Ensuring Barack Obama is a one-term president is the overarching goal of the Log Cabin Republicans as the 2012 election cycle starts to heat up – and the group has the power to make sure that happens, says R. Clarke Cooper, the organization's executive director.
“We would agree with that,” Cooper told Newsmax, aligning the Log Cabin Republicans with other conservatives who have stated that their top priority is to evict Obama from the White House. And Cooper insists the 2012 presidential election carries vital national security ramifications with it.
“This current administration has actually lied prostrate and almost apologized for America's role in the world,” he said. “And unfortunately, that's probably weakened us in some areas where we've actually had to fight off potential terrorism – not just threats, but actual acts. We are facing dangers of nuclear proliferation in Iran and other places. So, again, domestic issues are very important … it's actually what will help the Republicans gain ground with the average voter.”
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LCR, America's largest gay and lesbian GOP grass-roots organization, held its national convention recently in Dallas. Cooper and Bob Kabel, a former LCR national board chairman and current chairman of the District of Columbia Republican Party, both had harsh words for Obama.
“He's been a real disappointment,” Kabel told Newsmax. “I, frankly, was one who really believed that perhaps we were at a moment in history where his sort of optimism and sort of self-stated ability to bring people together would actually make a difference. But what we've seen in the execution during his administration has really been very disappointing – it's actually the opposite. He's extraordinarily partisan, he's extraordinarily liberal, he's really made very little effort, if any, to bring certainly Republicans and more conservative people together to resolve the nation's issues.”
But, Cooper says, Republicans can change all that on Election Day 2012 – and Log Cabin Republicans can help ensure a GOP takeover of the White House. He points out that in 2008, 18 percent of self identified gay and lesbian voters voted Republican.
“That number rose to 31 percent in 2010 – that's a significant increase,” he said. “That's not just a data point that's recognized by Log Cabin Republicans, it's a data point recognized by campaigns, it's a data point recognized by the campaign committees, as well as the RNC (Republican National Committee). …
“We've been more active in races. Again, going back to the 2010 cycle, Log Cabin endorsed 17 candidates for Congress. Thirteen of those 17 are in Congress right now. … We're actually helping get candidates elected, and that's being recognized even by those who maybe don't align with us completely within the party.”
As a result, Cooper says, LCR has the numbers and influence to tilt a close election.
“I think we do, actually. Again, I go back to those statistics. When you compare 2008 to 2010, those are measurable numbers that are noted not just by our organization, but the broader party.”
Copper believes the lessons of 2010 should provide a roadmap to victory for the GOP in 2012.
“For 2012 … focus on what got us elected in 2010, let's go back to those core tenets and we'll win. We will succeed. The mantra for Log Cabin is inclusion wins. … Having an inclusive party is actually a force multiplier for either a congressional candidate, statehouse candidate or a presidential candidate.”
Kabel also insists Obama is beatable in 2012.
“If you just look on paper, he's extremely vulnerable,” Kabel said. “I mean a lot of, a majority of, Americans think he should not be elected to a second term. I think the real question, of course, for the Republicans is finding the right candidate who people feel comfortable with and who will actually make a difference in the country. And in that way, President Obama can be defeated, can be limited to one term.”
On other subjects:
- Tea Party Movement: “These are people who either felt disenfranchised in the past by the Republican Party establishment or they've never been tied to either the Republican or Democratic Party,” Cooper said. “These are people who are very myopically mission-focused on reduction of government spending, reduction of the size of government – making sure that there is a future for us to enjoy those individual liberties as Americans. So we're part of the dialogue with them. I see it as healthy discourse for party growth. I don't seem them, as some might say, as dangerous or a distraction. Is discourse sometimes uncomfortable? Absolutely. But we look at this freshman (congressional) class; they are committed. And, you know, for some there's some growing pains in going from campaigning to governance. But the tea party – the folks who are aligned with that – may actually save the Republican Party.”
- Obama's Greatest Failures: “There are two areas – one is domestic and the other is foreign policy,” Kabel said. “I think on the domestic side, he spent the first year hammering away at a healthcare plan that was done with virtually all Democrats, and ignored what was going on in the economy. So, rather than paying attention to the dire economic situation the country was in, particularly the job market, he ignored that. So I think people really are not very forgiving of that, because the economy hasn't really come around. We may be out of a recession by an economist's standards, but there's still a lot of people in this country suffering.”
- Pitfalls the GOP Must Avoid Before 2012: “I think they do need to avoid pitfalls of the social issues, frankly, because the country's concerned about the economy and jobs, and also, frankly, a strong foreign policy – which is also another shortcoming of the Obama administration,” Kabel said. “There's an ambivalence there that I think is creating significant problems for us around the world. But I think the Republicans have to continue to take leadership, as they have, certainly in the House, on budget issues, on providing and laying out a cogent and successful program for reducing the budget deficits. I think people are looking for leadership, you know, because they don't see it coming from President Obama.”
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