Just last week Jeffrey Kuhner, a columnist for The Washington Times, penned a screed headlined, "Radical Lesbian Knocking on Senate Door." The conservative pundit warned that if Tammy Baldwin — who in 1998 became the first woman in Wisconsin’s history to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the first openly gay nonincumbent elected to Congress in American history — wins her current bid for the Senate that it "would mark a watershed for the homosexual movement" and a "major blow against traditional America."
Kuhner warned about Baldwin’s "lesbian lifestyle," predicting "increased child abuse, higher rates of drug addiction and alcoholism, soaring violence and rampant teenage promiscuity" as a result of her election.
Of course, her opponent, Republican Tommy Thompson has a talking point: "Tammy Baldwin is so liberal that even Nancy Pelosi has to turn left to talk to her." Although Baldwin isn't the most liberal member of the House, the most recent of National Journal’s annual vote ratings concur that Baldwin is the more liberal of the two, ranking Baldwin at number 21 on the list of most liberal members of the House, with bogeyman Pelosi at number 79.
Since this isn’t the first time Baldwin has been called a "radical lesbian" (though one assumes Kuhner and his ilk aren't familiar with actual "radical lesbians" from the 1960s like Rita Mae Brown), we decided to examine what the political platform and voting record of a "radical lesbian" such as Baldwin really looks like.
Economic Security and Fiscal Responsibility
Baldwin says she stands up against "powerful, corporate special interests" and says that "fighting for Wisconsin's middle class" is her top priority, noting jobs shipped overseas, stagnant wages, dwindling retirement accounts, rising health care costs, and the rising cost of college tuition.
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Medicare and Social Security
Raised by her grandparents, Baldwin is a staunch proponent of Medicare and Social Security and opposes Republican attempts to cut or privatize either. She opposes the Paul Ryan budget plan, which turns Medicare into a voucher system for some future seniors. Baldwin says it "would end Medicare, as we know it, while giving tax breaks to the wealthiest people in the country."
Baldwin's home state of Wisconsin was the first in the country to adopt a comprehensive law to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, something Baldwin takes as a sign of her constituency's welcoming attitude. Baldwin was a founding member of the LGBT Equality Caucus in Congress, and she's been a strong advocate for preventing bullying and suicide among LGBT youth.
Baldwin has voted for sanctions against Iran twice and against them four times. In 2007 she voted "present" (basically a neutral vote) on a resolution that condemned Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, she worried that then President George W. Bush would have used the resolution as a pretext to go to war with Iran.