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  • « The best and the worst in Iowa | Main | Rudy, they hardly knew ye »

    January 04, 2008

    The first casualties from Iowa

    Posted by: Chris

    Joebidensad The Republican field remains wide open going into New Hampshire, but the Iowa caucuses quickly claimed two casualties on the Democratic side, as Sens. Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Joe Biden of Delaware called it quits.

    Coincidentally, these two seasoned senators were the only Democratic presidential hopefuls who skipped the HRC-Logo forum last fall. Hey, don't mess with the gays!

    The departure of Biden, who's always been a bit of a blowhard way too convinced of his own intellectual heft, is no great loss. His record on gay rights was the worst in the Democratic field, albeit better than all the Republicans save perhaps Rudy Giuliani.

    Here was my summary on Biden:

    The Delaware senator has a strong if not stellar record of supporting gay rights. His scores on the HRC congressional report cards over the years have run from 86 ('99-'00), 100 ('01-'02), 63 ('03-'04), and 78 ('05-'06). He's been marked down mostly for failing to sign on as a sponsor for gay rights legislation, even though his voting record is good.

    Even today, Biden comes off as commitment-phobic. HRC gives him full credit on its presidential candidate "report card" for supporting the Uniting American Families Act, which extends immigration rights to gay Americans wanting to sponsor a foreign partner for citizenship, and the Early Treatment of HIV Act, which extends Medicaid coverage to those who are HIV-positive but don't have an AIDS diagnosis. And yet Biden has never signed on a co-sponsor for UAFA or its predecessor or ETHA.

    Asked specifically in the HRC questionnaire whether the federal government should recognize marriages and civil unions entered into by gay couples, or extend federal marriage rights to gay couples in long-term relationships, Biden dodged, saying only in general terms that, "he believes that legal recognition should not be denied to same-sex couples."

    Dodd, on the other hand, held more promise. He spoke about his struggle with the gay marriage issue in a personal way that came off (to me at least) as much more genuine that John Edwards' poll-driven "journey." He also signed on as a sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act, which extends immigration rights to gay binational couples. No other candidate except Dennis Kucinich can say that (though Bill Richardson, at least, left Congress before UAFA's predecessor bill was introduced).

    But he conceded the gay vote to the big Democratic three, understandably given their celebrity wattage. Utlimately, Dodd's failure to catch on with gays was symptomatic of his failure to catch on with any constituency, save the large financial interests he regulates on a Senate committee.

    This time around, at least, you Iowans dun good.

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    Comments

    1. Geena the Transgirl on Jan 4, 2008 11:27:00 AM:

      Biden and Dodd two talented senators,
      choking on the leash of Harry Reid.
      Some folks talk about Dodd as Senate Leader,
      do it, do it now.

    1. Monster Beats Sale on Nov 26, 2011 3:59:42 AM:

      Dodd's failure to catch on with gays was symptomatic of his failure to catch on with any constituency, save the large financial interests he regulates on a Senate committee.

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