The golden rule of politics is simple: trust no one. Politics offers power and power attracts sociopaths so, ultimately, working within political organizations will involve working with people who will, in all likelihood, slide a knife into your back when it’s politically convenient. The Log Cabin Republicans just finished wiping the blood off of their knife after their announced endorsement of Mitt Romney. For those of you who don’t know the Log Cabin Republicans are a group that tries to promote gay rights in the Republican Party:
What We Believe
We are loyal Republicans. We believe in limited government, strong national defense, free markets, low taxes, personal responsibility, and individual liberty. Log Cabin represents an important part of the American family—taxpaying, hard working people who proudly believe in this nation’s greatness. We also believe all Americans have the right to liberty and equality. We believe equality for gay and lesbian people is in the finest tradition of the Republican Party. We educate our Party about why inclusion wins. Opposing gay and lesbian equality is inconsistent with the GOP’s core principles of smaller government and personal freedom.
Considering Romney’s stance on gay rights one is left wondering how an organization like the Log Cabin Republicans can endorse him. The answer to that lies in their endorsing statement (which is a lot of bullshit wrapped around a morsel of relevant information):
The qualified nature of this endorsement means that Log Cabin Republicans will be most active in our support for House and Senate candidates. Our membership base and network of chapters nationwide will be actively supporting our allies in Congress as part of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Operation Rolling Surge” deployment program.
Our greatest efforts will be directed at electing pro-equality leaders like Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the first Republican to cosponsor the repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act; members of the House LGBT Equality Caucus like Representatives Nan Hayworth and Richard Hanna of New York; and staunchly pro-equality challengers like Linda McMahon of Connecticut and our very own Richard Tisei of Massachusetts, who will become the first openly gay Republican elected to Congress. While many of our members will also be working hard on behalf of Governor Romney, growing the pro-equality Republican presence in the House and Senate is our highest electoral priority this year.
This brings up one of my pet peeves with the political process, if an individual or organization wants to gain any political influence they must compromise their principles. Members of the Log Cabin Republicans are likely hoping that their endorsement of Romney will gain the organization some influence with Republican hardliners who are starkly opposed to gay rights. Hardline Republicans usually consider any organization that doesn’t endorse all Republican candidates as party traitors. If the Log Cabin Republicans refused to endorse Mitt Romney those hardliners would label the organization as traitorous, refuse to work with them, and possibly refuse to work with any organization endorsed candidates (who, by association, would likely be labeled as traitors).
Such political maneuvers never work out in the end. By endorsing Romney the Log Cabin Republicans have alienated their supporters. Advocates of gay rights are unlikely to trust the Log Cabin Republicans in the future and will denounce and abandon the organization in droves. With their base gone the organization will likely fade into irrelevancy. The Log Cabin Republicans offered the Republican Party votes, campaign contributions, and volunteer labor from advocates of gay rights. Without those advocates the organization has nothing to offer politically and will therefore have no influence in the Republican Party.
I’ve left one glaring question unanswered: if these kinds of political maneuvers don’t work why do organizations continue to make them? The answer to that is simple, the leadership of these organizations usually become obsessed with power. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear that somebody in the Romney campaign offered the decision makers of the Log Cabin Republicans some kind of reward in exchange for the organization’s endorsement. Perhaps several of the decision makers were offered influential positions inside the Republican Party itself. A reward like that can be easily passed off to an organization’s membership as a good thing since it can be claimed to give the organization influence within the Republican Party. In reality the people who take such rewards are usually hungry for power and care little about principles so their gain of an influential position gains their former organization nothing. Any attempt to use their newfound position to push their former organization’s agenda will be short lived as hardline Republicans will offer more power in exchange for dropping said agenda. It’s a vicious cycle that promotes sociopathic behavior. The power base continues their reign while members wanting to enact political change are squashed.
Advocates of gay rights within the Republican Party just got a firsthand lesson in the political process. Hopefully they learn from it and give no further support to the Republican Party.