“I don't know about the rest of you, but I am absolutely furious about this. Not only is this inequitable, it's fuckin dismissive and disrespectful.” — Steven Driscoll, National Stonewall Democrats Board Co-Chair
Can anybody tell me why the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) had such prominence with the Obama Campaign once Hillary was officially out of the race? They even proffered their own handpicked trans person, a relative unknown to the trans community itself that they brought onto the business council, to be the campaign’s transgender steering committee member. And this for what support they’ve shown?
As Andrew Sullivan noted at the time Hillary dropped out, HRC’s own board of directors had given to the following presidential candidates’ campaigns:
Hillary Clinton: $4,300That’s right, zero to Barack Obama’s campaign by the time Hillary Clinton had suspended her campaign. How surprised was I that my miniscule donations out-contributed the entire board of directors of the relatively more financially powerful HRC? Immediately after, Obama graciously allowed HRC’s current and former executive director, and one of their board doing the speaking on a campaign conference call to the LGBT community (including, though rarely mentioning, the plethora of trans leaders who long worked the campaign). HRC even played petulant, suggesting it would take time for their ranks to come around and pleading for “patience” from the campaign until they decided to engage.
Chris Dodd: $3,000
John Edwards: $ 750
Bill Richardson: $ 500
Barack Obama: $ 0
In the past couple weeks (as I’d first heard while at the Stonewall Democrats Convention from board member Melissa Sklarz), it was noted that HRC donated zero to the Stonewall Democrats Convention this year. All ten thousand dollars budgeted when to the Log Cabin Republicans for their convention instead. Reason given: HRC was miffed that Stonewall Dems became part of United ENDA and criticized HRC’s elitist incrementalism on employment protections.
So there we were, going into the Democratic National Convention with (per their own self-promotional advertising) the largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender organization in the country not supporting the GLBT Democratic organization. Instead they chose the GLB Republicans. Say it ain’t so, JoeSo. (It is.)
Add to that the more recent news that McCain’s own campaign head, Steven Schmidt, took time to “pay his respects” to the gay and lesbian Republican group – the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) – in St. Paul during RNC week. He’s Turdblossom Rove’s suckling, learning at the teet of the great pig. It’s tantamount to having them paid visit by Rove himself!
And why? Because, in Log Cabin Republicans’ estimation, John McCain and his running-mate Sarah Palin are eminently supportive of their views on gay and lesbian equality.
Yes, the same John McCain we’ve always had. The John McCain who has never supported gays in the military. The John McCain who voted for DOMA. And the John McCain who may not have supported a constitutional amendment against all same-sex marriage in America but is very uncomfortable with it nonetheless and has now fully reversed his course on a number of stances (such as Bush’s tax cuts, alternative energy, immigration reform, etc) and could unsurprisingly end up doing a 180 on supporting a constitutional amendment if his RNC brethren twist his arm enough.
Also the same Sarah Palin who opposed any same-sex partner benefits to the point that she pushed to remove all spouse and family benefits of Alaska state employees just to deny gays and lesbians. The same Sarah Palin who applauds her daughter’s “decision” and makes no secret of wanting to undo anyone else’s right to a decision about their pregnancy. The same Sarah Palin who attends a church that believes “homosexuality” can be “cured.” The same Sarah Palin who inferred the troops in Iraq were being sent “out on a task that is from God.” (Basically God, in his decision to wage war on terrorism, declared a holy war against Iraq – not George W. Bush).
So do you think the ‘Logs,’ supported now in spirit by HRC, would buy any of McCain / Palin’s Bush-shit after falling for it eight years earlier? No chance, eh?
Yes, last week, they did just that. The Log Cabin Republicans endorsed McCain for President. “Sen. McCain is an inclusive Republican who is focusing the GOP on unifying core principles that appeal to independent voters. Sen. McCain showed courage by bucking his own party’s leadership and the president,” Log Cabin Republicans President Patrick Sammon said in a statement. “He paid a political price for his vote.”
Yeah, I suppose … if you count abandoning many of his previous principles and being nominated as presidential candidate “paying a political price.”
“Our members also support him because he’s a maverick; a trait most recently on display with his decision to select Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. In recent years, too many Republican politicians have used divisive social issues in an effort to win elections.” LCR’s Sammon must not have watched Palin’s speech, especially the part ridiculing those who are “too cosmopolitan” and don’t come from “small towns” (apparently all Logs come from small towns and not big cosmo-cities.) That doesn’t even touch upon the derision heaped on community organizers (nor the racial implications therein).
So here we are with HRC, the largest GLBT organization purporting to represent all of us in Queerlandia, throwing their full support behind the LCR. And the same Logs throw their full endorsement upon John McCain and the presumably other GOPers. “After all, who loves ya more than GOP-folk, baby? Certainly not that Obama fella!”
And no doubt that HRC expects to have prominence and credibility within the GLBT population even if their friends’ endorsement ends up victorious and tolls what could be a death knell to all GLBT rights in the near future. And of course they’re still going to want to be coddled and cooed over by the Obama campaign while they coyly play the pouting child, waiting – expecting – to be favored. For the vast GLBT base firmly in the democrats’ side, the personification of gay and lesbian America – mighty HRC itself – is doing jack dick.
So in the heat of the race, as they dither while it’s crunch time with so much at stake, why are we deferring to HRC just because of professional experience, prominence and inferred wisdom?!?
I still recall in 2002 when Mara Keisling made the pronouncement that we had to “work with HRC” because they were the “700 lb. gorilla in the room… we had to deal with them.” Regardless of their size, money and self-promotional proficiency, where is their wisdom borne of years of experience? Have they forgotten 2004 or 2000?
Or have they not suffered along with us these past eight years? Have they no clue what the majority of their own community are living through? This really begs the question of HRC’s relevance in the GLBT (most especially T) community.
As I responded in 2002, I’ll ask again: Why must HRC have this much prominence?
“Indeed, the central purpose of the LCRs should be to deliver a detailed and honest analysis on where a candidate – especially for the top job in the world – stands on LGBT issues. They have failed miserably in this case.” — Elizabeth Birch, former Exec. Dir of Human Rights Campaign
“I didn't come to Washington to be loved and I haven't been disappointed.” — ex-Boll-Weevil Democrat turned Republican, Sen. Phil Gramm