TV & Radio
Some Seek 'Pink Purge' in the GOP
By Johanna Neuman
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 18, 2006
WASHINGTON — In recent years, the Republican Party aimed to broaden its appeal with a "big-tent" strategy of reaching out to voters who might typically lean Democratic. But now a debate is growing within the GOP about whether the tent has become too big — by including gays whose political views may conflict with the goals of the party's powerful evangelical conservatives.
Some Christians, who are pivotal to the GOP's get-out-the-vote effort, are charging that gay Republican staffers in Congress may have thwarted their legislative agenda. There even are calls for what some have dubbed a "pink purge" of high-ranking gay Republicans on Capitol Hill and in the administration.
FOR THE RECORD:
Gay Republicans: An article in Section A on Wednesday about friction in the Republican Party between gays and religious conservatives said Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) had a campaign manager who is gay. The Allen staff member who is gay is his communications director. —
The long-simmering tension in the GOP between gays and the religious right has erupted into open conflict at a sensitive time, just weeks before a midterm election that may cost Republicans control of Congress.
"The big-tent strategy could ultimately spell doom for the Republican Party," said Tom McClusky, chief lobbyist for the Family Research Council, a Christian advocacy group. "All a big-tent strategy seems to be doing is attracting a bunch of clowns."
Now the GOP is facing a hard choice — risk losing the social conservatives who are legendary for turning out the vote, or risk alienating the moderate voters who are crucial to this election's outcome.
"There's a huge schism on the right," said Mike Rogers, a gay-rights activist who runs a blog to combat what he calls hypocrisy among conservative gay politicians. "The fiscal conservatives are furious at the religious conservatives, because they need the moderates for economic policy. But they need the social conservatives to turn out the vote."
A recent incident that upset social conservatives involved remarks by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last week. With First Lady Laura Bush looking on, Rice swore in Mark R. Dybul as U.S. global AIDS coordinator while his partner, Jason Claire, held the Bible. Claire's mother was in the audience, and Rice referred to her as Dybul's "mother-in-law."
"The Republican Party is taking pro-family conservatives for granted," said Mike Mears, executive director of the political action committee of Concerned Women for America, which promotes biblical values. "What Secretary Rice did just the other day is going to anger quite a few people."
It's not just anger at Rice that worries Republicans; it's the possible effect on evangelical voters next month.
The Dybul incident "was totally a damper to the base that we need to turn out," said the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, a California lobbying group that focuses on religious and social issues.
Adding to the conservative Christians' disaffection has been a new book asserting that the White House used President Bush's faith-based initiative for political purposes while mocking evangelicals behind their backs.
The tension between Republican gays and evangelicals has been highlighted in recent weeks by the scandal involving Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.), who resigned over explicit messages he sent to underage male House pages.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a television interview last week that there should be an investigation into whether gay congressional staffers were responsible for covering up for Foley.
Perkins also has questioned whether gay Republican staffers on Capitol Hill have torpedoed evangelicals' priorities, such as a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. "Has the social agenda of the GOP been stalled by homosexual members and/or staffers?" he asked in an e-mail to supporters.
Some social conservatives deny they are interested in removing gay staffers from the party.
"We're not calling for what I've heard referred to as a pink purge," McClusky said. "We're asking that members [of Congress] might want to reflect on who's serving them: Are they representing their boss' interest?"
Mears of Concerned Women for America said purging gays from the GOP would not necessarily help the evangelical cause. "If you get rid of all the homosexuals in Congress and on the staff, you'd still have Republicans like Chris Shays [the Connecticut congressman] and Susan Collins [the Maine senator] pushing the gay agenda."
This week, a list that is said to name gay Republican staffers has been circulated to several Christian and family values groups — presumably to encourage an outing and purge. McClusky acknowledged seeing the list but said his group did not produce it and had no intention of using it.
Still, gay Republican staffers on Capitol Hill say it feels as if the noose is tightening. Fearful of having their names on such a list and losing their jobs after the election, they are trying to keep a low profile.
None of the gay Republican staffers contacted for this article would speak for the record.
But Eric Johnson, a former GOP staffer who left the party over its policies on gays and who now works for a Democrat on the Hill, said many of his old friends were worried.
"There's a real concern, a legitimate concern, about a lower glass ceiling — preventing them from attaining higher positions in the party," Johnson said. "Most Republicans do lip service to the conservative side of gay issues. But on hiring practices, most of them have been pretty reasonable."
Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), a staunch opponent of same-sex marriage, has a campaign manager who is gay. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), who linked gay sex to bestiality, has a press secretary who is gay. Both senators are in perilous races for reelection, and neither staffer would comment.
The GOP has at times seemed a bit disjointed in its approach to gay issues. Political advisor Karl Rove ran Bush's reelection campaign in 2004 by mobilizing opposition to same-sex marriage, even as Vice President Dick Cheney said consenting adults of any orientation should be free to marry. Cheney's daughter Mary is a lesbian, and her partner was welcomed at presidential events.
The president recently reappointed Israel Hernandez, a gay man who had been a personal aide to Bush when he was Texas governor, to be assistant secretary of Commerce and head of an international trade office.
The Republican National Party says its tent is open to anyone who shares its political views.
"The Republican Party welcomes individuals from all walks of life," said Republican National Committee Press Secretary Tracey Schmitt.
Regarding the threat of losing support from social conservatives, she added: "Our core supporters understand that a Congress led by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi [the Senate and House minority leaders] would be devoid of a values agenda. They are mobilized and committed to electing Republicans on Nov. 7."
Gays hope ally becomes first black Mass. governor
By Jason Szep
Thu Oct 19, 8:41 AM ET
Deval Patrick, widely expected to become Massachusetts' first black governor, says a nearly century-old law used to stop gays from elsewhere in America from marrying in the liberal state is rooted in racism.
If the Democrat wins on November 7, he would not only be the second African-American elected governor in the nation but he could also pave the way for gay couples from Alaska to Maine to marry in the only U.S. state where gays can legally wed.
Under Patrick, conservative Christians warn, Massachusetts will become the Las Vegas of gay marriage.
Patrick, comfortably leading in polls, has sharply criticized a 1913 law invoked by Massachusetts Republican Gov. and presidential hopeful Mitt Romney -- and upheld by the state's highest court in March -- that bars out-of-state gay couples from marrying in Massachusetts.
A top civil rights enforcer in the Clinton administration, Patrick has questioned the roots of the law, originally passed in part to uphold other states' bans on interracial marriage.
"I think that something that has origins as questionable and as discriminatory as they seem to be in this case ought to come off our books," he said in a recent debate.
The law, which is rare among U.S. states, prohibits Massachusetts from marrying an out-of-state couple if the marriage would be illegal in their home state. Most states have either laws or constitutional amendments barring gay marriage.
"The 1913 law has some very troubling origins," Patrick said. "It seems to have come on the books at the time when jurisdictions were trying to prevent marriage between blacks and whites -- and that worries me."
Gay rights advocates expect Patrick, if he beats Republican Kerry Healy, to lobby the Democratic-controlled legislature to rescind the law, again putting Massachusetts at the center of a socially divisive national debate over gay marriage.
IMPACT IF LAW REPEALED
Mike Thorne and Jim Theberge, a gay couple in Maine with a 4-year-old son, are among those hoping for a Patrick win.
"Massachusetts has same-sex marriage, why shouldn't people from Maine or other states have it too," said Theberge, 48, a doctor who was born in Massachusetts and lives with Thorne, 43, in Cape Elizabeth, a coastal resort town of 9,068 people about an hour's drive from Massachusetts.
"The whole marriage thing has to do with him," said Thorne, pointing to the couple's adopted son Nate at their dinner table. "We made a commitment to being a family together and, for me, that includes all the legal protections of marriage."
The two men were among eight plaintiff couples who lost a Massachusetts' supreme court challenge to the 1913 law, which was invoked by Romney in 2004 when Massachusetts became the first and only U.S. state to allow same-sex marriage.
"If Massachusetts repealed the 1913 law, it would make the supreme court's March ruling moot," said Lee Swislow, executive director of Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders.
The ruling left open the possibility that gay couples from states such as New York and Rhode Island that do not expressly ban same-sex marriage might be able to marry in Massachusetts. This month, a Rhode Island lesbian couple were married in Massachusetts after a separate court challenge.
"It's bizarre for one state to just be so socially reckless as to want to export this type of marriage to the other 49 states," said Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, a conservative Christian organization.
Mineau said his group, which also seeks a statewide referendum in Massachusetts to ban gay marriage, would lobby the state legislature to keep the 1913 law.
