Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

2006 should be a blowout for Democrats.  Given Republican failures, we should easily take back the House and Senate.  Yet Democratic Party leaders are still allowing the Republicans to define the terrain, which means that our chances are totally up in the air.  The GOP is quite public about their election plan, they are going to run on gay adoption and gay marriage, again. They are already taking ethics off the table by suggesting both parties are corrupt, as I said they would, and they are moving to blur the differences on foreign policy.  Democrats are reduced to the 'competence' line, and the Republicans are going to rev up their base with fearful moral values language.  What this means is that while we have huge leads in generic polls, voters may simply pull the lever for their local incumbent.

I asked Rahm Emanuel and Chuck Schumer on a conference call what they are going to do about wedge issues, and their answer was basically 'the Dubai port deal'.  That sounds great, if you can get Bush to try to sell our ports to foreigners in October, 2006.  If you can't, start making another plan.

And let me just point something out.  The immigration rallies should have taught us something - sticking up for your friends and allies is good politics.  I got this email from Paul Yandura recently to this effect.

The Republicans have announced that they intend to use gay equality issues as a divisive election year tactic- AGAIN this year.  Neither the DNC, nor any of the national committees (DCCC,DSCC), have a strategy to combat this hatred (unless you count avoidance as a strategy).

Dont believe me?  Ask Howard, Ask Nancy, Ask Harry, Ask Rahm, Ask Chuck.

For many months a number of us have made appeals to Howard Dean and party officials to care about and defend the dignity of gay and lesbian families and friends, in the same way they defend the dignity of other key constituencies.

... The DNC is fighting the vicous attacks being waged upon immigrants by the Republican party.  Its the right thing to do and I applaud their action.  Why then is it so difficult for them to do the same for us?

Why are gays and lesbians continually left to fight these battles alone?  Where are our allies?

All progressives need to be asking how much has the DNC budgeted to counter the anti-gay ballot initiatives in the states.   We also all need to know why the DNC and our Democratic leaders continue to allow the Republicans to use our families and friends as pawns to win elections.

I think that's about right, though I will say that the gay groups have their role to play.  The question applies to everyone concerned about the election.  Where is the strategy here?  I know the DNC meeting in Orlando is going on right now.  I would hope there's some discussion around this.

Tags: 2006, Chuck Schumer, Democrats, Ethics, Gay Marriage, rahm emanuel, Republicans (all tags)



Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

Where is the strategy on anything other than "the Republicans suck?" Seriously. Can someone spell it out for me. I think you hit the nail on the head with the comment about the Dubai thing would work if this were Oct 2006. The lack of long term strategic thinking that allows for adaptability is a big concern. A bigger question than the gay issue that I would like to know, and it relates, but not just the gay issue, is how do they intend to experiment and adapt this cycle to make sure that they can do more than just run for this cycle, but future cycles after this one? What language works on people? What language does not? Are they going to experiment to find out? For that matter, what are our wedge issues against the Republicans? What experimentation are they planning to wedge Theocons from Paleos from Northeast Republicans from others? It's great to see the faultlines for a change in the other side- how do we intend to amplify them? How will we keep the other side off their game? Do they realize the media will get bored? That by the summer they, the media, will be looking for a new narrative. Are they concerned that the narrative maybe, Bush, the come back kid. Or Republicans, clean up their act. What do they intend to do to make sure this doesn't happen?

by bruh21 2006-04-22 08:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

There is a very simple case to be made.  The candidate needs to say that marriage is a very important institution.  It has always promoted social stability.  Most (though not all) individuals are happier and healthier in committed marriages.  Children by and large do better in two-parent households.  For that reason, we ought to be encouraging people to form committed, legal relationships, not creating obstacles to that end.  The states should find a way for two people of the same sex to form such a legal relationship, perferably through marriage, or through a civil union that carries the same obligations and benefits as marriage.  Churches, of course, need not marry any couple they do not wish to marry, but the State should not discriminate on the basis of the sex of the participants any more than it would on the race of the participants.  Marriage is good for society, and good for couples and children.  I support marriage for this reason, and encourage the governments to make it available to any adult couple.

by Mimikatz 2006-04-22 08:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

"To mature adults in love... I say THAT love can never be wrong."

<<it makes the republican candidate "against love" <br> <<it exposes them as not 'defending marriage' but attacking gays who are in love<br> ie. bigots

by dereau 2006-04-22 06:43PM | 0 recs
Do what works

I assume there's been polling done about the effect of various policies/stands/emphases on the subject on various demos.

My guess - no more than that - would be that the Dems making a Federal case - as it were - would cost them votes net. It feeds into the Free Mumia, Dems as single-issue-group-junkies, what about us regular folks? vibe that would deter more swing voters than bring out otherwise stay-at-home Dems.

That guess may be wholly or partly wrong: I'd prefer to see some evidence.

Certainly, Dems should not take up the issue because it gives them lefty ya-yas, but because it will help them take one or both houses of Congress. (If, on the evidence, it will help. And not hinder.)

by skeptic06 2006-04-22 08:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

I asked Rahm Emanuel and Chuck Schumer on a conference call what they are going to do about wedge issues, and their answer was basically 'the Dubai port deal'.  

The Dems' strategy might be lame but it is their strategy. Is it a good idea to divulge it on a web site?

by drlimerick 2006-04-22 08:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

I thought this was just Dem alphabet soup humor...

by skeptic06 2006-04-22 09:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

Oh puh-leez!

