The Log Cabin Republicans were quick to defend Paul Ryan on Saturday when Mitt Romney picked him as his vice presidential running mate, despite Ryan’s abysmal voting record on LGBT issues. Now, LCR’s R. Clarke Cooper is again defending the GOP ticket by clinging to Ryan’s one pro-LGBT vote — a vote for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that was preceded immediately by a vote to kill it — with the absurd belief that Romney might change his position and give gay voters a reason to vote Republican.
Here’s Cooper writing today for the Daily Caller:
Romney is not ready or willing to support same-sex marriage, but there are still concrete steps that his campaign can take to counter the liberal strategy of painting the GOP as anti-gay that would also provide tangible benefits for LGBT Americans… By vowing to sign an executive order preventing federal contractors from firing people for being LGBT, and joining Paul Ryan in support for ENDA, Romney can draw a favorable contrast between himself and the president.
By supporting ENDA and the federal contractor executive order, Romney and Ryan can turn the conversation about LGBT equality back to the economy. It’s a message that unites Americans, provides real benefits for millions of LGBT people and plays to the strengths of the Romney-Ryan ticket. Romney and Ryan both have records of supporting these protections, and for practicing nondiscrimination in their own leadership roles, so this step is entirely in line with the Romney-Ryan campaign’s “promise of equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.” Even for gay voters, the 2012 election is about restoring economic prosperity, growth and jobs.
The distortion Cooper attempts is nothing short of delusional. There is no liberal strategy to paint Republicans as anti-gay — they proudly own that in all of their position statements, much as it may chagrin the Log Cabin Republicans to admit it. Romney openly opposes ENDA, and given Ryan’s refusal to offer a nondiscrimination statement for his own Congressional office, it seems that neither has truly demonstrated “leadership” on the matter. Despite the fact that President Obama has not signed the executive order Cooper mentions, it would take a whole lot more than that for Romney to “draw a favorable contrast”; his opposition to ENDA, marriage equality, and all other LGBT issues would easily maintain a significant imbalance. Cooper’s clinging to a position that neither Romney nor Ryan actually holds.
Cooper’s motives are clear: he’s a Republican, he identifies with other Republicans, and he wants Republicans in power for economic reasons, even if LGBT equality has to take a backseat. The lines seem to be blurring between the Log Cabin Republicans, which used to prioritize “representing the interests of gay and lesbian Americans and their allies,” and GOProud, which splintered off because there were some gay Republicans who couldn’t be bothered with defending their own community. Maybe Cooper is just speaking on behalf of the wrong group.