Still, other states may not recognize a Massachusetts gay marriage. "That state would have to decide what they want to do around recognition issues," said Swislow.
The top court in New Jersey, which does not have a law similar to Massachusetts' 1913 statute, is expected to rule on the issue before October 25. If it legalizes gay marriage, out of state same-sex couples could marry there, said Swislow.
"Then, what we do in Massachusetts with the 1913 law becomes irrelevant. The landscape will already have changed."
共和党逆風強まる 米世論調査 (NHK 2006/10/20)
Big Democratic wins likely on Election Day
NBC/WSJ poll: Public's opinion of GOP hits record low
By Mark Murray
WASHINGTON - Just 20 days until Election Day, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds approval of the GOP-held Congress is at its lowest mark in 14 years, the Republican Party's favorability rating is at an all-time low and President George W. Bush's approval rating remains mired in the 30s -- all ominous signs for a party trying to maintain control of Congress.
In fact, according to the poll, Republicans are in worse shape on some key measures than Democrats were in 1994, when they lost their congressional majorities.
"There is not a single number in here that would suggest the Democrats will not have their best showing in a decade -- and maybe two decades," says Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican Bill McInturff.
Landslide of bad GOP news
The poll, which was taken of 1,006 registered voters from Oct. 13-16 and has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points, comes a few weeks after Republicans encountered a series of setbacks, including the release of an intelligence estimate calling the Iraq war a "cause célèbre" for Islamic militants, journalist Bob Woodward's unfavorable portrayal of the Bush administration's handling of Iraq, and the news that former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., had inappropriate correspondence with teenage congressional pages.
In the survey, Bush's approval rating is at 38 percent, a one-point decline from a previous NBC/Journal poll released earlier this month after the Foley news first broke. Perhaps more revealing, only 16 percent now approve of the job Congress is doing -- its lowest mark since 1992.
Both sets of numbers suggest that the Republican Party is on more unstable ground than Democrats were in 1994, when they lost 52 House and 8 Senate seats. In October of that year, President Bill Clinton's approval rating among registered voters was at 46 percent, and 24 percent approved of the job the Democratic-controlled Congress was doing.
Dems a 'marginally accepted alternative'
What's more, in this latest poll, just 32 percent of respondents see the Republican Party in a positive light, while 49 percent view it negatively. Those are the party's worst marks in the history of the poll. In contrast, voters -- by a 37-35 percent margin -- view the Democratic Party positively.
McInturff, the GOP pollster, observes that after several months when both parties have had net-negative ratings on this question, this is second-straight NBC/Journal survey in which a plurality of voters see Democrats in a positive light. Hart adds that Democrats have become a "marginally accepted alternative."
"It might be grudging admiration," he says, "but it is enough admiration to make it through."
Moreover, 52 percent say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, compared with 37 percent who want Republicans to maintain power. It is the first time ever in this poll when a majority has sided with one party on this particular question. Earlier this month, Democrats held a nine-point advantage (48-39 percent).
The final GOP straw
Indeed, the poll finds that the events of the last few weeks -- such as the Foley scandal, the Woodward book, and the intelligence estimate -- have taken a toll on the GOP. Forty-seven percent say that these events have given them a less favorable impression of Republicans maintaining their majorities in Congress. Only 14 percent say they've given them a more favorable impression.
While Republicans were already in a precarious position before the Foley scandal, Hart explains, it has become a final straw of sorts that might have sealed their fate. "It is the event that allowed certain voters to say, 'Enough.'"
McInturff adds that the scandal took Republicans by surprise, and he expects them to be able to regroup and spend the next three weeks trying to disqualify Democrats on taxes and social issues.
The war in Iraq also continues to be a drag on Republicans and the White House. In the poll, a whopping 68 percent say they feel less optimistic about how things are going there, compared with only 20 percent who feel more optimistic. That's a significant shift from June, when voters were evenly split on this question.
Control of Congress
All of these numbers seem to suggest that Democrats are poised to pick up a sizable number of seats in November, and maybe even regain control of Congress. Hart says it's been clear for the last several months that an electoral hurricane would be arriving on Election Day. The only question was how big it was going to be.
This new poll, he observes, signals that it will be a Category 4 or Category 5 storm. "Simply put, the low lying areas are [going to be] under water."
Mark Murray covers politics for NBC News.
