Mike the Mad Biologist

Certain political acts are beyond the pale, such as cutting a teen suicide hotline. Unless they’re gay, then it’s called positioning. In light of the Great Orange Satan‘s and others‘ calls for Michigan Democrats to muck up the Republican race by voting for Romney, I thought revisiting his cuts for a gay suicide teen hotline would be in order (be very, very careful, he just might win…). About the cuts, I wrote:

Let’s leave aside decency and morality and try to forget that Romney eliminated funding for a gay teen suicide hotline to curry favor with the theopolitical Right. Let’s not plumb the dark, foul abyss that is Mitt Romney’s soul. Let’s not ask how morally decrepit one would have to be to attempt to gain political office through the suicide of a child.

Ordinarily, I would provide a link to the Weekly Dig article, but the Dig apparently doesn’t believe in keeping its content on the web, so I went to the library and dug up the article from July 2006 (Internets, doodz! Internets!). Here’s what Romney did (bold original; italics mine):

Governor Mitt Romney is a mean, nasty dude. He’s laying the groundwork for a presidential run and using the state budget to give sly handjobs to prospective GOP primary voters. He’s willing to discard established bipartisan policy and trade votes for gay and lesbian kids’ health, or even their lives.

Haven’t we heard this before? Sure we have. A year ago, the Dig pilloried the Stormin’ Mormon for playing politics with the state budget (“The Mitt Romney Assisted Suicide Initiative,'” 7.13.05). Romney had gone out of his way to cut funding for GLBT youth programming out of the state budget, apparently hoping that budgetary gay-bashing would curry favor among evangelical voters.

A year has passed, and Romney has us writing another governor-hates-the-gays article: He’s building his conservative credentials by not only opposing gay marriage and civil unions but also cutting funding that’s essential to keeping an at-risk population alive. We wonder: If pulling this stunt once made Romney seem cynical and opportunistic, what does it say about him, as a person and a candidate, that he would try it twice? And what type of voter is supposed to be turned on by this bullshit?

Last year, Romney cut $100,000 from the Governor’s Commission on Gay and lesbian Youth-nearly one-third of that agency’s already decimated budget for GLBT youth violence and suicide prevention. (The commission was created in 1992 by Republican governor Bill Weld and was funded in the million-dollar range by Republican governor Jane Swift.) Romney also eliminated funding and authorizing language for GLBT suicide and violence prevention outreach in public schools, and he gutted a line item that set aside domestic violence funding for gay and lesbian couples.

….This year’s gay-related budget vetoes virtually mirrored last year’s: Romney vetoed $100,000 from the Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth’s meager $350,000 line item, cut language mandating GLBT youth suicide and violence prevention outreach, and eliminated funding for gay and lesbian domestic violence services.

Romney also vetoed a budget rider sponsored by state Senator Jarrett Barrios that would have removed the Commission on Gay and lesbian Youth from the governor’s purview. (The governor recently had a very public spat with the commission and, under pressure from local anti-gay groups, threatened to eliminate the commission altogether; he later backed off that threat.)

Even by its own twisted, evil logic, this makes no sense: if one stupidly believes that being gay or lesbian is an immoral ‘lifestyle’ choice, you can’t save them if they’re dead. Romney’s political opportunism knows no bounds, however:

“Somebody went into that budget with a surgical knife, and they cut everything they thought would be politically expedient to cut, in terms of appealing to the world beyond Massachusetts,” argues state Rep. Liz Malia. “It enables him to show the right wing of his party how much he’s fought the so-called homosexual agenda. It’s a very cold, calculating, strategic play, right out of the Rove playbook. He’s clearly decided that he’s going to reach out to this group of people–people who are afraid of us, people who say that we’re less than human, that we’re immoral, or whatever they think we are.”

Barrios adds, “In 2006, I would hope that gay and lesbian youth suicide prevention would be non-controversial; he’s more interested in the voters of South Carolina than the South End, and that this might harm youth is of no account.”

Cuz the Christopathic Republican base loves them some dead kids:

According to Rick Beltram, head of the Spartanburg, SC, GOP, South Carolina voters are “first looking for a candidate who passes the test on social issues.” Romney’s experience as a governor and his business background make him a very viable presidential candidate, Beltram says, but he wouldn’t even have a foot in the door if he didn’t pass the values litmus test.

“When we first introduced him in February, 2005, people were asking, ‘What could a liberal from the North I possibly do for us in South Carolina?'” Beltram recalls. “People in our group asked him, ‘Where are you on abortion, gay marriage and stem cell research?’ He answered on the ‘basis of a very conservative Republican.”

Do not let this man near any sort of political power ever again (and Romney’s compassion is virtually bottomless). Of course, Huckabee is no peach either

Since the original article isn’t on the web, I’m posting it in full below:

The Mitt Romney Assisted Suicide Initiative: Part 2
Southerners said to be delighted
by Paul McMorrow

Governor Mitt Romney is a mean, nasty dude. He’s laying the groundwork for a presidential run and using the state budget to give sly handjobs to prospective GOP primary voters. He’s willing to discard established bipartisan policy and trade votes for gay and lesbian kids’ health, or even their lives.

Haven’t we heard this before? Sure we have. A year ago, the Dig pilloried the Stormin’ Mormon for playing politics with the state budget (“The Mitt Romney Assisted Suicide Initiative,'” 7.13.05). Romney had gone out of his way to cut funding for GLBT youth programming out of the state budget, apparently hoping that budgetary gay-bashing would curry favor among evangelical voters.

