ONTD Political

Gay man steps up for 2012 where no Republicans have dared to tread (so far.)

11:46 am - 03/24/2011
Meet the gay Republican running for President in 2012

By MIRIAM | Published: MARCH 24, 2011 source Feministing.com

I had the opportunity to meet Fred Karger this summer at the Netroots Nation conference. He was already talking about running for President then, but Karger made his bid official yesterday. He’s the first Republican to officially enter the race, as well as the first openly gay candidate (in a major political party) to run for President.

And yes, you heard that right. He’s a Republican.

My interview with Karger is below. I was fascinated by him because, despite the label, he didn’t say anything particularly Republican. At least not the Republican party that I’m familiar with. Karger is pro-choice. Self-identifies as a feminist. Pro gay marriage. He even talked about the Equal Rights Amendment! He talks about being a fiscal conservative, but didn’t really open up about exactly what that meant.

It’s pretty obvious that he’s not going to go very far on the Republican ticket. I’m not even sure the Democrats could handle an openly gay candidate. But he will force the issue in the Republican debates for as long as he’s in the race—and for that, we can thank him. It won’t hurt to have a pro-choice openly gay Republican going head to head with whoever runs in his party.

Here’s Fred.



[OP eta: wow I have such mixed feeling reading this interview. He says a lot of things that need to be said about the current way of things, but he lost me at "I'm more of a libertarian". I also don't know where or when this guy "grew up" that he says, "the Republican party was more progressive" Um, I remember the Regan years, does he? I just dont fucking thing so. No.]


Miriam: Thanks for joining me. Why don’t we start with you telling me who you are and what you’re doing.

Fred: My name is Fred Karger and I’m seriously considering running for President as an Independent Republican in 2012.

Miriam: So why are you running for President?

Fred: I’ve been a frustrated candidate my whole life. I’ve always been gay but I’ve never been out of the closet publicly which I just did four years ago. I feel that there is a need to have a gay candidate run for President. I feel that for three important areas. One that the LGBT community needs good strong representation a good voice to talk about big issues that are not being talked about right now. I feel the country is in need of a good shot in the arm in terms of leadership. I feel that the current President is not doing a good job lifting the spirit of Americans. I think that is something I could do. The Republican party is on it’s way to extinction unless we open up the flaps of the tent and work to get young people engaged in the party.

Miriam: Are you a feminist?

Fred: I’m a very strong feminist. My mother was so I better be. I’m a founding member of Republican Majority for Choice. I’ve been a big supporter of Planned Parenthood, of the Equal Rights Amendment which was around when I was just starting in politics, and a big supporter of Hilary Clinton the first time around.

Miriam: Your policies make you sound more like a Democrat. Why are you running as a Republican?

Fred: The Republican party I grew up in was very moderate, very progressive. Some of the early Republican leaders were you know much more liberal. The Democrats were the segregationalists at the turn of the last Century. It’s gotten hijacked by the Christian Right. George W Bush really helped that along and took the party on a big right ward course.I think it’s important that the gay community be represented in the Republican party. I think we should have a seat at the table. I think it’s very appropriate that the first openly gay candidate be a Republican.

Miriam: Are there any issues with which you agree with the Republican party as it stands?

Fred: The hypocrisy of the Republican party is pretty prevelant these days. They preach small government but they want to tell women what to do with their bodies. I’m a fiscal conservative, I come from a finance background. I definitely want to work to strengthen our economy, I believe in the private sector. I’m a libertarian of sorts.

Miriam: What do you think about Sarah Palin calling herself a feminist?

Fred: Maybe Sarah Palin doesn’t quite know what a feminist is. I don’t know if she’s going to be in Tea Party or the Republican party. I certainly welcome her into the Republican Presidential race. I think it would really add a lot of excitement. She’s a rockstar. I think she has things to bring to the table and certainly issues to discuss but as far as a feminist I think her definition and mine are about 180 degrees apart.

Miriam: Do you think you’ll see marriage equality in your lifetime?

Fred: Marriage equality is a certainty. It’s a question of when. When I was growing up in the fifties and sixties and realizing my sexual orientation the word gay wasn’t even in the vocabulary. The hearts and minds of Americans are changing so rapidly. Every day something good happens. Marriage equality is around the corner. The best most logical way is through this Prop 8 case, through the Supreme Court. They did the right thing in 1967 with the Loving v Virginia case. When this gay marriage case comes up it might not be a politically popular decision but that’s why we have three branches of government. I’m very hopeful they will do the right thing. But the public tide is also moving really quickly. Eventually marriage equality will be the law of the land for all Americans.

ceilidh_ann 24th-Mar-2011 08:36 pm (UTC)
This guy actually sounds pretty cool. Hurray for sane Republicans. Shame he hasn't got a hope in hell.

Question: Who are the serious possible candidates for the nomination? There's no way Gingrich will get it, Pawlenty just doesn't cut it and Bachmann & Trump will provide a lot of laughs/facepalming but that's it.
danceprincess20 24th-Mar-2011 08:43 pm (UTC)
The only other names I've heard around are Huntsman and Mitch Daniels.
aviv_b 24th-Mar-2011 08:51 pm (UTC)
Depending on his age, he may very well remember the 'old' Republican party. Low taxes and less regulation has always been a key component of the party, but Republicans really used to be serious about personal freedom and right to privacy. So the 'more like Libertarian' label isn't totally inaccurate.

