Suddenly, it's becoming less of a stigma for bigwigs to associate with gays in the Republican Party. Not only has former RNC chairman Ken Mehlman's 9/22 fundraiser for gay marriage rights attracted numerous high-octane Republican donors and activists, but Sen. John Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Rep. Pete Sessions, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee will help the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay GOP group, raise money for its political action committee. (Part of this story was first reported last month.)
A glossy pamphlet advertising the Log Cabin Republicans' national dinner at the Capitol Hill Club highlights an hour-long cocktail gathering with the two party committee chairs, both strong opponents of gay rights. But their attendance will add to the coffers of the LCR's political action committee, which endorses Republicans who support gay rights.
The LCR national dinner, which follows the private fundraiser, will include Sessions, Rep. Judy Biggert, Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform. The Daily Caller's Tucker Carlson will serve as Master of Ceremonies.
The Log Cabin Republicans' Mission Statement proclaims fidelity to conservative principles like a "strong national defense" and "limited government" before it discusses marriage rights and an "inclusive definition of the family." But in practice, the group does not endorse candidates who oppose gay rights.
Cornyn and Sessions are not on record as having ever supported any gay rights measure. Cornyn has been derisive about gay marriage in the past, likening homosexuality to "man on box turtle," but recently said his opposition to gay marriage should not be construed as any effort to degrade the dignity of people whose sexual orientation is different than his. (CORRECTION APPENDED)
Like Cornyn, Sessions has received a "zero" rating from the Human Rights Campaign, which scores lawmakers based on their support for gay rights initiatives.
The presence of the top two party political strategists at a gay Republican event means that both men do not believe the criticism they'll get from consorting with gay rights advocates will in any way complicate either their immediate goals as party committee chiefs or the future of their political careers. What message their presence does send, aside from each side's willingness to be used as a financial vehicle, is unclear. An NRCC spokesperson said that Sessions was attending in his capacity as NRCC chair.
The Log Cabin Republicans have re-invented themselves several times over the past several political cycles, endorsing George W. Bush in 2000 but refusing to endorse him in 2004 because of his support for a constitutional amendment banning gay rights. This led to a schism among gay Republicans, with the LCR's board insisting that "certain moments
in history require that a belief in fairness and equality not be
sacrificed in the name of partisan politics; this is one of those
In 2008, the LCR endorsed the McCain-Palin ticket despite its solid opposition to gay rights, although McCain was lauded for his opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment.
The tension here is that while there is not even a remote chance that a Republican Congress will advance the cause of gay rights, the Log Cabins have to start somewhere. Either they build bridges with the GOP leadership, or they sit on the sidelines. And there's perhaps no better time to begin relationships than when voters are not preoccupied with social issues.
Executive Director of LCR, it would be irresponsible of me to not seek common
denominators or common points of interest to build relationships with our
conservative colleagues," R. Clarke Cooper, LCR's executive director, wrote in an e-mail message.
For example, if I can start a dialogue with my Republican colleagues by agreeing
on economic growth and tax equity for all Americans, that is much better than
refusing to dialog because some Republican members may not support other
equality measures. Yes, there are differences among Republicans when it comes
to the application of civil rights for gays. Some Republican members of
Congress are willing to co-sponsor Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), but
remain uncomfortable supporting full marriage equality. So, do I deny the
support of some pro-ENDA Republicans because they have yet to fully appreciate
why equity in civil marriage is necessary? No, I will embrace their existing
support and then work to secure further understanding and support.
Mehlman, in an interview, said that the event he is co-hosting with Manhattan Institute board chairman Paul W. Singer has $1,000,000 worth of commitments. He said he was happy to see that GOP leaders were attending Log Cabin events -- "that's great news."
Still, at least three potential GOP presidential candidates said they support the campaign of activists who want to oust Iowa justices who legalized same-sex marriage, and none of the potential GOP candidates has expressed support for ending the Don't Ask, Don't Tell ban on gays in the military.
The president-elect’s lawyers have explained why they don’t think he’ll violate the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause—but their arguments fall apart under closer scrutiny.
