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    January 18, 2008

    Gay Hillary backer caught in DNC mess

    Posted by: Chris

    The ongoing legal battle between the Democratic National Committee and ousted gay outreach liaison Donald Hitchcock just got a whole lot messier. Claire Lucas, a longtime DNC volunteer and a member of Hillary Clinton's national LGBT steering committee, stands accused of perjury in her attempt to avoid testifying in Hitchcock's DNC suit, which accuses the party of defamation as well as bias based on sexual orientation and gender.

    When Hitchcock subpoenaed Lucas, she responded that she lived in California, not D.C., and appearing for a deposition would be a hardship for her.  Now the Blade's Lou Chibbaro reports that legal filings by Hitchcock show Lucas is a registered D.C. voter, receives a "homestead" tax exemption from the District, and is listed by the Clinton campaign on its local Washington steering committee. Ironically, a Clinton campaign email sent by Lucas talked up her trip to New Hampshire for Hillary and how "lots of fun will be had."  Apparently a side-trip to D.C. would be more hardship than "fun" for Lucas…

    Internal email exchanges disgorged by the DNC as part of the lawsuit identify Lucas as among the small coterie of DNC staff and leading gay volunteers who trashed Hitchcock, first internally and then publicly, after his domestic partner, Democratic political consultant Paul Yandura, publicly criticized Howard Dean and the Democratic Party for standing by doing nothing while dozens of states enacted constitutional amendments banning gay marriage during the 2002 and 2004 election cycles. Eventually Hitchcock was ousted after he failed to fix the problem, i.e., shut Yandura up.

    I bring up the Hillary connection not simply to "slime" her campaign with the Hitchcock accusations against Lucas and the DNC but because there is a very natural connection between the "establishment gays" central to Hillary's LGBT effort and those gay folk at the heart of the Hitchcock litigation who are Democrats first, and gay second

    Either their own political and career future trump even the civil rights of their own people, or they long ago drank the party Kool-Aid and buy into the simplistic notion that because Democrats are better on gay issues than Republicans, what is good/bad for Dems is good/bad for gays. Of course they are correct that Democrats are better on gay issues and anyone who suggests otherwise ought to have their head examined.  But it does not follow that the gay rights movement should do the DNC's bidding, even at the expense of its own.

    Real change comes from unrelenting pressure, even more on friends than on foes. For far too long now, the gay movement and its leading organizations have been co-opted by Dem-first gays who are unwilling or unable to apply that pressure and therefore progress proceeds achingly slow -- and only when it is in the political interest of Democrats to achieve it. That's why even the most basic civil rights legislation -- employment non-discrimination and hate crimes -- have not passed the Democratic-controlled Congress.

    Imagine what would happen if they did pass -- and President Bush actually signed them! Then where would the DNC and Hillary be?  If elected, she would face more difficult gay rights issues -- mainly undoing the damage from her husband's administration in the form of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the Defense of Marriage Act.

    The Dem-first and Hillary-first crowd actively dreads that outcome because they know she will not expend anymore political capital than her husband did on gay issues, especially on the same gay issues he ran so scared from in the '90s. So instead they lollygag on ENDA and hate crimes, to the silence of the Human Rights Campaign and the trans-marginalized Task Force.

    And anyone who dares to criticize or ask tough questions, be it the gay press or even longtime Democratic party activists, gets the Tagen treatment -- dismissed as having some sort of evil anti-Dem agenda.

    Expect more revelations to come on these matters, including on this blog.

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    Comments

    1. Andoni on Jan 18, 2008 11:10:20 AM:

      Today's editorial in the Washington Blade is entitled: "Democrats’ gay problem - Embarrassing e-mails reveal what DNC really thinks of gay media — and voters" and can be found at:

      http://washblade.com/2008/1-18/view/editorial/11894.cfm

      The point I would like to make here that dovetails into the above blog, is of the 3 leading Dem presidential candidates, which one (Clinton, Edwards, or Obama) do you think has the most control over the workings and philosophy of the Democratic party?

      Think about it. And when you find your answer, ask if the thinking being revealed in what we are finding out about what went on at Dem headquarters, might also reveal the thinking of what we can expect if the candidate who currently has a lock on this party's apparatus becomes prez?

      In politics, past performance DOES indicate future. performance.

