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Obama’s Gay Backers

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Hillary Clinton has long been a gay ally. Who could forget how the former First Lady invited gays into the White House, tried to set up gay administration staffers and marched in New York City’s gay pride parade? No wonder so many gay people are throwing their vote behind the Senator from New York.

What would possess a gay person, then, to vote for Barack Obama, a fairly unknown candidate from Illinois? Our editor recently sat down with three of Obama’s key gay campaigners to figure out what makes them tick and tock for Obama’s presidential clock.

Read all about them – and so much more – after the jump.

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Tobias Wolff got his political feet wet advising Democrat John Kerry during the 2004 election. Now, four years on, the University of Pennsylvania professor’s the Chair of Obama’s National LGBT Policy Committee. Despite his electoral track record, Wolff describes himself as “no political player”.

It’s his experience as a civil rights lawyer, he says, that landed him in the political game: “My job and my calling as a scholar and a lawyer is to understand our constitution and our legal system. I care about it very deeply and I am very passionate about it.”

Wolff’s especially enthusiastic about marriage equality and issued briefs in the California and Hawaii cases. He also plans to file one in Iowa.

The lawyer’s activist past clashes a bit with Obama, who endorses civil unions, but not gay marriage. So, how does Wolff reconcile this political difference? He doesn’t.

Andrew Belonsky: How did you get involved in Barack Obama’s campaign?

Tobias Wolff: The campaign called me in the late spring and asked me to be the Chair of the LGBT policy group. I had known a couple of people on the Obama campaign from the work that I did in the Kerry campaign. They knew my work as a scholar and a civil rights lawyer…

AB: Okay, so why did you agree to get involved with the campaign?

TW: He’s the first national politician in my adult life who has inspired me and makes me feel genuinely excited about being involved in national politics.

AB: What’s so inspiring?

TW: For starters, he is a really principled and committed progressive. He exhibits not just an understanding of the lives and the interests of ordinary people, but also an integrity in representing their interests and fighting for their interests. He has an ability to speak in a way that transcends the vocabulary that we’ve gotten used to hearing at a national political level. I think that for far too long, really since Watergate, frankly, it’s been difficult to get an audience for a progressive message on a national level. Barack Obama really represents values that are broadly shared values, values that large majorities of the American public really embrace, but haven’t had an effective voice at the national level. It is stirring.

AB: What happened in California? I mean, California is indicative of the way a lot of gay people vote. They feel indebted to the Clintons in a lot of ways.

TW: Sure.

AB: They recognize the Clintons. I think that people probably aren’t considering policies and things like that. So, why is Obama not gaining traction among gay people?

TW: I think there are a few things to say about what happened in California. The first is that Barack had extraordinary success in California compared to where the polling numbers were a month before the election. But, bottom line, she won the state and she should be commended for that. Where the gay vote is concerned, I think that the Clintons enjoy the benefit of a lot of affection for something real that they did. The Clinton presidency was the first occasion gay people were invited to participate in national politics and were formally recognized as part of the American community, that the White House would be speaking to and the White House would take pictures with and invite to parties. That was largely symbolic, but just as important. That was an enormous step forward and the Clintons are to be commended for that. That’s the good story to tell about the Clinton presidency and LGBT Americans.

AB: Okay.

TW: The bad story, of course, is the actual result that the presidency produced: the only two occasions in American history when anti-gay policies were written into the statutes of the United States. I think the story of the gay vote in this election, once again, has been the story of a familiar name, a familiar brand and then gay and lesbian voters having to learn about somebody new. I think the more LGBT people learn about Barack”s record on LGBT equality and HIV/AIDS and the way that he talks about LGBT equality to general audiences, the more excited they become and the more they switch over to his side.

AB: Let’s talk hypothetical: what if Obama doesn’t win the nomination? What if Hillary gets it? Do you back her?

TW: I’ll tell you what I’ve always said – both of these are very good candidates. They both have good records of accomplishment and they’re both candidates that I’d much rather see in the White House than John McCain. I will certainly vote for Hillary Clinton if she is the nominee. Will I publicly endorse her and lend my efforts to her campaign? That’s a decision that I’ll make after things play out.

AB: What about her stance on DOMA?

TW: I find her position on DOMA quite unacceptable. It is incomprehensible to me that she continues to support vicious anti-gay legislation. When Representative Lewis spoke on the House floor against DOMA when it was enacted and, invoking the full authority of his experience in the civil rights movement, he said, “I know what bigotry looks like and this is bigotry, pure and simple”. I cannot understand why Senator Clinton will not endorse a full repeal of that statute. It’s incomprehensible to me.

AB: And you do not endorse civil unions?

TW: No. The one issue pretty much in the entire LGBT arena that I disagree with Barack on is the marriage equality issue. When the campaign brought on to fulfill this role, they knew very well that I’m a quite prominent gay marriage advocate. I made clear from that start that when this issue comes up, it would be a very simple, “Yeah, this is an issue that I disagree with Barack on”. The campaign has never been skittish about that. I hold very strongly the view that if we can get civil unions in every state in the nation, then that would be an immense step forward, but I’m also of the view that we deserve to be treated equally under the law. That means if straight have access to civil marriage, then gay couples should as well.

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By:           Andrew Belonksy
On:           Feb 21, 2008
Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • 64 Comments
    • sb
      sb

      Since when have the Clintons been gay allies? Bill signed DOMA in the middle of the night and pretended that he could get away with it and yet somehow the gays still love him. If you think someone who is willing to do that is our ally, you are dead wrong.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 11:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Thom
      Thom

      After speaking about disenfrachised people Tuesday evening on national TV (after winning Wisconsin) Barack said “…it is time to stop scapegoating gay people.” Powerfull words.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 11:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • steve
      steve

      thanks for posting this

      i’m sick of being told that hillary is the only true “gay friendly” candidate by many in the community

      gimme a f’ing break

      i have a *major* issue with her iraq vote – that prevents me from being a hillary supporter

      her patting me on the head doesn’t make up for the damage of the war, sorry

      obama (in my mind) is currently the best all-around representation of the democratic party’s core values

      he has a very good ability to express those ideals to the public & they need to be heard – so i support the guy

      Feb 21, 2008 at 11:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rocco Halliwell
      Rocco Halliwell

      I just don’t see how anyone in their right mind could vote for Barack over Hillary. He’s all fluff people! Hillary is the only choice! I live in Texas and voted yesterday. If Obama wins the nomination I will become Republican.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 11:35 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • George
      George

      Jason Rae, the youngest superdelegate at 21 who also happens to be gay, just backed Obama.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 11:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dawster
      Dawster

      there are two things that got me thinking seriously about Obama. the first was i took three of those stupid “what candidate is right for you” online tests. they all lead me to Obama (we differ on immigration however).

      the second is that i have two friends who live in the Chicago area. both (separately) were completely impressed on how this “young” man came in and was able to get stuff done – housing for the poor, education, etc. to them, because they have seen it, there was no doubt in their mind that this man would make a good president even before he personally considered running for the oval office. mostly, he was pressured to run by the people he was serving!

      Pam’s House Blend makes a good point about Clinton running off an “entitlement” campaign. it’s not a good look. i can’t stand that smug “it’s owed to me” feeling in teenagers, and i certainly don’t like it in politicians either. but that is a personal opinion – nothing more – and that’s not to say clinton won’t make a good president.

      thanks very much AB for posting this.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 11:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • emb
      emb

      Excellent, thoughtful post, offering real insight and substance. Thank you.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 11:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ChristopherM
      ChristopherM

      First of all, anyone who still believes Obama is “fluff” has not been listening.

