GOP official meets with gay Republicans: Some agreement, but still big differences

With Tom Emmer trailing in the polls but the campaign convinced he can win, the Minnesota Republican Party is leaving no stone unturned in outreach — even if that stone is an irritant to many of the party faithful.

Hence last week’s meeting between Michael Brodkorb, deputy chair of the Minnesota GOP, and the Minnesota Log Cabin Republicans, gay Republicans who work for inclusiveness in the party and to promote gay rights legislation, like the repeal of the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy.

Michael Brodkorb
Michael Brodkorb

It was the first time in recent memory, if ever, that a party official had addressed the group.  According to Brodkorb, these were no strange bedfellows, in fact, they had much in common.

“I clearly think we need every Republican to vote for Tom Emmer,” he said. “On matters related to gay marriage, civil unions, these will be issues where the platform in its current form — we wouldn’t agree — but on 90 percent of the others issues we can have a discussion. These are Republicans.”

But with the remaining 10 percent of the issues, there’s a wide gulf to close, largely because of one Emmer affiliation. Emmer has supported You Can Run But You Cannot Hide Intl., Inc., a ministry with a strident, some say openly hateful, anti-gay message. The group is based in his legislative district.

Log Cabin Chair Mark Knief invited Brodkorb to the group’s monthly meeting, where Brodkorb gave an election update. The move is part of Knief’s effort to draw the Log Cabin closer to the official party structure.

He’s doing this despite the GOP’s plank against gay marriage. “I don’t think the platform is the party, frankly,” Knief said. “Our belief is we want to work with the party to change that platform. I think that will happen, but it’s not going to happen if people just give up.”

Knief said the meeting was largely positive. “People were impressed, they really liked the message,” he said.

And the message that Broadkorb delivered: “There is always a place in every election to discuss social issues but in this campaign the overriding theme is jobs and economy, where we are going as a state and a country,” he said. “From the folks I spoke with it’s about jobs and the economy.  They are not supportive of any way, shape or form of [Mark] Dayton.”

Knief said he has talked with Emmer about the candidate’s association with You Can Run But You Cannot Hide. “I would have preferred to see more distance between [them] and the Emmer campaign,” he said, despite the campaign’s effort to portray the relationship as one simply between legislator and constituent. Knief says the association has caused the resignation of one Log Cabin board member and the departure of several in the membership group of 300.

Tom Emmer
MinnPost/Terry Gydesen
Tom Emmer

“This is not helpful to Republicans running. The Minnesota Family Council, the National Organization for Marriage, they are doing Tom more harm than good,” he said.

Still, Kneif says that Emmer is “always open to having a discussion,” and that there are Log Cabin members who are working very hard on his campaign. “We can’t sit this one out,” he maintains.

The Log Cabin Republicans remain a partisan group. “We endorse Republican candidates,” Knieff said. “Obama has not been a friend. And a fierce advocate, he’s been anything but. People need to wake up to the fact that just because there’s a ‘D’ after someone’s name [it doesn’t mean] they’re supportive of our issues.”

Other GOP developments: Coleman campaigns for Emmer
Caught up with my old boss Norm Coleman yesterday afternoon and he confirmed he will be campaigning Friday and Saturday for Emmer. Coleman’s taking in a larger GOP rally Saturday and more targeted campaign events on Friday.

Snagging a Coleman campaign appearance was not a sure thing for the Emmer campaign even though Coleman’s former campaign chief is now Emmer’s. There was a period of — shall we say — adjustment.

“I’ve gotten to know Tom and gotten to know his wife. He brings the right values, the right kind of passion,” Coleman said.

Norm Coleman
MinnPost photo by Bill Kelley
Norm Coleman

Coleman acknowledges that as a center-right Republican, he believed that certain government spending could cover some economic ills. But he also admits a change of thought. “We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem,” he said, adding that he believes Emmer has the capacity to put the state on the right economic track.

Coleman is off to China for eight days after the election with a group of former U.S. Senate colleagues.

Considering the delicacy of U.S.-China relations, what does another delegation bring to the mix? “We’re going to talk about the exchange rate, intellectual property — and they’re going to talk about Taiwan,” he said with a chuckle. “It’s important to be candid and challenging.”

In case you’re keeping track, this is the first time in 19 years that Coleman is not in office or not running for office.

“It’s nice to wake up, read the paper, and not have worry about someone who’s trying to kill you,” he said.

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Comments (19)

  1. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 10/27/2010 - 11:52 am.

    I don’t even know how a gay person could be a Republican. ALL you hear from Republican candidates on the issue are messages of second class citizenry, hate, alienation or worse. And by worse, I mean the kind of messages you hear from You Can Run But You Cannot Hide – that the only good gay is a dead gay.

    Dollars to donuts, the head of that group turns out to be gay. The only people who start groups to hate gays hate themselves for being gay.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 10/27/2010 - 01:02 pm.