A year has passed, and Romney has us writing another governor-hates-the-gays article: He’s building his conservative credentials by not only opposing gay marriage and civil unions but also cutting funding that’s essential to keeping an at-risk population alive. We wonder: If pulling this stunt once made Romney seem cynical and opportunistic, what does it say about him, as a person and a candidate, that he would try it twice? And what type of voter is supposed to be turned on by this bullshit?

Last year, Romney cut $100,000 from the Governor’s Commission on Gay and lesbian Youth-nearly one-third of that agency’s already decimated budget for GLBT youth violence and suicide prevention. (The commission was created in 1992 by Republican governor Bill Weld and was funded in the million-dollar range by Republican governor Jane Swift.) Romney also eliminated funding and authorizing language for GLBT suicide and violence prevention outreach in public schools, and he gutted a line item that set aside domestic violence funding for gay and lesbian couples. Policy makers and advocates cried foul, and the legislature overrode the gay vetoes.

One year later, the governor is still fighting the national perception that he’s tainted by northern, Bill Weld-style liberalism and that his Mormon faith might make him unpalatable to evangelicals. So what does he do? He re-proves his conservative credentials by attacking GLBT-related line items in the state budget.

This year’s gay-related budget vetoes virtually mirrored last year’s: Romney vetoed $100,000 from the Commission on Gay and lesbian Youth’s meager $350,000 line item, cut language mandating GLBT youth suicide and violence prevention outreach, and eliminated funding for gay and lesbian domestic violence services.

Romney also vetoed a budget rider sponsored by state Senator Jarrett Barrios that would have removed the Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth from the governor’s purview. (The governor recently had a very public spat with the commission and, under pressure from local anti-gay groups, threatened to eliminate the commission altogether; he later backed off that threat.)

“Somebody went into that budget with a surgical knife, and they cut everything they thought would be politically expedient to cut, in terms of appealing to the world beyond Massachusetts,” argues state Rep. Liz Malia. “It enables him to show the right wing of his party how much he’s fought the so-called
homosexual agenda. It’s a very cold, calculating, strategic play, right out of the Rove playbook. He’s clearly decided that he’s going to reach out to this group of people–people who are afraid of us, people who say that we’re less than human, that we’re immoral, or whatever they think we are.”

Barrios adds, “In 2006, I would hope that gay and lesbian youth suicide prevention would be non-controversial; he’s more interested in the voters of South Carolina than the South End, and that this might harm youth is of no account.”

Apparently, the more vigorously Romney can fight the homosexual agenda, the better. According to Rick Beltram, head of the Spartanburg, SC, GOP, South Carolina voters are “first looking for a candidate who passes the test on social issues.” Romney’s experience as a governor and his business background make him a very viable presidential candidate, Beltram says, but he wouldn’t even have a foot in the door if he didn’t pass the values litmus test.

“When we first introduced him in February, 2005, people were asking, ‘What could a liberal from the North I possibly do for us in South Carolina?'” Beltram recalls. “People in our group asked him, ‘Where are you on abortion, gay marriage and stem cell research?’ He answered on the ‘basis of a very conservative Republican.”

Last year, one of Romney’s chief political advisors let slip that our Guv had “been a pro-life Mormon faking it as a pro-choice friendly.” What’s the skinny now? Is Romney really hoping that gay kids start getting beaten up and committing suicide, or is he fake gay-bashing because it’s politically expedient? Nobody’s sure, but either way, it’s pretty filthy stuff.

Comments

  1. #1 realist
    January 14, 2008

    Don’t you see? If we quit providing service for those gay kids, they’ll decide it’s not worth it and quit being gay!

  2. #2 Ian
    January 18, 2008

    It bothers me that we’re seeing only one side of this issue. There may be only one side (insofar as the other side has no intelligent/moral basis for their position), but I’d like to know why the need was felt for specifically a gay suicide hotline.

    Is there no suicide prevention hotline at all? If that’s the case and there’s a need for one, this begs the question as to why a gay hotline is being sought rather than simply a community hotline.

    If there is a hotline but it is, for example, run by a church organization and is therefore hostile or potentially hostile to the gay community, then this needs to be addressed.

    If there’s a hotline but the staff are not adequately trained to handle calls from the gay community, then that needs to be addressed.

    If there’s already a hotline and so Romney’s “rationale” is that there’s no need a second one (or for a hotline for what he would deem rightly or wrongly to be special interests) then it puts a slightly different sheen on this issue.

    I mean, if there’s no push for, say, a black suicide hotline, or for a minor’s hotline or a cancer victim’s hotline, or a retiree’s hotline, then is his rationale any more or less valid in this case than in those cases?

    Perhaps everything that’s being said about Romney here is absolutely on the mark (and having followed your blogs for a while, I could accept that, at least provisionally!). It just bothers me that we have no way to determine if rationality or rabidity is at play from reading what’s written here.

  3. #3 llewelly
    January 18, 2008

    … if one stupidly believes that being gay or lesbian is an immoral ‘lifestyle’ choice, you can’t save them if they’re dead.

    In LDS (Mormon) mythology, those who are insufficiently compliant during life are preached to during their eternal afterlife, until they too, follow all the rules, and are eventually saved. This is why all Mormon religious cermonies are performed for the dead, as well as the living. It is why Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and many other famous people are baptized Mormons.

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