December 23, 2008
Watch the Warren bait and switch
Posted by: Chris
A lot of the anger over Barack Obama's selection of Rick Warren to say a prayer at the inuauguration springs from genuine (if misplaced) resentment over the mega-church pastor's previous pronouncements on marriage, mixed with a disturbing streak of P.C. intolerance that runs through the gay rights movement and liberals generally.
Part of it is lingering distrust of Obama by gay Hillary supporters, who still revel in the chance to stick it to him, as they did on the (similar and analogous) Donnie McClurkin flap. Another part is from Clinton-haters, who are already bracing themselves for Obama to "throw gays under the bus" the way Bill Clinton did on gays in the military (1993) and the Defense of Marriage Act (1996).
And then there are the "leaders" of the gay movement, who absolutely love this kind of controversy for an entirely different reason: the gay and gay-friendly masses are exorcised and primed for fund-raising, successfully distracted from the indefensible lack of progress, even backsliding, on the actual push for legal equality. You know who I'm talking about, people, so let's just get to the quote (from Politico.com):
The rapid, angry reaction from a range of gay activists comes as the gay rights movement looks for an opportunity to flex its political muscle. Last summer gay groups complained, but were rebuffed by Obama, when an “ex-gay” singer led Obama’s rallies in South Carolina. And many were shocked last month when voters approved the California ban.
“There is a lot of energy and there’s a lot of anger and I think people are wanting to direct it somewhere,” [Joe] Solmonese [of the Human Rights Campaign] told Politico.
B-I-N-G-O and BINGO was his name-o! A nice juicy controversy with absolutely nothing of consequence at stake, and all those angry gays upset by the humiliating defeat of gay marriage rights in California, Arizona and Florida are distracted from further inquiry into why we lost, or whether there is anything that Democrat-controlled Washington can do anything about it.
Look at this shiny Rick Warren bauble, gay people! Pay no attention behind that curtain to the deal Joe Solmonese, Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin and others have cut to give you only hate crime and ENDA crumbs until after the mid-term elections! (And by then, of course, the excuse will be that controversial issues like Don't Ask Don't Tell and relationship recognition must wait for Obama's re-election.)
Remember Solmonese's "very frank" letter -- we know it's "very frank" because HRC said it was -- to the president-elect calling the Warren invitation "a genuine blow to LGBT Americans"? Does anyone remember HRC sending such a very frank letter when congressional Democrats failed to pass even the most benign form of gay rights legislation? (No, actually, HRC thanked them for giving it the ol' college try -- for the 12th consecutive year.)
(And why can't the cynic in me shake the notion that Obama's real transition sin was failing to hire more Beltway gays to high White House and cabinet posts? Hillary surely would have emptied out HRC with cushy bureaucratic jobs.)
On the other side of the country, another gay leader in the hot seat is also trying his hand at the Warren bait and switch. Geoff Kors, the Equality California leader under heavy fire for the horribly mismanaged and poorly strategized No on 8 effort. You think he's gonna miss out on this chance to point the heat in another -- any other -- direction?:
The head of California’s largest gay civil rights organization has declined an invitation to attend the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama because Rev. Rick Warren will deliver the invocation.
It is extremely disappointing and hurtful that President-elect Obama has chosen California Rev. Rick Warren, who actively supported Prop 8 and the elimination of existing civil rights for LGBT Californians, to give the invocation at his inauguration,” said Equality California executive director Geoff Kors in a statement.
“Accordingly, I have decided to decline the invitation to attend the inauguration as I cannot be part of a celebration that highlights and gives voice to someone who advocated repealing rights from me and millions of other Californians.”
The EQCA home page devotes its premium space to Kors' silly refusal to attend the inauguration, which makes about as much political sense as his silly refusal to meaningfully debate Prop 8. Does he really think we can boycott and refuse to debate our way to equality? He needs to watch "Milk" again.
There's still time to make lemonade from these lemons. If the uproar over Rick Warren has the Obama folks anxious to mollify the gays, then let's ask for something real -- not simply long-promised hate crime and employment non-discrimination legislation. Something real -- like administration support for pushing a federal civil unions bill.
TrackBack URL for this entry:
The comments to this entry are closed.