      I’m with Steve on this one. The way she triangulated on the war and her refusal to admit that it was a mistake lost my vote. She was #4 on my list of potential votes just on the basis of that. No integrity at all. Add in the fact that she won’t call for a repeal of DOMA, and the fact that she only mentions gay folks to gay audiences makes her no friend of mine. I’ll vote for her if she pulls off a miracle and wins the nomination, but I’ll have to hold my nose while doing it.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 11:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dan
      Dan

      I couldn’t agree more. Hillary has done some postive things for the gay community, but to me it all feels calculated and disingenuous (like almost everythign else she does). Not to mention that there are (surprise!) issues aside from (and one might argue, more important than) just gay rights at play in this election. I’d vote for her if she gets the nod (on the issue I feel like they’re pretty much in lock step), but as a personality and a candidate, I just can’t do it. A broader view of the candidates and the race might lead more voters away from Hillary…

      Feb 21, 2008 at 12:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jack Jett
      Jack Jett

      I wonder how much of the gay support for Clinton versus Obama isn’t just generational. For those of us who came out in the 70′s it seemed like a HUGE deal when we had a President that would talk about equality for gays……and even invite them into the White House. To me, it is hard to turn my back on those who supported us when no one else would and jump in bed with the new kid in town.

      Trust me, I think it is just awesome that we have such an incredible choice. I voted for Clinton yesterday but will be on the Obama bandwagon as soon as he gets the nomination.

      The Clinton’s, while they may have not lived up to everyone’s expectations, are not our enemy. The Repukes are. We can support one and not have to bash the other.

      I would vote for Carrot Top over that hornball chimpanzee McCain.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 12:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paul Raposo
      Paul Raposo

      Very good interviews, Andrew. Many thanks 8^)

      Feb 21, 2008 at 12:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PolishBear
      PolishBear

      For a long time I was pretty much on the fence between Ms. Clinton and Mr. Obama. I didn’t much care for John Edwards, who has always struck me as too much of a goofy good ol’ boy.

      Right now I’m planning to vote for Obama in my state’s primary. But REGARDLESS of whom the Democratic nominee is, keep this one simple thing in mind:

      A Presidency is for only four years.
      A Supreme Court appointment is for LIFE.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 12:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • seitan-on-a-stick
      seitan-on-a-stick

      Hillary wears our communities wreath of thorns for what the gay-bashing, male-dominated media have done to her candidacy for Madame President. Jack Jett summed it up accurately (are you related to Joan Jett because I was a total Runaways fan?) which the kiddies won’t get.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 1:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • arealpilot
      arealpilot

      Good questions in the interviews and nicely written up.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 1:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John K.
      John K.

      Thank you PolishBear. Democrats (especially gay ones) need to keep the Supreme Court in mind constantly. The next president will likely get to appoint THREE justices– most likely all to replace liberal ones that are more likely to overturn same-sex marriage bans. If McCain wins this election, we could see a 7-2 or 8-1 (depending on Kennedy’s case-by-case vote) split in favor of Conservative strict constructionists who will NEVER overturn federal or state gay marriage bans. The only way this country will get gay marriage in every state and the federal government within the next century or two is if the Supreme Court overturns laws. We’re playing defense when it comes to the Supreme Court right now, and we cannot afford to shoot ourselves in the foot because of minor differences between these candidates or bitterness over perceived procedural slights in the nominating process. Every person who supports either of these candidates needs to support the other should that person be the nominee, NO MATTER WHAT. We can argue and be angry all we want, but the solution is not to vote for John McCain to stick it to the other side; find another way to get even.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 2:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hisurfer
      hisurfer

      Thanks for this. These guys seem solid, and I’ve been wondering who Obama’s people were – given that in the end we’re voting for a team more than just an individual. To date all I knew about were Oprah & Kelly Hu … which wasn’t impressing me much. If the rest of his inner circle are as progressive and honest as these guys then I’m feeling a bit better about his nomination.

      And since Hillary keeps mis-stepping (and I’m one who honestly likes her), it’s pretty much Obama’s to lose at this point.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 2:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WeTheSheeple
      WeTheSheeple

      Finally some people using their heads! It’s about the future, not the past. The Clintons did a lot of good, but also a lot of harm to the gay community (doma, dadt). None of that will matter if the GOP gets control of the White House (and possibly the Senate). Personally I’m rooting for Obama, but I’ll support either Dem over McCain (or whoever). We absolutely can not afford another 4-8 yrs of the GOP in charge.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 2:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hells kitchen guy
      hells kitchen guy

      Oh man, this campaign has been going on waaaay too long. I hope the major parties can get together and start having primaries in May, over in July. This is ridiculous, the way we keep going over and over and over the same shit.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 2:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Obama Pride Blogger from California
      Obama Pride Blogger from California

      “What happended in California?” is a great question, and I’m glad you asked that during your interviews, but don’t forget: although Hilary won California, OBAMA WON SAN FRANCISCO.

      California is a very big state, the 3rd largest and the most populous in the nation. We have a very diverse population, but the LGBT community is centered, both literally and figuratively, in San Francisco and the fact that Obama won here should not be ignored when discussing who gay americans are supporting in the Democratic primary.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 3:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael Bedwell
      Michael Bedwell

      Let’s cut right away to the Numero Uno excuse gay Obamaites repeat over and over for voting for him over Sen. Clinton: his support for repeal of DOMA Section 2. One word: FRAUD!

      Chief gay Obama whiz, Tobias Wolfe said, “My job and my calling as a scholar and a lawyer is to understand our constitution and our legal system.” I guess then that Lawrence Tribe, another Obama supporter, and the Senator’s Constitutional Law professor at Harvard, described at Wikipedia as “generally recognized as one of the foremost liberal constitutional law experts and Supreme Court practitioners in the United States. He is the author of American Constitutional Law (1978), the most frequently cited treatise in that field, [and 10 other books], and has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court 36 times” didn’t know what he was talking about when he told ABC News last August that, emphasis mine:

      “Same-sex couples [for instance] in Massachusetts ARE NEITHER BETTER NOR WORSE OFF WITH DOMA REPEALED except that the repeal of DOMA is a way of telling that couple that their marriage in Massachusetts is not going to be made the subject of a symbolic and ineffectual slam by the federal government.”

      The article goes on to say,

      “OBAMA BELIEVES STATES SHOULD BE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO RECOGNIZE SAME-SEX MARRIAGES FROM OTHER STATES. He wants to fully repeal DOMA, however, because he views the statute as ‘INEFFECTUAL AND REDUNDANT’, in the words of Tribe. OBAMA BELIEVES A LONG-RECOGNIZED PUBLIC POLICY EXCEPTION TO THE CONSTITUTION’S FULL FAITH AND CREDIT CLAUSE EXEMPTS A STATE FROM HAVING TO RECOGNIZE A SAME-SEX MARRIAGE FROM ANOTHER STATE WHICH RUNS COUNTER TO ITS OWN PUBLIC POLICIES. ‘Marriage is NOT SOMETHING THAT STATES HAVE EVER BEEN OBLIGED TO RECOGNIZE if it’s been against their own public policy’, said Tribe, who has testified on the subject before Congress.”

      Though the article specifically references “marriage,” it clearly applies to Obama’s support for the states’ right to ban any same gender relationship, whatever it might be called.

      See for yourselves at: http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=3468949&page=1

      However, if Professor Tribe is correct, then what is Wolfe [and Corbin, and Stern who knows better but disingenuously cosigned a “Washington Blade” guest piece about it] so agitated about? Particularly when repealing DOMA Section 3 which, unlike Section 2, does deny something, in this case federal rights and benefits, is something BOTH Sen. Clinton and Obama agree on. Could all of the smoke and mirrors about Section 2 just be a political “hat trick”? Damn right, Dixie Cup! Obama is playing gays for stupid on the issue and gay media have never called him on, as well as failing to point out, as Tribe did, that Section 2 is little more than a pat on the head for the states saying they can refuse legal recognition for same gender relationships if they CHOOSE, but IT MANDATES NOTHING EITHER WAY, and that repeal of Section 2 is functionally moot in any case because all but about 5 states have enacted their own state versions and/or state constitutional amendments.

      Tribe had actually been sent to the media by the Obama campaign to diss Sen. Clinton for a “SYMBOLIC insult to gays” [which has to rank up there with “being Lanced” as ludicrous word coinage], but apparently revealed too much and disappeared into the Obama Borg hive.

      And if that doesn’t contradict Obama’s alleged principles and “integrity,” one word: LIAR.

