• Gay BlogAds


  • Gay News Watch


  • Chris Tweets



  • « Apology accepted | Main | What's it all about, Howie? »

    March 28, 2008

    To the right lies insanity?

    Posted by: Chris

    Howard_dean Ever wondered why gay rights legislation is typically an agenda afterthought for congressional Democrats, why we seem to be the first minority group to be "thrown under the bus," as Melissa Etheridge put it? Ever suspected the Democratic National Committee and other fund-raising arms of the party love us more for our wallets and purses than they do for our civil rights struggle?

    My suspicion has always been that Democratic Party leadership genuinely believes in our equality -- probably even including gay marriage -- but in the end will spend minimal political capital on us because they know the GOP is so much worse on our issues. That's no slam on Democrats per se; the GOP has been treating conservative Christians like that since the Reagan years, even with their much bigger numbers.

    Every once in a while a leading Dem will say something that confirms my suspicion that we are taken for granted. Consider what DNC chair Howard Dean said yesterday at a speech in Madison, Wis.:

    Dean said that the Republican Party has scapegoated every ethnic group and therefore can’t create a multicultural identity and reach younger voters.

    “They can’t become more diverse,” Dean said. “Who in their right mind, if they were African American or Hispanic or Asian American, if they were gay or lesbian, would join the Republican Party?”

    That's a common belief among not just party leaders like Dean, but many gay Democrats as well. Unfortunately, that assumption has real political consequences, primarily undermining whatever influence GLBT issues might be given within the party. Why take political risks on hot-button issues for a group that has nowhere to go?

    Therein lies the primary criticism I've made against the Human Rights Campaign over the years because the gay Dems who run it work to reinforce the assumption that our movement is destined to be just another special interest captive within the Democratic Party. HRC's Joe Solmonese has actually said that's his goal.

    Part of fixing that means pushing the Democratic Party to do better. The other part is improving the Republicans on gay issues, so Dean's arrogant assumption is challenged. Enter the Log Cabin Republicans, who issued a statement understandably taking umbrage at having their sanity questioned, especially in such drive-by fashion -- as if the question wasn't one for serious debate.

    Nonetheless, it was faschinating to read the reaction from LCR director Patrick Sammon, who sounds like he's spent a lot of time this election year listening to Barack Obama:

    “It’s unfortunate that the chairman of the Democratic Party would rather divide people than engage in a thoughtful debate about policy ideas or a vision for our country’s future.  Americans deserve to know whether the two Democratic presidential candidates, Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, agree with these remarks,” said Sammon. “The chairman of the DNC should focus on what unites Americans instead of dividing us by race or sexual orientation.”

    Si se puede, Patrick! If only Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman, the closeted previous chair of the  Republican National Committee, thought more like you.

    |

    TrackBack

    TrackBack URL for this entry:
    http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d834527dd469e200e5518e33ba8834

    Comments

    1. Tim on Mar 28, 2008 12:33:01 PM:

      umm once more with the Ken Mehlman thing?

      To your article though, I agree with you and that's why I really don't see anything coming out of the democratic party that is going to help gays. They are simply another voting segment that the democrats talk nice about but don't actually help. To my eyes we would be better served by trying to show the republicans why we are an important voting block and than having the democrats and the republicans fight for our vote. The current situation has done nothing but hurt gays (DOMA, DADT) for the last 16 years.

    1. anonymous on Mar 28, 2008 2:09:57 PM:

      It's not only money, it's volunteer effort too. I have found the higher up the food chain in the Democratic party the more they will say "Oh please you are so welcome here as a volunteer". Which is great if you like to help people who don't return favors.
      Different story with local Democratic elected officials, local Democratic clubs-orgs.
      State level candidates and orgs is where the use'em and lose'em seems to kick in.

    1. Amicus on Mar 28, 2008 5:59:41 PM:

      Is there something not inherently illogical in trying to be progressive within the conservative party?

    1. Double T on Mar 28, 2008 6:10:02 PM:


      Chris,
      At least I agree with the title of your post. The rest of your ranting is way off base. Why is always the fault of the Democrats to fix every problem? Let’s face it Chris, you are a closeted Republican.

      The Democratic and HRC and all the others you love to blame are not the problem.
      Democrats have come up to bat for our issues again and again. And they are stopped by the fear monging and hatred from the Republican Party.

      Why is it, that gays achieve their rights in other countries but not the USA? Oh, because the Democrats only love us for our money, right

      “They can’t become more diverse,” Dean said. “Who in their right mind, if they were African American or Hispanic or Asian American, if they were gay or lesbian, would join the Republican Party?” Dean is merely stating a fact. How is this a declaration that the DNC takes our rights for granted? In fact, it almost sounds like the opposite is true.

      You want to talk about being taken for granted, tell the last time you heard a GOP candidate stand up and even mention gays in a positive light. “Hurray for gay Republicans!!!” On what planet will you hear that?

      “…but in the end will spend minimal political capital on us because they know the GOP is so much worse on our issues. That's no slam on Democrats per se…..” That’s no slam. Gee Thanks. That’s like the old compliment, “ you’re not bad looking for a fat chick”.

      Why does Director Sammon care what Howard Dean has to say? Why doesn’t he focus on fixing his own party instead of trying to “fix” the Democrats. Oh right, he’s doing it for national unity.


      “…….Americans deserve to know whether …Obama and Clinton, agree with these remarks,” said Sammon. “The chairman of the DNC should focus on what unites Americans instead of dividing us by race or sexual orientation.” Wow. Has the LCR forgotten the John McCain is in the race too. Perhaps he should comment on how his party behaves, or does the LCR already know the answer to that question.

      If this country truly exercised a separation of Church and State, and if the Republicans didn’t use fear and hatred as standard campaign tools, American would be a different country than what it is today.

      Shame on you for promoting the Party’s lies.

    1. Matt on Mar 28, 2008 6:19:01 PM:

      Ken Mehlman is closeted? What happened to make you write that between today and back in November 2006, when you wrote:

      "I know Ken from law school and have been accused of spiking a story outing him when I was editor the Washington Blade. The charge is ridiculous, and I categorically denied in an editorial at the time. I do not have any personal information about whether Ken is gay. I was very deep in the closet during law school, and if Ken is gay, he was as well."

    1. Strict Scrutiny on Mar 28, 2008 11:13:57 PM:

      Double T:

      Chris was not praising the Republican party. His point was that Democrats have taken the gay vote for granted for several years now. If Democrats had to compete with the GOP for our votes, they might become less complacent and actually do something for us. As a lifelong Democrat, I agree, although, as a practical matter, I don't think there is any chance of the GOP becoming gay-friendly anytime soon.

      You mentioned that Democrats have gone to bat for our issues again and again. True, but talk is cheap. What counts is what you deliver, and the Democrats haven't delivered much at the national level.

    1. Double T on Mar 30, 2008 2:20:38 AM:

      Strict Scrutiny,
      ....I don't think there is any chance of the GOP becoming gay-friendly anytime soon....

      In a very short time the GOP has stopped fighting Jews, Blacks and Women. In the year I was born, 1965, if people had said the President of the United States has Jews/Blacks/Women advising him, holding cabinet positions etc. The village idiots would have lit up their torches and surrounded the White House.

      The "tent" is big enough for Gays. And some event will trigger that epiphany. What that event will be, I wish I knew.

      I get angry about our community being Uncle Sam's whipping boy, yet I have not yet given up hope for the goodness in the average American.

    The comments to this entry are closed.

    © Citizen Crain - All Rights Reserved | Design by E.Webscapes Design Studio | Powered by: TypePad