The GOP has been very candid about their strategies.  This is a battle that is being played out in the PUBLIC sphere.

If this is the strategy it will be executed via public statements, arallies, etc. just like the hate-gays-not-corruption is being played out publicly.

The problem is the lame strategy, not the public disclosure of that lame strategy.

by teknofyl 2006-04-22 09:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

The Dems don't have a strategy about this or anything else.

I continue to expect that while we will pick up a few seats the Dem power players will be amazed that we didn't do better next November.

If you don't believe in anything why should folks vote for you.  This goes for gays, immigrants or anything else.

by mwfolsom 2006-04-22 09:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

If that's a strategy I'm Richard Nixon. Schumer et al. are a disaster. If the Dems don't win real, real big in 2006 he and the rest of his pathetic ilk will be removed. I met Ned Lamont this week and there's a guy who gets it. I have come to the conclusion that current Dem "leadership" is stupid. They just don't know what voters are concerned about.

It's up to us to let the Schumer's of the party know that defeat is unacceptable.

Totally unacceptable.

I'm firing up my keyboard to do that right now.

by Pericles 2006-04-22 09:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

Does the Democratic party have a leadership?  I dont think so.  Remember when Harry Reid was asked who leads the party and he just sputtered?  

Who is the most infuential democrat?  What national politician actually affects the votes and positions of others?  Dean, Clinton, Reid, Kennedy?  What do people think?

by Winston Smith 2006-04-22 02:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy

Does the Democratic party have a leadership?  I dont think so.  Remember when Harry Reid was asked who leads the party and he just sputtered?  

Who is the most infuential democrat?  What national politician actually affects the votes and positions of others?  Dean, Clinton, Reid, Kennedy?  What do people think?

by Winston Smith 2006-04-22 02:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

The Gay Marraige and Gay Adoption Level have been decided at the state level. It was voted based on Statewide Referendum/Initiatives. Voters are overwhelmingly opposed to Gay Marraige for Religious Regions.

What National Democrats need to do is convince the state Democratic Party in battleground states like
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
Rhode Island
Which will have competitive Governors,US Senate or US House Races- to propose a ballot intitiative or referendum calling for an increase in the minimum wage.
On Gay Issues- We should support Domestic Partnership Benifits or Civil Unions.-

by CMBurns 2006-04-22 09:39AM | 0 recs
Minimum wage hike a much better bet...

I'd tend to agree.

I'm still bemused why minimum wage has not been a huge issue for Dems.

Not raised since 1997, way behind its equivalent fifty years ago as discounted by CPI; even further behind as a proportion of wage rates.

It's across the board - but obviously helps disproportionately those minorities with disproportionate levels of low wage-earning.

It's got that New Deal pedigree (having come in in 1938 with the FLSA).

You don't even need to be a lefty to support raising it (Clinton did!).

Yet I get the impression that - yes, raising the minimum wage is on the laundry-list of stuff the Dems say they will do. (It was on Kerry's, I seem to remember.)

But it doesn't - I sense - have the juice among Dem alphabet soup or lefty bloggers that - for example - that chimera honest government has.

(Dean, at his Prospect breakfast, said, about the 06 Dem campaign message,

I'm going to push very hard to have either raising the minimum wage or living wage as part of what we want to do because it's a values statement about how we value folks who work.

It's something to work with.)

by skeptic06 2006-04-22 10:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Minimum wage hike a much better bet...

Believe it or not, the one politician who's been on this already is Hillary Clinton.  I'm not a fan of hers (for foreign-policy reasons, mainly), but her proposal to index the minimum wage to Congressional salary increases is very good politics.  As my coblogger wrote here:

She is proving once again that she is very clever. Nobody has been willing to raise the minimum wage because of decades of neoliberal propaganda, but how can members of Congress argue that they deserve salary bumps but poor folks don't?

by antidoto 2006-04-22 11:24AM | 0 recs
Alburqurque NM-(NM-CD-1)Richardson

Alburqurque City Council voted to boost the local wage to 7.50 an hour- higher that the federal- 5.15.

Richardson is proposing a Statewide Miniumum Wage increase.

Other City that approved measures to increase the minimum wage is Santa Fe,San Fransico and Washington D.C.

Governor Baldacci of Maine signed a mimimum wage bill into law- raising the Maine-minimum wage to 6.75 by October of 2006 and 7 by October 2007

by CMBurns 2006-04-22 11:44AM | 0 recs
Mimimum Wage on a state-by state level

State which the mimumim wage is at 5.15 an hour-federal level.
New Hampshire
New Mexico
North Carolina
North Dakota
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

83% of the public support a federal mimimum wage hike

88% believe the federal wage should be more than 7.15 an hour

by CMBurns 2006-04-22 11:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Mimimum Wage on a state-by state level


by dereau 2006-04-22 06:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Mimimum Wage on a state-by state level

Go on the www.pewresearch.org website.

Maximum Support for Raising Minimum Wage.

By an 83-14 percent margin - Voters overwhelmingly support raising the minimum wage to 7.15 an hour- 2.00 an hour increase. 49% say they strongly support such increase- The entire Democratic Party-91% base- Progressive Liberals to DLC Centrist Moderates are highly supportive of raising the minimum wage.
72% of the Republicans support the mimumum wage increase- yet the last time their was a minumum wage increase was in 1997- Clinton was President.

59% Democrats strongly support increasing the mimumum wage
31% Republicans strongly support increasing the minumum wage

The minumum wage increase should be an issue Democrats need to use not only to win elections in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate but also the Governorships and the State legislatures.