      Much like the lie “The New York Times” documented when Obama told Iowa voters that he had passed a bill in Illinois to regulate the nuclear industry when the bill actually never came to a vote, Obama told “The Advocate” in the interview he finally granted them in order to attempt damage control over McClurkingate that he “was a chief cosponsor of and then passed“ “the human rights ordinance in Illinois.”

      FACT: Nine months passed between the time the bill that passed was introduced in the Illinois legislature and state senator Obama becoming US Senator Obama, yet he chose not sign on as a cosponsor of any kind nor was he even still a member of the legislature when that historic bill was voted on. To the contrary, his replacement Sen. Kwame Raoul became a cosponsor and voted for it. One less vote and it would have died, as had the three similar earlier bills that he did belatedly cosponsor after four years in the state legislature. Neither Equality Illinois nor “Windy City Times” mention any efforts on Obama’s part to even speak for it in their reports on the by-a-hair victory of the law they had been fighting for for over thirty years.

      So much for “integrity.” Even if one gives him the benefit of the doubt and assumes that “The Advocate” misquoted him, the official timeline of Illinois SB3186 shows that Obama was not listed as any kind of cosponsor when he was needed most. ” So much for “fighting for [our] interests.”

      As for Wolfe’s petty dismissal of gay advances during the Clinton administration as merely symbolic and about “picture taking,” we’re shocked that he forgets these facts [thanks to gay legal scholar Arthur S. Leonard for listing some of them]:

      - the first Executive Order protecting executive branch employees from sexual orientation discrimination.
      - “a total revamping of the security clearance process that ended the ‘special procedures’ under which gay people were frequently delayed or denied on security clearances, a real problem for people in technology occupations working for government contractors.”
      - the first out gay federal judge
      - the first out gay US Ambassador, James Hormel
      - first out gay US Consul General, Bob Farmer, a legendary fundraiser who left the Obama campaign after McClurkingate.
      - the first out gay people occupying positions requiring Senate confirmation, e.g., Roberta Achtenburg, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—“that damned lesbian” whose confirmation Jesse Helms infamously refused to vote for
      - the first out gay people in senior White House staff positions
      - “a major advance on asylum policy when Janet Reno adopted as official precedent a decision that gays are a ‘distinct social group’ for purposes of analyzing eligibility for political asylum in the US for people from oppressive countries”
      - our first major Supreme Court victory, ‘Romer v. Evans’, which was at least party attributable to Clinton’s two Supreme Court appointments, Breyer and Ginsburg, who both voted to overturn sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas and they both dissented in the Boy Scouts decision that ruled against gays

      Even his harshest HONEST critics admit that President Clinton would have been overridden by Congress if he’d attempted to circumvent DADT which THEY shoved down his throat. If Obama cares so much about repealing it why hasn’t he tried since being elected to the US Senate?

      Signing DOMA “in the middle of the night”—oooooh, as IF we are supposed to believe he thought no one would know that way. If Obama cares so much about repealing it why hasn’t he tried since being elected to the US Senate?

      But leaving the “Anybody But Hillary” camp, back to Obama, Mr. Oh So Inspiring, Mr. Able to Bring People Together/Change Minds:

      Rev. James Meeks is a close friend and spiritual consultant to Sen. Obama. Rev. Meeks appeared in TV ads for Obama’s US Senate campaign; Obama campaigned at his church; and went there for prayer the night he won that primary. Meeks was on his exploratory committee for the Presidency, and his church choir performed at a rally for Obama the night he announced. Rev. Meeks is also an Illinois state senator who has aggressively campaigned against gay rights and complained about “Hollywood Jews for bringing us ‘Brokeback Mountain’.” He ran for governor on an antigay platform. He calls being gay an “evil sickness,” and his gigantic church is one of those which sponsors a Halloween fright night in which, according to the “Chicago Sun Times,” among those “consigned to the flames of hell” were “two mincing young men wearing body glitter who were supposed to be homosexuals.” His church has also launched antigay petition drives for the Illinois Family Institute, and Meeks is also aligned with Antigay Industry powerhouses Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, the Alliance Defense Fund, and Americans for Truth that proclaims “fighting AIDS without talking against homosexuality is like fighting lung cancer without talking against smoking.” We do not know if Sen. Obama was also too busy campaign for US Senate to “go after him” as he’s said he can do to get others to do the right thing. We only know that his close friend and advisor, the Rev. & Sen. James Meeks voted against SB3186, against LGBT equality in Illinois, and is apparently, just like Donnie McClurkin, just as homohating as he was before ever meeting Barack Obama.

      Finally, I asked former Edwards/now Obama supporter Eric Stern at Bilerico.com why Obama, unlike Edwards in his own multipage manifesto, as it were, left us out—why in the 64-page “Blueprint for Change—Barack Obama’s Plan for America” you cannot find one sentence, one word, one syllable relating to LGBT issues. Nothing about DOMA, DADT, civil unions, gay adoption, ENDA, hate crimes, immigration, even AIDS.

      I got no answer. Just like I see nothing relevant or entirely truthful in the interviews with these three men to make me believe that Obama is what he SAYS he is; that he will be any less missing in action for us in the White House than he was when his support for Illinois LGBT rights bill was so needed; that he will be any less subservient to the religious right from the West Wing than he was in refusing to disinvite Donnie McClurkin from his campaign stage and has been in ceding without OUR permission control of CIVIL “marriage” to “religion.”

      Obama is running as Elvis but for LGBTs he’s actually running on EMPTY.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 3:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ri (Las Vegas, NV)
      Ri (Las Vegas, NV)

      I’m a Democrat. I will be voting for the Democratic nominee in November. This country can’t afford another Republican president. I think Obama is the better choice. I’m not anti-Clinton, I’m Pro-Barack!

      Feb 21, 2008 at 4:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bitch Republic
      Bitch Republic

      If Obama gets the nomination, I’ll vote for a 3rd party candidate. Nader anyone? Bloomberg? Nah, I’ll probably vote for the Socialist candidate, whoever that may be.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 4:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      SEVEN very important reasons not to vote for Barak Obama:

      FIRST, like Billary Clinton, he’s a Democrat, a political hustler in a right centrist party who’ll say anything to get elected. As Gore Vidal said says “We have one party – we have the party of essentially corporate America. It has two right wings, one called Democratic, one called Republican.” A vote for the Democrats is a vote for a party that gutted ENDA, dropped the hate crimes bill and refuses to repeal Billarys DOMA and DADT. Their primary reason for tossing our agenda into the toilet, aside from bigotry was to prevent the Republicans from using them as wedge issues during the election. .

      SECOND, like Clinton and the Republicans he openly, arrogantly and unashamedly panders to gay bashing christian bigots. It is true though that his gay basher friends like Mary Mary, the Rev. Donnie Mckulkin and Bush’s ‘spirit’ advisor are chump change compared to Billarys. Her admirers include her Senatorial bible class littermates Santorum of Pennsylvania and Brownback of Kansas. Pat Robertson admires her ‘tacking to the right’ and Faux News owner Rupert Murdoch gave her a $100,000 ‘donation’ for services rendered.

      THIRD, like Clinton and the Republicans Obama is a candidate bought and paid for by corporate interests; his contributors are a virtual rogue’s gallery of parasites including: Goldman Sachs $430,578,JP Morgan Chase & Co $273,359,Exelon Corp $269,100, Kirkland & Ellis $256,089, Sidley Austin LLP $241,525, Lehman Brothers $241,090,Citigroup Inc $207,500, Skadden & Arps et al $206,271 etc.

      FOURTH, Obama was the first presidential candidate to support the NAFTA Peru extension bill. Look at his list of donors above and his stand makes perfect sense. The AFL-CIO, all Peruvian unions and most environmental and anti-poverty organizations oppose NAFTA because it’s used to pauperize workers, bust unions and is an environmental disaster. Obama, Clinton and most Democrats and Republicans support NAFTA. They have to if they want corporate money.

      FIFTH, in spite of all his hype about the war one thing remains crystal clear, neither he, Clinton or the Republicans can or will end the war. A victory by the Iraqis will end it, just like the war in Vietnam was ended. Obama would spread the war to Pakistan, a nation with nuclear weapons. That’s simply retarded even for some who supports the resource wars including the oil piracy in Iraq.

