saying congrats

After Being Too Busy To Dial Anyone In Maine, Obama Has Time to Call Annise Parker

With former NYC Mayor Ed Koch not out of the closet (now, nor during his tenure), Houston’s mayor-elect Annise Parker will soon claim the “first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city.” (With about 2.2 million people, Houston is America’s fourth-largest by population.) And it’s not just the gays who noticed, but Barack Obama too. He personally dialed Parker to wish her congratulations. Conspicuously absent from his voicemail?

Any mention of why Parker’s election is so noteworthy: Because she’s a lez.

It’s not terribly surprising Obama dialed her number; Parker is indeed a Democrat, though she leans conservative. And it’s not terribly surprising he didn’t mention anything queer on the phone — lest the voicemail go public (as Parker made it) and opponents find a soundbite in there to use in 2012.

And while he ended up leaving a message instead of talking to her directly (she was in the middle of an interview when he called), that Obama rang Parker is notable for a whole other reason: Because he didn’t pick up the phone once when marriage equality legislation was up for a vote in Maine. That, friends, might have required a full 60 seconds of his time.

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  • Seth

    Why is everyone being so snarky and queeny about this guy? We have a lot more important things going on the world than gay marriage. Yeah, it’s an important civil rights issue, but still, give the guy credit for at least dialing. He’s trying. I’m sure it’s not easy to walk the line between helping glbt people and ensuring that you’re in the position to try to help them at all.

  • Brian NJ

    No, Obama does not get any fucking “credit” for permitting gay veterans to get dumped on the street during his watch, and not moving two simple repeals so they can get on his desk to sign. You may think you are not important enough, but I think my gay rights issue is the most important thing a president can worry about, because it goes to the heart of who we are as a people.

    Too busy? He most certainly is NOT too busy. He is about to give rights to non-citizen illegal immigrants BEFORE giving civil rights to use. We should certainly be ahead in line of tackling that issue. We are only asking the administration to move two simple repeals. Rahm Emmanuel has decided he has more important calls to make that gay vets and families, but we don’t have to have Rahm’s priorities.

    Obama gets legislation on his desk if he WANTS legislation on his desk. And much more deep, controversial and complex legislation than TWO SIMPLE REPEALS OF DADT AND DOMA.

    Wake up and see that you are last in line. Ask WHY douchebags. Low self-esteem, maybe?

  • Transracial

    Yesterday it was anti-immigrant, today’s it’s anti-obama

    this site — like the LGBT “movement” in general

    needs to shift away from the negative and start figuring out what
    the hell it is actually fighting for

    sad sad sad

  • ChrisM

    Whether you are disappointed with Obama or supportive of him, you can’t deny that this is a little upsetting. He clearly called Parker because she is the first openly LGBT mayor. So why can’t he say it? If the president is too cowardly to announce that he even supports us, that doesn’t speak well at all for the future of our civil rights.

  • Robert, NYC

    Its rather obvious why Obama didn’t make a call to Maine. He’s opposed to marriage equality, he made that quite clear during the campaign last year and I’m sure he’s not losing any sleep over it. Giving rights to illegal immigrants is far more important than ours, we who are citizens who pay taxes and fight their dirty wars shedding our blood for this country in some instances.

    Even if there were no economic crisis, no wars and no health care reform, are any of us that naive to think that LGBT rights would be one of his top priorities? Of course not! Name one president who’s put his ass on the line for us. He’s no Prime Minister Zapatero of Spain or Paul Martin of Canada, true believes in democracy and full equality, both faced an uphill battle with the roman cult, but they were able to get the job done. This one in the White House has no balls or backbone, like his predecessors before him and those who will come after him. He kow-tows far too much to the religious right for my comfort and definitely not what I voted for.

  • Robert, NYC

    ….”true believers” I meant to have said in my last post, my apologies.

  • Brian NJ

    Transracial is our Obama administration Uncle Tom. “You want me to go to the back of the bus? If you say so sir! You are too busy? Oh Yes sir! I will get right out of your way!!!!”

  • Transracial

    @ Brian NJ

    personal and harsh
    and, well, kind of muddled
    just like you message

  • Brian NJ

    Transracial: I am sorry. That was a little a harsh. Please excuse me, seriously.

  • Transracial

    Dear Brian:
    There is no need to apologize
    I’ve been dealing with whiney White boys like you my whole life…..

  • RomanHans

    Well, okay, then *I’ll* attack Transracial.

    > the LGBT “movement” in general needs to shift away
    > from the negative and start figuring out what the hell
    > it is actually fighting for

    In this story, what part of “marriage equality” did you miss?

  • Brian


    Obama puts politics BEFORE us. He is our new Bill Clinton.

  • Brian NJ

    Is that how you see me, “Transracial,” as a white person? Fuck you, racist. Now I know why you are an Obamapologist, you are mesmerized by his dark skin color. All Obama has to do for you is to be black.

  • Attmay

    Reading racist Obamunist crap by Obama’s House Queens like Transracial makes me think I owe The South an apology. After all, Houston did elect a lesbian mayor before your beloved “progressive” Yankee blue states.

  • staciegirlie

    Obama is only half-black. And half-white. So everybody gets to share in the blame for his fuck ups.

  • rainfish2000


    Maybe, Obama shouldn’t speak out on our “issues” at all — at least do not allow him to do interviews with conservative nutbags. Look at the robo-calls in California during Prop 8 using Obama’s asinine “God’s not in the mix” line — obviously referring to our unholy and Satanic same-sex desire for legal parity in marriage law. I think Obama let the mask slip down a little bit then. What’s more, he didn’t really seem to care much either.

