Smart to Endorse Obama Early
Wayne Besen, Founder,
Truth Wins Out
From the Web, May 28,
2011 (GET UPDATES FROM Wayne Besen}
The GOP field is shaping up to be a
disaster of epic proportions. Other than openly gay long shot Fred Karger,
the rest of this motley crew is virulently anti-gay, or pretending to be in an
effort to kiss-up to social conservatives in Iowa and South Carolina. This
sorry batch of embarrassing contenders will only degenerate further if Sarah
Palin gets into the race -- as it seems like she is likely to do.
In terms of the GOP field, there is no silver lining, no hope, and no pro-LGBT
Republican savior. This is the truth and it is reality for those who
choose to embrace it.
It is clear that Barack Obama is the obvious choice for the Human Rights
Campaign, the LGBT community's national lobby. Their early endorsement is
wise because it sends a strong signal that the community will organize and
mobilize to reelect the most LGBT supportive contender in the race -- one with a
fairly good record on LGBT rights. While far from perfect, Obama did work
to repeal Don't Ask/Don't Tell and used his bully pulpit effectively, even
making an "It Get's Better" video. Whatever his shortcomings (No ENDA or
DOMA repeal etc.), he is light years ahead of his Republican counterparts.
Anyone who argues otherwise is naive, obtuse, or in denial -- which brings us to
the pathetic press release put out by homosexual Republican GOProud:
"Today, the Human Rights Campaign chose to endorse Barack Obama's re-election
even though the field running for President in 2012 isn't even set yet.
This pre-emptive endorsement ends HRC's charade of bipartisanship.
"LGBT people who are interested in putting policy before partisanship now know
that HRC is little more than a puppet of the Democratic National Committee and
an organization that has one goal -- to elect more Democrats."
So, the sophistic and shallow storyline put forth by GOProud is essentially that
Republicans are willing to support LGBT equality, but have become anti-gay only
because they have been snubbed by HRC. They are only throwing anti-gay
tantrums and have horrible voting records because they have hurt feelings and
are not getting the respect they deserve.
Sadly, there are naive or politically illiterate liberals who are buying this
hogwash and questioning the timing of HRC's endorsement. They foolishly
wonder if such a quick endorsement will deplete the leverage of the LGBT lobby.
Um, what leverage?
The hard truth is that the GOP presidential candidates desperately do not want
HRC's endorsement and would see it as the kiss of death. Imagine trying to
win the Iowa caucuses as a Republican with a Human Rights Campaign endorsement.
It would end one's chances faster than endorsing universal health care!
Another silly argument postulates that in order to be more effective, the LGBT
movement has to be truly bipartisan. I agree that we would be so much
better off if we had the support of both parties -- because it would give us
enormous leverage with Democrats who have sometimes taken our money while
placing our issues on the back-burner.
Unfortunately, true bipartisanship at this moment in time is a pipe dream.
The GOP has consciously chosen to embrace fundamentalists as a key part of its
base. During the next election cycle they will do nothing to upset this
crucial constituency and candidates will pander in any Iowa or South Carolina
fundie church that will let them in the door. Anyone who doesn't
understand these obvious political dynamics should not be working in the LGBT
This, of course, doesn't mean we should stop working to gain the support of
Republicans. Indeed, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg gave a
marvelous speech in favor of marriage equality at Cooper Union on Thursday.
But, let's be honest and acknowledge that this is the exception and not the
rule. Indeed, even as we have seen elite Republicans endorsing equality,
we have not witnessed many political leaders in positions of real power or the
grassroots change course. I wish I could report otherwise -- but the facts
do not lie.
This is a critical election. The Republicans already run the House of
Representatives and have a good chance of taking over the Senate. Imagine
the nightmare of Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney or, God forbid, Michele Bachmann
occupying the White House with a Republican Congress?
Please, do not scoff at this horrifying possibility. Any student of
history understands that the world is full of examples of unthinkable political
outcomes that have caused havoc in the lives of vulnerable minorities. If
by some chance unemployment rises another 3-5 points, the electorate will be in
a foul mood and may be willing to rock the boat in unfathomable ways.
If Republicans control DC, they will be answering to those that brought them to
the big dance -- namely the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins and sundry
fundamentalist organizations. They would likely pass all kinds of
horrendous anti-gay bills -- many that would presumably be unconstitutional.
Unless, of course, President Palin gets to pick one or two Supreme Court
justices who would whiz through the Senate confirmation process.
What about the filibuster? Does any thinking person truly believe it would
survive this lawless bunch that has no respect for precedent and history?
This legislative option would disappear as fast as LGBT rights.
At times, my organization, Truth Wins Out, has been harshly critical of the
Obama administration. As a nonpartisan group we will continue to hold the
president accountable, as we do all elected officials. However, let's stop
the game-playing and pretending that the Republicans have put forth palatable
candidates. The entire bigoted batch is a disgrace to this nation and
anyone who feigns otherwise should not be taken seriously as a political
Truth Wins Out does not endorse candidates. But, we think the LGBT
community should stop the hand-wringing and childish game playing and embrace
HRC's bold decision. The more time HRC has to organize and mobilize.