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Barney Frank Tells Liberal Democrats: Stop "Purity" Test Quibbles

top908.gif - 17.67 KDifferences with Republicans Have Never Before Mattered So Much

Get Out the Registered Vote to Stop GOP's Religious Conservatives

By Jack Nichols

Des Moines, Iowa—Representative Barney Frank, addressing groups associated with the Iowa Democratic Party's gay and lesbian caucus is warning that "there's never been a time in American politics when parties are more differentiated or when party meant more."

The Massachusetts congressman, a Democrat, charges that the Republican Party has been hijacked by anti-gay religious conservatives and that they 're winning because they're "out-organizing" Democratic liberals. The liberals, he says, must stop quibbling over ideological "purity" and get busy building a strong and effective movement on the left.

"The reason an ideologically driven minority has taken control of the Republican Party," he says, "is an entirely legitimate reason—they vote and other people don't."

"Nobody has any right to be critical of them," he told the Iowa caucus, "for exercising their rights of citizenship. People ask, 'How can we get the right wing to stop this or stop that?' You can't and it's none of your business to. It's our business to motivate and mobilize our people so we out-vote them," said Frank.

The moderate wing of the Republican Party, according to the openly gay congressman, was once called the "liberal wing" but "no Republican is allowed to say that right now."

gbauer.gif - 5.36 K Gary Bauer: Homophobic Choice in 2000 Frank reflected on the fact that Gary Bauer, president of the anti-gay religious right front group, the Family Research Council, plans to run for the U.S. presidency. "How would you like to be someone who has to pretend to take him seriously?" he asked.

A majority of the American people, Frank believes, "wants campaign-finance reform, the country does not like meanness in politics. It does not like the politics of divisiveness and anger. People still believe religion is a great gift for bringing out the best in each other and expressing our love for each other and not a stick by which you beat up people you disagree with."

Frank took pot shots at liberals who think that the work involved in getting voters to the polls is beneath them. "We have a wing of our group," he noted, "people who are passionately progressive, people who care about the environment, about civil liberties issues, about ending homophobia and bigotry based on sexual orientation or the right of women to choose—who suffer from a serious attitude problem.

"For them, going to the polls and registering people and voting in primaries and voting in elections is beneath their dignity ideologically. And if they do vote, they vote for someone who has no remote chance of winning. Voting for someone who might win is impugning their purism."

Green Party candidates, for example, ran candidates for Congress in New Mexico and the result was that they took away votes that normally would have gone to the Democratic candidate and two "Newt Gingrich" Republicans won seats in the House of Representatives.

Replies to the false charges regularly made by the religious right were made by Frank. He particularly objected to the charge that America's lesbian and gay communities are "recruiting" and "promoting" homosexual behavior.

"If you gave me $1 million tomorrow and told me to promote homosexuality, I haven't the faintest idea what I would do. What do you do? Have a contest? Make up posters? Put ads on television? The notion of promoting homosexuality is preposterous."

The gay agenda, Frank asserts, is "very simple". It says: "Please leave us alone. Please let us be what we want to be and live our lives with others…. Every time I hear one of those right-wing jerks say I'm only trying to get his approval, it's someone's approval you couldn't give to me as a gift."

Frank was asked what he'd do if GOP candidate Gary Bauer landed in Iowa to campaign. The appropriate response," he said, "would be to register a few thousand people who are against all the candidates he's for. That's the way you confront these people in a meaningful way," he insisted.

On Saturday a Republican congressman, Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham swore and made an obscene gesture, sounding Barney Frank's name while addressing a San Diego meeting of prostate cancer patients. Cunningham later apologized—saying he was out of line for describing Frank as a natural candidate for rectal exams. randyduke.jpg - 8.44 K Cunningham: Duke of Homophobia

Rectal cancer treatments were described by the homophobic Cunningham as "just not normal, unless you're Barney Frank"

"Obviously," replied one observer, "Barney Frank gets under the skin of the GOP's biggest bigots."

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