Last week, President-elect Donald Trump’s lawyers issued a brief, largely unnoticed memo defending Trump’s plan to “separate” himself from his businesses. We believe that memo arbitrarily limits itself to a small portion of the conflicts it purports to address, and even there, presents claims that depart from precedent and common sense. Trump can convince a lot of people of a lot of things—but neither he nor his lawyers can explain away the ethics train wreck that will soon crash into the Oval Office.
It’sbeenwidelyacknowledgedthat, when Trump swears the Oath of Office, he will stand in violation of the Constitution’s foreign-emoluments clause. The emoluments clause forbids any “Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States]” from accepting any “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State” (unless Congress explicitly consents).
The Russian leader tries to claim the role of senior partner in relationship with the U.S.
You have to feel bad for the Moldovan president. The newly elected Igor Dodon had traveled to Moscow to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin for the first Russian-Moldovan bilateral meeting in nine years. Yet here he was, standing side by side with Putin, his hero and model for emulation, at a regal-looking press conference and some reporter has to go and ask about the prostitutes.
“You haven’t yet commented on the report that, allegedly, we or in Russia have been collecting kompromat on Donald Trump, including during his visit to Moscow, as if he were having fun with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel,” said the reporter with the pro-Kremlin LifeNews. “Is that true? Have you seen these files, these videos, these tapes?”
A mix of patriotic balladeers and apolitical acts will take the stage on Thursday and Friday.
It is not true, as a lot of commentary would have it, that Donald Trump’s inauguration will feature “no stars.” Some of the entertainers who have signed on to play have, in fact, built their success on entertaining millions of people. But it is true that what’s considered “the A-list” will be conspicuously absent, as will be acts from other lists: The B-Street Band, a Bruce Springsteen tribute group, backed out from an unofficial inaugural party after outcry; Broadway singer Jennifer Holliday reneged from the main concert event.
The mix of entertainers lined up for Thursday’s “Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration” on the National Mall and Friday’s swearing-in ceremony represents a hodgepodge of ideology and expediency. In a savvy MTV essay about Trump’s national-anthem singer Jackie Evancho, Doreen St. Félix argued that booking the 16-year-old America’s Got Talent runner up was “a matter of scavenging, and then gilding over the spoils”—a description that could apply across the lineup given the many headlines about Trump’s team getting turned down by celebrities then saying that not having famous people is a good thing. But in its relative lack of glitz, and in its coalition of performers well familiar to state-fair stages, this week’s bill may inadvertently achieve the stated inaugural goal of projecting an image not of Trump but of the people who elected him.
A history of the first African American White House—and of what came next
In the waning days of President Barack Obama’s administration, he and his wife, Michelle, hosted a farewell party, the full import of which no one could then grasp. It was late October, Friday the 21st, and the president had spent many of the previous weeks, as he would spend the two subsequent weeks, campaigning for the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. Things were looking up. Polls in the crucial states of Virginia and Pennsylvania showed Clinton with solid advantages. The formidable GOP strongholds of Georgia and Texas were said to be under threat. The moment seemed to buoy Obama. He had been light on his feet in these last few weeks, cracking jokes at the expense of Republican opponents and laughing off hecklers. At a rally in Orlando on October 28, he greeted a student who would be introducing him by dancing toward her and then noting that the song playing over the loudspeakers—the Gap Band’s “Outstanding”—was older than she was.
Why some people are withdrawing from mainstream society into “intentional communities”—and what the rest of the country can learn from them
For the last eight years, Nicolas and Rachel Sarah have been slowly weaning themselves off fossil fuels. They don’t own a refrigerator or a car; their year-old baby and four-year-old toddler play by candlelight rather than electricity at night. They identify as Christian anarchists, and have given an official name to their search for an alternative to consumption-heavy American life: the Downstream Project, with the motto to “do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.”
