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Party Crasher: A Gay Republican Challenges Politics as Usual Hardcover – June 10, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (June 10, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684837641
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684837642
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,321,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

As the executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, a political action committee for gay conservatives, Richard Tafel is used to criticism and scorn. "I've been demonized and been called names by those on the right who have never taken the opportunity to get to know me," he says. "And I've been caricatured and demonized by those on the gay left who also would rather despise what they think I am than find out who I really am." Party Crasher reveals a fascinating individual, an ordained minister (mentored by Harvard Divinity's Peter Gomes) comfortable debating scripture with fundamentalists and a political activist unwilling to accept the common wisdom that gays and lesbians should give their allegiance to the Democratic party. While always friendly towards queer campaign contributions, Tafel notes, the Dems have failed to follow through on many of their promises. Far from allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, he reports, the Clinton administration has been responsible for expelling more homosexuals from the armed forces than any other in American history. And then there was Clinton's trumpeting to the religious right of his approval of the Defense of Marriage Act, which refused federal recognition for same-sex unions. Tafel rejects the identity politics that lead to such unproductive alliances, favoring instead an emphasis on individual rights and responsibility in which political commitment is based on a desire to personally do the right thing rather than be "accepted" or "loved." "If you want to be embraced," he warns, "get a boyfriend or a dog. But don't get involved in politics because you need a hug; you'll just get hurt."

Party Crasher is filled with anecdotes of Tafel's encounters with people at all sorts of points on the political spectrum, such as the time that the radical group Queer Nation invited him to a college campus to criticize homophobic activities by members of the college's Young Republican chapter, or his perspective on the controversy surrounding the 1996 Dole presidential campaign's rejection of a Log Cabin contribution. And there are several profiles of other gay Republicans (heavily skewed towards men, it's true, but as Tafel says, openly Republican lesbians are even more rare than their gay male counterparts). There's something in this book to upset just about everyone's preconceptions, but what comes through most is Richard Tafel's passion and commitment for social justice and genuine acceptance of everybody's differences. --Ron Hogan

From Booklist

Tafel, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, gets ragged by gays for being Republican, by Republicans for being gay. But he comes from a long line of clergy (in fact, he is ordained), and the Christian virtues of forgiveness and patience have stood him in good stead as he has tirelessly explained that gay Republican is not an oxymoron. Politically, gays are usually sorted into assimilationist and liberationist camps, which differ on tactics but share seeking greater government clout for gay issues and allying with the Democrats. Tafel defines a third major faction, the libertarians, whose beliefs in individual rights and responsibilities, limited government, and free markets are better represented by the Republicans. Devotion to the Democrats, he argues, has led to being milked for cash and given lip or no service on such equal-access issues as gay marriage and military service. Further, he presents evidence that sympathetic lobbying of Republicans works for gays, which makes his advocacy of bipartisanship credible. Cogent enough to be the gay political book of the year. Ray Olson

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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I'll have to admit after reading this..
Matthew Hout
As our community grows and as we feel better about ourselves, time-honored principles will become more acceptable for us.
Brad N, Hunsaker
He gives evidence to the contrary that gay Republican is an oxymoron.
Ingrid E. Barnes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Brad N, Hunsaker on August 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I found the book fascinating and true. As a gay Republican I found myself identifying with and agreeing with Richard's experiences and opinions. I, of course, will be calling my local Log Cabin chapter. Perhaps the most important aspect of the book for gay readers are the comments about how we need to take the moral high ground. There is a lot of work to be done because as a community we are not particularly concerned with morals and standards. Hopefully, more role models like Mr. Tafel will step forward. As our community grows and as we feel better about ourselves, time-honored principles will become more acceptable for us.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Rich Tafel has done a marvelous job of explaining why "gay Republican" isn't an oxymoron (or shouldn't be). This is a fast-read (I read it in one sitting) and provocative book that effectively skewers both the gay Democratic left and the homophobic Republican right. This book is a must-read especially for fellow Republicans who would be well served by heeding Tafel's libertarian ideals which served the basis for the rise of the Republican party in the first place.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Finally, we have a fresh look at the gay political movement -- past, present and future. Tafel traces developments over the past several decades and refreshingly reveals the conservative/libertarian roots of the struggle for gay civil rights. He convincingly illuminates and rejects the blatant Leftist revisionism that has played such a large role in many gay peoples' perceptions of their own history and the lessons to be drawn from it. Dispensing with this ideologically driven mythology, permits a fresh perspective on where to turn now; on how to affect positive change; and on which arguments, tactics and strategies have hope of success; and which decidely do not. This book will anger many in the gay political establishment from "center" to far Left. A more discerning eye will notice that Tafel consistently spreads as much praise as criticism for other activists and organizations. Yet this likely will be lost in the hysteria that inevitably results from a strong and principled challenge to the common wisdom. Put most simply, if read widely, this book truly has the potential to shake things up politically in the gay community in a much needed way. It also has great potential cross over appeal to non-gay readers. Here's hoping that it reaches the widest possible audience!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Party Crasher tells a story of politics different from what we are used to hearing. The author relates stories of his personal experiences and examins their greater significance. He explains the gay movement in America today and identifies the culture as being trapped by its own dependency. He describes the threat posed by a gay movement that focusses only on a single political party -- the Democratic Party. He warns that such a strategy has already lead to Democrats taking the gay vote for granted. Party Crasher justifies the necessity of working with Republicans by pointing to recent accomplishments by Richard Tafel's organization, Log Cabin Republicans. Gay or Straight, Republican or Democrat, this book speaks to those hungry for political "shop-talk," and leaves us all wanting seconds.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Rich Tafel's book does not only tell about the need of bipartisanship to fight for our constitutional rights, it reveal that the most important cornerstone of our struggle lies in having morals and values. That we must believe in ourselves and our alienable rights, and have a healthy empathy for those who oppose us. Bottom line, it is not enough to win the politicians' heart, we must win the people's heart.
Tafel does an excellent job of providing personal stories of himself as well as others on how each of them struggle to come to term with their sexuality and their politics. He also illustrate the need of belonging and a sense of purpose that so many in the gay community need.
Party Crasher is a must read, especially those on the left fringe of the gay community.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Richard Tafel, the head of the Log Cabin Republicans tells his story, and while doing so breaks the stereotypical image we all have of a gay political activist.
He confronts issues of intolerance while standing firm on his principals. He is not a Democrat. He does not advocate "special rights" for homosexuals. He does not ask for anyone's sympathy.
Mr. Tafel's goal is to pose one question and have it answered -> "How do we treat people who are different?" This is one of the many important themes of the book.
Tafel's vision of an inclusive Republican Party and equal rights for all Americans should reassure us all that there are still heros that are fighting for what is right.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Rich Tafel, in his book, "Party Crasher: A Gay Republican Challenges Politics as Usual," Speaks to all of us as gay men. His book has helped me identify my underlying needs for acceptance and sympathy. Rich Tafel tells a story that challenges us to question ourselves why we as gay men and women feel the need to label ourselves as Democrats. He teaches us the importance of having both parties involved in being responsive to the concerns of the gay community. Mr. Tafel's book is a must read for anyone who has an interest in politics and the gay movement in America
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