      SIXTH, like Clinton and the Republicans, Obama is a handpuppet for the HMO, pharmaceutical and insurance industries. Don’t get sick if one of them wins. The National Nurses Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO condemns Obama, saying “Obama has chosen to give more customers and more public funds to the for-profit insurance corporations. It’s an expensive gift and one that allows them to continue meddling in medical decision-making while raking in obscene blood-money profits.”

      SEVENTH, and most important, if enough people vote for him he might win. Anyone older that eight or nine years old who believes campaign promises is not that much older than eight or nine. With Democrats like these who needs Republicans. A Republican candidate is a loud-mouthed baboon in a people suit with a theocratic christian attached at the hip. A Democratic candidate is a Republican in drag.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 4:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John K.
      John K.

      Michael Bedwell: I didn’t get a chance to check out that link yet, but if what you say about Obama’s position on states recognizing out-of-state gay marriages is true, then that certainly changes my opinion of him. However, that doesn’t change the fact that not having that section of DOMA is better than having it. Even if Obama personally doesn’t want states to have to recognize gay marriages from out of state, removing that road block allows someone else down the road (perhaps a court) to rule that the marriages must be recognized. I believe the full faith and credit clause of the constitution has been interpreted to mean that Congress can decide what laws deserve full faith and credit, and as long as this affirmative decision by Congress to allow states to refuse to recognize gay marriages from out of state is on the books, the courts have their hands tied. If Obama succeeds in getting all of DOMA repealed, an argument could be made to a court that Congress’ repeal of the law implicitly signals that it does not wish to allow states to refuse to honor the full faith and credit clause in this instance, making non-recognition unconstitutional. The argument may not work, but it can be made and seriously considered. As long as DOMA is on the books, the argument cannot be made. So, although Obama’s personal opinion of the subject may be deceptive, if he does what he says he will try to do, he will have made things better than Hillary will anyway. Maybe he becomes the lesser of two evils when it comes to recognition of out-of-state gay marriages, but that does not mean we should then abandon him and go to the greater of two evils.

      As for the rest of your post, I don’t know anything about the Illinois stuff, so I won’t comment. As for the Rev. Meeks, Obama has said he keeps company with people who don’t agree with him, but that does not make me in any way think that Obama is anti-gay. I’m not going to engage in guilt-by-association judgments when the man clearly supports almost all of our causes. As for Bill Clinton’s pro-gay progress, that’s great for Bill Clinton. I don’t doubt Hillary will be just as inclusive of gays in her administration, but so will Obama. When Clinton and Obama wash on all of our issues but one, I must take the candidate that is better on the one, even if he doesn’t think he is being better on it.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 4:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John K.
      John K.

      Bill Purdue: Who, then, should we vote for?……..

      ………

      ………

      Feb 21, 2008 at 4:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • blackiemiko
      blackiemiko

      Well PolishBear makes a very good point. A prez is for 4 years, the Supreme Court is for life.

      That’s why we have 3 supreme court justices, HANGING on to retirement when we have a new President. I guarantee you within 1 year of a Democratic Prez all 3 will retire.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 4:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John K.
      John K.

      Bitch Republic: a vote in the primary for a no-chance candidate is great to make a statement, but when you do it in the general election as a Democrat, you might just as well be voting for a Republican. Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 4:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John K.
      John K.

      Exactly my point, Blackiemiko. Bith Republic and those with similar attitudes better think long and hard about that.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 4:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael Bedwell
      Michael Bedwell

      John K: I’m sorry, I understand there was a lot to read, but sometimes it takes a lot of water to put out a smoke and mirrors fire which is exactly what the Obama campaign has been spinning about DOMA Section 2 repeal.

      But to summarize, expert Tribe is effectively saying that your scenario of challenging exceptions to “full faith and credit” via the “message” of DOMA S2 repeal is irrelevant because the tradition, probably even the “case law,” of allowing them was already so ingrained in our legal system without DS2.

      BUT the larger point is that Obama has not said he wants to ELIMINATE the states’ right to not just refuse to recognize relationships legalized in another state, but ban them in their own. THAT is the BIG issue. Yes, people relocate today more than they did decades ago, but don’t you want the right to have your relationship within whatever state you are in NOW legalized THERE? To be fair, Sen. Clinton has not suggested such a challenger either. “States Rights” is one super hot potato that politicians don’t want to have to touch unless absolutely forced to. It’s just the game playing, leading voters to believe that he DOES want to end that state level discrimination when he’s only said he will “urge” states to recognize such relationships that PISSES ME OFF!

      STILL, let me make clear: I was NOT trying to say I think that Obama is “antigay” as we traditionally think of it. I DO think he retains some discomfort as evidenced by his “frat boy moment” during the Howard University debate when he felt the need to explain that the HIV test Sen. Biden mentioned they’d both had was with HIS WIFE—to great guffaws of laughter from the audience—who had sat on their hands when he earlier admirably said that homophobia was an obstacle to fighting AIDS [not morally WRONG, mind you, which is what he should have added—but better than nothing].

      I DO think that he is also far less “committed” to proactively advancing LGBT rights than he claims, than Sen. Clinton is. I cannot prove this, of course, but only point again to our complete absence from his huge, written plan for “change.” Again, Sen. Edwards who had been wrongly libeled for allegedly saying years ago that he “was not comfortable with gays” [which I never believed] devoted an entire page in his plan to LGBT issues.

      STILL, I WILL vote for Obama if he gets the nomination while hoping he doesn’t. At his worst he is better than any Repug at their best, and I believe for the most part that he would make the right decisions in the area that is MOST important to me, and mentioned by others—future Supreme Court appointments.

      I just hope that all of his fanatical supporters would be as willing to vote for Sen. Clinton.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 4:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John K.
      John K.

      Michael Bedwell: Thanks for the detailed response. I understand what you are saying about case law with regard to full faith and credit recognition of out-of-state gay marriages. However, it still seems to me that it’s much easier for the Supreme Court to overturn its own case law than it is for the Court to overturn DOMA. That being the case, DOMA is a significant obstacle. However, I understand this is largely symbolic because it seems to me that neither Clinton nor Obama would easily be able to get Congress to overturn the other section of DOMA let alone this one. I don’t really have specific reason to believe this, but it just seems that even the Democrats in Congress would be uncomfortable with that.

      I’m a little confused about what you were saying about Obama’s position on states rights. The first sentence of the third paragraph of your post was a little confusing. However, it is my understanding that Obama obviously doesn’t want to mandate that every state pass gay marriage/civil union laws within their state. If he did, our discussion of DOMA would be moot. And, as you point out, Hillary is no better on this issue. I understand why Obama’s antics might piss you off and turn you off to him, and that is your prerogative which I don’t fault you for. I just happen to personally place more weight on not having DOMA than I place on Obama’s political maneuvering. Same goes for his comment about the AIDS test and his omissions about homophobia being immoral. I’ve always said that if a candidate said that s/he thought of gay people having sex was disgusting and s/he thought it was sinful, but s/he also demonstrated a willingness, notwithstanding, to support all of our causes including marriage equality, ending DADT, ENDA, Matthew Shepard Act, to appoint gay people to executive branch positions, and was generally willing to separate the personal belief from public policy, I would vote for that candidate. I wouldn’t go out for a beer with that candidate, but I would vote for that candidate. That being the case, I don’t care about a subconsciously homophobic remark from Obama, or even if John Edwards did make that comment about being uncomfortable around gay people. None of that matters to me. What matters is what they are going to try to get enacted into our law.

      I’m glad to hear you will be voting for whoever the Democratic candidate is. I am from New Jersey, and I already voted for Obama on Super Tuesday, but I will also definitely be voting in the general election for the Democrat. I have nothing against Hillary other than this slight difference with Obama. If he is unavailable, then to me she becomes the only choice, and not a bad one at that. I do worry that not all of Obama’s supporters feel the same way as me. Just on this blog someone wrote they will vote third party if Obama gets the nomination. I’m not as worried about that as I am about people who never voted before and who would have voted for Obama just staying home. That is also another big positive I see with him.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 5:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John K.
      John K.