As it turns out, exiting the system is a challenging, time-consuming, and surprisingly technical process. Here in the Shenandoahs and central Virginia, a handful of tiny communities are experimenting with what it means to reject the norms of contemporary life and exist in a radically different way. They seem to share Americans’ pervasive sense of political alienation, which arguably reached an apotheosis with the election of Donald Trump: a sense of division from their peers, a distrust of government. The challenges of modern politics—dealing with issues like climate change, poverty, mass migration, and war on a global scale—are so vast and abstract that it’s difficult not to find them overwhelming. But instead of continuing in passive despair, as many Americans seem to do, the people in these communities decided to overhaul their lives.
Why Nixon's former lawyer John Dean worries Trump could be one of the most corrupt presidents ever—and get away with it
Sometime early last fall, John Dean says he began having nightmares about a Trump presidency. He would wake in the middle of the night, agitated and alarmed, struggling to calm his nerves. “I’m not somebody who remembers the details of dreams,” he told me in a recent phone call from his home in Los Angeles. “I just know that they were so bad that I’d force myself awake and out of bed just to get away from them.”
Few people are more intimately acquainted than Dean with the consequences of an American presidency gone awry. As White House counsel under President Richard Nixon from 1970 to 1973, he was a key figure in the Watergate saga—participating in, and then helping to expose, the most iconic political scandal in modern U.S. history. In the decades since then, Dean has parlayed that resume line into something of a franchise, penning several books and countless columns on the theme of presidential abuses of power.
Surfing the app on a trip back home can be a way of regressing, or imagining what life would be like if you never left.
My parents moved out of my hometown almost as soon as I left for college, and therefore I am obsessed with the idea of other people’s hometowns. Over any major holiday or break from a work schedule, hometowns become a sort of time travel, a way for people who have made adult lives elsewhere to return to their origin story.
Going home for the holidays can act as a kind of regression. Most of us know people, whether our friends, our partner, even our own parents, who suddenly turn into their teen or pre-teen self once they step foot in the house where they grew up. My mom used to say that whenever my dad got within 50 miles of his mom’s house, he suddenly became a teenage boy. Our hometowns become a kind of permission and hideaway, a place where we don’t have to be ourselves, where our actions don’t count and we get to be briefly less visible than we are in the adult homes we’ve made for ourselves elsewhere, the places where we expect ourselves to take action and achieve things and move upward through each day. For many of us, hometowns allow the luxury of a brief period of stasis, a rare few days of doing nothing.
Those who worry that it undermines state secrets would do better to start addressing the core reasons that the classification system is losing legitimacy.
On Tuesday, President Obama commuted the prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, a former Army analyst who violated several laws that forbid disclosing facts that have been declared classified by the U.S. government. Laws against revealing state secrets are intended to protect national security and the safety of the men and women who serve in the military and intelligence services. Those are worthy aims and the laws are defensible in principle.
In practice, the legitimacy of state-secrets laws has been undermined by their frequent abuse.
Many both mainstream and alternative doctors help patients avoid or delay vaccines. Trump’s rhetoric might empower them further.
When Andrew Brandeis encounters patients who are skeptical about vaccines at his family-practice clinic in San Francisco, he doesn’t toe the typical pediatrician party line—that the standard vaccine schedule is a must-do. Instead, he might help the patient delay or space out their child’s shots beyond the recommendations of public-health agencies, if they so desire.
“The earlier you introduce a vaccine to a kid, there is evidence suggesting various adverse reactions,” he said. He believes early administration of the Hepatitis B vaccine is linked to allergies, asthma, and multiple sclerosis—something doctors and health agencies vehemently deny. “The parents might say, ‘I’m just going to wait on that one,’ I’d say that’s okay.”
How America’s best and brightest once again steered the country to failure
They were the best and the brightest. But, most of all, they believed they were right. Although the scale of disaster was considerably different, the same that was said of those who oversaw foreign policy under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson could be said of the Obama administration.
These were academics, intellectuals, and technocrats who were not only very smart; they took pride in being practical, grounded in reality, and wedded to facts. After the supposed anti-intellectualism and ideological rigidity of the George W. Bush administration, many of us welcomed the prospect of a president who was cerebral and professorial. Even those sympathetic to President Barack Obama’s foreign-policy instincts, however, will agree that it didn’t quite go as planned.