Navigating the tricky waters of a campaign for a seat in Congress can be stressful. When you add in the fact that you are an openly gay Republican hostile to gay rights vying to unseat a Democratic incumbent, the waters can get downright rough. Just ask Carl DeMaio. He is currently running an increasingly heated fight to upend Rep. Scott Peters in San Diego's 52nd District.
Recognizing that statewide social conservatives may have a problem with the gay thing, DeMaio is downplaying the significance of his sexual identity, stating that he "would prefer to concentrate on fixing the federal government’s finances instead of on social causes."
That little statement was enough to assure party conservatives that he won't be a thorn in the ass for them on this human rights issue thing and he'll play nice with their fundamentalist base. In fact, he won't bring it up ever again. Cheers from the GOP. Boos from the LGBT community. We were already familiar with his work.
Our community strongly opposed DeMaio back in 2008 when he was running a bitter campaign against Bob Filner, yes that Bob Filner, for mayor of San Diego. We got to know him as the union-bashing, money-grubbing asshole he is. Not only does he deem his own equality not worthy of advocacy, his coffers have been repeatedly filled by the same people who backed Proposition 8 and other anti-gay political antics. We didn't like him then and we don't like him now.
DeMaio is feigning shock and dismay that they LGBT community hasn't embraced his newest run for office and are, in fact, working tooth and nail against him. As if all of this ire from the gay community is a brand new phenomenon, he went crying to Dana Parino about how the meanie gay people are just so intolerant.
I've found more tolerance, acceptance and inclusion from social conservative groups who have to reconcile that I'm a Republican who happens to be gay versus the intolerance the LGBT leaders see me as a gay man who happens to be a Republican. Despite claims that they insist on tolerance, diversity and acceptance on all political issues, I suspect that they really want to keep intact their alliance with unions so that they don't upset their funding sources and coalition. The Democratic groups need the GOP to remain the bogeyman because if the Republicans are no longer a threat, who needs to donate to these LGBT political groups?Right, Carl. We're just upset that your candidacy threatens our love for unions. It has nothing to do with our desire to advance our human rights in this country. Could he be more condescending and disingenuous? John Aravosis of Americablog proceeded to call him out in a lengthy piece.
Oh Mary, it’s so hard to be you.Aravosis' piece hit so many nails on the head that DeMaio's own head exploded. Without addressing any of the substance Aravosis presents, he immediately went sobbing to the right wing outlets to decry being called Mary. They were more than happy to buy into his persecution narrative and tell their readers how vulgar we are. His fellow self-loathing Republicans over at the Log Cabin Republicans demanded that Scott Peterson apologize for his campaign for providing a link to the article on his website. The link has since been taken down. John Aravosis, never one to shy away from bullies had this delicious response to the ginned up flap.
The problem isn’t that Carl DeMaio is a Republican. The problem is that he’s acting and sounding a lot like a self-loathing Republican, someone who doesn’t actually believe in the validity of his own civil rights.
Apparently, Lob Cabin isn’t terribly familiar with “the gay lifestyle,” as Carl DeMaio’s friends on the religious right like to call it, if they think calling someone “Mary” is a slur. The only people who ever call gay people “Mary” is other gay people. And it’s not a slur, it’s actually often a term of ironic endearment. But then again, we shouldn’t expect anti-gay gays to actually understand, support or defend a culture that their own political party and candidates have long sought to destroy. Keep in mind that Log Cabin supported Mitt Romney for president when Romney refused to endorse any of their basic civil rights.DeMaio's campaign has been fascinating to watch unfold. The National Republican Congressional Committee is putting a lot of resources into getting this man elected to a Democratic-held seat. Republicans would love a new gay poster child to point to and say "See, we aren't bigots. We have an openly gay Republican in office." They are so very rare. As long as there is no apostasy from the actual party platform of anti-gay discrimination, it's hunky dory.
Meanwhile, people who do care about human rights recognize that seizing a position of power no matter what the cost to yourself and others is sleazy and reprehensible. Yesterday, San Diego City Beat put up their 2014 primary endorsements and had this to say about Carl.
DeMaio is just the most hideous kind of political opportunist. Sure, most politicians do it to an extent, but DeMaio is opportunism and crazed ambition on steroid-boosted steroids. It's been quite a show to watch him transform his narrative right before our eyes to this "new generation" Republican who's so gosh-darn proud of his homosexuality. Believe us, were he running in a more conservative district, he wouldn't be singing that tune. There's a reason LGBT groups don't support him—because he's only pro-LGBT when it serves his needs.They didn't have to convince me. In fact, they prompted me to go to Congressman Peters' website to give a little equality money. The Republican party isn't fooling anyone with their attempt to portray themselves as the party of diversity and tolerance by throwing the likes of Carl DeMaio in our faces and calling it progress. Until they actually build an environment where DeMaio's rights are guaranteed despite himself, they remain the party of bigotry and are to be fought vigorously.
Part of us wouldn't mind seeing him go to Washington, D.C., and get buried among 435 members, but knowing him, he'd be running the place within a year. And that's not good for anyone. We beg you on our hands and knees to vote for Scott Peters in the 52nd.