Now, I’d chalk this up to the absolute terror running through the Republican party at the prospect of losing their permanent majority; but they’ve pulled this kind of thing for more than a decade anyway — the smearing, libel, and outright lying that they do when campaigning. And once again, they are trying to pit Americans against Americans.
GOP ads warn of ‘homosexual agenda’ from S.F.
Edward Epstein, Chronicle Washington Bureau
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Republican charges of a San Francisco “homosexual agenda” and allegations that a liberal “San Francisco majority” in Congress would endanger the nation have emerged as themes in the final two weeks of the Nov. 7 midterm election campaign.
The latest salvos are variations on a constant GOP refrain this year, tied to the prospect that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a “San Francisco liberal,” would become speaker if Democrats make at least a 15-seat gain in the midterm elections.
“You know, they use me all over the country, my radical homosexual agenda,” said Pelosi, in San Francisco Friday before heading to campaign stops in Colorado and New Mexico.
“I’ve never seen a situation where a national party has run against a particular part of the country. It makes me wonder what the Republicans in San Francisco think about the assault that they are making on our city. But it doesn’t bother me,” she said.
A 60-second radio ad by Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind., who is locked in a tight race with the Democratic candidate, county Sheriff Brad Ellsworth, is the latest attack tied to the anti-Pelosi theme. The ad points out that an Ellsworth victory would help make Pelosi speaker and links the candidate and Pelosi to Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., the openly gay congressman from Boston.
“Pelosi will then put in motion her radical plan to advance the homosexual agenda, led by Barney Frank, reprimanded by the House after paying for sex with a man who ran a gay brothel out of Congressman Frank’s home,” says the narrator.
“Go ahead, vote for Brad Ellsworth. Make Nancy Pelosi’s day,” the ad concludes.
“I don’t know what it is,” Pelosi spokeswoman Jennifer Crider said of the “homosexual agenda” referred to in the ad. “But Barney Frank is the ranking member of the Financial Services Committee, so perhaps Hostettler is talking about securities and exchange law.”
If the ad is referring to same-sex marriage, Ellsworth, the Democrat, and the incumbent Republican say they oppose it.
The ad is adroitly written, linking Frank’s reprimand to gay sex without ever claiming that was the issue behind the disciplinary action.
In fact, Frank was reprimanded by the House in 1990 for fixing parking tickets accumulated by Stephen Gobie, the congressman’s former companion, and for writing a misleading letter to a probation officer for him. But the House Ethics Committee rejected Gobie’s claims that Frank knew Gobie ran a gay prostitution ring from the congressman’s apartment.
Since then, Frank’s constituents have re-elected him seven times.
Another new line of attack comes from House Majority Leader John Boehner of Ohio. In a recent statement, he equated a Pelosi speakership with higher gas prices, because during the 1990s Pelosi voted to raise the federal gas tax, and with higher taxes in general.
“What would a San Francisco majority led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi mean for American consumers?” he asked.
“Not just higher gasoline prices, but more taxes to boot. If you look at Pelosi’s voting record, she voted to raise gasoline taxes at least five times: in 1991, twice in 1993, 1996, and 1998,” Boehner added.
For years, conservatives have used San Francisco as a symbol of the kind of liberal politics they scorn — for abortion rights, gun control and gay rights and for government social programs.
Pelosi said Friday that she is proud to represent San Francisco.
“All of our children in San Francisco have health insurance; the minium wage is over $8 an hour. … We have respect for individual rights and rights of privacy. I’m very, very proud of San Francisco values,” she said.
The Republican attack on so-called San Francisco values has broadened in 2006 to include the allegation that San Francisco is soft on national security.
Republicans from President Bush on down have warned that a Democratic Congress would make America less safe in the war on terrorism.
“There is a difference of opinion, and our voters in Iowa and across the country must understand that the Democrats have a different view about this war on terror, a view that I think makes America less secure and makes it harder for us to do our job to protect the American people,” Bush said Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa, as he campaigned for Republican House candidate Jeff Lamberti.
The battle over national security policy continued Thursday as Bush signed legislation at the White House authorizing, but not paying for, 700 miles of fence along the border with Mexico.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said that Pelosi “has never visited the border. She claims to understand the needs of those on the front lines but has never visited those agents and offers no solutions.”
Pelosi’s staff said Hastert was wrong, pointing out, for example, that she visited the Mexican border most recently last March when she toured a section with Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, whose district runs along the border. Reyes served in the Border Patrol before winning a House seat.