The Question of Endorsements

As published in iepolitics.com

Endorsements, candidates go for them like a kid at a candy store. Voters look for them as indicators that candidates are for or against policy positions. However when organizations are inconsistent with their mission statements it clouds the meaning of an endorsement in an election.

There are two endorsements I would like to call into question in California’s 2010 elections, endorsement of Mary Bono by the Log Cabin Republicans and the endorsement of Chris Lancaster by the California Republican Assembly.

I know as a queer conservative, I am not going to earn any brownie points for going after the Log Cabin Republicans, but I have to openly speak out and demonstrate their absurdity by being absurd. Just as how Log Cabin California endorsed candidates who were “good on Republican issues and not good on LGBT issues” they looked like fools on the Flash Report, Red County, Queerty and other websites in the 2008 primary.

However Log Cabin California may have improved in 2010 with the endorsement of Tom Campbell for the US Senate, but they may have faltered with the endorsement of Congresswoman Mary Bono-Mack of Palm Springs.  Mary Bono-Mack is in the political fight for her life in the 2010 November election with the popular openly gay mayor of Palm Springs Steve Poughnet. Even though Steve Poughnet may not be as effective as a public official where he is struggling to maintain public safety first responders in a budget crisis, we should not give Steve the edge because Mary refuses to repeal Don’t ask Don’t Tell or co-sponsor the trans inclusive Employment Non Discrimination Act.  When many of your constituents in the biggest cities of your district are in the LGBT community giving them a reason to support your opponent would be a very bad idea.

Voters do not want fair weather friends, voters want politicians that deliver for the causes they believe in.  Compared to those living in Utah or Florida we are fortunate to live in California where you cannot be fired because of your sexuality or gender expression.  It is great that Mary Bono-Mack is friendlier than her prior husband Sonny who was congressman for a few terms, but people want results not sweet talk just as how President Obama is shafting the supporters who helped lead him into office.

Now I am going to discuss the other endorsement controversy. This one deals with the California Republican Assembly, the conservative organization that is traditionally pro-traditional values and pro-fiscal conservatism.  The 59th Assembly District is facing a competitive primary in the Republican Party and with over six candidates competing for the chance to be nearly guaranteed the office after the primary.  The CRA endorsed newspaper executive Chris Lancaster as their choice for the 59th Assembly District.  Even though Chris Lancaster may be excellent on social conservative and traditional values issues, his prior history as a city council member in Covina shows that he is the next incarnation of retiring Assemblyman Anthony Adams due to him being recalled in 1993 for raising the utility tax. So when we see the CRA scorecard for Mr.Lancaster expect him to receive low marks not for supporting gay rights legislation, but for tax increases and being very cozy to the public employee unions which helped lead to this pension liability crisis our state and local governments are currently experiencing, which explains why Chris Lancaster was endorsed by the California Labor Federation in his 2006 effort running for State Assembly.  It is ironic that the CRA attacks someone like Palmdale mayor James Ledford where he has similar economic positions as Chris Lancaster, but the CRA should have endorsed someone like Ken Hunter who would be both conservative on social issues and economics as well. Maybe the CRA is listening to my advice in a Los Angeles Times letter to the editor saying that Mike Spence and friends should maybe go for the Latino vote who is pro-traditional values and pro-big government.

Perhaps if organizations endorsed candidates who are consistent with their mission statements then there would be more credibility to the value of their endorsements in future elections.

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