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From Canyon To Cove:

Fred Karger goes to Washington

April 29, 2010|By Cindy Frazier

Sit down, Sarah Palin. Move over, Mitt Romney. Fred Karger would like the floor — the floor at the Republican National Convention, that is.

Karger, the Laguna Beach gay activist who has taken a multimillionaire to task for closing the Boom Boom Room and launched a nationwide effort to defend same-sex marriage against the National Organization for Marriage, is now looking at running for president in 2012.

Yes, president. As in “The President.” As a Republican — the first openly gay man of a major party to declare his candidacy as leader of the free world.

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Karger announced his exploratory campaign a few weeks ago at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans — the same confab where Sarah Palin drew huge crowds as she both lambasted and cajoled members of the party she would like to (again) represent.

Despite Palin’s credibility with the “Tea Party” crowd, Karger sees himself as the only real independent in the running.

Here’s his opening salvo, which sounds very presidential: “Our nation is facing tremendous challenges right now. I pledge to put new effective leadership in place to end our nation’s economic crisis. I will work tirelessly to bring back the spirit in every man, woman and child to help remake America the land of opportunity and equality for all.”

Issues of specific interest to the gay community are central to his theme: ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; passing the federal Employment Anti-Discrimination law; eliminating the federal Defense of Marriage Act; making same-sex marriage legal across the country; and making a top priority finding a cure for HIV/AIDS and a vaccine to prevent HIV.

If this all sounds very serious and well thought-out, it is. That’s because Karger has a 35-year background in politics that many politicians would pay a lot for — and did, when he was in the political consulting business.

Karger points out that this wouldn’t be his first foray into presidential politics — far from it. As a paid political consultant, Karger has worked on numerous presidential campaigns, including that of Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan-George Bush, Paul Laxalt, Bob Dole and George H.W. Bush, among others. His own campaign would be his 10th.

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