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    December 07, 2008

    Hillary as president = no Prop 8?

    Posted by: Chris

    Prop8bigtentlarge_2 An interesting op-ed in today's New York Times engages in some familiar analysis concerning the growing cracks in the progressive coalition opened up by the passage of Proposition 8:

    Left-leaning California’s horror about this newly revealed schism between two of its favorite sons is a situation that cries out for a villain, but the one that liberal white Hollywood has chosen for the role probably won’t make it all the way to the third act.

    “It’s their churches,” somebody whispered to one of us not long after the election; “It’s their Christianity,” someone else hissed, rolling her eyes. Apparently the religion espoused by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is now the enemy, at least among the smart set, and if this sounds like a regional issue, it’s not.

    But this intriguing little notion was news to me:

    Many gay activists have begun quietly to suggest that had Hillary Clinton been the Democratic nominee, Prop 8 would not have passed.

    I'd say that's a hard case to make stastically and smacks of never-ending bitterness that even Clinton herself seems to have admirably gotten over. Considering that black voters were only 6% of the total in California, it would have taken more than depressed turnout of their numbers to have brought down Prop 8, which passed by 4 percentage points.  Remember that black voters alone were not responsible for the gay marriage ban's margin of victory.

    That said, I can't help but chew on the question. Which would you prefer: President-elect Obama and Proposition 8 (e.g., what we have now), or Hillary as president-elect and Prop 8 voted down?

    To read Kevin's repent (which I am as thrilled as you to see), I am guessing he'd pick Hillary/No 8, despite his antipathy for all things Clinton. I share many of those same sentiments -- multiplied by years of exposure due to my Arkansas roots -- and probably as a result I'm happier with what we got.

    For one thing, the activism unleashed by the combination of Obama's empowering victory and anger over Prop 8 has the potential to transform a movement that has badly needed it for years. Maybe I'm too optimistic, but I would also expect Prop 8 to live a very short life, whether gutted next year by the California Supreme Court or rejected by voters in 2010 or 2012.

    Of course, President Obama could still bitterly disappoint us the way the Clinton I administration did in the 1990s, but despite early worries I like our prospects -- and certainly more than under a Clinton II regime.

    (Prop 8 illustration via New York Times)



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    1. Kate Stone on Dec 7, 2008 6:48:36 PM:

      I think the piece presented broad generalizations that serve to perpetuate certain stereotypes, i.e., "hollywood A list liberals" are basically condescending assholes and African Americans suck it up until they get into the voting booth. The entire piece was lame.

    1. Kevin on Dec 7, 2008 7:19:16 PM:

      Thanks for being thrilled :) But I would not lower the bar for a Hillary/No on 8 scenario, even tho I agree with the premise that it probably would have played out that way. But not because Hillary would have done any more than Obama did to counter 8. I wouldn't have wanted 8 to fail simply because black turnout wasn't as high as it was. Let's not get all Rovian now. I want big turnout, and I want to WIN. I want the harder path, Chris. It's the only one worth taking.

      I want the Republicans breaking our way, the African Americans and Latinos as well, and I want fucking San Francisco county to TURN OUT like they SHOULD HAVE. I want Arnold to campaign, and Obama, too. And Biden. And the mayors of Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles and San Diego. I want to carry Riverside County. I want Sarah Palin to take our side, and make a courageous stand with us.

      But the only way down THAT path, friends, is to start with a gay movement with actual leaders who know what the fuck they are doing, have brains and hearts and a set of balls.

    1. mademark on Dec 8, 2008 3:19:35 PM:

      The op ed was a day late and a dollar short. The whole Black vs gay meme has played out. Had it appeard a month ago, it may have played into the whole brouhaha, but seeing it in yesterday's NYT I just wondered where this writer has been the last six weeks. Bottom line - Obama won the primary and the election. Prop 8 passed. Now let's live in the present and work for the future we hope for.

    1. Hawyer on Dec 10, 2008 11:51:39 AM:

      If a frog had wings it wouldn't bump its ass when hit hops.

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