On Senate Bill 2063- (Kennedy Amendent- to increase the Federal Minimum wage.
Vote count was 47 in favor of increasing the mimumum wage- 51 against increasing the mimumum wage.
Inouye-HI and Corzine-NJ were absent during the vote. - Inouye(HI)and Menendez(NJ)-Corzine's replacement will vote AYE.

The Republican Senators who support the Kennedy Amendment is
Chafee-RI- the most liberal member of the Republican Caucus-
DeWine-OH- a moderate facing a tough re-election campaign in 2006
Santorum-PA- facing tough re-election campaign in 2006.
Specter-PA- a moderate to liberal member of the Republican caucus.

We should target Republican Senators up for re-election in 2006 facing tough re-election campaigns that voted against increasing the minimum wage.
George Allen(VA)
Conrad Burns(MT)
John Ensign(NV)
Jon Kyl(AZ)
Jim Talent(MO)

In Ohio- Democratic Senate Candidate Sherrod Brown proposed a grassroots mobilization to put a minimum wage increase proposal on the Ohio Ballot to vote it into law. Ohio- minimum wage is 4.25 an hour-

by CMBurns 2006-04-24 06:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Minimum wage hike a much better bet...

During the 2004 Presidential campaign- Two Purple States that support George W Bush or John Kerry- Florida and Nevada. overwhelmly supported Increasing the minimum wage
Nevada- 68-32

Minumum Wage increase was popular in Republican Regions in Florida- (Florida Panhandle) and Nevada(Lake Tahoe)- It was popular with evangelical voters.

The minimum Wage increase brought in increase in voter turnout among low income and working class voters thanks to grassroots voter registration and GOTV campaign by coalition of progressive groups -

Kerry- failed to embrace the minimum wage increase proposal in Florida- He ingored the issue.

In Nevada- the Minimum wage Increase Helped Democrats gain Seats in Both Houses in the State Legislature.

Democrats in 2006 who are running for the US Senate-US House,Governorship and the State legislature- should unaminously a make increasing the minimum wage a big issue in their campaign. They should get their Republican Incumbent Opponents to explain on why they voted against increasing the minimum wage but support giving tax cuts to the top wealthy people in the country.

by CMBurns 2006-04-24 07:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Minimum wage hike a much better bet...

The problem with the Democratic Party is we debate or talk about issue that public is either divided over or The Public Supports Republicans.

On the Gay Marraige Issue- Voters overwhelmingly oppose Gay Marraiges. Democrats unaminous support a Civil unions but not campaign on that issue.

On the Domestic Wiretappings issue- While voters support the right to privacy- They are not concerned of the Government listening to the conversations of suspected terrorist talking to people in the US. -

On the War in Iraq- The public opposes the War in Iraq but opposes an immediate withdrawal. Democrats should let Bush and the Republicans hang themselves on the Iraq issue- Democrats should embrace John Kerry's proposal that forces cooperation between the Sunni Shiites and Kurds to get serious in forming the new Iraqi Government otherwise an immediate withdrawal will occur- We should support a timeline in which US Troops remain in Iraq. On response to Democrats not having a plan- We should ask Republican what their plan is other than staying the course.

On the issue of Honest Government or Culture of Corruption- Public Views Both Parties as corrupt - Voters will punish the Republicans more because they are in power.

Democrats should focus on issue such as
Minimum wage increases- 80% of the voters support increasing the minimum wage- 51 Republican US Senators voted against increasing the minimum wage. - US did not have a increase in the minimum wage since 1997.

Democrats should talk about restoring the Pay-Go Rule relating to Government Spending.

by CMBurns 2006-04-24 07:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Minimum wage hike a much better bet...

Social Issues
Gay Rights/Marriages-
49% of the public thinks homosexuality should be accepted. 45% of the moderates think homosexuality should be accepted. 23% of the populists- think homosexuality should be accepted .Voters are slightly with Republicans with the  on the gay issue.
Restriction on Abortions
36% of the public supports restrictions on abortions  34% of the moderates supports restrictions on abortions. 56% of the populists support restriction on Abortions. Voters are overwhelmingly with Democrats on the Abortion issue.
56% of the public favor embryonic Stem Cell Research. 52% of the moderates favor embryonic Stem Cell Research. 45% of the Populist support Embryonic Stem Cell research. Voters are slightly with the Democrats on the Stem Cell Research Issue.

Economic Issue
28% of the public support making Bush Tax Cuts Permanent- 27% Moderates and 25% Populists- 37% of Libetarians- 9% of Liberals support making Bush Tax Cuts permanent- 48% of Conservatives support making Bush Tax Cuts permanent.

86% of the public support increasing the minimum wage- 94% Liberals, 91% of Populists,85% Moderates- 80% of Libetarians, 77% of Conservatives.

by CMBurns 2006-04-24 09:56AM | 0 recs
Virginia's gay-bashing ballot measure

Virginia has a ballot initiative this year to make gay marriage unconstitutional. Luckily it's sloppily written, and it also makes certain heterosexual arrangements unconstitutional. Nonetheless, everyone's going to have to answer this question even if they're running for federal office, and I'll be watching to see which of the Democrats choose to highlight these heterosexual restrictions, and which object on principle.

For the record, my local candidate for congress (Al Weed, VA-05) is totally objecting on principle.

by msnook 2006-04-22 01:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

If W 2004 "proved" something, it was that sounding definite was a plus.  