    Emmer opposes gay marriage. So does Barack Obama. Did it prevent gay liberals from voting for Obama?

  3. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 10/27/2010 - 01:32 pm.

    Obama doesn’t support You Can Run But You Cannot Hide.

  4. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/27/2010 - 01:47 pm.

    “I’ll also add: Emmer supports a constitutional amendment to write that ban into the Constitution. Obama doesn’t.”

    Obama’s opinion doesn’t matter. This is an issue that is clearly the province of the several states to decide.

  5. Submitted by Swanson Painter on 10/27/2010 - 02:19 pm.

    I, too question what anyone in the Log Cabin group thinks it will gain by supporting Emmer, or any Republican candidate.
    The Republicans that are running this season seem to be proud of their anti-gay position, and almost encourage their supporters to deny gays any of the civil rights given to all
    our other citizens.
    It is painful to listen to the way they speak of gays, and they all seem to want to use religion to somehow justify the hatred.
    They even want to stop anti-bully legislation for fear that it could “promote” the gay “agenda”.
    If anyone had ever listened to Brodkorb while he was on the radio, they would know he
    does not like gays, fears any political power they might achieve and wants them marginalized even more than they all ready are. He was great at hate speech when he was on the radio. I doubt that his attitudes have changed.

  6. Submitted by Dion Goldman on 10/27/2010 - 02:20 pm.

    Tom Horner is in favor of gay marriage, And adoption by gays, etc. why not vote for Horner?
    Dayton is promoting class warfare in MN (poor versus rich) which will only continue to divide our state.

  7. Submitted by David Greene on 10/27/2010 - 03:35 pm.

    Dion, Dayton did not start the class war. That’s been going on for a couple of centuries, at least. Within the last 40 years the rich have intensified the conflict. It’s only natural the rest of us would react.

  8. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/27/2010 - 05:11 pm.

    “The Supreme Court has ruled marriage a fundamental right under the US Constitution (see Loving. The states are not free to strip fundamental rights at the whims of a slim majority.”

    Right. Every man and woman in America is guaranteed the same fundamental rights, as the SCOTUS has rightly reaffirmed.

    And there is nothing that prevents the several states from codifying those rights in their own constitutional law.

  9. Submitted by Tony Wagner on 10/27/2010 - 06:53 pm.

    Kneif says that Emmer is “always open to having a discussion,”

    Has Kneif not seen any of the gubernatorial debates? Emmer has not answered even one question regarding “social issues.” He says “the only issue of this campaign is jobs.”

    I wonder if he’s elected, will he abstain from ratifying/vetoing bills related to all other issues? Or if he will try to claim that gay marriage will reduce jobs, etc.?

  10. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 10/27/2010 - 07:09 pm.

    The Government should have as little to do with Religion as possible. Marriage is religious. Civil Unions are contracts. Government has a much better claim to a role in contract enforcement than in Religion.

  11. Submitted by Jim Roth on 10/27/2010 - 09:59 pm.

    The California Federal District Court case is Perry v. Schwarzenegger. If you want to review the case itself, and I recommend it, it is available on the website of the Federal District Court, Northern District of California. Judge Vaughn, who decided the case, was a Reagan appointee. It addresses all the statutory and constitutional issues.

  12. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 10/27/2010 - 10:55 pm.

    //”PROPOSITION 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same sex couples.”//

    Those two lines, from Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision to overturn Proposition 8 in California, are as fine a summary of Perry v Schwarzenegger as you’ll find.

    The defenders of the law’s strategy was ridiculous because now there is a vast, extremely well documented set of factual findings for which there is literally no contradictory evidence on record. None. Judge Walker’s opinion forces judges who would vote to overturn it – or rule contrarily in their own jurisdictions – to say that a history of discrimination and moral dislike is a valid civic reason.

    The opinion spends literally dozens of pages documenting how the marriage laws have changed over time and as society’s definition of gender roles has progressed – from racial restrictions to repealing coverture to changing divorce. This means any other court must decide that all these civic changes don’t matter except for this one case of same gender marriage.

    Ht to Mr. Roth….

  13. Submitted by Dion Goldman on 10/28/2010 - 08:46 am.

    David Green ..Oh I see, because Dayton did not START class warfare, that makes it OK for him to perputuate it? Ummmm….Two wrongs must make a right then…I’ll have to tell my Dad he was wrong about that one.

  14. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 10/28/2010 - 11:25 am.

    Dayton is not the only candidate who is perpetuating “class warfare.” Unlike Tom Horner, who wants to balance the budget with regressive sales taxes, Dayton is the only candiate who isn’t on the side of the rich in that “war”.

  15. Submitted by Jean Schiebel on 10/29/2010 - 09:32 am.

    After reading that Michael Brodkorb has reached out to the Log Cabin Republicans. I feel more comfortable in Daytons lead.
    The Emmer supporters I know would rather see them on an Island somewhere so they can’t recruit their kids.

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