When Fred Karger announced
last year that he was running as the first openly gay candidate for the
Republican presidential nomination, the decision seemed odd to many of us in
the LGBT community. Now that almost a year has passed, Karger’s bid is more
purposeful and a phenomenon that ought to be embraced by our community.
Karger will kick off today his campaign’s final media and organizational push
before January’s primary in New Hampshire By announcing a new ad focused on
Karger has had extensive
experience in politics and governmental affairs spanning over 35 years. He was
involved in three presidential races and ran several successful opposition
campaigns, including ”Californians Against Hate.” He brought public attention
to major donors of “Yes on Proposition 8” and boycotts against four mega-donors
to Proposition 8, with two that are settled and two ongoing.
According to Karger, the Republican Party is not all negative toward his
“I have actually been
welcomed into the presidential campaign by many national and state Republican
Party leaders from Reince Priebus, the chairman of the RNC, on down,” he said.
“I have been shut out of the debates, not by the Republican Party, but by the
networks sponsoring them.”
When I spoke to Karger, he noted that the field is “too big to have all 12 candidates
debating at the same time.” Still, Karger is vehement when talking about his
exclusion from a FOX debate in Iowa, saying, “I did absolutely qualify for the
Fox News Iowa debate back in August and they still refused to let me
participate.” He’s filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission and
awaits the result of a review.
“I will always fight back
if I am treated differently as I run for president,” he promises.
Karger is no stranger to
fighting against injustice, and perhaps as a community now is the time to show
our gratitude. The filing of his sworn complaint against the Mormon Church with
the California Fair Political Practices Commission based on illegal campaign
activities surrounding the Proposition 8 funding led to a 19-month
in a fine against the Salt Lake City based Church.
He also filed a similar complaint with the Maine Ethics Commission against the
infamous National Organization for Marriage, alleging money laundering and
reporting irregularities in that state’s November 2009 election to repeal its
marriage equality law. That investigation is ongoing.
With passionate advocacy, Karger never misses an opportunity to tout his point,
as is clear from his recent series of ads where he inserts himself into the FOX
and CNN debates. He successfully marries spoof to good reason while admonishing
those whom the Republicans deem erstwhile candidates.
Now Karger, after a ruffle of some feathers, is coming at the candidates on a
serious note. This is not about being gay or a first at
something; Karger has now thrown his earnest cat amongst the pigeons — a real jobs ad!
Fred Karger will hold a press conference today at the New Hampshire Institute
of Politics at Saint Anselm College where he’ll announce a new commercial —
“Jobs Now!” It provides what he calls a quick fix. It will run statewide in New
Hampshire beginning tonight on WMUR-TV (ABC) and will run for a full week.
The innovative 60-second commercial by California filmmaker Kristina Lapinski,
from GAY U.S.A. the Movie (to
which I contribute an ongoing blog), will also air on WBIN-TV and cable
statewide in this all-important, first-in-the-nation primary state.
Again in green-screened debate and
spoofy consistency, Karger charges in like a knight to rescue the sullied elite
at the very moment the hetero normative Romney-Cain-Perry-Gingrich clan
stumble, unable even to offer canned pitches — and through editing brilliance
of Lapniski, Karger pulls off a real jobs advertisement.
Beating even President
Obama in the rating
with a 100% equality score, according to the recently published MEUSA chart, Karger’s
seriousness on the issues is worth the attention of the LGBT community.
While most of us are not Republicans, we still should show some measure of support
for Karger during this campaign season. I mean, what do we have to lose? We have everything to gain
through visibility and by burnishing gay brilliance in the face of buffoons.
MELANIE NATHAN is a lawyer and human rights activist who
is author of the GAY U.S.A. the Blog, which is run in conjunction with
GAY U.S.A. the Movie. Follow her on Twitter at @melanienathan1.