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  • « Those devilish details | Main | Planet Out in a nosedive? »

    April 20, 2007

    Hillary Rosen for Hillary Rodham

    Posted by: Chris

    Hilary_rosenNote: Correction appended to end of post.

    It didn't take Hillary Clinton's campaign long to respond to the gauntlet thrown down by John Edwards, who last week trumpeted a modest list of gay supporters. In response to an inquiry from the Washington Blade, the Clinton campaign came up with its own list of early gay endorsements, and not surprisingly, the list has a lot more big names, especially those affiliated with "the other HRC," the Human Rights Campaign.

    At the top of that list of HRC'ers for HRC is another Hillary — minus one "L" — who's been pulling the strings behind the nation's biggest gay rights group for years. Hilary Rosen rose to prominence as the lead lobbyist for Recording Industry Association of America, the music industry's trade group, mostly railing against Napster and the trend toward downloading music without royalty payments.

    But Hilary has been around the gay rights movement at least as long. She was on the HRC board back in the mid-'90s when her then-girlfriend, Elizabeth Birch, was selected as the organization's executive director. Their relationship wasn't well known at the time, and raised quite a few eyebrows when others realized the behind-the-scenes role Rosen had played at the time.

    During the Birch years, Rosen was obviously among the most influential figures with the organization. When Birch was ready to leave HRC, Rosen was a part of the "Massachusetts Gay Mafia" that helped select her successor, a Bay State Democrat named Cheryl Jacques. In turn, Jacques turned to Rosen in 2004 to run HRC's lobbying effort against the Federal Marriage Amendment. It was Rosen's strategy call to position the FMA as a "distraction from real issues" like the Iraq War and the economy, rather than to fight the conservatives on the substance of gay marriage itself.

    When Jacques alienated HRC staff and crashed and burned as E.D., Rosen, Birch and their longtime friend EMILY's List founder Ellen Malcolm hand-picked EMILY's List E.D. Joe Solmonese (another Massachusetts Democrat) as Jacques replacement.

    Solmonesebreslauer In addition to Rosen for Rodham, another prominent HRC name on HRCs list of gay endorsements is Mary Breslauer, another of the "Massachusetts Gay Mafia" and co-host with Solmonese of "The Agenda," HRC's show on XM Satellite Radio. Two HRC board members — Jill Staufer and David Wilson — made Hillary's list as well.

    Among the other prominent gays endorsing Hillary are:

    • Billie Jean King, tennis legend
    • Steve Elmendorf, president of Elmendorf Strategies and longtime top staffer for Dick Gephardt, who ran for president in '88 and '04
    • Fred Hochberg, dean at Milano The New School for Management & Urban Policy, who was appointed by Bill Clinton to be a top position at the Small Business Administration
    • Ilene Chaiken, creator and executive producer of television series “The L Word”
    • Bruce Cohen, film and television producer
    • Rebecca Haag, executive director of AIDS Action

    Not surprisingly, Hillary also has the early backing from a number of prominent gay Democrats from her adopted home state of New York, including

    • Christine Quinn, speaker of the New York City Council
    • Danny O'Donnell, Rosie's brother and a New York state Assembly member
    • Deborah Glick, New York state Assembly member
    • Tom Duane, New York state Senator

    Two prominent gay Democratic activists, Jeff Soref of New York and Peter Rosenstein of Washington, D.C., also came out for Hillary. Soref is a longtime Clinton backer, but both are also outspoken in their call for full marriage equality.  Hillary, of course, is on record opposing gay marriage and favoring civil unions.

    But among all the names on the list, Soref and Rosenstein are probably the movement's best hope of voices inside the Clinton camp pushing the candidate to "move beyond the mushy" and on to "those devilish details" about federal legal recognition for gay couples.

    Correction: This post originally identified Mirian Saez, one of Clinton's gay endorsers, as a New York member of the Democratic National Committee.  Saez was a longtime resident of Washington, D.C., active in local politics here.  Last fall, she moved to California and lives there.  I regret the error.