      Michael: I meant to address your statement about thinking Obama is less committed to advancing LGBT rights. I have always felt like I don’t really know who is more motivated and who will be more proactive. However, one plus that I do give Senator Clinton credit for is that she probably has more political pull in the legislature. I considered whether she would be more ABLE to get things done (not necessarily more willing, as again, I feel like I just can’t know that from campaign promises). While Obama seems to be more willing to reach across the isle, I’m afraid his approach would lead to too many compromises, such as leaving gender identity out of an ENDA or hate crimes bill. I think Senator Clinton would be more likely to demand that things be done her way, hopefully our way.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 5:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael Bedwell
      Michael Bedwell

      Thanks, John, for the feedback. My genuine hope is that whichever one gets the nomination, and it seems almost certain that it will be Obama, will choose the other as his/her running mate. Again, because I care less about either of them, per se, than the Repugs not getting a chance to make the next Supreme Court appointments. One can only dream that the combined supporters of each of them would create such a landslide that they would thus have the power of the proverbial “mandate” to actually change some things, and bring more Dems into Congress on their coattails.

      Of course, there are still too many Dems who are homophobic, and more that are transphobic. But, again, LGBT issue are not my primary motivation in this [or any] election.

      I fear, however, that he would be more likely to pick another woman VP and she a black male VP which IN THEORY would still be great but would not aggregate the same number of votes that H & O would.

      However it evolves, I hope the end result is the same: the Republicans wandering the proverbial wilderness for years to come!

      Feb 21, 2008 at 5:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John K.
      John K.

      I’ll second that.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 7:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      John, it’s better to suppoort the GLBT struggle and vote for any pro gay leftwing, socialist, communist or US Labor Party candidate. I live in Nevada and if none of them appear on the ballot I’ll vote for ‘none of these candidates.” Tens of millions will not vote at all because they can’t stomach supporting another in an endless string of ‘lesser evils’. A vote for the Democrats or the Republicans is worse than a wasted vote; it’s a vote against the GLBT agenda for equality.

      A Republican is a baboon in a people suit with a totalitarian christian attached at the thigh.
      A Democrat is a Republican in Drag.

      Eight years olds are forgiven if they believe politicians, Frisco lawyers, priests and used car sellers. Grownups have no excuse.

      Who needs Republicans with Democrats like these?

      Feb 21, 2008 at 7:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ri (Las Vegas, NV)
      Ri (Las Vegas, NV)

      Those who stay home in protest of the nomination of the Democratic candidate do so at the risk of everyone. If a Republican wins, whom do we blame then? The Democrats who stayed home to protest. Choose the lesser of two evils. The Republicans won’t support our gay rights, they’ll only take them away. Nor do they want to allow women the basic human right of aborting an unwanted pregnancy. I’m a woman, and I’m voting for change, hope, and all that.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 7:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charley
      Charley

      Through Obama, people want to believe in the goodness of humanity. We all have both sides, good and evil. Good is better because it brings us peace and love. Hope for a better future and more justice, and we may get it.
      (Off blog to partner) “Honey, can you bring me another vodka and tonic?”)

      Feb 21, 2008 at 8:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • wayne
      wayne

      Has everyone forgotten about the anti-gay gospel singer in South Carolina who Obama performed for him?

      Feb 21, 2008 at 9:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steve
      Steve

      Both Obama and Clinton approach gay issues with essentially the same method. They do not lead. Instead, they poll enough people to get a sense of where the people are going anyway, and then they try to claim credit. Alexandre Ledru-Rollin said it first, I think: “There go the people. I must follow them, for I am their leader.”

      Prejudice against gay people really is generational. Sure, there are differences between education levels, and between religions and cultures. But those are tiny compared with the generational change. People over 60 are, with few exceptions, opposed to gay rights. People under about 30 are, with very high probability, strongly supportive. Most of the young people know friends who are gay. Most of the old people know only a hated stereotype.

      Clinton fails to appeal to the young. She is just hammering the traditional elderly Democratic base.
      Obama is getting many millions of young people, most of whom support equal rights, to come out and vote.

      Getting high turnout and involvement from those idealistic, energetic young people may be much more important than any policy difference between the two platforms.

      After Obama gets them out to vote in this election, and gets them involved in politics generally, all of our politicians will poll those voters for the next legislative session. Then, all of our politicians will be saying, “There go the people. I must follow them…”

      Where the people lead, the politicians will follow.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 9:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Melanio
      Melanio

      I think the battle seems to be for who is a better speaker and more appealing candidate. Hillary is not running for American Idol and we have let our biases determine who should be leading this country. Young people on the Obama bandwagon are the same people who feel that after they finish their education, they should lead a company they apply for. I don’t believe in the glass ceiling however I also don’t believe that words are enough. Obama will be facing more opposition in the system than Clinton will be because he proposes to turn everything upside down. Remember that Clinton went into the White House with the same hopes but was sidetracked by both his ego and a very hateful campaign by the Republicans because he bested them with the Centrist philosophy. Are we expecting the Senate and House to suddenly embrace Obama on all the issues he has promised. I am being realistic. Clinton has worked the system and will use it to the advantage of those she represents. Obama will find himself lost in the realities of a balanced government. His experience is limited to a midwest state that prefers the middle of the road politics. All his rhetoric of change is easy to follow but will it happen, no. Not because I am cynical but I am being realistic. We are pushing for the young to take over at the risk of the lunatics taking over the asylum. Would everyone have voted for Clinton if she divorced Bill and then ran for office or would they consider a vindictive woman scorned that would have menopausal events during her term in the White House. STOP THE OBAMA DREAM and get back to Reality. And this is my opinion and does not have to jive with anyone else.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 9:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hisurfer
      hisurfer

      “Has everyone forgotten about the anti-gay gospel singer in South Carolina who Obama performed for him?” Of course not. But he received a full and well-deserved round of shit for it, and I am quite sure he won’t be making the same mistake again. He has too much to lose and nothing to gain.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 9:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John K.
      John K.

      Bill Purdue: Explain to me how helping a Republican win supports the GLBT struggle. We are going to have either the Republican or the Democrat in office, whether we like it or not. Tell me how allowing the party who will not enact ENDA, the Matthew Shepard Act, repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, or allow gay couples to have any recognition whatsoever supports the GLBT struggle. We can be idealists all we want, but the only practical and effective way to support GLBT rights is to vote Democrat in this election, whether we like it or not.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 10:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hells kitchen guy
      hells kitchen guy

      “pro gay leftwing, socialist, communist or US Labor Party candidate”

      Um, yeah, that was a real specific response to a pointed question. Jesus, pal, you’ve never got anything constructive to say. It’s always “don’t do this” and “don’t do that.”

      Sorry, but I live in the real world, not the Nevada mud flats.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 10:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PJ
      PJ

      oh, please. Just vote for the Democratic candidate, whoever it is. That being said, it would have been nice if La Clinton had not taken at least 24 hours to decide to disagree with General Pace on whether homosexuality is immoral. My only point is that the Clintons always manage to step on their dicks when it comes to gay issues, notwithstanding having worked side by side for decades with gay people and having benefited tremendously from their money , labor and support. As if they would lose any votes by being more supportive of gay issues…Forgive me for not being a cheerleader for a 60 year old woman who just found her voice in New Hampshire; whose has she been using all these years? But I will vote and send $$$ if she is the nominee.

      Feb 21, 2008 at 11:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jk
      jk

      Actually, I do wonder why “so many gay people are throwing their vote behind the Senator from New York.” The Clintons are no friend to gays. Why not?

      It’s because we’re a tiny, tiny percentage of the vote — what, maybe 4%? On the cost-benefit calculus that they use to determine many of their political positions, the cost of supporting gay dignity is too much. That’s why Bill Clinton gladly signs DOMA and then runs radio ads touting it in the 1996 election (apparently Bill protects the sanctity of all marriages but his own…). They will sell out gays time and time again.

      Barack Obama, I think, is different. He sees gay rights as a worthy end of their own, and he doesn’t only talk about gay rights in certain contexts. It’s why the guy has made the scapegoating of gays a feature of his basic stump speech. He’s wrong on marriage (and I hope he learns from Deval Patrick, Russ Feingold, Eliot Spitzer, and Al Gore that Democrats shouldn’t be afraid of endorsing marriage equality), but he’s right on everything else. Clinton isn’t, and she can’t be trusted.

