Following a series of debate gaffes and blunders that have pushed him out of his spot as a frontrunner in the presidential race, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has tried to win back support by stressing his social conservative credentials. He is kicking off a bus campaign around Iowa focusing on “faith, family and freedom” and has framed himself as a victim of the media, claiming he is being “criticized for standing up for the values Jesus Christ talked about.” In one ad he discusses alleged liberal attacks against his faith and in another attacks openly gay soldiers while lamenting President Obama’s supposed “war on religion.” While Perry has won praise from Religious Right leaders for his ads that vilify gays while stoking fears about President Obama’s handling of religious freedom, at least one right-wing talk show host is angry at the candidate—because he hired a gay pollster.
After the governor’s gay-baiting ad was released, the two leaders of the gay conservative group GOProud tweeted that a high-level pollster on the Perry campaign, Tony Fabrizio, is himself fact gay. Fabrizio has previously worked for pro-gay rights causes, including the campaign to stop Florida’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
Steve Deace, an influential Iowa radio host, condemned Perry on his radio show yesterday for hiring an openly gay staffer, who to work on his campaign for president, likening it to hiring a pedophile or a rapist: “When you put someone in place in your organization, regardless of whether they’re a practicing homosexual, a polygamist, a pedophile, a thief, a rapist, or any other form of behavior that violates the natural law, you are empowering people within your organization that are lawbreakers.”
Deace argued that Perry cannot claim to stand opposed to gay rights while working with people who are trying to “redefine” marriage and that Perry’s decision to hire Fabrizio “repudiates everything that his campaign is supposedly based on.” He went on to say that Perry either “didn’t know” or “didn’t care” about Fabrizio’s sexual orientation, which shows why “despite the fact he’s got $50 million, he’s got six percent more of the popular vote in the polls than I do”:
Deace: So what happens is here is the homosexual deviation from the script, from a public policy standpoint presents challenges to a culture that the rest of the deviations do not. It demands by its very nature, or its violations of nature, it demands that you change the definition of what nature is on everything, across the entire board. So therefore—what is the legal system in America? Well, let’s again go back to our founding document; our founding document says we are governed by ‘the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,’ the natural law. Like, gravity is the natural law, it just is, whether you accept it or not, this is the natural law. So if this natural law is one man and one woman procreating and perpetuating the next generation, and so we’ve set up an entire standard in our system based off of this defined law, if we attempt to redefine that law, we are going to have to redefine everything else.
And so when you put someone in place in your organization, regardless of whether they’re a practicing homosexual, a polygamist, a pedophile, a thief, a rapist or any other form of behavior that violates the natural law, you are empowering people within your organization that are lawbreakers. We are all lawbreakers to some extent, but there’s a difference between recognizing that and going to God for grace and mercy, as opposed to saying you have to change the law and your tradition because of who I am right now, I don’t have to change, you must all change for me.
For the life of me I can’t understand why anybody who’s espousing what Rick Perry espouses in that television ad would put somebody in a place of prominence in his campaign who repudiates everything that his campaign is supposedly based on. What sense does that make? Who would do such a thing? So that leaves two options, either they didn’t know and didn’t do their own homework or they didn’t care. I’m not sure either one of those is really a good answer. That might be signs of why despite the fact he’s got $50 million, he’s got six percent more of the popular vote in the polls than I do.