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    Comments

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Apr 25, 2007 12:19:18 AM:

      You're kidding, right?

      Hillary Rosen wrote a check and threw her support to Harold Ford, of all people -- and we won't even bring up the issue of Joe Solmonese endorsing Inez Tenenbaum.

      Remember, this is the person who, as part of the HRC Board, was instrumental in driving HRC to give over ten million dollars in support to John "The President and I have the same position" Kerry -- most of it channeled away from fighting the very state constitutional amendments and laws that Kerry endorsed.

      Rosen is a lobbyist. Lobbyists get paid to turn votes peoples' direction. In Rosen's case, she uses an ostensibly "bipartisan" organization to launder money and, as she and her cronies have made clear, turn it into the gay equivalent of an ATM for the Democrat Party.

    1. Janet on Feb 15, 2008 9:53:12 PM:

      Hello Hillary,
      I have been a Democrat for nearly 50yrs. While living in DC and teaching school in Maryland,I worked for the JFK presidential champaign.
      My Mom is nearly 95. OH! WHATEVER YOU DO Hillary,.... PLEASE do NOT try changing the rules of the game in this election. MI and FL can NOT be counted NOW...without a WHOLE NEW process in BOTH places.THAT would BE the same as giving EVERYTHING that Israel won in war, BACK to the Palestinians NOW. PLEASE....THINK about the choices that YOU are making NOW. It would NOT be FAIR to change the rules NOW!!!!SHAME ON YOU for supporting such a LOW level of hipocricy! TRUE,I HAVE ALWAYS SUPPORTED "THE CLINTONS" but now, YES, I am FOR OBRACK OBAMA. Get on board OR at the very least, do NOT support UNFAIR CHEATING. Well, it's YOUR choice, but people WILL remember this later because I WILL help them to NOT forget the position that you are taking NOW!

      Thank you for your time and interest,

      Janet Louden Ulansky Shular

    1. roncraw on Apr 25, 2008 9:31:54 PM:

      I am a strong Hillary supporter,belong to no political org.I was commenting on Huffington, answering some Obama supporters.I used no vulgar words,no racist words.and a notice came up I was banned,this on the 22nd.I can only guess a avid Obama supporter who approved comments didn't like my comments. this is not russia or Cuba where you have to be afraid speak out or your're banned.Could you find out what happened. thanking you in advance my handle roncraw tigerathome@cfl.rr.com

    1. Maggie on May 13, 2008 9:00:03 PM:

      I appreciate Hillary's passionate supporters and pundits. But how can they, in good conscience, continue to spin the fact that Hillary agreed to the rules about MI and FL and now she is crying foul that those votes are not being counted. Can one only imagine if Obama did the same? And she tries to say that she is not being treated fairly???? This is baffling and it's time for the Clinton dynasty to let go and play fairly. Obama is the Democratic nominee and I can't wait to see him in the Oval office.

    1. Maggie on May 13, 2008 9:01:14 PM:

      I appreciate Hillary's passionate supporters and pundits. But how can they, in good conscience, continue to spin the fact that Hillary agreed to the rules about MI and FL and now she is crying foul that those votes are not being counted. Can one only imagine if Obama did the same? And she tries to say that she is not being treated fairly???? This is baffling and it's time for the Clinton dynasty to let go and play fairly. Obama is the Democratic nominee and I can't wait to see him in the Oval office.

    1. Chris on May 13, 2008 11:05:28 PM:

      Agreed, Maggie. Here's how I look at it. Imagine these two candidates in reverse positions in terms of delegate count and popular vote. Of course Clinton would take the same position Obama does now and would laugh out of the room any arguments about superdelegate veto or seating Florida and Michigan. Obama, on the other hand, would likely have dropped out because I can't imagine him trying to overcome pledged delegates with other arguments.

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