      Feb 22, 2008 at 2:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      Ri (Las Vegas, NV)
      “Those who stay home in protest of the nomination of the Democratic candidate do so at the risk of everyone.”

      Wrong. Dead wrong. Those who vote for our enemies, the kind of enemies who ignore or scuttle our agenda, i.e., the Democrats and Republicans, vote for four more years of bigotry in DC. Our goal should be to be organized and ready to pick up the pieces when the Democrats self destruct. They can survive because their base is far to the left of the party hacks and owners. The creation of a party that can contest for power with the right wing is the most important item on our agenda. The Democrats are not that party and they are not capable of being reformed. They are just Republicans in drag.

      John K. “Tell me how allowing the party who will not enact ENDA, the Matthew Shepard Act, repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, or allow gay couples to have any recognition whatsoever supports the GLBT struggle.”

      It doesn’t. You just described the Democratic and the Republican parties. You made my argument for me. I can’t imagine why anyone would support either of those parties. They have only cosmetic differences. If your goal is to see antigay, anti union, prowar scam artists like Obama or Clinton elected just say so, but don’t try to get us to believe it’s because they’re on our side – they’re not and they’ve demonstrated it time and time again. The fact that tens of millions deliberately refuse to vote for either is testament to the fact that your desire to elect our enemies to validate your over the top naiveté is dead in the water.

      Feb 22, 2008 at 5:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Melanio
      Melanio

      I have a question, when is borrowing your friend’s speech without credit not plagiarism. When you are touted as one of the best orators in our political system, you should also credit your friend’s words and not pass this off as among friends. I dare not compare it to the current political system where friends can share everything without giving each other credit. I admit Hillary was reaching very deep on the speeches but if I use MLK’s speech and say it as my own as if he never spoke it, would that be just me using a wonderful speech as my own.
      The one thing that bothers me about the Obama bandwagon is that his lack of experience seems to be his main qualification. Coming from California where our governor was an actor whose main accomplishment is to be known world wide and who thinks equipping a hummer with alternative fuel is a good thing. Are we forgetting that we are about to annoint an unknown to lead the greatest nation in the world known for its democracy. We all admit that George W. was the biggest mistake that people refuse to admit to. How many people stayed home when they had a chance to make sure that 4 more years of Cheney/Bush/Rove was not going to happen. If only someone fresh can make you get off your butt to vote your conscience, we might as well elect someone who has never taken office, single without a family, who has ran a successful business and has the morality to understand right and wrong, knows that religion and government should always be separate and understands the need for global cooperation. My final comment, please vote your conscience and look at what 8 years of mistake has caused all of us. Vote for the best candidate and not because you hate the other one.
      Thank you.

      Feb 22, 2008 at 5:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JP
      JP

      “The Obama Delusion
      The gap between his rhetoric and the reality of his views.
      By Robert J. Samuelson
      Newsweek Web Exclusive
      Updated: 9:44 AM ET Feb 20, 2008

      It’s hard not to be dazzled by Barack Obama. At the 2004 Democratic convention, he visited with Newsweek reporters and editors, including me. I came away deeply impressed by his intelligence, his forceful language and his apparent willingness to take positions that seemed to rise above narrow partisanship. Obama has become the Democratic presidential front-runner precisely because countless millions have formed a similar opinion. It is, I now think, mistaken.

      As a journalist, I harbor serious doubt about each of the most likely nominees. But with Sens. Hillary Clinton and John McCain, I feel that I’m dealing with known quantities. They’ve been in the public arena for years; their views, values and temperaments have received enormous scrutiny. By contrast, newcomer Obama is largely a stage presence defined mostly by his powerful rhetoric. The trouble, at least for me, is the huge and deceptive gap between his captivating oratory and his actual views.

      The subtext of Obama’s campaign is that his own life narrative—to become the first African American president, a huge milestone in the nation’s journey from slavery—can serve as a metaphor for other political stalemates. Great impasses can be broken with sufficient goodwill, intelligence and energy. “It’s not about rich versus poor; young versus old; and it is not about black versus white,” he says. Along with millions of others, I find this a powerful appeal.

      But on inspection, the metaphor is a mirage. Repudiating racism is not a magic cure-all for the nation’s ills. The task requires independent ideas, and Obama has few. If you examine his agenda, it is completely ordinary, highly partisan, not candid and mostly unresponsive to many pressing national problems.

      By Obama’s own moral standards, Obama fails. Americans “are tired of hearing promises made and 10-point plans proposed in the heat of a campaign only to have nothing change,” he recently said. Shortly thereafter he outlined an economic plan of at least 12 points that, among other things, would:

      * Provide a $1,000 tax cut for most two-earner families ($500 for singles).
      * Create a $4,000 refundable tuition tax credit for every year of college.
      * Expand the child-care tax credit for people earning less than $50,000 and “double spending on quality after-school programs.”
      * Enact an “energy plan” that would invest $150 billion in 10 years to create a “green energy sector.”

      Whatever one thinks of these ideas, they’re standard goody-bag politics: something for everyone. They’re so similar to many Clinton proposals that her campaign put out a news release accusing Obama of plagiarizing. With existing budget deficits and the costs of Obama’s “universal health plan,” the odds of enacting his full package are slim.

      A favorite Obama line is that he will tell “the American people not just what they want to hear but what we need to know.” Well, he hasn’t so far. Consider the retiring baby boomers. A truth-telling Obama might say: “Spending for retirees—mainly Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—is already nearly half the federal budget. Unless we curb these rising costs, we will crush our children with higher taxes. Reflecting longer life expectancies, we should gradually raise the eligibility ages for these programs and trim benefits for wealthier retirees. Both Democrats and Republicans are to blame for inaction. Waiting longer will only worsen the problem.”

      Instead, Obama pledges not to raise the retirement age and to “protect Social Security benefits for current and future beneficiaries.” This isn’t “change”; it’s sanctification of the status quo. He would also exempt all retirees making less than $50,000 annually from income tax. By his math, that would provide average tax relief of $1,400 to 7 million retirees—shifting more of the tax burden onto younger workers. Obama’s main proposal for Social Security is to raise the payroll tax beyond the present $102,000 ceiling.

      Political candidates routinely indulge in exaggeration, pandering, inconsistency and self-serving obscuration. Clinton and McCain do. The reason for holding Obama to a higher standard is that it’s his standard and also his campaign’s central theme. He has run on the vague promise of “change,” but on issue after issue—immigration, the economy, global warming—he has offered boilerplate policies that evade the underlying causes of the stalemates. These issues remain contentious because they involve real conflicts or differences of opinion.

      The contrast between his broad rhetoric and his narrow agenda is stark, and yet the media—preoccupied with the political “horse race”—have treated his invocation of “change” as a serious idea rather than a shallow campaign slogan. He seems to have hypnotized much of the media and the public with his eloquence and the symbolism of his life story. The result is a mass delusion that Obama is forthrightly engaging the nation’s major problems when, so far, he isn’t.”

      Feb 23, 2008 at 4:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ri (Las Vegas, NV)
      Ri (Las Vegas, NV)

      Barack Obama Champions Gay Rights on the Campaign Trail

      By STEVEN NICKS, WITH DAVID ALPORT, JASON HAAS, PETER TEAGUE AND MAXIM THORNE
      Jan. 25, 2008

      ON JAN. 20, THE eve of Martin Luther King Day, Sen. Barack Obama stood before Rev. King’s home church in Atlanta and proudly set forth his vision for achieving progressive change and unity in America. In that historic speech, Barack challenged his audience to examine their own prejudices. “If we are honest with ourselves,” he said, “we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King’s vision of a beloved community. We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them.” He continued:
      “So let us say that on this day of all days, each of us carries with us the task of changing our hearts and minds. The division, the stereotypes, the scapegoating, the ease with which we blame our plight on others—all of this distracts us from the common challenges we face: war and poverty; injustice and inequality. We can no longer afford to build ourselves up by tearing someone else down. We can no longer afford to traffic in lies or fear or hate. It is the poison that we must purge from our politics; the wall that we must tear down before the hour grows too late.”