Hmmm... $3.50 a gallon for gas this summer.  I think that and the corruption are the Dems strategy.  Not much.  I'd rather we stood up and fought, for once, in what we believe.  Freedom and dignity at home (and in our homes).  Better wages and real concern for most folks not just the super rich and corporations.

Share your dreams, not your fears.  (Robert Louis Stevenson via the local KFC).

by David Kowalski 2006-04-22 09:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

What can the dems tell the public that the govt can do for gas? How about sensible energy policy that doesn't enrich oil corporations? How about promotion of research for alternative energy sources? How about establishing and embracing think tanks on the topic?

They can run the Republicans aren't competant and we are strategy all thru the summer up to election day on these issues:

- energy policy

  • health care (botched medicare drug bennies, rising costs, no solutions)
  • botched economic security (rising home prices, rising rates, attempted to kill social security)
  • faiurel to understand basic liberties - like being able to visit your loved ones in the hospital, like a 9/11 victim's significant other being denied pension death benefits - like the importance of fair treatment for all, and that America was founded on these principles of religious tolerance and the Puritans came here to practice without persecution, not to persecute others for their differences?

Democrats MUST run on common sense competance and hammer it home ALL SUMMER LONG INTO THE FALL. Dammit.

by daninvirginia 2006-04-22 01:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

The Republicans pissed off a massive voting bloc on the immigration issue. We should get back over 90%+ with them - if we don't sit on our hands.

Same with gay issues. It's obvious where Bush stands. Just the Easter Egg Hunt crap shouldn've brought hackles.

Will we take advantage?

by zappatero 2006-04-22 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

The current Dem strategy seems to be to minimize the party's support for the traditional interest groups (pro-choice, environment, labor, gays, etc) - and ignore those issues.

While I do agree that the Dem. party should not just be a collection of interest groups, and the interest groups must look to the larger good of getting the Dems back in power, ignoring these issues is likely to result in lots of stay at home Dems on election day.  In addition, independents are offered nothing but the negative-only 'Repubs are bad', because there is no positive Dem. message.

Fear of being Roved on issues has made the Dem. leadership and congressional members into silly putty.

The gays are going to be the sacrificial lambs again.  Total war by the Repubs against them.  Noone leading a fight to oppose this war.  In the bigger war (Iraq/Iran), the Dems are doing almost nothing in opposition, so it not surprising that the Dems will acually do nothing or give indications of support to the Repubs out of fear.

I'm disgusted - where's my liberal/progressive party?  

by JimPortlandOR 2006-04-22 10:03AM | 0 recs
No &quot;Gay&quot; strategy

Why should there be a strategy on gays?

There are a few parties involved here:

1. People who hate gays

2. People who are essentially indifferent on the issue, and uncomfortable both with gays and with bashing them.

3. Straight people who support gay rights

4. Gay people

Then there are these assumptions:

2 is the biggest group
1 is the next largest
3 is next
4 is the smallest group

Guess what, groups 3 and 4 combined add up to less people than 1 and 2 combined.

And based on what we saw in 2004, it doesn't seem that 2 has a big problem with 1. They don't like the gay bashing, but not enough to vote against the GOP. And groups 3 and 4 will vote for the Dems anyway. So why support homosexuals?

Homosexuals aren't like hispanics -- they're not the fastest growing minority in the country. In fact, they're a small minority with essentiall no birth rate.

So again, what benefit is there to supporting gay rights?

Maybe to stand up for what is right? To take a principled stand and fight against intolerance?  

Not if your strategy is based around poll numbers and demographics. And that's why Dems are in danger of not making serious gains in a year that should be a landslide for them. Because fundamentally, their strategy hasn't changed -- it's not about taking a stand on what you believe, but on following polls and demographic trends.

by LiberalFromPA 2006-04-22 10:05AM | 0 recs
Re: No &quot;Gay&quot; strategy

Homosexual rights, by and large, work (or not) as a wedge issue for both parties. They have relatively little substance compared to the political effect they have.

They're like Confederate flag issues, and official language issues, and what you can put on a license-plate issues, and naming of geographical places issues - all that bollocks, and much more.

Use of this type of issue is, from one viewpoint, one of the things that gets politics a bad name. From another, it can work, so have at it!

Dems needn't be prissy about it: if the issue tests well in terms of winning net votes, fine.

If not, then not.

Either way, those managing the national campaign (anyone there?) should decide a strategy and move on to more important things.

Like taking another look at that mess of soggy papier mâché called Real Security, for instance, now war with Iran looks as if it's getting closer...

by skeptic06 2006-04-22 11:09AM | 0 recs
Re: No &quot;Gay&quot; strategy

Homosexual rights are about something of substance -- the rights of a group of people in this country.

I would agree that the political effect is substantial, but issues of equal rights have always had large political effects -- amazing in a country founded on the concept of equality.

by LiberalFromPA 2006-04-22 01:54PM | 0 recs
Re: No &quot;Gay&quot; strategy

I'm very curious where you get your estimates? And what the hell do you mean homosexual have no birthrate? They are born everyday. Was this some sick dig at their numbers being constant cause of AIDS?!?

I appreciate that you realize the democrats need to stand up for individual rights because thats what this country is about.

