Friends and foes in the right wing

Friends and foes in the right wing

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Well, if it isn’t progress sneaking up on us.

This week, several conservative pundits took some (tentative) steps toward tolerance and inclusion, while others remained firmly entrenched in bigotry. At least they aren’t all spouting intolerance at every turn.

First in the throwback list is “Dr.” Laura Schlessinger, who decided to end her radio show after she used the N-word 11 times on air while talking to a woman in an interracial marriage. Readers might remember Schlessinger from her comment that gays are a “mistake of nature,” which sparked efforts to get her off of network TV in 2000. At least this time she had the insight to resign on her own.

Next on the throwback list is former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who told The Associated Press that he supported the proposed ouster of three Iowa Supreme Court justices after last year’s unanimous overturning of a ban on same-sex marriage.

The three justices face retention elections this year.

Gingrich went on to accuse the judges of “legislating from the bench,” and likened the ruling to Judge Vaughn Walker’s in California’s Proposition 8 case.

Not surprisingly, Gingrich was in Iowa to promote a new book, and some have said he might put in a bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

But we might be seeing progress in other conservatives — or at least in the standard of antigay rhetoric.

That same weekend in Iowa, former Sen. Rick Santorum said he wouldn’t support the effort to remove the justices, but did say he opposed judges with a political agenda.

Santorum, known for comparing homosexuality to bestiality, is a likely Republican presidential candidate.

Which brings us to another conservative making headlines, this time for (somewhat) backing gays.

Right-wing darling Ann Coulter, no stranger to the F-word, has been dis-invited from a conference hosted by conservative website Word Net Daily, where Coulter has a weekly column.

Organizers dropped her from the speaker list because Coulter is headlining an event hosted by GOProud, a Republican gay group.

Coulter took umbrage at the assertion that she backed the group’s views, responding: “That’s silly. I speak to a lot of groups and do not endorse them. I speak at Harvard and I certainly don’t endorse their views ... I’m sure I agree with GOProud more than I do with at least half my college audiences. But in any event, giving a speech is not an endorsement of every position held by the people I’m speaking to.”

True. But it is, at least, somewhat legitimizing the group. More likely for Coulter, the gay event just paid better.

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