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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Podfisking Howard Dean

Terrance, a liberal black gay blogger podfisks Howard Dean's speech at Yearly Kos.

Honestly, what it comes down to for me is this. I'm not asking the Democrats or anyone to make same-sex marriage their top priority. I've got it through my head that it's just not going to matter that much to most people. What I want is to hear that Democrats aren't going to run from the issue, that they aren't going to dismiss it as "not important," and that they're going to equivocate when it comes to equality. When and where it comes up, I want to hear that they're going to to say plainly that discrimination is wrong, period, and has no place in our laws or constitution.

What I hear from the progressive netroots is pretty much that if Democrats have to put our issues on the back burner, and reach out to more conservative voters, in order to get back into power, we should understand that, and help them win so that they can move those issues forward later. I keep asking how they're going to do that and stay in power if they have a new, more conservative, conservative constituency that won't let them do that and stay in power. I keep asking how this doesn't add up to a more conservative Democratic party.

The answer that I get from the netrootsy types is that it's "our job" to shift public opinion so that it's "safe" for Democratic leaders to stand up on those issues. Well, if we're out and we’re educating our friends, family, and communities about our issues and how they affect our lives, we're already doing our job. It took me this long to figure out what the netrootsy types were saying: from now on progress on our issues is our job and nobody else's.

Fine. So let's take our job up a notch. Let's start an organized effort to support and reward those candidates (leaving parties out of it for now) who have the courage of their convictions — or who even have convictions — when it comes to our issues.

That's the kind of gay netroots I'm talking about.

Terrance has some interesting things to say about the Yearly Kos convention:

I've written before about my dismay with Democrats when it come to gay issues, and my frustration with Howard Dean and the direction the party seems to be taking where LGBT issues are concerned. And I suppose going into YearlyKos I should have known what I was getting into. Kos is, after all, known for saying that us "single issue" folks should zip it, sit tight on the back burner and support the party no matter what, even when it backs candidates that don't support our concerns or issues. I should have known what to expect based on the comments I'd seen when the subject came up on netroots sites like MyDD and DailyKos. I should have figured I’d hear the same things I'd heard all along, even during the FMA debate.

I guess just hoped being there and bringing it all up might help, or might mean something. But I heard the same thing, even from gay folks who are just as frustrated as I am, and from supportive straight people too: this is what we have to do to win, and if gay issues have to take an extended back seat consider it taking one for the team.

I have to admit I got argued down. I can't take on the whole progressive netroots, and clearly I can't change anyone's mind. It kind of seems like gays have morphed into the ugly prom date who'd better just shut up about her date ignoring her and just be glad she got to go the prom at all. The best message I could salvage from it all, when it comes to gay & lesbian issues is "just keep doing what you've always done, vote Democratic, and don't expect much."

This says more than ever why gays need a bipartisan strategy in order to move forward. If you look at history, Democrats said the same thing to convince gays to shut up and elect Bill Clinton. When Democrats held both houses, plus the presidency, we got Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

My question for the list is - why should a middle of the road, independent gay individual vote for Hatch over Pawlenty when they tend to agree with Pawlenty more on tax issues and on limiting the role of government. Will Mike Hatch make any effort to reach out to gay voters in his primary and general election campaign? For example, will the Hatch campaign have a booth at Gay Pride? Pride is a very mainstream event which draws up to 300,000.

I am curious what Stonewall Democrats will say about Mike Hatch. He did not bother to answer their questionaire, and has said "there is no difference between Governor Pawlenty and myself on gay marriage", and has refused to take a public position in opposition to the Bachmann amendment (hardly a radical stand).

Meanwhile, the anti-gay non-profit arm of Michele Bachmann's campaign, Edwatch is attacking Tim Pawlenty for "promoting the homosexual agenda".