Furthermore, why does there need to be a strategy? Every non-political post-election analysis has shown that gay marriage did not significantly affect the election; rather, swing voters, for whatever ridiculous reason, didn't want to change leaders in the middle of war. They bought that argument and went for it. What we need to do is show that our guy/girl will keep them safer by having a better foreign policy, a true domestic policy, all the while protecting the civil rights of every american.

by PHDinNYC4Kerry 2006-04-22 11:44AM | 0 recs
Get a grip

No, I wasn't making some dig about AIDS. Your accusation is quite a reactionary leap of illogic.

Perhaps I should have said "growth rate" instead of "birth rate". If the percentage of the population that is homosexual is constant (since we're assuming you're born gay and don't "become" gay), then their percent of the electorate is constant.

by LiberalFromPA 2006-04-22 02:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Get a grip

Gays provide a massive amount of money for the Democrats.  Without us, the Dems would be even more behind in fundraising.  Who do you think contributes the most individual money to D campaigns?

by jgarcia 2006-04-22 08:34PM | 0 recs
Re: No &quot;Gay&quot; strategy

Political calculation has limits.  Almost everything you wrote could have been written in 1960 about black folk.  People admire leaders who take clear stands, at least some of the time.  Make gay rights a big issue in 2006? No But running from it looks bad too, esp. in blue states.

by howardpark 2006-04-22 12:51PM | 0 recs
Re: No &quot;Gay&quot; strategy

I think the one difference between homosexuals and african-americans in the 1960s is that african americans are a relatively large-sized minority (they are 13.4% today, and I'd imagine a slightly larger percentage of the population in the sixties).

by LiberalFromPA 2006-04-22 02:00PM | 0 recs
Re: No &quot;Gay&quot; strategy

Rights are not determined under the constitution by numbers. a) If this were the criteria, religious minorities such as Jews would lose out because I under the estimate for them is what 6 million? b) the Other problem you face with you analysis is that it didn't matter if blacks were 13 percent of the population. They didn't have the numbers to matter in most elections. The decision to help AAs can be revised by modern Democrats to justify their attitudes toward gays, but its not accurate to say that it was totally about political calculus of the nature that people here want to pretend it was.

by bruh21 2006-04-22 02:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

First of all, I think you are completely wrong about what happened on immigration.  I think Frist and Reid cut a deal to not have a bill.  Republicans cannot afford to be branded nationally as the anti-Latino party.  Hurts 'em in too many districts.  Nor can the Democrats afford to be branded nationally as the pro-illegal alien party.  Hurts 'em in too many districts.  So they agreed to blow it up so each member candidate could play the issue as needed in his or her own district or state.

Welcome to my world.  Democrats want to suck up all the money and support they can from gay folks but they don't want to pay any bills. That's not working for us.   I started this when I was a young man 40 years ago and I'm close to being an old man now.  WE need change now not 40 years from now.

Ultimately, the only way out of this is through.  Because it isn't going away.  Think about it.  If Clinton and the Democratic congress had kept their promises on gays in the military 14 years ago, gay rights would have continued to evolve much more rapidly than it has and we'd be done now.  

So let's begin to formulate some guidelines for how we can deal with this.

1.  Nobody gets to denigrate gay rights.  That's a support killer.  Example:  Feinstine tries to blame gays for the election.  "Too much too soon," she says.  Boxer embraces homophobic Boy Scouts.  

2. At the same time, nobody needs to embrace gay marriage either. Not right now, anyway.  The issue just isn't ripe for that.  Let it play out in the states.  In 5 years we can claim that the sky didn't fall because of gay marriage in MA.  The appropriate rhetorical response might be to repeat Cheney's 'state matter' approach, talk up the states as the laboratories of Democracy, "let's see how things go."

3.  No more hypocrisy.  No more riding around in open cars at gay pride pretending to be supportive if you aren't going to be.  Listen up Dianne.  No more gay rights jibber jabber on the socalled lefty blogs followed by support for homophobic militarists.  There are lots of other candidates to support.  The big claim to fame of the blogs?  Stephanie Herseth who then votes for the anti gay marriage amendment.  You can have it one way or you cn have it another.  Stop trying to have it both ways.  It hurts blog credibility, because it sounds very very old school machine politics.

4.  Everyone is obliged to embrace the Constitution of the US, including it's promise of equal treatment.  That's really all we want right now is our right to equal treatment.  Everything else is a red herring.  I think it is a good guess that the majority of the public is so ignorant of the Bill of rights and other Constitutional provisions, that they are ignorant of the right to equal treatment.  And I think we should deal with this pedagogically, teaching the public about the issue of equal treatment and how it plays out in everyone's lives AND THE LIVES OF THEIR CHILDREN.  Because as society becomes ever more scientifically and rationally based, those who guide their lives by what I would call superstition (not saying we use that word) are going to be increasingly marginalized.  Because when I am hiring, I can't discriminate against you because of your religion, but I can discriminate against you if I think you are stupid or just not capable of dealing with reality, facts and reason.

Sorry to be so long winded.  But we need a rational approach which incorporates the long term nature of this process.

by NorCalJim 2006-04-22 10:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

Equal protection without context isn't very help either in Constitutional law or in public discussions that will help the American people understand what you mean by equal treatment.

by bruh21 2006-04-22 10:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

You make the same point I have been pushing.  We need the rest of the community to adopt it.

paul yandura

by pjy 2006-04-22 10:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

The issue is not about the Democratic Party suppoting marriage equality for gays and lesbians.  While I am for marriage equality, this is about defending the dignity of gays and lesbians as human beings.  It is about exposing the Republicans for using gays and lesbians as pawns in order to win elections.  This is about all progressives, whether for gay marriage or not, standing up and calling this what it really is--a tactic to win elections by polarizing the electorate and taking the spotlight off of a failed Republican agenda.  Republicans get it.  Why we dont mystifies me.

