RNC now must choose between forces of intolerance and the best place to hold a convention

Tim Wildmon warns of a “Gay Gestapo.”

Andrea Lafferty raises the specter of “Islamic shariah law at home and abroad.” 

James Dobson foresees the apocalypse if gays are allowed to marry, saying it will "destroy the Earth.” 

These people? These people!

So now the lines are as clearly drawn as they could be in the battle of good vs. evil, a k a the fight between the obvious site for the 2016 Republican National Convention and those who would try to frighten the RNC away from Las Vegas.

The national GOP now can choose to cower in the face of the forces of demagoguery and prejudice, who now add to their catalogue of smears that of a fine community, or they can select the place with the best hotels, best restaurants, best shows and best megadonor.

Wildmon et. al signed a letter this week to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, urging him in hyperventilating calumny to choose anywhere but Vegas for the 2016 convention. The letter’s existence was disclosed, coincidentally, in the Dallas Morning News, housed in the city that may be Las Vegas’ chief competitor among six finalists.

“In spite of ‘family-friendly’ outreach in the past decade, Las Vegas remains a metaphor for all things decadent,” the letter frets. “And looking at the yellow pages, one can see that it still delivers. With 64 pages of escort services and countless gambling casinos, it remains a trap waiting to ensnare.”

Escort services? Gambling?

I’m shocked, shocked, especially since no conventioneers in Dallas or Denver or Kansas City would ever  commit a sinful act. Indeed, I believe they would go to church every morning and night, before and after the wholesome convention activities.

The reporter, Todd J. Gillman, remarks on ex-Gov. Bob List appearing in Nevada’s video, trying to disabuse folks of the stereotypes about Vegas. But then Gillman adds this snide paragraph:

“On the other hand, one of the bid committee’s promotional videos features Rick Harrison, co-owner of a pawnshop and star of the reality TV show Pawn Stars.”

The outrage? A nationally known pawn show and reality TV star who is known to help GOP causes! Thank goodness, Dallas has no pawnshops.

Gillman also quotes the insufferably smug (isn't that a sin, Mr. Dobson?) Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau chief talking about Las Vegas’ “baggage.”

Said Phillip Jones: “That’s their challenge, and they’ll have to figure out how to address it. That’s not a challenge for us at all. The Dallas message and the Dallas brand — free-market capitalism, entrepreneurial spirit, optimism, opportunity, low taxes, low regulation — fits very well with the Republicans’ brand.”

Oh?

We have Sheldon Adelson and you have Jerry Jones and Tony Romo. I’ll take our baggage over yours. Right, Reince?

Also, Mr. Jones – Philip, not Jerry – as I’m sure Gov. Brian Sandoval will tell you soon (where’s the defense, governor?), you have one thing we do not have, as you boast of your low taxes: A margin tax.

So which city and state is more true to the GOP? And who is more likely to be on a national ticket, Rick Perry or Brian Sandoval?

Oops. Perhaps I shouldn’t have asked.

Gillman, who is more of a Dallas partisan than certain, unnamed members of the media here are for Vegas, adds this line:

“In Las Vegas, vice isn’t just incidental. It’s central to the city’s identity, history and economy.”

Really?

And then comes the most inane quote of all, courtesy of letter co-signer Paul Caprio of Family-PAC:

“This is the city of deep, dark secrets. … Are they going to cross the Rubicon? Parties have images to American voters as to who’s pro-family and who isn’t. … The base is already somewhat de-energized.”

Deep, dark secrets? Like who might have been on the grassy knoll in whatever city that was in?

By the way, Caprio is the genius who cited Chicago’s murder rate in one of his rants against gay marriage. Lovely.

What was once a relatively simple choice about which city could provide the best venue for a political convention has now morphed into a window into the future of the national Republican Party. Within the GOP, the religious right will always have a voice, which often will be a chorus of intolerance. But can that segment of a party really disqualify a city because of stereotypes and slander?

Reince Priebus really has only two choices now: He can choose a lesser site, or he can tell these people to go to hell.