A new TV ad from the gay group Log Cabin Republicans cautions Republicans about allowing the GOP to be hijacked by far-right forces. The 30-second commercial will be broadcast during the Republican National Convention in New York City and on cable nationwide. "Our commercial has a simple message--the GOP can be an inclusive majority party uniting all Americans, or it can be an intolerant party hijacked by the radical right's divisive social agenda," said Log Cabin executive director Patrick Guerriero.
The ad begins with footage from President Ronald Reagan's 1992 speech at the Republican National Convention in Houston. President Reagan said, "Whatever else history may say about me when I'm gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears." The commercial offers a contrast in choices: between following President Reagan's lead or that of influential antigay Republicans such as Jerry Falwell, Pat Buchanan, and Rick Santorum. Reagan's opposition to a California ballot initiative that would have barred gays and lesbians from teaching in the public schools helped launch Log Cabin Republicans 27 years ago. "Why would the GOP focus on issues that divide not just rank-and-file Republicans but also the two leaders of our party--the president and vice president?" asked Guerriero. Last week Dick Cheney reiterated his opposition to a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, putting him at odds with President Bush on this issue.
In an effort to find common ground across the GOP's ideological spectrum, Log Cabin joined a coalition of Republican groups in proposing a "party unity plank" for the national platform. But the platform committee rejected the plank last week while adopting language that not only calls for passage of the constitutional amendment but a prohibition of any and all benefits for same-sex couples. "The party platform is an insult to the over 1 million gay and lesbian Americans who voted for President Bush. The platform's language is shameful and outrageous," said Guerriero. "Our effort to take back this party from the radical right is about more than one election, one president, or one issue. History, common decency, and fairness are on our side."