© 2006 MSNBC Interactive
Sarasota Herald Tribune
October 19, 2006
Priest tells of Foley relationship
Then-altar boy may have found some things inappropriate
By MATTHEW DOIG and MAURICE TAMMAN
San Francisco Chronicle Editorial
Gov. Schwarzenegger to stay the course
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
(10-18) 18:58 PDT -- GOV. Arnold Schwarzenegger said "something very special happened" in his third year in office.
"We found the groove," he proclaimed during an interview with our editorial board last week.
And Sacramento has been grooving with him. The just-completed legislative session represented one of the most productive in recent memory. The Republican governor and Democratic legislators worked together on essential long-term goals (upgrade our transportation systems and schools, help stop global warming) and short-term imperatives (raise the minimum wage, reform foster care, secure drug discounts for the uninsured) that will have an impact on Californians' lives.
The climate of cooperation in Sacramento can be traced directly to the conciliatory tone struck by Schwarzenegger on the night of last year's special-election debacle, when voters soundly rejected his ideas to weaken teacher tenure, overhaul the budget process and reform the way legislative districts are drawn. Schwarzenegger said the message from voters was "you fix it" -- by working with legislators -- in Sacramento.
The most dramatic adjustment was to his attitude. Lost were the references to legislators as "stooges" and "girlie men." Gone was the talk of going over their heads to the voters. Back was the charm offensive that marked the afterglow of his 2003 victory in the recall election, which created alliances that helped him gain legislative and voter approval a debt-refinancing bond package and passage of reforms to the workers' compensation system that he rightly called "the poison of our economy."
The cynical interpretation of the 2006 Schwarzenegger is that his move to the center is a ploy to get him re-elected in a decidedly blue state. There are never any guarantees in politics, of course, but in our view the willingness of a leader to openly admit mistakes and to change course -- in substance and in style -- is refreshing and healthy.
We have disagreed with Schwarzenegger at various times on various issues, including his gluttonous pursuit of campaign donations and his excessive deference to the whims of corporate lobbyists in his first two years. He took a much more balanced view toward business-related issues this year. One issue in which he has been consistently strong has been the environment -- from opposition to offshore drilling and road-building in pristine federal forests to his efforts to preserve Lake Tahoe.
Overall, he's on the right course.
Schwarzenegger calls himself "fiscally conservative, socially moderate, environmentally progressive" -- which puts him squarely in the California mainstream. He has shown an ability to listen and to lead.
His Democratic opponent, Treasurer Phil Angelides, has not demonstrated the leadership traits required to build coalitions that can overcome the egos, ambition and partisan rivalries that stand in the way of progress in Sacramento. Angelides has struggled to inspire Democrats in this election. In his meeting with us, many of his answers gave no indication that he either heard or cared about the question -- time after time, he defaulted to his wind-up stump monologues about education or closing tax loopholes.
The lack of excitement about Angelides is not just about his deficiencies in campaign donations and charisma. He has yet to articulate a compelling case that his election would make a difference in Sacramento. His increasingly strident appeal to Democratic loyalties is not resonating with the many Californians who worry less about party label than whether Republicans and Democrats are working together in their interest.
There is plenty of unfinished business in California, from structurally unbalanced budgets to a bloated and dysfunctional prison system. In each case, Schwarzenegger could have done more in his first term
-- and must make them priorities in his second. Each of those messes presented an opportunity for challenger Angelides to offer courageous and specific remedies. His options were too thick with rhetoric, too thin with plausible solutions.
In Schwarzenegger, Californians have a governor who can listen, focus and lead. He deserves to be re-elected on Nov. 7.
"Values" voters fade as factor in U.S. campaign
By Joanne Kenen
Tue Oct 17, 12:33 PM ET
Even before U.S. Rep. Mark Foley (news, bio, voting record)'s cybersex scandal, Republicans fighting to keep control of Congress were struggling to hold on to "values voters" who usually are energized by issues like gay marriage and abortion.
While such issues motivated the Republicans' social-conservative base in the past, they are overshadowed in this year's congressional election campaign by concerns about the Iraq war, the economy and national security, according to opinion polls and political strategists.
"Poverty, the wealth gap, health care -- people can't afford Medicare. Something's got to be done about that," Sue Harrell, a school teacher in Monroe City, Indiana, said recently.
She said "Christian values" were important in previous votes but her top issues now are education and the prevalence of methamphetamine abuse and poverty in Knox County, Indiana.
