GOP debate and the Kasich MomentAround the Nation, Commentary, Online Only, Top Highlights Wednesday, August 12th, 2015
During the Fox News telecast of the first GOP Presidential candidates’ debate, I gasped as Ohio Governor John Kasich, a former U.S. Congressman and close political ally of then-Speaker Newt Gingrich, admitted he had attended a same-sex marriage.
Kasich, alone among his fellow candidates, actually admitted he didn’t hate LGBT people or the new tradition of same-sex marriage. This Kasich “Gay May Be Okay” moment earned the youthful looking governor some face time on various news programs and print space in the blogosphere repeating his GOP heresy for the world to evidence. He spoke with clarity and sounded like the Political Wise Man of the GOP pack.
Imagine for a moment the ten GOP candidates and their range of view (intentionally singular) on same-sex marriage. Kasich gives it a nod of Buckeye acceptance. Dr. Ben Carson, when once asked about same-sex marriage, said bestiality was not a relationship with which he was comfortable.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is telling people who will listen to him their states do not have to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court decision establishing marriage equality across the nation.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was declared not sufficiently conservative when he hired some gay campaign staffers. Religious conservatives shuddered at the thought Bush, the once perceived frontrunner for the GOP 2016 presidential nomination, might be soft on gays.
Former U.S. Senator Rick “Google Problem” Santorum was not among the ten GOP presidential candidates in the televised debate from Cleveland. Mr. Santorum is not LGBT friendly. He once compared gay relationships as akin to “man on dog” relationships. Ergo, Santorum’s Google Problem. Internet permanency and the Urban Dictionary had a way of shutting Santorum’s hate speech and forever attaching something distasteful to the esteemed name Santorum.
Also missing from Fox TV cameras was former Texas Governor Rick Perry. He believes homosexuality is a sickness. An animal science graduate of Texas A&M University, Perry has a long history of opposing everything and everybody gay. He is the type to hold on to long discredited views on psychology, LGBT people and animal science.
The Donald made offensive statements about women and had to defend himself on Fox. He further offended by suggesting questioner Megyn Kelly was menstruating while asking him tough questions. Still Trump is the GOP leader for 2016. Senator Rand Paul, author of “Government Bullies,” appeared sedated during the debate. Rumor has it he may soon drop out if he does not catch political fire soon.
Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio earned praise for mentioning his humble upbringing in Miami. Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, a Sarah Palin Tea Party acolyte, seemed oddly lost in the wake of calling his Senate majority Leader Mitch McConnell a liar. Perhaps Cruz was in a regretful frame of mind. A few days later, he went on the attack against gays, which was a return to normal for him.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, I felt, had a good night during the debate. I feel Christie, like Obama and Bill Clinton, can evolve on gay issues and same-sex marriage. The thing I find refreshing about Christie, and I am serious about this, is that if you swear at him, he will swear back at you.
I love that news clip of Christie telling a heckler to “Sit down and shut up.” If that is not the sign of a healthy political mind, it is the sign of a healthy New Jersey political mind. It is not a statement from the scholarly minds of a Bill Bradley or a Tom Keane political mind, but it is a different era and Chris Christie is a man with a mouth and a New Jersey temper. He reminds me of a late uncle from Sayreville, New Jersey.
Therefore, the gay gasp moment of the first GOP presidential debate of 2016 was the Kasich Gay May Be Okay Moment. The audience applauded Kasich. It is good news the other nine Republicans heard the applause.
It is also good news Christie did not shout for the audience to shut up. This maybe further indication Christie can evolve on gay issues, as Kasich seems to be doing. If only The Donald would evolve on women.
The Kasich Moment represents small progress for the GOP. In the immediate aftermath of the debate, it did not propel Kasich to frontrunner status. It did help him politically, though. It could propel him to VP status on the 2016 GOP presidential ticket. If the presidential candidate is Bush, the GOP may be coming in from too many years in the dark wilderness on LGBT issues.
Human Rights Advocate Jim Patterson is a writer, speaker, and lifelong diplomat for dignity for all people. In a remarkable life spanning the civil rights movement to today’s human rights struggles, he stands as a voice for the voiceless. A prolific writer, he documents history’s wrongs and the struggle for dignity to provide a roadmap to a more humane future. Learn more at www.HumanRightsIssues.com
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