Fred Karger: the gay Jewish Republican presidential candidate whose biggest opponent is his own party
Fred Karger will not be the next President of the United States. He won’t be the next Republican nominee. He probably won’t even be in any Republican presidential debates, though not by his own choice.
“It sounds crazy,” Karger told the LA Times, on running for president. I must disagree.
I have a particular affection for candidates who break with their own party line on even just one issue when they’re well aware it would inevitably hinder their ultimate purpose: to get the political seat. This is why, loathe I am to admit it, I dislike Ron Paul less than the rest of the GOP frontrunners.
What you see in the photo above is why I can’t help but adore Fred Karger. In the race for 2012, his sexuality will be his downfall. This absurdity is our reality. As Alex Pareene said in March:
While coastal elites at the RNC have been friendly to Karger, the true Republicans… at the RNC… have also already blocked him from participating in one debate, and they are likely to continue banning him from all future debates, at least until he stops being gay.
Karger calls himself progressive on social issues and says he wants to bring the Republican party back to the days of Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. In the run-up to the 2012 election, his biggest opponent wouldn’t be the majority of the American public. Rather, his biggest opponent is big ol’ conservative influence.
Karger may be wealthy from his time as a political operative for nine presidential campaigns and working as a strategist for big corporate names, but he isn’t made of Mitt Bucks. To get on the radar of the attention-deficit American mindset, he needs money and air time, both necessary through the support of high-level Republican think tanks, a well-funded PAC and media coverage.
If he doesn’t have the Grand Ol’ Party behind him, he will have a very difficult time obtaining name recognition. This is something he surely understands since his campaign bears the motto, “Fred Who?”. For this reason, Karger’s got a hell of a challenge… coming from his own party.
In 2010, RNC member Steve Scheffler gave Karger the email equivalent of a middle finger:
you and the radical homosexual community want to harass supporters of REAL marriage. I am the Republican National Committeeman for Iowa. As a private citizen and knowing literally thousands of caucus goers, I will work overtime to help ensure that your political aspirations are aborted right here in Iowa. Have you studied our past caucuses–you have NO chance here in Iowa! [Mother Jones]
No surprise really, since Karger is a strong proponent against Prop. 8 and founded Californians Against Hate. He has worked to expose the Mormon Church’s influence over the passing of Prop 8 and once filed a complaint against Scheffler for violating federal election laws. Karger also filed an ethics complaint against James Bopp, the man appointed by the RNC to oversee debates. No surprise, part deux: Karger was excluded from the FOX News Iowa debate, despite meeting their criteria. He is now preparing to file another FEC complaint.
His existence in the race does something we need, if we’re willing to open our eyes: it points a finger at the incessant bigotry of the Republican party, lest we forget it. Yes, gay Republicans exist. Fiscal conservatism is their priority rather than embarking on a crusade for “family values,” which I find to be the most eye-roll worthy phrase on the political spectrum. Unfortunately, for the time being, Republicans like Karger will not garner the support necessary to elevate themselves to the front of the pack due to opposition from the party within.
I have this photo of Karger hanging in my room (next to a photo of Roosevelt and Churchill at the Casablanca Conference, so hopefully anyone who walks into my room will be mildly confused). I won’t agree with Karger on everything, but this picture serves as a reminder that not every Republican harbors beliefs I am completely against. Additionally, we mustn’t forget that his existence in the 2012 race makes him the first openly gay presidential candidate in U.S. history. That alone is a beautiful thing, no matter how little we pay attention to him.
[Photo: Adam Bouska]
I’m still perplexed why someone would support an ideology or party that will never appreciate who they honestly are.
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