Such talk has Republicans nervous and Democrats scenting opportunities to recapture the House of Representatives after 12 years in the minority, as well as reduce the Republican advantage in the Senate.
An ABC-Washington Post poll released last week found that 23 percent of Americans surveyed cited Iraq or the war on terrorism as their top concerns in the November 7 elections. Another 23 percent cited the economy. Democrats held the advantage in dealing with all three issues.
Just 2 percent of those surveyed cited either abortion or same-sex marriage as a top concern.
The scandal that began last month over former Florida Republican Rep. Foley's tawdry computer messages to teenage congressional assistants has only served to further dampen Republican enthusiasm.
"The social conservatives are ticked off by Foley," said Democratic pollster Doug Schoen. "The economic conservatives are ticked off by spending. And those who are concerned about foreign policy are ticked off by an America that is less safe and secure because of the war in Iraq. There's no real room for people to vote on social 'values' issues."
Democrats, in contrast, are highly motivated to vote, said American University political scientist Candice Nelson.
Support for Democrats by white evangelical Protestants, a core group of the so-called values voters, also has risen this year from 2004, the ABC/Washington Post poll showed.
Since his re-election in 2004, President Bush has catered to social-conservative priorities by appointing two conservatives to the U.S. Supreme Court and by issuing his first veto against a bill that would have expanded federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.
But few individual races this year are turning on such issues.
In Pennsylvania's Senate race, for instance, Democrats sidestepped an abortion fight by running anti-abortion Catholic Bob Casey against Sen. Rick Santorum (news, bio, voting record), the anti-abortion Catholic Republican incumbent. Santorum is trailing in polls.
Similarly, several House races in conservative regions such as Harrell's Indiana district feature anti-abortion Democrats challenging Republican incumbents.
In Virginia, however, Republican Sen. George Allen (news, bio, voting record)'s unexpectedly tight re-election bid could get a boost from a ballot measure to ban same-sex marriage. A Washington Post poll released on Tuesday found that a fragile majority of state voters backed the ban.
More broadly, voters in states with such measures are paying less attention than in 2004, a Pew Research poll last week found.
Republicans have sought to highlight the prospect of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record), a liberal Californian, becoming speaker of the House -- the most powerful job in the House -- should Democrats win.
Socially conservative voters "are no longer in love with the Republican majority but it is their distaste and fear of a Democratic majority that may drive them to vote," said Republican strategist Neil Newhouse.
Conservative leader Gary Bauer says a last-minute surge among values voters remains a strong possibility. Otherwise, "they really may wake up the next morning and find (liberal Democrat) Ted Kennedy in a leadership position in the Senate and Nancy Pelosi running the House," he said.
(Additional reporting by Andrea Hopkins)
Dutch grant special asylum rights to gay Iranians
Wed Oct 18, 5:43 AM ET
The Dutch government has granted special asylum rights to Iranian homosexuals, despite earlier comments by Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk who said they were safe so long as they were discrete.
Verdonk, whose tough stance on immigration and asylum has been condemned by many on the left, based her decision on an unpublished report by Human Rights Watch, which refers to systematic abuse of homosexuals in Iran, her ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
She also decided to extend a moratorium for Iranian Christian asylum seekers to remain in the Netherlands until May 2007 from this month.
"Homosexual Iranian asylum seekers can now find a safe haven in the Netherlands from the persecution and inhuman treatment they face in Iran," Frank van Dalen, chairman of gay rights group COC Nederland, said.
"A year ago, an Iranian asylum seeker with a death sentence hanging over his head was still sitting at Schiphol airport waiting to be deported," he added.
Earlier this year, a group of Iranian gay asylum seekers, who were due to be deported from the Netherlands after a government report concluded their sexuality did not put them at risk, became the focus of a bitter debate amid reports Iran may have executed men last year for being homosexual.
The government bowed to pressure in April and agreed to delay any deportations until it had reviewed the situation.
Islam's position on homosexuality became a major discussion point in the Netherlands when anti-immigration politician Pim Fortuyn, himself openly gay, accused Islam of being homophobic. Fortuyn was murdered by an animal rights activist in 2002.
［北京 １７日 ロイター］ 台湾出身の映画監督アン・リー氏が、２００８年北京五輪の開・閉会式の芸術・文化担当顧問に指名された。
米中間選挙 住民投票３割増 同性婚、中絶など審判
北海道新聞 2006/10/19 00:18