During a debate with a Log Cabin Republican about the GOP’s opposition to gay marriage and the party’s current rebranding effort, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews passionately asked his guest whether he was fighting against “Karl Rove” and other Bush-era political players. He was apparently hoping to make a point that his conservative guest is only pushing back against the GOP now that they lost an election.
Truth be told, Matthews’ guest, R. Clarke Cooper, of the Log Cabin Republicans, was not fighting in the political realm in 2004 — because he was actually fighting for America in Iraq.
Salon’s Joan Walsh started the conversation by saying that Republicans who are trying to “liberalize” the GOP are working against the establishment that is “hidebound” to a “white, conservative, Christian, very backwards base.”
“It’s worse than that, Joan,” Matthews added. “You guys, Karl Rove and your buddies, remember Karl Rove? Eight years ago you went up to Ohio and you went up to Cleveland in the black areas and you basically went to the black ministers…and Don King…and you rallied all them” to fight gay marriage.
“And that, in ’04, that was an exploding cigar, and we’re paying a price for that as a Republican party,” Cooper agreed.
“Where were you then,” Matthews shot back. “Did you fight Karl Rove?”
“I was actually fighting in Iraq. I was deployed in ’04,” Cooper answered. “There you go.”
“OK. Touché,” Matthews said sheepishly. “You win. You win.”
After trying to laugh it off, Matthews thanked Cooper for his service and said he had a “very good alibi.”