      This extraordinary act—including the LGBT community in a message delivered in the very heartland of the Civil Rights Movement—was merely the latest chapter in Barack’s advocacy on behalf of LGBT Americans. Among all the candidates in this race, only Barack Obama included gays and lesbians as participants in the American Dream when announcing his decision to run for President. Only Barack has regularly talked about LGBT equality on the campaign trail, even when the audience was not LGBT-friendly. Barack has been changing hearts and minds, and the visibility he has given to LGBT equality is unprecedented.

      Barack’s commitment to LGBT rights is also manifest in his record of accomplishment, which extends throughout his 11 years in public office on every issue of concern to our community. From relationships and families to workplace discrimination to bold policies on HIV/AIDS, the Senator’s commitment is unmatched by any candidate. He has proven that he has the character to stand up for principle when the going gets tough.

      Barack has supported the complete, unqualified repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act since he was a candidate for Senate. He has taken stronger positions on dismantling Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and on fully inclusive workplace protections than any candidate in this race. Barack is a strong supporter of every major piece of LGBT legislation in Congress today, from fair tax treatment and equal immigration rights to domestic partner benefits for federal workers. In contrast to Barack’s leadership, we find it troubling that Sen. Hillary Clinton refuses to call for the full repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, legislation that was signed into law by then-President Clinton.

      In Illinois, Obama sponsored a fully inclusive anti-discrimination law that included both sexual orientation and gender identity. A subsequent version of that bill was later enacted as the Illinois Human Rights Act, now one of the most progressive laws of its kind in the country. The U.S. House of Representatives was not able to pass a bill that included gender identity. Barack helped make it happen in Illinois.

      FIGHTING THE SPREAD of HIV and securing fully funded, accessible treatment for people with HIV or AIDS have always been top priorities for Obama. He understands that the fight against HIV/AIDS requires an approach that is bold enough to set national standards and benchmarks for progress and deep enough to address the forces of poverty, racism, homophobia and unequal access to health care that all contribute to the spread of the disease. Barack has sponsored the Microbicide Development Act to fund research critical to combating HIV/AIDS in the United States and around the world. He spoke out on World AIDS Day to an audience of evangelical leaders at Saddleback Church, publicly disagreeing with the leaders in attendance who opposed condom distribution. Obama has always insisted that our approach to HIV/AIDS be guided by the expertise of scientists, health-care professionals and direct service providers who know what works, rather than by politics and ideology.

      In Illinois, Barack worked to enact a law that authorizes licensed pharmacists to provide clean needles in small, controlled numbers, a reform that is credited with achieving dramatic declines in the spread of HIV among intravenous drug users. In Congress, he has supported efforts to lift the ban on federal funding for regulated needle exchange programs that are proven to work in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Experience demonstrates that these programs save lives and protect the public without promoting illegal drug use, but getting them passed requires political courage. Barack has shown that courage.

      This race presents a historic opportunity: the opportunity to elect a candidate who has stood up for LGBT equality boldly and courageously for his entire career in public office. His singular ability to inspire unity and support across communities is why we support Barack Obama. In 2008, we deserve nothing less.

      Steven Nicks, managing Director of Fourth Sector Investments, has served as a member of HRC’s Board of Governors and is an elected official in New York City, serving on the Democratic County Committee. He co-developed this opinion piece with the Obama NY Leadership team, including David Alport, Jason Haas, Peter Teague, and Maxim Thorn
      ——————————©
      2008 The New York Blade | A Window Media Publication

      Here is the direct link:

      http://www.nyblade.com/2008/1-25/viewpoint/opinion/1204OpEdObama.cfm

      Feb 23, 2008 at 7:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      “Barack Obama Champions Gay Rights on the Campaign Trail”

      Why didn’t he or Hillary or most of the Democrats champion our agenda when fellow Democrat Barney was gutting ENDA? Why didn’t either of them demand the repeal of the Clintons DOMA and DADT while they sat in Congress?

      Why did they allow fellow Democrat Diane Feinstein to ram through gaybashing Bush nosiness for the 5th US Circuit Court of appeals and as Attorney General? Why did they allow fellow Democrats Pelosi and Reid to toss the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes bill in the toilet after both houses passed it.

      Why rely on either of them to do any better in the White House?

      A Republican is a baboon in a people suit with a totalitarian christian attached at the thigh.
      A Democrat is a Republican in Drag.

      Eight years olds are forgiven if they believe politicians, Frisco lawyers, priests and used car sellers. Grownups have no excuse.

      Who needs Republicans with Democrats like these?

      Feb 23, 2008 at 7:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael Bedwell
      Michael Bedwell

      Let’s look at those claims from the NY Blade article, starting with its misleading title:

      CLAIM: Barack Obama Champions Gay Rights on the Campaign Trail

      FACT: NO, he DOESN’T. He talks about not scapegoating gays. He talks about giving gays hugs. But the ONLY time he puts the words “gay” and “rights” together is in answers to questions in interviews and debates just as the other candidates have. Yes, I believe he supports most gay rights, but he doesn’t deserve credit for “championing” them on the campaign trail when he hasn’t. “Selective perception” or conscioiusly dishonest campaign propaganda—take your pick.

      CLAIM: Barack Obama included gays and lesbians as participants in the American Dream when announcing his decision to run for President.

      FACT: NO, he only talking about not blaming us, and other groups he listed, for America’s problems. Good but not even CLOSE to “including us in the American Dream.” They’ve gone from “hearing” a phrase never spoken to entire sentences. The political equivalent we guess of “hearing voices.”

      CLAIM: “the visibility he has given to LGBT equality is unprecedented”

      FACT: The number of times he’s dropped the Gay-word in speeches might be unprecedented, but again the important second word “equality” just ain’t there in his speeches, and he says nothing more than the other Dem candidates have in interviews and debates—often LESS given that no other Dem candidate has had the gall to lecture us on the DEGREE of equality WE should accept. “Civil unions as I define them”—Bitch, please! Not marriage is NOT MARRIAGE so stop smile fucking us unless you’re willing to trade YOUR marriage for any one of our “civil unions.”

      CLAIM: Barack’s commitment to LGBT rights is also manifest in his record of accomplishment, which extends throughout his 11 years in public office on every issue of concern to our community.

      FACT: Obama did not get around to joining as a cosponsor to someone else’s gay rights bill the first time until AFTER he’d been in the Illinois Senate FOUR YEARS—and even then it was four months AFTER the bill had been introduced.

      CLAIM: From relationships and families to workplace discrimination to bold policies on HIV/AIDS, the Senator’s commitment is unmatched by any candidate.

      FACT: That claim is so full of gas I’d advise everyone not to light a match. Sen. Clinton would increase AIDS funding by TWENTY BILLION dollars. Obama would only add FIVE—what’s so fucking “bold” about that?

      CLAIM: He has proven that he has the character to stand up for principle when the going gets tough.

      FACT: Except when he’s too busy campaigning for higher office as he was during the entire nine months a gay rights bill in Illinois was being fought over. He didn’t even take a few seconds out of his Ambition Tour to sign on as a cosponsor.

      CLAIM: Barack has supported the complete, unqualified repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act since he was a candidate for Senate.

      FACT: His own Constitutional law spokesman has said that gays at the state level would be “no better or worse off” if DOMA was repealed. Further, he confirmed that, regardless of DOMA repeal, Obama would still support a state’s right to ban any kind of gay relationship whatever it’s called if they want. His support for federal benefits for gay couples is exactly the same as Sen. Clinton’s.

      CLAIM: He has taken stronger positions on dismantling Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and on fully inclusive workplace protections than any candidate in this race.

      FACT: Danger! Remember my warning about “no open flames.” This statement is not just gaseous, it’s at best a disingenous exaggeration and close enought to an outright LIE to win at horseshoes. Worse, he’s said he’d consult with the Pentagon about DADT which is like wanting to consult with the fox about what to do with the chickens.

      CLAIM: Barack is a strong supporter of every major piece of LGBT legislation in Congress today, from fair tax treatment and equal immigration rights to domestic partner benefits for federal workers.

