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    August 08, 2008

    The Blade and Howard Dean (II)

    Posted by: Chris

    For reasons not completely clear to me, Queerty yesterday posted a video montage -- a greatest hits, if you will -- of Howard Dean taking shots at the Washington Blade during his deposition back in March in the Donald Hitchcock discrimination suit.

    In the nine-minute clip, the Democratic National Committee chieftain jokes about "upgrading" the Blade from "the New York Post of the gay press" to "the Fox News of the gay press." His low opinion stems from "hysterical" articles he said began appearing in the Blade in late 2005 -- stories he said were full of inaccuracies and wild accusations.

    The only actual example cited by Dean was an opinion piece, not a news article, that was submitted to me when I was editor of the paper by Ramon Gardenhire, a former DNC staffer, who accused Dean of "lying" because he eliminated the gay political "desks" despite a promise not to do so made when he campaigned for the DNC leadership post.

    Dean doesn't deny making the campaign promise; he simply claims not to recall. And yet somehow he considers it hysterical for those who do recall -- and have the questionnaire he filled out on the subject for the gay Dem caucus -- to call him out for breaking his word.

    My favorite moment in the montage is the final segment, when Dean is asked to explain an accusation he made in a September 2006 interview with IN LA's Karen Ocamb that the Blade is run by "someone with an agenda" against the Democratic Party. Dean says he can't remember the person's name, but identifies the culprit as the paper's publisher, who he says is "a former Reagan person who hates Democrats."

    The publisher of the Blade during those days was William Waybourn, former director of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and GLAAD, who hates Ronald Reagan so much for his record on AIDS that he refuses to use the former president's name when referring to the D.C. airport that lies along the Potomac River.

    That would leave your's truly as the former Reaganite in question. I was only 15 when Reagan was first elected, so it's safe to say I held no position of influence within his administration. But years later, I did work as volunteer lawyer on the staff of the Bush-Quayle campaign in 1992. As a result, I got a box-seat view of the bigotry center stage at the Republican convention in Houston that year, and it was a major step toward my decision during the Clinton impeachment circus to quit the GOP entirely.

    Since then, I endorsed Al Gore for president in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004, and anyone whose read this blog with any regularity knows I am greatly predisposed toward Barack Obama over John McCain this time around. Does that sound like someone who "hates Democrats"?

    Earlier this year when Howard Dean's Blade bigotry reared its ugly head, I took the time to review every single article published by the Blade during his tenure as DNC chairman, looking for inaccuracies and bias. What I found were articles that quoted sources within the party criticizing Dean for a range of decisions -- internal and political -- as well as the official response of the party when they deigned to offer one.

    The irony of Dean's smear of the Blade is that it is Dean himself, not the Blade or me or the gay press generally, that throws around hysterical charges while playing fast and loose with the facts. The Democratic Party is ill-served with that kind of thin-skinned and mean-spirited leadership.

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