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Say No to Mara: Vote Against Hypocrisy

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Republican Patrick Mara has announced another run for Council-at-Large in the District. I endorsed Mara in a 2008 race to elect a non-Democrat to the Council. During that race many overlooked his Republican views because he was running for a seat on the Council that had to go to a non-Democrat and supporters hoped if he won he would fight for the citizens of D.C. Mara is a very genial guy, great to have a meal or drink with. With that being said there is absolutely no reason for the people of the District to vote for him today and plenty of reasons not to.

Mara talks government reform and the need for honesty and ethics in government, but how can you trust what he says -- or know what reforms he would actually support -- given the hypocrisy of his support for ultra-conservative Republicans diametrically opposed to what he claims to believe.

Mara actively supports ultra-conservative Republican Party candidates who espouse policies that would harm women, minorities and the LGBT community in D.C. He actively supported Mitt Romney, who believed 47 percent of the American people were takers (including veterans, seniors and the unemployed). Further, Romney claimed that President Obama's support of issues such as marriage equality, the Dream Act and health care for all Americans were simply gifts meant to win a campaign.

Mara was a delegate to the Republican National Convention and actively supported the Romney/Ryan ticket with their all-out war on women and the LGBT community. In fact, Mara was gleeful when blogging from the RNC Convention in Tampa, Fla., including such fun tidbits as, "If you didn't see Ann Romney last night, you missed a great speech; One of those rare moments when the stage isn't occupied by a seasoned politician." Or this one: "The best event of the day was 'Nuestra Noche' (sponsored by the American Conservative Union) in Ybor City. Sen. Marco Rubio, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Tagg Romney appeared; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was a no-show."

Having fun at a convention is fine and part of what a convention is about. But blogging about being excited by Republican politicians and organizations, such as the American Conservative Union, which are incredibly out of touch with the needs of D.C. voters, is another thing.

Mara tells anyone who will listen that he doesn't agree with the Republican Party platform and personally favors marriage equality and full civil rights for the LGBT community and that he is pro-choice. In doing so, he asks us to overlook his active support for candidates and a party that don't believe those things. He asks us to overlook his support and work for a party that forced the District to stop spending its own money on needed and legal abortions for poor women; his work for a party whose candidates had as their stated mission to shut down Planned Parenthood; his work for a party whose candidates signed a pledge from the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage promising to support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage; and his work for the candidates who opposed a woman's right to choose. And, truth be told, none of this is new for Mara.

In 2004, when even the Log Cabin Republicans took a principled position to not endorse George Bush for reelection because he opposed gay rights, Mara obviously felt that was not an issue important enough to him and he endorsed Bush. Neither did he consider it important enough that Bush was against D.C. voting rights and said if a D.C. voting rights bill reached his desk he would veto it.

Now Mara wants the support of the people of the District, including Latinos, the LGBT community and women. But why would anyone in those communities support him? Even if voters forgive him the Bush endorsement as old politics, what about this year's endorsement and work for the Romney/Ryan ticket?

For years, Republican politicians in the District have suggested they should be supported because they will then influence the policies of their party. It is the height of hypocrisy to ask voters to continue to believe that nonsense. With their (and Mara's) supposed influence over the years, the party has gotten even worse on issues related to women, the poor, minorities and the LGBT community. You can't influence a party if you support and work for its candidates that have adopted a litany of positions you say you disagree with. And with the city in the best financial shape in years -- and the envy of most states -- you also can't claim you are running to correct the economic policies of the city.

Many voters have not yet made up their mind on who to support for this at-large Council seat. I would suggest that one person not deserving of your vote or support for these and other reasons is Patrick Mara.

Mara owns a consulting firm; sits on the school board as a representative of Ward One; and has a stake in Meridian Pint, a popular neighborhood pub. It seems he has plenty to do without sitting on the D.C. Council. I wince when he claims he is a more moral and ethical politician than others on the Council or those running. Ethics must be a real consideration when voting, but there is a huge ethical issue when someone claims to have one set of positions yet actively supports candidates with positions diametrically opposed to them.

Voting for Mara would reward a D.C. Republican, who when the chips were down and the country's and the District's future was on the line, disregarded his claimed beliefs and fell in line to support Mitt Romney for president.

That is not only unethical behavior but the height of hypocrisy. There are a host of candidates running who have been much more consistent in standing up for what they say they believe and who haven't wavered in their fight for all the people of the District.

This column first appeared in the Washington Blade.