Wednesday, June 02, 2010

An Interview with GayPatriot Blogger B. Daniel Blatt

University of Virginia law school alumnus B. Daniel Blatt blogs at the prominent and widely-read political web site, GayPatriot, which has had more than 3.6 million visitors since September 4, 2004.

Based in Los Angeles, Blatt is known as “GayPatriotWest” to distinguish him from East Coast co-blogger Bruce Carroll (“GayPatriot”).

has tried to be the focal point of conservative views from a gay perspective (and has largely succeeded in that task). As Blatt put it, the blog has proved to have “a potential to explain the gay experience to conservatives, and conservative ideas to gay people.”

I have known Dan Blatt for about two decades, dating at least to the time he worked for one of my opponents in my first race for the Virginia House of Delegates. (Needless to say, there are no hard feelings remaining from that 1991 special election.) He was one of the founders of the Log Cabin Republican Club of Northern Virginia, and I succeeded him as a member of the Arlington County Arts Commission when he moved to California in 1999. I only held that position for a few months before pulling up stakes myself and moving to Charlottesville later that year.

Now in the middle of a multi-city, cross-country trip, Blatt stopped in Charlottesville during Memorial Day weekend and I interviewed him over eggs and toast at the popular brunch spot, The Tavern (“where students, tourists, and townspeople meet”).

When he began blogging in October 2004 – just two months before I started this blog -- Blatt’s expectations and goals were inchoate. Referencing Tolkien’s remark about The Lord of the Rings, “the tale grew in the telling,” Blatt says about his blogging that “the expectations and goals grew in the blogging.”

Much of the satisfaction of blogging at GayPatriot comes from the reactions of readers, and emails Blatt receives from them. He identifies three types of “heartening” emails.

“The first,” he says, “are from gay conservatives that say, ‘Wow, this is what I’ve always thought and I’ve never found a voice in the gay community because it’s kind of an enforced police system -- Orwellian, almost.’

“The second type of emails,” he continues, come “from gay liberals who say, ‘Hey, look, you’re not going to convince me to be a conservative but I do see that you’re not self-hating. I no longer see gay conservatism as an oxymoron. I get where you’re coming from.’”

The third set of emails has been more sporadic, but Blatt occasionally gets them from social conservatives who say that GayPatriot helps them “see that not all gays are radical, looney-tune leftists who want to increase the power of the state and take away our freedoms as individuals.”

Blatt says that he hopes his blog will “promote a greater understanding and to show that the gay movement is not monolithic and that gay people are not monolithic and to show that … liberty is good for gay people,” just as “it’s good for conservatives.”

The blogger adds: “I prefer freedom to equality” and that he tries “to challenge the equality orthodoxy of the gay movement.”

I asked Blatt what he found satisfying about his blogging experience that he did not expect.

He paused to think about this before he answered, “The number of friendships that I would forge -- and I also did not expect that our blog would bring two readers together as a happy couple.”

He explained how this latter accomplishment came about:

“I have two friends whom I met in Los Angeles, [although] they weren’t friends before the blog,” that is, they became friends through the GayPatriot blog.

“These two men,” he continued, “met at an event sponsored by a reader of our blog for [other] blog readers. I had met each of them before and I wanted them to meet each other and now they’re boyfriend and boyfriend.”

Blatt beams when he relates this story. “It makes me feel really great that, while I may not have been a sort of yenta there, I certainly helped facilitate a romance. That’s the most unexpected pleasure” that blogging has brought his way.

I asked, only half-facetiously, if is an advertiser on GayPatriot. Blatt laughed and said, “You know, we should look into that.”

My next two questions were about the politicians whom Dan Blatt admires. One of those questions were a sort of curveball, but I anticipate using it in future interviews like this one.

When given the choice of naming any politician, living or dead, Blatt does not equivocate when he answers, slowly and deliberately, “Ronald Wilson Reagan.”

Among living politicians, he cites Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn.

“Right now, I have a great deal of respect for Tom Coburn,” he says. “I don’t always agree with Coburn. He said some funny things about lesbians in bathrooms during the 2004 campaign. Yet he’s been very, very, very good in trying to gum up the works of Obamacare,” and in “trying to remind Obama that he ran on a net spending cut,” noting also that Coburn “was a good friend of Obama in the Senate.”

Coburn, he says, “has stood firm on principle and he’s fought big government. Now, he’s not perfect. But he has been steadfast in standing up to big government.”

Among those politicians with whom he disagrees on the issues but nonetheless admires, Blatt mentions his home state senator, Dianne Feinstein.

“She always seems to express her disagreement in civil terms and shows respect for conservatives,” he explains. “I think she’s really a decent human being. She’s liberal, but she doesn’t treat conservatives with disdain.”

In recent weeks, Blatt has found himself blogging a lot about two topics. The first is the military gay ban, known more generally as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," or DADT.

“It’s the most important issue on the gay agenda right now,” Blatt says. He sees “an emerging consensus for repeal” and cites a Gallup poll from September 2009 “that showed that 57 percent of conservatives favor repeal.”

The other issue he has focused on is what he calls “the homosexual infiltration of the Tea Parties,” in contrast to the conventional media narrative that the Tea Party movement is rife with racists.

Blatt challenges that conventional narrative.

He argues that “any political movement -- any protest movement -- is going to attract some knuckleheads and cuckooheads. Certainly there are some cuckooheads attracted to the Tea Party just as they were attracted to anti-Bush rallies.”

He adds, emphatically but almost sotto voce, “There was a greater concentration of them in the anti-Bush rallies.”

Blatt asks, “If you’re going to do a media narrative about racism in the Tea Parties, shouldn’t you also talk about homosexual infiltration of the Tea Parties? Because by my estimate, there have been more gay people at Tea Parties than there have been racists.” He ticks off a list of gay people he knows in Washington, Chicago, Charlottesville, and other places who are participants in the Tea Party movement.

The media, he says, are missing this narrative “about gay people participating in Tea Parties.”

From Charlottesville, Blatt headed on to Raleigh, Charlotte, and Atlanta, where he will host a dinner for his blog readers, and eventually to Brattleboro, Vermont, where one of his readers is also hosting a dinner, before returning to California.

NOTE: A slightly different version of this interview was published on May 31 on

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1 comment:

oceansmiles said...

Awesome interview! :)