Boehner to step down following Radel’s guilty plea on the cocaine possession charge in a Washington, D.C., court, according to GOP insiders. No member of Congress had ever before been arrested on a cocaine-related drug charge, and the episode stunned Capitol Hill and lawmakers in both parties.
Radel initially tried to stay in office, and he attended drug rehab and hired a “crisis communications” consultant to help do damage control. But with Boehner and his own Florida colleagues offering no political cover, Radel — who was elected in November 2012 — realized he had to go.

For his part, McAllister was caught on a videotape from his congressional office in a romantic embrace with a then-aide shortly before Christmas.
The McAllister tape went public on April 7 in a Louisiana newspaper, and McAllister was quickly dubbed the “kissing congressman.”
McAllister did not return to Congress the week before the Easter recess, although he had brief conversations with Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) about the incident.

McAllister, who ran as a Christian conservative in the November 2013 special election to replace former Republican Rep. Rodney Alexander, has also issued a public apology for his extramarital relationship but otherwise shows no sign of leaving office, despite leadership’s fervent wish that he do so.
“I don’t know how this is all going to play out. [McAllister] is going to have to resign at some point. I think that’s how all this ends,” said another GOP leadership aide.
Like Radel, McAllister is in a solidly Republican district, one that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney carried by more than 20 percentage points in 2012, so there is no danger that a Democrat could take the seat.
McAllister’s biggest immediate problem beyond the obvious political and personal fallout is the House Ethics Committee, which can investigate the incident on its own authority if it chooses to do so. There is no sign that the secretive panel has begun yet, but with leadership or his fellow Republicans unlikely to give him any support, the Ethics Committee would be free to get tough with McAllister.

With the overall political landscape looking good for Republicans, and the potential losses perhaps limited to one seat, Democrats are pounding Boehner and other GOP leaders for running a “House of Scandal,” repeating a line they employed during the 2012 cycle with only limited success. Democrats portray Boehner and his leadership team as more interested in avoiding political fallout — ignoring and running out the legislative clock on popular issues like immigration reform and a minimum-wage increase — than in reaching bipartisan deals.

“Republican leadership promised zero tolerance but has taken zero action as their Republican Congress has become a ‘House of Scandal,’’’ said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel. “By continuing to support members like Michael Grimm, House Republicans are sending a clear message to voters that they want business as usual in Washington.”
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) used the “culture of corruption” attack line very effectively in the run-up to the 2006 elections, with former Republican Reps. Tom DeLay of Texas, Bob Ney of Ohio and Duke Cunningham of California as the targets of her political attacks. Pelosi’s line struck a chord with voters, and her pledge to “drain the swamp” of Capitol Hill corruption was popular.

When he took over as speaker in 2011, Boehner vowed to take a hard line on ethics cases. While there have been instances of improper behavior — like those alleged by Radel and now Grimm — there have been no wider corruption waves during his tenure in the speaker’s chair. He had forced members to step down when he thought it necessary, such as Radel or Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.), who was caught having an affair with a staffer in 2010.

Boehner also instituted a ban on spending earmarks, which angered House appropriators but has helped cut down on a practice that was heavily abused in previous Congresses.
Boehner has been far more cautious when dealing with GOP members like Reps. Don Young of Alaska and Vern Buchanan of Florida when they found themselves under federal criminal investigation. Both lawmakers faced a wave of negative press, but the criminal investigations by the Justice Department ended without charges, and they have moved on with their political careers.

By JOHN BRESNAHAN (story was condensed and edited)

 http://www.politico.com 

December 21, 2013

The GOP Problem with Gay Rights is Because of their Gene Make Up or The Way They Grew Up?


The Republican angst over gay rights continues this week.

Driven and riven by the continuing commentary on the topic by Michigan’s Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema, in this case on AIDS and partner benefits. “Folks they want free medical because they’re dying between the ages of 30 and 44 years old… For me it’s a moral issue. It’s a biblical issue,” Agema told a local Republican holiday gathering last week in West Michigan (thanks to the Herald Palladium for audio of remarks).
And, as they often do, Agema’s comments have already gotten a lot of attention; inciting what has become a now-predictable ritual of condemnation from Democrats and Republicans. However, Republicans are complaining not so much about what Agema said but, instead, how he said it.
This is not the first time that Dave Agema has made comments like this. There is a history here. Agema has always made it plain he considers homosexuality to be nothing but a deviant lifestyle. His detractors say he’s a bigot. His supporters - and he certainly has them within the state Republican Party - say he’s a truth-teller. In fact, former state Representative Jack Hoogendyk, a prominent Tea Party leader, recently called him “a prophet.”
But many Republicans just wish he would tone it down. “We need a whole lot more understanding, and a whole lot less strife,” state Attorney General Bill Schuette said after the remarks.
This is similar to the message we heard from some Republicans after the party lost the 2012 presidential race. Some GOP folks saying enough with this kind of rhetoric, that it’s not helpful, particularly if the party is trying to become a less-exclusive, big-tent party.
Of course, Schuette is saying this as he simultaneously defends Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage in court. That fact alone speaks squarely to the Republican dilemma.
Meanwhile, Governor Snyder seems pretty plain in his position that this is something he’d rather not talk about. “What [Agema] said is inappropriate and so I made my statement that what he said is inappropriate and should not have happened and said my piece.” But, Snyder is not done with it because this issue is not going away. That’s because while Republicans equivocate, Democrats and progressives are taking full advantage to use this as an opportunity to organize and fundraise.
When Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie  Wasserman Schultz visited southeast Michigan this week, Agema’s comments were still the issue du jour, and so state Democrats quickly built an LGBT event around it in Ferndale. During her appearance Wasserman Schultz said intolerance is, “in the Republican Party’s DNA.”
Of course, Democrats have been through their own evolution on LGTB rights.  Remember how Jennifer Granholm and John Kerry, even President Obama, used to be for civil unions but against gay marriage?  That’s roughly where Rick Snyder is today.
Now there is a sort-of bipartisan effort to amend Michigan’s civil rights law to add LGBT protections. An effort that’s close enough to fruition that Democrats have agreed that - unlike the past couple of sessions of the state Legislature - they will not introduce a bill to add LGBT protections to Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.  
The bill, as we’ve talked about before on It’s Just Politics, will likely be introduced by Republican state Representative Frank Foster of Charlevoix, a millennial; a generation that’s breaking with the past on gay rights.
And, because Republicans are in the majority in the state Legislature, and looking for a little relief on the issue, state House Speaker Jase Bolger says it’s worth a look. That’s if there’s a way to navigate between protecting people from being fired for being gay, or believed to be gay, and protecting religious freedom.
Governor Snyder says he’s open to the bill if the Legislature takes the lead.
So Republicans want to first, evolve in the direction of public opinion (that’s simply a reality of winning elections in the future) but second, do that without alienating or isolating the social conservative base that was and is a critical element of its electoral success.
You just have to wonder which of those purposes Dave Agema serves as every incendiary utterance inspires a reaction and then a reaction to the reaction.
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