GOP minority outreach takes another hit

GOP MINORITY OUTREACH TAKES ANOTHER HIT…. Once in a while, Republican Party officials will argue they’re sincere about reaching out to voters beyond their generally homogeneous base. And once in a while, we’re reminded why such outreach usually doesn’t go well.

Consider just the last few weeks. First we saw a GOP congressional candidate who published pieces for a racist publication, which criticized inter-racial marriage, school integration, Jews, and African Americans. Then we saw another ground of ugly anti-immigrant attack ads. This coincided with news of another GOP congressional candidate who spent years dressing up like a Nazi for recreation.

And yesterday, another high-profile Republican relied on old-fashioned gay bashing in the hopes of winning votes.

[New York’s] Republican candidate for governor, Carl P. Paladino, told a gathering in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on Sunday that children should not be “brainwashed” into thinking that homosexuality was acceptable, and criticized his opponent, Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, for marching in a gay pride parade earlier this year. […]

“I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option — it isn’t,” he said, reading from a prepared address, according to a video of the event.

And then, to applause at Congregation Shaarei Chaim, he said: “I didn’t march in the gay parade this year — the gay pride parade this year. My opponent did, and that’s not the example we should be showing our children.”

Amanda Terkel has the video.

Paladino’s prepared text reportedly included a sentence he chose not to include in spoken remarks: “There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.”

By way of a defense, the Paladino campaign raised three points. The first is that the candidate did not actually repeat that offensive line in his prepared remarks. Of course, it’s not much of a response to argue, in effect, “We didn’t use that anti-gay rhetoric; we used different anti-gay rhetoric.”

Second, the campaign noted that Paladino hired a gay person for his campaign staff, but once we get into “some of my best friends are [fill in the blank with minority group]” the discussion is over.

And third, the Paladino campaign argued that a “majority of New Yorkers agree with” his anti-gay attitudes. I rather doubt that’s true, but no matter what the polls say, bigotry need not be subjected to a popularity contest.

What’s more, I’d be remiss if I didn’t note the irony of Paladino saying, “I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family.” In Paladino’s case, that should probably be rephrased to say “better off and much more successful getting married, committing adultery, and raising children from both my wife and my mistress.”

The anti-gay ugliness is offensive enough, but where does this guy get off pretending to have the moral high ground on family values?

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.