Barry Goldwater - who was considered to be an ultra-conservative when he ran for president in the 1960s once said about gays in the military:"You don't have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight."

As for mixing religion and politics: "When you say "radical right" today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican party and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye."

He and many of his contemporaries considered abortion to be a private matter that should not be regulated.

He would be considered far too liberal for the Republican party today. Come to think of it, he would probably be too liberal for a lot of Democrats today.

devilstay 24th-Mar-2011 09:01 pm (UTC)
This whole comment is so true. There was a time when being on the right side of the political spectrum did not equate to being a lunatic but was more about being patriotic, masculine and traditional, so for sure, they weren't ideal but they had a lot more common sense then they do now (this of course can only be applied to a certain period in time).

'Come to think of it, he would probably be too liberal for a lot of Democrats today'.

This is *sigh* also true.
thecityofdis 24th-Mar-2011 08:52 pm (UTC)
Who?
___closetome 24th-Mar-2011 09:30 pm (UTC)
Professional NOM agitator. Which makes him cool in my book. I heard about him from reading P8TT.
sparkindarkness 24th-Mar-2011 09:02 pm (UTC)
Hah, i have more chance of becoming king
paulnolan 24th-Mar-2011 09:26 pm (UTC)
King Sparky would only mean good things for our country. :)
pullmystrings 24th-Mar-2011 09:05 pm (UTC)
Not that he has any chance in hell, but good for him
bmh4d0k3n 24th-Mar-2011 09:16 pm (UTC)
masanori 25th-Mar-2011 12:30 am (UTC)
'Vote for "A Gay President in 2084"'
'What? We're realistic.'
alanadelrey 24th-Mar-2011 10:19 pm (UTC)
I'd vote for him.
wathsalive 24th-Mar-2011 10:24 pm (UTC)
I think the point is that he definitely isn't running to win. I'm guessing he must be independently quite wealthy. and he's never been in elected office before so yeah, I think he knows his chances of winning are slim. He's running to create more publicity for LGB (not T, let's face it) rights, and his mere candidacy is going to put the democrats and republicans into a pickle because they won't be able to mutually ignore or tokenize the issue come election time.
anamatics 25th-Mar-2011 02:13 am (UTC)
I think it's a fairly clever move, personally. But I'm a total junkie for political strategy.
caterfree10 24th-Mar-2011 10:36 pm (UTC)
I would totally vote for this guy in a heartbeat, negl. <3 We need more sane republicans after all. :3

'S a shame the way the party is now he doesn't stand a chance in Hell. ;3;

OH WELL, STILL GOING TO WRITE IN VOTE IF WORSE COMES TO WORSE. :Bb
escherichiacola 24th-Mar-2011 11:57 pm (UTC)
Pretty much yeah.
breexbree 24th-Mar-2011 11:03 pm (UTC)
I don't know if I would vote for him, but I wouldn't mind as much if he won.
wrestlingdog 24th-Mar-2011 11:16 pm (UTC)
Sounds pretty awesome from this article.
cecilia_weasley 24th-Mar-2011 11:22 pm (UTC)
He sounds pretty cool for a Republican candidate. Sane Republican citizens should consider him!
ladyanneboleyn Irrelevant comment:25th-Mar-2011 02:09 am (UTC)
I just know him as the guy who championed the Jester Party and led to Jon Stewart being elected president in that one awesome fanfic.
anamatics 25th-Mar-2011 02:11 am (UTC)
Dear Mr Karger -

I'd have to read more about your fiscal policies but you sound like a Republican from Vermont. I got along very well with those types - but if your fiscal policies check out I'd consider voting for you.

~ana

tennants 25th-Mar-2011 06:55 am (UTC)
I actually like this guy. He seems like he knows what he wants to do, and he isn't going to put up with shit. I would love to see how he campaigns.

The Democrat in me is judging myself really hard right now.
ixscarexmyself 25th-Mar-2011 01:16 pm (UTC)
For fear of Palin running, I stayed a registered republican so I could vote for anyone but her in the primary. Now I know I can vote for someone and not feel so dirty about it.
wemblee 25th-Mar-2011 03:10 pm (UTC)
Nice that he's socially liberal, except you can't really be socially liberal if you won't fund initiatives and programs that make it possible to help disadvantaged groups, and you won't fund that shit if you're "fiscally conservative." I mean, yay, queer non-batshit politicians pushing the Republicans in a slightly less shitty direction, but if you're not pushing Keynesian economics, you're still fucking us all.
gundamtsubasa 25th-Mar-2011 06:41 pm (UTC)
From the article: "I’m not even sure the Democrats could handle an openly gay candidate."

I'll answer that one for you. NO. THEY COULDN'T.
cyranothe2nd 25th-Mar-2011 11:38 pm (UTC)
'Gay Republican' WHAAAAA? One of these things is not like the other...
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