What can be done?  We need leadership and coordination from the Democrats.  We need to be developing, testing and implementing messages that move the debate off of gay marriage and onto the real reasons Republicans are obsessed with this issue.  The reasons are:

1.) They bring it up at predictable times because they think it helps them win elections.    
2.) It changes the focus from their horrific record of abuse and corruption.  
3.) They think it turns out certain segments of their base and suppresses segments of ours.
4.) Dem candidates and leaders look uncomfortable and inauthentic when they are asked about the issue.

Democrats message (or some argue lack of) has made us look uncomfortable, confused and at times complicit.  Some even say it looks as if we are lying and trying to have it both ways.  We wind up continually debating the merits of gay marriage rather than attacking the divisive and hateful tactics the Republicans employ.  We walk right into Karl Rove's playbook for winning elections.  

We can turn on its head the Republicans' mantra that the Dems are the Party of Gay Marriage.   In truth, its the Republicans that are the party of gay marriage.  They are obssessed with it. That is all they talk about.  Its all they can talk about since their agenda over the last six years has failed and their corrupt values are now being exposed.  They will do anything to change the subject.  Lets quit helping them.  

We are the party that opposes any tactics that unfairly single out individual Americans and communities and scapegoats them in order to win elections.  We are the party of real family values which embraces all American families, including gay and lesbian ones.   Democrats should not stand by and allow mean-spirited, unfair and divisive political tactics to go unchallenged.  You get the picture.

by pjy 2006-04-22 10:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?


It is the Republican obsession with it. We aren't pushing heavily for it, at least not in many places, we simply are trying to prevent its outright permanent ban. We need to inform them that the dem party is interested in issues that affect ALL AMericans like the economy, energy and healthcare and Security and ending this damn foolishness in Iraq. Nor in policing American's bedrooms. Let's get out of this defensive posture and get it together NOW.

by daninvirginia 2006-04-22 01:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

my guess is they'll do what they always do and blame the gays for wanting to be considered as equal.

by goplies 2006-04-22 11:14AM | 0 recs
Equal Rights.

I (the Democratic Party) believe in equal rights for all people.


end of statement.

That immediately reframes any gay bashing as being against equal rights, which is a losing battle, no matter how much individual people may feel uncomfortable.

It's that easy.


by neutron 2006-04-22 11:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

I've been beating this drum on my own blog for a while now. I'm glad to see it's being discussed on some bigger blogs. As a gay man, my fear is that the success of candidates like Tim Kaine may lead some Democrats to run slightly more to the right on gay issues (and choice, too) in order to curry favor with more conservative voters that lean Democratic but are also more conservative on social issues.

The line I've heard on some progressive blogs is that traditionally Democratic constituencies like gays and women concerned about reproductive choice should set aside our issues and work to get Democrats elected (or at leas not oppose them) even when they're not exactly progressive on our issues. The logic is that once Democrats get back into power, they can make progress on issues like gay & lesbian equality and reproductive choice.

The problem I see with that is that if democrats return to power with the help of more conservative voters, those same voters may not let them stay in power and return to more progressive positions on those issues. So, if they want to stay in power, they may have to maintain some distance from those issues. I haven't had it explained to me -- not believably, anyway -- just how democrats will avoid that scenario, or much discussion of strategy beyond getting back into power.

If the above scenario plays out the way I fear it will, the ultimate result of the "republican revolution" will be a more conservative Democratic party. And groups that have traditionally been Democratic constituents -- like gays & lesbians (most of us, anyway) -- will be without a home in either major party. But at least the democrats will be back in power.

by TerranceDC 2006-04-22 11:40AM | 0 recs
Re: the Strategy on Gay Issues

Seems to me, if asked about "gay issues" this election cycle, the wise answer by any candidate in a swing or red district is:

"I haven't thought much about that issue, since I believe the main problems demanding leadership today are the high price of gasoline, the availability of health insurance, job losses in our state, [insert local economic issue here]...it says a lot that the Republicans have done NOTHING to fix our economy because they spend all their time ranting about some imagined "gay menace" instead of doing what really needs to be done."

If said candidate is talking to the liberal base, it might help to add somewhere that the candidate will never vote for discriminatory legislation--that's just a given.  But don't let the Republicans get you off message by allowing them to focus the election on divisive "social issues." This is an election in which we we ought to get the whole electorate united behind the need for economic reform.

by admiralnaismith 2006-04-22 12:08PM | 0 recs
two part strategy

When it comes to Congress (Senate included), party label means a lot.  When you're voting for your local Democratic candidate for US House, even if he or she doesn't support your issues, remember, you're voting for one more vote to put John Conyers at the head of Judiciary, Henry Waxman at the head of Government Reform, and so on.

Which party sets the agenda and chairs the committees in the House and Senate will make a much bigger difference on the issues you care about, than what your Senators and Representative individually do, most of the time (though with a particularly good Senator, like McCain or Kennedy or Feingold, it's not as clear-cut an imbalance).

Where you need to fight for the kinds of candidates you really want, is in the primaries.  And that means running for office, or recruiting and training people to run, and volunteering for them.  It means building a solid bench of the kinds of candidates you like, by getting involved in state legislative politics.  Volunteer for that state rep candidate who may run for your Congressional seat three or four elections from now.  Encourage the really good progressive neighborhood leader to run for mayor, or for an open state senate seat - and promise to canvass for them and ask your friends for contributions for them.

