Fred Who? First Openly Gay Presidential Candidate Locked out of GOP Debate

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Fred Who? First Openly Gay Presidential Candidate Locked out of GOP Debate

Despite these moderate positions, he is a conservative through and through and he has a long and disturbing history as a political operative. More on that later, but he is indistinguishable from any other entitled, narcissistic, and completely wrong on the issues run of the mill Republican. So, why did the GOP work so hard to exclude him? They made him jump through every hoop, roadblock and obstacle they could construct to keep him off the stage last Thursday. The only discernible difference between he and Tim Pawlenty, for instance, is that he is gay and therefore a threat to marriage and Jesus and the other nonsense republicans espouse. This puts him at odds with the Republican Party and a majority of the base.

It would have been interesting to see Karger standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a panel of candidates who stand in unanimous opposition to his existence. Every single one of the candidates has stated their opposition to gay rights. Instead he was relegated to the sidelines and preceded to humiliate himself like a sad circus clown. He wrote and published a letter to the South Carolina GOP and to FOX “news”:

The night of the debate, HuffPo had a live blog on the debate and Jason Linkins noted that “Fred Karger's in the building, but he's wedged up in the nosebleeds”. Karger:

“They sold me two tickets in the upper, upper balcony. Guess they wanted to keep me as far away as possible from the stage. Should have brought binoculars.”

Also on HuffPo, Jason Linkins reported:

“Fred Karger, a longtime GOP consultant who's running a long-shot campaign, won't be able to participate in tonight's debate, owing to the fact that the debate organizers have deemed it necessary for all participants to have hit the 1% mark in at least five national polls in order to do so, and Karger's only been named as a candidate in one poll all year (he hit 1%). But he's unbowed! And, as best as he is able, will be sending us periodic updates through the night about what he would have said if he had been allowed to join the debate. Should be exciting!”

This stuff is dizzying, so just to recap… Fred Karger, who fancies himself a GOP insider, was forced to suffer the indignity and humiliation of “participating” in the first debate by twittering or texting (or whatever) what he “would have said” if he had been allowed to join the debate. He is virtually locked out of the debate, sitting in the nosebleed section in the “upper, upper balcony” and acting as if he is standing right next to Rick “man on dog” Santorum answering questions on the stage. And, since you aren’t supposed to ask questions in a recap, I’ll put this here…

How did the very first candidate to declare his candidacy get excluded from virtually every national poll on the subject?  Amazing!  My head is literally spinning from this.

I’m just wondering out loud here… but doesn’t this entire episode serve to clarify the point–because gay conservatives missed the point–that Fred Karger is actually an outsider who wants in? Despite the fact that he has a long history as a consultant for the GOP, hasn’t he really been an outsider all along?

Sadly, his life’s work of supporting a political party that actively legislates against the interests of a community, of which he claims to be a proud member, is backfiring on him in a public and humiliating way.

This guy has worked as a political operative for the past 35 years. He is an expert in getting people elected. He was also extremely effective in fighting the Mormons on Prop 8, recently. The GOP and FOX “News” were successful last week in putting up enough road blocks to stop him, but may not be able to stop this guy for long. He is tenacious and he probably wrote the political playbook that they are using. He’s memorized the damn thing and he may use every nuanced dirty trick in that book to stay in the game. They’ll never get rid of him and, thankfully, his persistence may work to highlight for moderates and independents how extremist and aggressively bigoted the Republican Party has become–making the party more and more repugnant to the general electorate.

Because of his background, Karger may successfully stay in the game of the primaries, but he’ll have a tough time convincing the base to vote for him. Fear and hatred of gays has been a powerful wedge issue for republicans to gin up their base, get them all excited and mobilized to vote. As we have seen over the years, the “other” has been a powerful motivator for the majority of republicans (i.e. Blacks, Immigrants, Muslims, Gays, etc. etc.). He has, I’m sure, used these tactics in the past as a political operative. He shouldn’t be surprised at all that they are now being used against him. Whether Karger likes it or not, he IS the “other” that his party is so openly hostile to. He has been working for 35 years to get people elected who use these cynical tactics to get the base riled up. The very obstacles that have prevented his full participation are in a sense obstacles he himself helped to erect. Gays as a wedge issue is not new. I’m wondering where Karger was while the fear of gays was being used as raw, red meat to get the base ginned up over so many decades. Now that the same stuff is being used against him, I’m just wondering what must be going through his mind. How is all that fear and hatred working out for you now Mr. Karger?  

To Log Cabin Republicans and conservatives in GOProud who argue that they serve to operate from within the Republican Party to change it, I say that Karger should serve as demonstrable evidence that your strategy is simply not working. You’re totally delusional. If gay conservatives are successfully changing the party, why was there was not an uproar from Republican party members in protest about the indignities Karger suffered last week?  Why wasn’t there a boycott of FOX “news” over the injustice of what happened to Karger?  If Log Cabin and GOProud Republicans are indeed affecting change from within and are truly aligned with their party, why, pray tell, isn’t there any evidence of mass outrage?

You almost have to feel sorry for him. I said ALMOST. This is a man after-all who was the evil genius behind the notoriously racist “Willie Horton” attack ads that played on prevalent fears about Black people and destroyed the Dukakis campaign during the 1988 presidential campaign. He also engineered Astroturf campaigns, on behalf of cigarette companies, to try to defeat smoking bans in California. This guy is a real piece of work. He has a 35-year history perfecting the kind of hideous “black arts” political tactics now being used against him. Indeed, after you’ve spent your entire career working to get candidates elected who oppose equal treatment for LGBT people, you cannot expect equal treatment for yourself within the party.  

The pursuit of money, power and white male privilege trumps self-respect for Fred Karger and for gay conservatives like him. It is very sad that their self-loathing runs so incredibly deep. I’d empathize with them if I had the energy. I can’t, though, because I’m thoroughly exhausted and I’m just too busy fighting for my own dignity and self-respect against their agenda, which seeks to undermine so many of the rights and liberties that me and my ancestors in the civil rights, gay rights and women’s rights movements have fought for.

Karger and his supporters are having a pity party for themselves right now. But you made your bed Mr. Karger. I seriously hope you rest fitfully and most uncomfortably in it.

Comments [1]

Robin Rigby's picture

Hear, hear! I couldn't agree

Hear, hear! I couldn't agree with you more about how delusional these pathetic, self-loathing gay Republicans are.