May 01, 2008
More Obama-Clinton on gay rights
Posted by: Chris
With the pivotal (aren't they all?) North Carolina primary just days away, the gay paper there tried a different tactic for getting answers from the candidates on gay rights. Rather than press for phone interviews, Q-Notes apparently sent questions to both campaigns and published the answers.
I say "apparently" because the stories don't say so specifically, but they're credited to "Q-Notes staff" rather than a particular reporter and the answers (especially Hillary Clinton's) read very much like the work of a campaign staffer. This isn't the first time a prominent e-mail/fax interview in the gay press masqueraded as the real thing, and Q-Notes really should have said so explicitly.
That point aside, there are some new nuggets there. In the Clinton Q&A, I was struck how plainly the answerer dodged two direct questions I hadn't heard before. First "she" spoke in generalities when asked whether she would personally introduce legislation to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the Defense of Marriage Act -- both wreckage from the first Clinton presidency -- should she lose the nomination and return to the Senate. She also stayed vague about whether she would commit to appointing an openly LGBT cabinet member.
The Obama Q&A broke less new ground, though he also dodged the question about personally introducing bills to repeal DOMA and DADT. Andrew Sullivan did took note of an interesting contrast. Asked to explain how he will keep our interests at heart, Obama turned the tables a bit:
I have always said that I don’t think that the LGBT community should take its cues from me or some political leader in terms of what they think is right for them. Real change comes from the bottom up, not the top down.
Andrew liked what he heard:
This is a core difference between Obama's and Clinton's philosophy, it seems to me. Clinton believes government can save people and she, as the benign representative of government, can bestow equality on minorities. You just have to vote for Democrats, give money to the Democratic party interest groups (like the Human Rights Campaign) and your equality will come eventually (but always later than they say). I prefer an approach that tells gay people that they need to get off their asses, talk to straight people, build their relationships, support their community, empower themselves and win the argument for inclusion and integration.
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