Sunday, October 02, 2005

Why was David Dreier's play for DeLay's job blunted?

With Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) stepping down temporarily as House Majority Leader, House Republicans had to find someone to do his job for Mr. DeLay until he can beat this rap. Two leading candidates emerged: Rep. David Dreier of California, and Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri. Blunt got the job.

"Okay, Kurt, so what? I can watch CNN's Headline News myself." Good point. But what the Republican leadership didn't say was that Mr. Dreier didn't get the job because, well, he supports stem cell research and opposes the heterosexual marriage amendment for the Constitution. Oh, and his gayness might have had something to do with it.

Yes, David Dreier is a gay Republican. He's a 24-year veteran of Congress, largely moderate (apart from some socially reactionary votes) and has recently been part of an outing campaign by blogactive.com.

I think the social conservatives would have grabbed control anyway, even if the fiscal conservatives had tried to get a straight man nominated. Regardless, this is just another example of how the Republican Party is sinking into a morass of intolerance, chasing out all the old moderates and the live-and-let-livers. Lest you think I'm a hypocrite here, let me clarify that I don't believe in "outing" except in the cases of politicians or other public figures who make their way by fighting against gay rights. While I laud Dreier for opposing the Constitutional amendment for heterosexual marriage, I admonish him for having backed the loathesome Defense of Marriage Act.

If this ruins Dreier's career, or at least makes the Republican Party look at itself more closely, then I'd say the outing is well worth it. I'm not entirely sold on the idea that Dreier was passed up primarily because he's gay, but the fact that blogactive.com had been planning an outing campaign on Dreier for the past couple of weeks probably figured into it at least somewhat.

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