The kinder, gentler GOP

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - It's only been a few weeks since the Republican Party announced it was going to be a kinder, gentler, more inclusive organization, to appeal to a wider base.

Tonight in Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe says all that introspection seems to have had little effect.


A few years ago, my wife, Kristi, was sitting on a bench overlooking Venice Beach in California.

A young guy came by on roller skates, swooped in for a landing, and joined her.

After offering her a drink from his brown bag bottle, he said, "Ya know...sometimes I pray and ask God...'God, what's going on down here?'"

He looked at Kristi and said, "What d'you think?"

After declining the drink, she shrugged and said "Got me."

He sat a few moments longer, and then skated away.

I've always liked that story but, until now, never related much to the guy on the skates.

What is going on down here?

A week ago, former West Michigan lawmaker Dave Agema, who is now on the Republican National Committee, posted a Facebook article written by a homophobic doctor, based on dubious 35-year-old research, that refers to homosexuals as "filthy."

Filthy homosexuals! Really?

I can see how people would be opposed to gay marriage. I get it. I don't agree with them. But I get it.

And I find it hard to buy the argument that gay marriage will the destroy the sanctity of marriage between a man and a womanparticularly when men and women are doing such a good job of that already.

But to post an article that calls gay men and women filthy homosexuals? Some state and national republicans urged Agema to resign from the National Committee.

He defended the post and says he won't budge. I thought the new, more tolerant GOP might sanction him.

But then Texas representative Louie Gohmert this week compared gun control to gay marriage and having sex with animals.

"Where do you draw the limit," he asked. "Why not have three men and one woman, or four women and one man. Why not somebody who has love for an animal."

Of course. Why hadn't I thought of that. Sure. Gun control, in some circuitous and insidious way, will lead to a man marrying a poodle.

And now we have the chairman of the Republican Party, Reince Priebus, suggesting that President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid support Planned Parenthood and therefore support the mass murder of children.

I'm sure Priebus knows this, but for the record, 35 percent of Planned Parenthood's budget goes to testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

Another 35 percent goes to contraception.

Sixteen percent goes to cancer screening and prevention.

And only three percent is allocated for abortion services. And federal law prohibits them from using federal money for abortions. Not one thin dime.

Need I mention... abortion is legal.

So, in the space of one week, from the new, more inclusive GOP, we have filthy homosexuals, gun control leading to bestiality, and the President of the United States supporting infanticide.

So I go back to that young, bottle-toting rollerblader in California who may still be asking the Lord "What's going on down here?"

And my guess is, he's still waiting for an answer.

In this corner...I'm Tom Van Howe.