      FACT: No more so than Sen. Clinton who is on record supporting each of these points.

      CLAIM: In Illinois, Obama sponsored a fully inclusive anti-discrimination law that included both sexual orientation and gender identity. A subsequent version of that bill was later enacted as the Illinois Human Rights Act, now one of the most progressive laws of its kind in the country. … Barack helped make it happen in Illinois.

      FACT: Obama was only a COsponsor of three bills that died in committee. Further, as stated above, actions speak louder than words and Obama not only did NOT help “make it happen” but was totally Missing In Action when his help was needed to pass SB3186. More shameful yet, that didn’t stop him from LYING during the LOGO forum and to “The Advocate” claiming he was a “chief cosponsor” and “passed” SB3186 when not only was he NOT a sponsor of any kind but he was NO LONGER IN THE ILLINOIS SENATE when it was voted on. All he’s passing is more gas. That repeated lie only warmed him up for his LIE to Iowa voters that he had “passed” a bill in Illinois regulating the nuclear industry when the bill died before coming to a vote. And today, he was finally called out on documented lies in campaign literature about what Sen. Clinton has said about NAFTA and how her universal health care plan would be implemented. And all those were after he promised more than once that he would not run for President until he’d completed his first six-year US Senate term. The shelf-life on that promise lasted barely three years.

      CLAIM: Barack has sponsored the Microbicide Development Act to fund research critical to combating HIV/AIDS in the United States and around the world.

      FACT: Obama was only one of about 15 COsponsors of the bill INCLUDING Sen. Clinton.

      CLAIM: His singular ability to inspire unity and support across communities is why we support Barack Obama.

      FACT: That alleged ability has been tested twice and he failed both times.

      1. One of his closest friends is Rev. James Meeks, who is also State Sen. Meeks, a rabid, aggressive homophobe who, among other things, has blamed “Hollywood Jews for bringing us ‘Brokeback Mountain’” and ran for governor on an antigay platform. Assuming Obama even tried, he FAILED to get Meeks to vote for that gay rights bill which only managed to pass after 30+ years of trying by ONE vote—no thanks to Obama.
      2. Y’all still feeling the “unity” after he threw us under the Donnie McClurkin bus? Both Meeks and McClurkin are just as homohating as they ever were before meeting Barack the Uniter.

      Obama is many things—intelligent, charismatic, eloquent. But he is also a documented liar to the LGBT community, and others, who has been smile fucking us for months so well that people like those who wrote the Blade article have been hearing words that were never spoken and believing deeds that were never done. The candidate they describe could make a great President. Unfortunately, the candidate they describe is not Barack Obama.

      Feb 24, 2008 at 4:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chad Sheen
      Chad Sheen

      Thanks for the information. I am trying very hard to get behind Obama, should he secure the Democrat Party nomination. The two issues that I struggle with are:

      1) his voting record is sketchy, with a large number of Not Voting, Excused, Absent, or Present. He has over 100 issues in this category. How does this translate into a good candidate for president? I am a skeptic so I had to se this for myself. http://votesmart.org/voting_category.php?can_id=9490

      2)He is a horrible debater. In a time when we need a GREAT communicator, this seems like a deal breaker.

      Feb 24, 2008 at 12:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PrezPez
      PrezPez

      Gays behind Obama may be interested in this:

      “Gay Sex, Drug Use Detailed in Barack Obama Lawsuit”

      gaywired.com/article.cfm?section=163&id=18245

      A lawsuit filed in the United States District Court of Minnesota February 11, 2008 alleges democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama engaged in illegal drug use and sexual activity with another man in 1999.

      Feb 24, 2008 at 6:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hisurfer
      hisurfer

      Are you(and I am sure that it’s one person making many of these anonymous posts) working for the Republicans, trying to see what will stick?

      If not, then drop it. I preferred Hillary, and was never on the Obama love-train. Nevertheless, he’s on track to win the nomination. The only question now is: will Hillary bow out gracefully after Texas and Ohio, or fight to the bloody end.

      It’s time to rally around the guy. That is, if you’re voting Democrat.

      Feb 25, 2008 at 4:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Melanio
      Melanio

      There is a skeleton in every closet but those being brought out are very laughable since they are without merit. Everyone wants their 15 minutes or less of fame.

      I do agree that as a Democrat, we need to support the winner or nominee. Now that Ralph Nader has thrown his hat into to the ring, we need to be more vigilante.

      However, I feel that Nader is preempting the voter’s decisions in Ohio and Texas because now he is making sure the Democrats think that Obama will be a better candidate since he attracts the same independents that Obama did (the young college students).

      Please do not let Nader’s entry into the race determine the best candidate. If we were thinking electable, how come the last Dem nominee was picked. He certainly was not the most enigmatic candidate and someone the young and independents would have been attracted to the polls for.

      Vote your belief and let’s get the Republicans out our lives for at least the next four years.

      Thank you.

      Feb 25, 2008 at 11:57 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bluerose799
      bluerose799

      Obama is promising us things that he doesn’t Have or and can’t Control.
      He sounds so ridiculous that I’m thinking. Is this an Election or a COMEDY or CACOPHONY?
      Maybe he thinks that Americans are Illiterate, Ignorant or Mentally Insane.

      Mar 10, 2008 at 3:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • fredo777
      fredo777

      Gobama.

      Mar 10, 2008 at 5:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • fredo777
      fredo777

      And Bluerose, that didn’t make much sense at all. Every presidential candidate promises things that sound good. If you think any one of the candidates isn’t doing that, you’re sadly mistaken. Overall, though, he seems more genuine.

      Mar 10, 2008 at 5:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ri (Las Vegas, NV)
      Ri (Las Vegas, NV)

      Thank You Mississippi! Here we come Pennsylvania!

      http://advocate.com/exclusive_detail_ektid52635.asp

      Mar 12, 2008 at 2:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mitch
      Mitch

      Call me crazy… but I don’t trust Obama. He creeps me out. He speaks like a preacher… a demagogue.

      I took that “who should I vote for” online thing and it came up Obama. So what! He’s telling us everything we want to hear!

      He has too many ties with people WHO HATE! Farrakhan anyone???

      See how many people go crazy around him?
      That’s not normal.
      That’s crazy. Just like the people who believe that the preacher made someone walk again.

      I AM NOT voting Obama. Gay people who vote based solely on gay issues are almost as bad as people who vote based on right to life.

      I am pretty sure I will vote McCain.

      Mar 18, 2008 at 1:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • fredo777
      fredo777

      I have to laugh at your going off about Obama + him being affiliated w/ people who hate. Have you bothered to brush up on the sorts of people Johnny Mac has been associated with?

      Hagee anyone?

      Mar 18, 2008 at 3:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ri
      Ri

      Vote for McCain? As a gay person, I couldn’t live with myself if I voted republican because so much of their platform is based on anti-gay rhetoric.
      I’m voting for a Democrat, and I’m voting for Obama. He’s the one I think can bring this country together. He’s a rational thinker with the judgement to lead. Recently endorsed by Admirals and Generals for that reason exactly.

      Mar 18, 2008 at 4:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • cheyenne
      cheyenne

      im so sorry to say but hunn i totally go agaisnt you gay people need to be slapped read the gosh darn bible…you’ll go to hell and obama is right…so mrs.think you kno it all your wrong…okay sweet heart..
      tip:obama is going to kick asssst
      mccain will loossse

      Oct 13, 2008 at 2:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hannah friedman
      hannah friedman

      My humble musical letter to President Obama:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4bZw9FmXZ4

      Best,
      Hannah Friedman

      Nov 6, 2008 at 12:00 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew Bulgin
      Andrew Bulgin

      @Dawster: I don’t like that “it’s owed to me” attitude of old people who have been very fortunate with their health (and whose numbers increase owing to advancements in health care) and who continue to rob younger, talented and hard-working people of job opportunities because they refuse to retire, yet grab for every dollar of Social Security money they can get while it is unlikely the younger generation will have it at all or even be able to retire. Let’s get it straight. The world don’t owe nobody squat!

      Nov 26, 2008 at 5:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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