By Diane Anderson-Minshall
Originally published on Advocate.com May 12 2012 12:06 PM ET
After the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, spoke at Liberty University today, JimmyLaSalvia, executive director and cofounder of GOProud (a national organization of gay-friendly conservatives) took him to task, saying that Romney's message to Goldwater conservatives is clearly "Drop dead."
Liberty University was founded by the late Jerry Falwell, who in 2007 said, “AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals. To oppose it would be like an Israelite jumping in the Red Sea to save one of Pharaoh's charioteers ... AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.” The university has been at the heart of many recent skirmishes over antigay ideology, and Romney's speech there comes just days after his his advisers said the presidential candidate would make his disdain for marriage equality a major issue in the campaign.
“The father of the modern conservative movement, former U.S. senator Barry Goldwater, once said of Jerry Falwell that he needed a kick in the ass," said LaSalvia. "With his speech at Falwell’s Liberty University, it is clear that Governor Romney’s message to Goldwater conservatives is: drop dead. Many on our board and among our grassroots supporters have long had reservations about Governor Romney’s record – particularly when it comes to issues of importance to conservatives. Issues like fundamental tax reform, healthcare reform, and entitlement reform. As an organization that was born amidst the energy and enthusiasm of the early days of the Tea Party movement, many in our organization are concerned about how seriously Governor Romney will take cutting the size and scope of government, about his commitment to federalism and about whether or not he will dramatically cut federal spending."
LaSalvia argues that while the organization remains committed to defeating President Barack Obama, "If Romney expects to be the candidate who can beat Obama in November then he needs to embrace a strategy that makes victory possible – falling into the culture war trap laid by Obama is a guaranteed electoral loser."