    1. Ken in MS on Jan 18, 2008 3:01:41 PM:

      The impotence of our leading gay rights groups, due to their selling out to party or candidate and their pacifying platitudes, always reminds me of Roy Cohn in "Angels in America": "A homosexual is someone who cannot get a pissass anti-discrimination bill through the city council. It is someone who has no clout, who nobody knows or who knows no one." It's not a pleasant image, but what good does supporting a party or candidate do if they vote just like the other guys. We're used to that down here in MS. All of our Dems vote just like Repubs; you can't tell a dime's worth of difference. I hate to say it, but so many of our gay rights groups aren't much different.

    1. Michael Bedwell on Jan 18, 2008 9:24:48 PM:

      The two worst things to happen to the gay equality movement were AIDS and Elizabeth Birch. AIDS killed most of those who might have stopped, or at least diminished, her takeover of national LGBT politics, or so emotionally debilitated those who did survive, that combined with a series of disastrous leadership choices by the older and once dominant NGLTF, a vacuum was created that she and her huge intellect and even greater ambition filled. She was the original Borg queen. And, trans rebellion notwithstanding, resistance is still futile.

      While she did bring some much-needed organizational structure and marketing skills to the movement, making it like a corporation became the end and not the means to an end. Two, she enshrined the philosophy that one-time “Advocate” owner David Goodstein had started—exclude by structure and “door charge” the average gay person who think that putting all of our proverbial eggs into the basket of politicians that MIGHT fight for us was a gamble at best. A wiser, more diverse policy somewhere between the understandable barring of well-intentioned but totally unstable personalities like Sylvia Rivera who once was arrested trying to climb over walls into a New York City Council meeting and the activities that have resulted in references to the “Human Rights Champagne fund” is still sorely needed.

      It’s such a joke that Birch removed “Fund” from the group’s name when money is what it has become about first and foremost. Review their IRS forms and you’ll discover what huge sums go for salaries alone. In short, they spend about $6 MILLION a year just to keep their doors open.

      While they share blame with other groups, the third and most destructive change was stopping any serious effort to educate voters. The most intelligent aspect of the movement, extending all the way back to Magnus Hirschfeld’s first pamphlet in 1896, was education to effect change. In the US, after somewhat timid efforts in the ‘50s, post Stonewall the movement, while not entirely driven from college campuses, focused extensively on teaching people, in the words of legendary Frank Kameny, that “Gay is Good.” [What better symbolized the strategic, if not also ethical, bankruptcy of HRC than their 2006 annual DC dinner for which attendees paid a minimum of $250 a piece to watch a decades-overdue bone thrown to Kameny in the form of an anemic video salute while Reichen Lehmkuhl and Lance Bass were also given awards and, more to my point, time to speak.]

      With very rare exception, the “educational” efforts of HRC, NGLTF, GLAAD, et al., amounts so often to preaching to the choir that their “leaders” should qualify as ordained ministers by now. This would be bad enough alone but it is criminal given that the Antigay Industry spends millions demonizing us in dozens of languages around the world through their own print organs, radio, and television.

      Yet our “leaders” brag about opinion polls that show growing “support” for gay equality even as most antigay ballot initiatives pass again and again at the polls that really count. The strategy of hoping politicians you support to deliver only makes sense if you empower them in other ways to do it with impunity.

      Blacks had been lobbying for more meaningful civil rights legislation for a century when their mass demonstrations, and the combination of humanity and brutality that attended them, finally knocked segregation and Jim Crow of its tracks. Solmonese, et al., are still attempting to wage revolution by press release and cocktail party.

      Seriously, if all of those people who have sent hundreds of millions of their dollars over the past 25 years to these groups got the same kind of return on, e.g,, a stock purchase, wouldn’t one think they would have stopped investing more long ago?

    1. Mark Mead on Jan 20, 2008 9:07:13 AM:

      Oh my God! I agree with Michael B. Must be sumpin in the water down here. Better get a third cup of coffee and re read this post.

    1. Kevin on Jan 20, 2008 11:48:49 AM:

      Mark, I have to confess I must be drinking the same water.

      Michael - you're quite right. We don't seem to click often, but you've made a lot of good points here. Are you blogging elsewhere? You seem like a latent blogger if not...

    1. Kevin on Jan 20, 2008 11:50:56 AM:

      Mark, I have to confess I must be drinking the same water.

      Michael - you're quite right. We don't seem to click often, but you've made a lot of good points here. Are you blogging elsewhere? You seem like a latent blogger if not...

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Jan 20, 2008 9:01:30 PM:

      Of course, now the amusing part is that the DNC press release even says she's from DC.

      And agreed; good points, Michael.

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