Sunday, February 13, 2011

Benyamin Korn: Why Prominent Gay Conservatives Are Backing Sarah Palin

From our friend Benyamin Korn at Jews For

Controversy engulfed the Conservative Political Action Committee's (CPAC) annual assembly in Washington this weekend, when a number of prominent conservatives walked out in protest over a panel that aired multiple views on gay marriage. It may come as a surprise that Sarah Palin not only was not among the protesters, but immediately questioned their withdrawal.

Some conservative stalwarts, such as Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), were furious that CPAC was even hosting such a panel, featuring flat-tax activist Grover Norquist and renowned web publisher Andrew Breitbart. Just last month Breitbart had announced he was joining the gay Republican group, GOProud.

And Breitbart is only one of a number of prominent gay conservatives and independents who are supporting Gov. Palin, including Los Angeles radio talk host Tammy Bruce, and HillBuzz publisher – and former Hillary Clinton campaign activist – Kevin DuJan.

While Sarah Palin had not planned to attend the CPAC gathering, when questioned on the Christian Broadcasting Network about the anti-gay protest, she quickly took issue with the protesters, asking "should the GOP, should conservatives, not reach out to others . . . with whom we might personally disagree?" Gov. Palin has spoken often about the need for inclusiveness within the conservative movement and in American society as a whole. In fact, her multi-million selling memoir Going Rogue recounts a gay roommate of hers from college who remains a lifelong friend.

Those who follow Palin know that while she is deeply religious, she is also a feminist, and not a "bedroom conservative" who believes it is the job of government to tell people what to do in their private lives. As governor of Alaska she vetoed, on state constitutional grounds, a bill that would have denied domestic partnership benefits. Although as a fiscal conservative she was opposed to the benefits, as governor she upheld the law.

And while she has said she personally believes marriage should be defined as a relationship between one man and one woman, she emphasizes her bedrock principle that the government that governs best is the one that governs least.

The issue of gay marriage is one I encountered often during my years as executive editor of the Jewish Exponent. While gay marriage is controversial among American Jews as it is among Americans of all faiths, there is a heightened interest in the Jewish community over gay rights, because most Jews understand that a tolerant and inclusive society is the best guarantor of the safety of all minorities.

West Coast conservative talk host Tammy Bruce, herself Jewish, has a huge following among gay Angelenos. Bruce frequently tells her "Tammy’s Army" that gays should support a Christian society, because Christian societies are the ones that have fostered individual freedom and God-given liberties. And Bruce is ardently and unapologetically pro-Palin.

Certainly gay rights are not Sarah Palin's signature issue. Nor is reform of marijuana laws, which Palin has said should be a much lower priority for law enforcement. Nor are abortion rights, which she maintains under our Constitution should be a matter for the states to decide.

Rather, Palin is focused like a laser beam on the economic policies of President Obama and the "progressive" Democrats – that have, in another of her memorable phrases, put Americans on a "bullet-train to bankruptcy" – and on the importance of reasserting America's leadership and military preparedness in the world. These are the issues that impact every American, regardless of personal orientation, and are certain to dominate the public debate in the months leading up to November, 2012.

But the CPAC controversy is a welcome illustration of the fact that Sarah Palin is not some rigid, Johnny-one-note conservative. Instead she is an open, independent and often unorthodox thinker, who welcomes Americans of all backgrounds and preferences onto her campaign to restore America to its greatness.

Not a lot I can add here. The media has tried to paint Sarah as some sort of religious fanatic who wants a theocracy. Of course, they say this about every Conservative. When you can't compete in the marketplace of ideas, you have to lay on the BS thick and heavy!

People that actually know Sarah Palin's record know that she's quite the libertarian on social issues. The Bible, God's word, guides he personal life, but as Governor her guide was the Alaska Constitution, which she was known to carry with her, and wave around for effect, when someone tried to pull a fast one!

This is why we support her so strongly. Sarah believes the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land, and the Rule of Law, not the rule of man, must always be upheld.

CPAC is a circus. Always is. From the Ron Paul crazies hijacking the straw poll, as usual, to them shouting at Dick Cheney, to the boycott by those "true conservatives" who were angry because gay Conservatives wanted a seat at the table, CPAC has become a joke. Sarah has been invited for the past 4 years, and has not attended. Of course, it's her non-attendance that garners all of the news.We're pleased she stayed away from the craziness.

The one highlight that came out of CPAC 2011 was Allen West's incredible speech. Nothing else mattered.

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