The Rainbow Elephant Stomping Mormons | Buzz Blog

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Rainbow Elephant Stomping Mormons

Posted By on April 9, 2010, 4:15 PM

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Saturday morning in New Orleans, a long-time GOP operative is going to announce that he will seek the party's nomination. If he formally declares, he would be the first gay presidential candidate seeking a major party nomination. And by the by, he is waging war against the LDS Church.---

Fred Karger loves contradiction. Saturday, he is planning to announce that he is declaring as a candidate for Republican nomination for president—according to a statement on his website—which would mean he would be running for the nomination of a party that has made opposition to gay marriage a core component of its platform. His statement was a day after Sarah Palin's speech (although not in the same place) to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, which has played, this year, like a slightly less insane Tea Party rally.

Instead of screaming about states rights to shore up his credentials for GOP nomination, however, Karger, has made a name for himself recently as the leader of Californians Against Hate, the group launched to fight Prop 8 in 2008 that has spent most of the time since that election dogging the LDS Church about its political and financial support of Prop 8.

Yet, while becoming one of the strongest voices in the gay marriage movement, Karger considers gay marriage a "theoretical concept," according to a profile in the most recent Mother Jones. He is more concerned about the messages of hate directed at gay people.

The contradictions of Karger go beyond gay marriage, however. Again, according to the MoJo profile, he spent most of his professional life as a closeted gay man working for powerful Republicans. He was Lee Atwater's right-hand man, essentially, when the Willie Horton attack ads were launched against Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis in 1988. In the Mother Jones article, the two politicians he highlights as favorites are Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Politics to Karger seems to be competition with rules comparable to professional wrestling. In the MoJo article, criticisms against him for setting up front groups for Phillip Morris to stop a ban on smoking in restaurants are dismissed as just one of the many tricks needed to win:

If Glantz thinks of this kind of covert work as sleazy, Karger views it as a whole lot of good fun. Movie-star tan and buff enough to proudly go shirtless at 60, he has an expansive sense of humor about politics that masks just how focused he is on getting results. (He's been known to hand out three-dollar bills with pictures of Rick Warren, or photos of himself dressed as the Lone Ranger.) A fearless and inveterate gate-crasher, Karger isn't afraid to pull off nervy stunts, like masquerading as a restaurant lobbyist. In 2006, he waltzed into Vanity Fair's exclusive Academy Awards party with a fake Oscar statue and four hot chicks he'd met on the street, claiming to be part of the King Kong special effects team.

What does this all mean for Utah? Probably nothing. But ... if Karger were competitive, and ... Salt Lake was chosen to host the Republican National Convention, and ... Mitt Romney were the front-runner ... things could very entertaining. Even for those who will spend most of the convention locked up in Utahnamo Bay (which will be on the west shore of Antelope Island, fyi).

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Josh Loftin

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