Thursday, September 02, 2010

Will gays and lesbians turn Republican out of frustration with Obama?


Oh, please. I get that Obama hasn't done nearly enough for gay rights, and I've been deeply critical of him for not doing enough and for not being progressive enough (specifically on DADT and same-sex marriage), but there isn't about to be a mass migration of gays to the Republican Party just because a couple of somewhat high-profile Republicans, McCainiac Steve Schmidt and Bushie Ken Mehlman, the latter recently uncloseted, along with the independent-minded and barely Republican Meghan McCain, are publicly defending same-sex marriage, or because other Republicans with little profile at all are either softening their views on gay rights or daring to come out against their party's long-standing opposition not just to gay rights but to homosexuality generally.

At HuffPo, Sam Stein quotes an anonymous "prominent Democratic consultant" as saying that Obama should feel "uncomfortable" with all these Republicans to the left of him on gay rights. But what are we really talking about here? Schmidt, Mehlman, and McCain aren't exactly the movers and shakers of the GOP, nor do they really have that much public profile. McCain has greater media presence than the other two, but she doesn't have much influence, if any, on the party. "We get the bad rap as Republicans being against gay marriage," she told Fox News recently. "[Obama] isn't doing anything for the gay community." Republicans deserve the rap. This is a party, after all, that proposes putting a ban on same-sex marriage in the Constitution and that has a theocratic-oriented base that is deeply anti-gay, a party that from top to bottom espouses bigotry and that is moving further and further to the right. And while Obama hasn't done enough, it's just not true that he hasn't done anything. Earlier this year, for example, he banned visitation discrimination against gays and lesbians at any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding.

As Stein notes, "LBGT voters are not, of course, monolithic," and, while I am not gay myself, I certainly think it's fair to say that on most issues a significant majority of gays and lesbians are much closer to Obama and the Democrats than to the Republicans. Will frustration with Obama drive some of them to the GOP? Well, sure, but some heteros are turning away from Obama, too. What of it?

It seems to me that the anonymous consultant is fearmongering and that very few people are paying attention to what Schmidt, Mehlman, and a tiny minority of Republicans are up to. In contrast, the Republican position on gay rights, including same-sex marriage, is pretty clear, and there's no indication it's going to change anytime soon.

If some gays or lesbians prefer to back a party that hates them and that seeks to treat them like non- or unequal citizens, or as some hell-bound domestic enemy, well, that's their problem (and ours, to the extent that Democrats lose votes), but I suspect that most of them would rather register their displeasure and disappointment with the party that actually has a history of fighting for their rights, and seek to change that party's policy positions, than do that. With the Democrats, after all, in a party that respects difference and diversity, they can make a difference and actually secure equal rights. With the Republicans, ruled by a far-right fringe that has become the party's new mainstream, all they'll find is fear and loathing, welcomed by a few but detested by the rest. Is the choice not clear?

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4 Comments:

  • How hypocritical of you to accuse us of "fearmongering" to get Democrats to support gay rights, when you are engaging in the worst kind of fearmongering by trying to scare gays and lesbians into voting for Democratic candidates who have done NOTHING for us. Obama is a bigoted coward on this issue, and nothing you or other party hacks can say will stop us from staying home en masse in'12 and keeping our wallets closed. Just because we aren't voting for you doesn't mean we are going to vote republican either. We don't have to vote for either, and we won't until the dems get their act together and do the right thing. And that's not fearmongering, it's a promise. Your lame example of hospital visitation as a gain for LGBT rights by democaratic politicians shows just how little you know about our civil rights movement (I won't even bother explaining it to you), and is yet another example of the ingrained homophobia in people who consider themselves our allies. Well gues what,we are on to you, and you're not our ally. If you were, you'd be as outraged as we are. Good luck trying to scare us into line. This time it won't work. Your hypocrisy is just too glaring to hide.

    By Anonymous gaylib, at 8:27 AM  

  • I second Gaylib. How dare you accuse us of fearmongering. For decades, the Democratic party has done nothing but use fake promises and fearmongering to rape and pillage the gay community for cash during the campaign and then immediately throw us under the bus the day after every election.

    Guess what? The GOP isn't scary anymore. We survived eight years of Bush and emerged a stronger movement than before. I won't be voting Republican. But that $50K I raised for Obama in '08? I'm doing NOTHING-----NOTHING-----for this backstabbing, fearmongering party this time around. NOTHING.

    Obama, Emanuel, and Gibbs can punch us in the face and taunt us by saying "what are you going to do about it? you don't have anywhere to."

    This faggot's wallet is locked. He's doing ZERO fundraising and ZERO canvassing. And he will only vote for candidates that support marriage equality. Period.

    The domestic abuse from the Democratic Party is over. And I think you'll find a community of people giving expression to deep-seated resentment after decades of Democratic Party domestic violence the second the Democrats' GOP fearmongering stops working, as it has for me.

    And the more mocking, condescending lectures from straight Democrats, the more adamant my refusal to do anything to help them becomes.

    By Anonymous Skeptical Cicada, at 10:39 AM  

  • DOMA: not even whispered about

    DADT: handed off, along with all veto powers, to the bigots in the military who want to kill repeal.

    ENDA: dead in the water


    But hey.. we got to roll eggs at the White House.. and Obama says he "supports" LGBT rights.. except in the case of marriage, because "god is in the mix"... nevermind that his DOJ is defending DOMA and DADT in court using the most reprehensible language possible.. defending them even though his administration is not bound to unless it finds DOMA and DADT constitutional, which it apparently does.

    That is the reality. Obama dumps a few crumbs off the table (crumbs that cost absolutely NO political capital on his part whatsoever) and we're supposed to be appeased?

    No.

    Even more revolting are the straight Democrats once again castigating the uppity gays for having the temerity of putting their own lives and freedom above party cliqueism. How dare we.

    I'm not sacrificing my rights for your party clique mentality, your political tribalism, or whatever else you want to call it. I don't subscribe to your "My team good, their team bad" dichotomy.

    I will not vote for anybody who does not work for my rights. Period.

    If you straights can't deal with that, then you know what? Tough shit.

    You already have all your rights, financial protections and freedoms. I don't.

    You have NO room to speak on this issue WHATSOEVER.

    By Blogger Femputer, at 10:47 AM  

  • I sense a lot of defensiveness here. What's the problem?

    Who was talking about "uppity gays"? Who was suggesting that everyone should just toe the party line? If you want to launch primary challenges against incumbents, I'm all for that. And in many ways I share your frustration with Obama. But, Skeptical Cicada, how exactly is the GOP not scary anymore? Are you paying any attention at all to reality?

    If you three had actually bothered to read my post and think about it a bit before jumping up and down like petulant children, you'd see that I'm just being a realist. In a two-party system, you basically have two choices. And if you really think there's no difference between the two, and if you really want to punish the Dems by staying home, you're nuts. Say what you will about Obama and the Dems, they're not a party that wants to amend the Constitution to deny you your rights, and they're not a party ruled in large part by bigoted theocrats. As I said in my post, just keep working within the party to change policy. I understand the desire to penalize the Dems by staying home (and helping Republicans win), but that's no way to get what you want.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 10:25 PM  

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