Support the Democratic party so it has the power to push its agenda.

Mold the Democratic party to be more like what you want.

These are two interrelated, interlocking goals, that feed into each other.  Each makes the other stronger for you.

by cos 2006-04-22 12:19PM | 0 recs
Don't Forget the Hate Crimes Bill

While there is discussion here about not trusting Democrats in Congress to advance gay rights legislation when they reach the majority because of conservative elements in the party, don't forget that last year John Conyers brought his Hate Crimes legislation to the House floor as an amendment to a child safety bill.  And it passed.  Under this Congress.  The issue in the House is, whoever is in the majority gets to choose the agenda and what we vote on.  Had Republicans seen this amendment coming, they would have blocked it.  Even so, they were able to strip in conference negotiations because they controlled the conference committee.  Yet this vote showed that there is enough support now in the House, in advance of changes in the 2006 elections, to pass meaningful legislation addressing gay rights.  It is just a matter of being in the majority so you can set the agenda and get it done.

by jonathangodfrey 2006-04-22 12:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

There should be no strategy.  Stay on message, which is that the Bush administration is horrible on the economy for the working and middle class, horrible on national security, horrible on Iraq, impending horrible on Iran, a miserable failure on health care, etc.  

Gay issues are electorally unimportant for the Democrats and should be treated as such.  De-emphasize them do that Republicans can't use them as a wedge issue and focus the debate elsewhere.  If you want gay issues to be a central, salient issue, then let's just amend the Constitution to allow for amendments by national referendum and hold a coast-to-coast vote on legalizing gay marriage.

If there is a progressive position on gay issues, it will be advanced through the back door by appointing liberal judges who will make gay friendly rulings from the bench.  It won't be an issue for Democrats to campaign strongly on in the near future.  Talk about the Democratic Party in code as the party of equal rights, not the party of rights that are bought and paid for, so that wink-wink progressives know what you are talking about, but don't go out of your way to force an unnecessary battle that probably won't accomplish much.  It didn't work for Bush in Iraq and it won't work for the Democratic Party on gay issues in America.

by Anthony de Jesus 2006-04-22 01:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

If I add up all the comments here, it begins to make a good case for supporting democratic candidates on the state level who are willing to take a stand for what's right on the issue of gay & lesbian equality.  But it doesn't make much of a case for doing more than going to the polls and pulling a lever where candidates for congress, etc. are concerned. It sounds like the best I can expect is for them to stop something bad from happening if it comes to that. Maybe.

And it sounds like I can't expect much more on the issue of my family's equality except for it to be back-burnered in favor of "more important" issues (i.e. "the important shit") until or if such a time arrives as democratic leadership can safely do the right thing.

Boil it all down to gravy and you get: "Vote for us, but don't expect much."

I suppose an constituency as small as we are can't expect much. All things being equal, I don't think much should be expected from us either.

by TerranceDC 2006-04-22 02:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

What exactly do you expect?  Give an answer that is reality-based and aware of what is feasible given current politics.  Include in your analysis that black Protestants are probably somewhat more anti-gay than white Protestants (I'd have to recheck the numbers to be sure) and that the percentage of Democrat voters who oppose gay marriage (probably 20-35%) is probably higher then the percentage of Democratic voters who are gay (although less than the percentage of voters who support gay marriage).  

Make the case for me that gay issues should clearly be prioritized over one or more of the following as a campaign issue: terrorism and national security, Iraq, education, the environment and global warming, jobs and the economy, health care.

Right now, Democratic strategy should involve campaign and electoral strategy for the mid-term elections.  I can't really see how gay issues fit into all that.  Can you convince me otherwise?  There are a lot of things wrong with this country and this world and we can't fix all the evils simultaneously.  If you were to place yourself behind some sort of Rawlsian veil of ignorance, where would you honestly place your personal pet issues?

by Anthony de Jesus 2006-04-22 10:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

Prioritized over other issue? That's not what I'm asking, and I don't think anyone else is. But when the Republicans make it clear that gay-bashing is a major item on their agenda, it'd be at least reassuring if the issue was at least on the Dems' radar. But, as I've noted on my blog this morning, the trend (with the exception of individuals like Feingold) seems to be moving in the opposite direction.

I don't want it to be prioritized above other issues, but at leat Democratic leadership could take an unambiguous stand for what's right when and where the issue comes up.

Of course, when someone refers to equal rights and protections for my family as a "pet issue" in the course of a discussion, I tend to think they could pretty much care less and the discussion is probably pointless anyway.

by TerranceDC 2006-04-23 11:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

Matt's diary seems right on to me.  The Democrats will do worse than expected for exactly these reasons... unwillingness to stand on principle and take political risks.  The Democratic party is running on "we are not Republicans, assume we would do better."  

Not an inspiring message, and will not capitialize fully on the meltdown of the GOP.  

The problem is endemic.. all politicians want to tell everyone what they want to hear, and are so afraid of saying something that might be unpopular they say nothing inspiring, substantial, risky or visionary.  

I wonder if this is going on worldwide.  All the recent elections I have followed, from New Zealand to Italy, have been decided by razor thin margins.  Is there anything more to politics than marketing and strategy?

by Winston Smith 2006-04-22 02:56PM | 0 recs
This post is so wildly off base I barely

know how to begin.

#1) It has been clear since last fall that Rove's strategy for the 06 midterms is illegal immigration, illegal immigration, and illegal immigration. He said as much.

