ABOVE:Carly Fiorina speaks at the Log Cabin Republicans Spirit of Lincoln Dinner at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 27, 2017. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)
The nation’s premier organization for LGBT Republicans held its annual dinner for the first time at the Trump International Hotel in D.C. — but not once did any speaker on stage mention President Trump.
Keynoting the Log Cabin Republican dinner Wednesday was 2016 Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, who delivered a heavily autobiographical speech on moving from being a secretary to CEO that sought to inspire leadership goals among those at the dinner.
Once upon a time, it felt like a public duty to witness the beads of sweat lining Richard Nixon’s lips while the glowing complexion of John F. Kennedy burned visible anxiety into said grumble face made for print media and the quotes that come with it. Once upon a time, there was the underlying sense that gentlemen (now women, too!) standing atop a stage in front of tens of millions of people to discuss the fate of our still-young nation was a piece of this, our great democracy, a piece not to be missed. And then 2015 happened: The debates had to be split into kids’ table and grown-ups’ table by dint of polling percentages, and all of American life turned into a reality show based around a pageant based around hate and ignorance based around what the hell life has turned into.
By no means does this column mean to discourage public communication by those who would like their finger on the imaginary red button or desire to have their private lives ravaged by the altitude of overexpression. Heavens, no. We’re all spectators out here. Bring on the dancing horses.
Somewhere in the annals of psychological academia exists a hidden chapter – an Easter egg of sorts – that describes the finely honed narcissism that allows the seemingly illegal cloud of hair and bravado, that misanthropy and machismo and money, that witch’s tick and spooky juice available to a figurehead named Donald Trump with which he has managed to control a news cycle yet again. You wouldn’t find that listing anywhere near its reasonable attribution – a footnote about nonsense that shouldn’t be paid attention to; the bad kid pouting in the back of the bus – as we already know that attention is being paid, and if there is a Republican Party bus, at least for the moment, he is the creepy guy driving it way up front.
Sure, it’s a low-hanging fruit expedition to go after Trump after his ostentatious appearance at the Aug. 6 Republican primary debate aired by Republican funhouse mirror Fox News. Why, even Fox is playing into the fallout, circling wagons around host and debate panelist Megyn Kelly, who Trump, in no uncertain terms, accused of menstruating, because that’s what makes women ask about why it is that you continually and publicly hate on women.
Regardless, it’s Trump who walked away with all the headlines. He’s not backing down. All of our leaders are dumb. Only women bleed. Don’t discriminate against gays, but, “I am against gay marriage.”In some ways, the gay card was partially protected from the primetime Republican scrimmage – Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich actually went to a gay wedding recently and apparently had a good time, not that there’s everything wrong with that. The volume of applause, if applause in these scenarios is to be believed, suggested a turning point in the rickety conservative wheelhouse, base be damned (except that Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum and Ted Cruz all committed to reversing LGBT progress). There are, as they say, many rivers to cross, and the gay one has already been traversed by the U.S. Supreme Court (at least on the issue of nuptials), or so we are to believe in this particular spin cycle.
More concerning is the attitude toward women and their requisite rights. The one Republican woman in contention, Carly Fiorina, was forced to the kids’ table with Rick “Ronald Raven” Perry (and the rest of the lot) for a happy-hour pre-show debate that nobody watched (she later defended Kelly against Trump’s period-gate, if only for good press). Not surprisingly, much of the red meat being used to chum the noisy base of riled-up Fox fans teetered on the bravado of threatened men in suits. Why? Well, obviously because Hillary Clinton is waiting in the wings, and we all know how easy it is to get groups of people to scream obscenities about that woman.
But it was Trump who ultimately showed the true nature of the current conservative discourse (replete with reproductive choice buried in the code).
After Kelly brought up his “fat pig” remarks against Rosie O’Donnell and, well, an entire gender he doesn’t understand, Trump warned against politeness.
“I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. I’ve been challenged by so many people, and I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness and, to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either,” he said.
This country doesn’t have time for you, your insolence, your blinders or your ill-gotten fortune, Mr. Trump. Step aside.
It doesn’t take a political genius to recognize the balance beam that Sen. Marco Rubio is continually falling from on social issues as he tries to appease both the far right and the middling clueless on his trek to the White House. Rubio, you’ll recall, has always been an opponent of abortion, often citing his “two wrongs don’t make a right” playground mentality he learned in a second-grade sandbox. But following the severely anti-woman tone of last week’s televised Republican presidential debate, Rubio found himself crushed into a conundrum. You see, Rubio, who tried to make it clear that he believes that women should be forced to bear the children blindly offered them by the love of rapists and incestuous family members – it’s a child, people! Just read the billboards on the Turnpike – has a history of, gasp, supporting exceptions for those in need of abortions under duress. Side note: abortions are legal, so your support is weak, Marco Polo. Rubio didn’t come out anymore decisive than he went into this after a post-debate CNN grilling, but nothing about this man is certain. Wild cards are fun. If you were on the proper email feed – or actually allowed into the public records and emails that Gov. Rick Scott’s administration was clearly concealing from the public throughout the beginning of his administration – then maybe you would understand the bobbing and weaving that has come to characterize Florida’s elected Republicans over the past few years. At every turn, Scott and his cronies have attempted to hold themselves exempt from standard Sunshine Laws, because, well, they don’t want to admit that most deals are done off-card and beneath the board. Last week, Scott agreed to fork out $700,000 in order to settle no less than seven public records disputes brought about by Tallahassee attorney and Scott arch-nemesis Steven R. Andrews. So, basically, you’ll be paying that $700k through various agencies that exist off your tax dollars, and there will be a rather large rug with untold deals swept beneath it. Sunshine for everyone!
Ack, we almost forgot to mention the other tangential Rubio connection to this week’s cascade of illegitimate hopefuls lining up at the public-figure trough! In a twist worthy of a bad soap opera, the Tampa Bay Times reports that former Rubio aide Ash Mason (of Pinellas County) is lining up for a potential run for Congress, even though we’re still not quite sure what the boundaries look like after the redistricting fracas. Mason has “history” with frat-house inflatable pool Will Weatherford, the former Republican House Speaker from Wesley Chapel, and, in a strange twist of fate, could be facing disgraced former Republican and failed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist. Don’t say Charlie Crist three times. Wait, did we just say Charlie Crist three times? Oh, no.
The Republican voters have three more presidential hopefuls in the presidential race in 2016, two of which have never held political office and one who made a run in 2008.
Dr. Ben Carson, a retired pediatric neurosurgeon and author, and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina joined Arkansas’ former governor and FOX News star Mike Huckabee this week in announcing their run for the Republican nomination in the 2016 election for president.
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