Thursday, March 24, 2011

The first openly gay presidential candidate is … a Republican?

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Presidential Candidate Fred Karger (R)
Fred Karger (R)

Well, this is something. The first openly gay presidential candidate has just announced his intention to run. Coming right after the first successful Black candidate in US history, that’s pretty awesome. But just in case that that wasn’t interesting enough in itself, here’s the clincher: He’s a Republican. A Progressive Republican. CBS reports:

Barely hours after filing his intent with the FEC to run for the 2012 Republican nomination for president, Fred Karger stopped by Washington Unplugged to formally announce his decision.

Speaking with CBS News congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes Karger said, "I've filed to run for President of the United States." (watch above)


This is the first time Karger has run for political office, but he has been a behind-the-scenes player for 35 years -- serving as an advisor to Presidents Ford, Reagan and George H. W. Bush.

Karger says he's an "outsider" but has "political experience."

He is also the first openly gay presidential candidate.

Unlike with other LGBT Republican groups, Karger does seem to realize how his openness about his sexual orientation puts him at clear odds with the rest of his party:

Cordes asked when so many of his fellow Republicans are opposed to gay rights and same-sex marriage why he would chose to run as a candidate of that same party.

"Being a gay Republicans is kind of an oxymoron," he said, "I have been a fighter in my party, I have always been on the more moderate side but I'm also a protégé of Lee Atwater. We need to open up this party and that's one of my reasons for running. The party should not be dominated by one faction or another. It should be open to all."

Karger also added, "I want to be a different kind of Republican. The kind of Republican I grew up with. I consider myself to be Progressive. The last Progressive Republican president was over 100 years ago; Theodore Roosevelt."

The article is rather light on information, as is his Wikipedia page. But the little that is included does paint him in the sort of light that I, despite my long-held notion that voting for a Republican is akin to selling your soul to the Devil these days, would be happy to vote for. (You know, were I American and all that. Silly democratic prerequisites.) Gay rights activist opposed to DoMA and DADT, wishes gay marriage were the “law of the land”, supports immigration reform, and even proposes a 28th Amendment that would grant 16—17-year-olds the right to vote.

Dear Gawd, he may very well be the very first Republican I actually like. Truly, the end times are upon us, or something.

(via @todayspolitics)