Listen to talk radio, or even just the station promos at the top and bottom of the hour. It is the issue du jour, and it is what has the otherwise demoralized Republican base worked into a lather. Gay marriage is - you know - like so 2004.

It has the potential to bring out not only core Republican voters in November but also right-leaning Independents (the Perotistas) - who are a strange, and fickle bunch.

#2) The idea that the immigration rallies helped Democrats is almost too crazy for words. The center of the electorate is mushy on this issue (they'll settle for an amnesty if it involves increased border security, but even they haven't fully come to terms with the changing ethnic face of America), but Democrats have no strategy for increasing turnout among them in November (or quite frankly even among the base), and in a climate where the likely voters are worked up about this issue it doesn't help Democrats.

Look at the polls. Even in blue California, which has come a long way toward coming to terms with the increasing Latino population, the public at large is fairly accepting of even illegal immigration, but registered and likely voters are not.

by bluenomad 2006-04-22 07:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

For once, can we be smart about a strategy for dealing with a wedge issue?  Most effective campaigners now realize that when a campaign is attacked, the campaign needs to rapidly respond by countering the attack and using the counter-attack (or defense) as an opportunity to quickly return back to the campaign's message(s).  Let's recognize these anti-gay ballot measures for what they really are, a not-so-subtle attack on the Democratic campaign to win back the Congress. Sooooo....

Let's take a page from Rovian tactics (granted we'll have to put it through the washer first!) and attack our opponents strongest feature or asset.  Republicans attacked Max Cleland's reputation as a veteran who supported national defense by linking him with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein because he opposed some of the Bush Homeland Security Department proposals.  They undermined Jean Carnahan's ability to attract female votes in Missouri by bringing in Republican women like Kay Bailey Hutchinson to encourage women to support her opponent Talent.  WE SHOULD COUNTER THESE BALLOT MEASURES BY ATTACKING THEIR STRONGEST FEATURE OR ASSET: THESE ARE WEDGE ISSUES MEANT TO DEFLECT FROM THE REAL ISSUES OF THE DAY AND INTENDED ONLY TO BRING OUT A PARTICULAR SEGMENT OF THE ELECTORATE WHO WOULDN'T TURN OUT OTHERWISE.  (Quite frankly, I think that such a campaign would produce some of the most entertaining ad campaigns ever seen in this country!)  And without skipping a beat, let's use such a campaign as an opportunity to return the political debate to the REAL issues.

In California, which has a reputation for ruling by referendum and initiative, the easiest way to defeat an initiative or referendum is to create doubt about it.  I have no reason to believe that the technique can't and doesn't work elsewhere.  So ATTACK THE REASONS FOR THESE BALLOT MEASURES.  Then attack the measure themselves.

An added bonus to this if done successfully would be to deflate the turnout of religious rightwingers.  Why turn out when a measure is going down to defeat?  But if they are turning out, use that to demonstrate the insidiously Machiavellian intention behind the measures.  After all, a vote for these measures is a vote for higher gas prices, gas and oil shortages, the destruction of social security, medicare (so-called) reform, out-of-control healthcare costs, Dubai port takeovers, a choice between draconian or no immigration control, etc., etc.  Why?  Because the measures are meant to turn out reliable rightwing Republican votes that will support Bush and the Rethugs.  A vote "no" will send a message to Bush and the Rethug establishment.

And as a gay man, I need to say that the LGBT community needs to stand up for itself and intelligently and EFFECTIVELY oppose these measures.  Quit whining that everybody else needs to stand up and defend us.  Acting and sounding helpless is the surest way for any group to ensure that it will not receive help.  You'd be surprised how others will stand with you if you at least demonstrate that you'll stand up for yourself no matter what.  And I say this as a gay man who has had to stand up for himself against harassment and discrimination (just a month ago, in fact).

Whew!  Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now.

by Phonatic 2006-04-22 08:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

I agree.  Attack their strongest feature or asset.

This means:

NJ- Get Codey or some other person (NOT Corzine) to back Menendez and conveniently point out that just because Kean has a well-known last name doesn't mean he should get an unfair shot against regular New Jersey residents.

MD- Have black leaders endorse the Democrats and say that Michael Steele is too far right and does not represent the black community, or Maryland at large.  

MO- Stem cell research and flip-flopping.  Also, play up that McCaskill knows rural Missouri better than he does.  

OH- Tie him with corruption. He wanted his son to get a govt job. Play the card like crazy.  OH is suffering from enough corruption already.  

RI- Somebody make a commercial bashing Chafee and Laffey and saying that they have or will vote with President Bush 80 percent of the time and RUN IT 24/7.  Throw out any confusion by saying he's not a moderate.  

WA- Simple commercials: "Mike McGavick would endanger Puget Sound residents by putting them at risk for a potential oil spill.  Vote Maria Cantwell."  Or, "McGavick says he's moderate, but he is meeting with the angry, vindictive Ted Stevens, who just wants Washington State to pay the price to selfishly benefit his own state of Alaska. Tell Mike McGavick that he should move to Alaska, cuz he doesnt speak for Washington State."  Also, tell them that on some of the things he's opposed, Cantwell beat him to it.  "He's a copycat, deosnt stand for anything" etc.  

MN- "Mark Kennedy just wants to rubber stamp the Republican Congress' misguided agenda, which is bad for Minnesota" (you get the idea)

Etc, etc, etc.  Any more ideas?

by ciudadano 2006-04-23 10:35AM | 0 recs


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