    Nope, I have totally lost my confidence in Obama. Actually, I never had much trust in him after that Donnie “what’s-his-face” fiasco and Obama’s so-called “Faith Tour” during Campaign 2008 where dissin’ the GLBT community wasn’t much of an issue with him or his campaign staff. The writing was on the wall then. My fellow Homos were all just so easily, once more, sucked in by thinking that all we had to do was bring back those (DADT and DOMA) Democrats, then we would all be in Lollipop Land again.

    How many times have I said, the Democratic Party is history? I heard earlier today, while listening to a respectable political commentator on MSNBC, that the Democratic Party may, in the not too distant future, suffer a schism (not unlike the Episcopal Church) between the so-called moderates (re: Conserva-Dems) and the Progressives (re: Pro-labor, Pro-Civil Rights, Pro-National Health Care Progressives).

    Point-in-fact, if some hideous little lawn-troll like Joe Lieberman can hold the “ruling party” hostage, then imagine what a true third party can do if they capture just ten percent of the Senate and maybe twenty percent of the House. We’re talking about being powerbrokers and turning both ineffectual parties into full time ass-kissers (just like what old milk-toast Sen. Harry Reid is doing with Lieberman). A third party could shift the power politics in Washington and force concessions from both parties. It could moderate a Republican Party and force a fractious and gutless Democratic Party to actually get legislation passed.

    Time to think out of the DNC/GOP box. As the old bard says: “Fortune favors the brave.”

    You can’t have change unless you’re willing to take chances and try a different approach. Time to drop that dirty, diseased, old security blanket called the Democratic Party. Find a liberal, pro-civil rights, progressive third party and then vote for them “en masse” — that is, as a block in your home state, and then get seriously involved with them on a national level. Also, convince your progressive allies in the Democratic party to do likewise. After this pathetic excuse for Health Care Reform, I believe a ton of Progressives are more than willing to look for an alternative.

    Maybe the only “Change You Can Believe In” is the change we make in ourselves. We can start by not being so timid and unwilling to take chances. It’s time to show a little daring and to make decisions for ourselves for a change. We can’t rely on the DNC, they have lost all credibility with the GLBT Community. Sure, support GLBT friendly and supportive candidates in either party, but make sure they earn your support.

    The time for taking us for granting ended with Obama and the Democrats once again showing their true face of deceit and indifference to the cause of the last key minority civil rights battle to be fought in America. It’s time for a real change. And that means not going back to that same old village well for a drink of water when we’ve been turned away — time after time — after we worked so hard to dig that well in the first place. It is time to pull our pride out of the gutter, and to take our intellect and talents with us to start digging somewhere else. We owe it to ourselves and to each other. If we are not willing to take a chance and to change, then why should anyone else on our behalf?

    Don’t just seek change, but “be” the change.

    Hey, that might sound like fortune cookie philosophy — maybe. But sometimes things really are that simple. Although, if often takes a great deal of courage to make the first step…even a baby step…perhaps, that is the hardest step to take. Never-the-less, I’m not following the doomed herds anymore. I’m looking for a new tribe that actually might make a difference instead of just pretending that they’re all about “change”, when, in reality, they are more of the same. It’s time to seek a new path; a new direction and, perhaps, to truly believe that “words actually do carry weight; that they mean something; that words do matter” …again.

    How pretty and how sad that sounded when Obama first spoke those words. Like a Nightingale with a beautiful voice, but with no heart and no soul beyond its own loquacious music. He almost made me believe. How sad indeed.

  • RyanInSacto

    Um, Parker is probably aware of her own sexuality. Why the hell would Obama need to mention it?

    The “Obama hasn’t done enough for us yet” meme on Queerty has become completely intolerable. I’m so fucking glad I’m not buying Christmas gifts for any of you. I can only imagine your reaction: “This is nice, but why didn’t you buy me everything else that I wanted right now. Right now!!!”

  • InExile

    As usual the call he made was ALL ABOUT HIM. Do you think he calls all new mayors? He called Anise Parker to help himself because he, like the citizens of Houston could see her as a rising star. Does the word opportunist come to mind?

    Easter Eggs Rolls, calls to Mayor Parker, very quietly denouncing Prop 8, silence on Maine, New York, and even silence on the wins like Iowa is what he will be remembered for. His legacy with gays will be the man that made lots of promises with no intention of keeping them.

    It’s like Bush’s 3rd term.

  • InExile

    Oh, that’s not quite accurate, Bush expanded funding for AIDS, this guy gutted it.

  • andy

    Seth, Your politics and issue’s are just that, they are yours. I for one am only concerned right now about my rights as a tax paying gay citizen. Frankly there will always be “other” issues used as subterfuge to avoid this very big human rights issue, but gay marriage and gay rights is one that concerns me directly and excuse me for focusing my energy on it. I’m fighting for myself and for those young gays that will follow me. I donated over 2000$ last election to elect this idiot. Next time I’ll be giving my vote else where and of course I will continue to talk about this with my family and friends.

  • RyanInSacto

    Well Andy, you’re certainly welcome to vote for someone else next time around. Please let us all know when you find a viable candidate (i.e., not third party because they are never viable in our system) who is more supportive of gay rights. Good luck with that.

    It’s amazing how narrow the view has become around here (and this isn’t pointed just at you, Andy). It seems that everyone is so busy shouting “What about me? What about MY issue?” that they haven’t noticed that the US is involved in two wars, has 10% unemployment, and 45 million uninsured citizens. On top of that, we might want to pass some sort of climate change legislation at some point. It’s not that I’m saying that gay rights shouldn’t be a priority. What I’m saying is that it’s at best naive and at worst petulant to cry foul 11 months into a 4 year term that you haven’t gotten everything you want yet, particularly when we’re living through the single worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

    And before you start throwing stones at me about how I should care more about gay rights, just know that I’m starving my way through grad school working on a degree in political theory and the dissertation I’m in the process of writing analyzes gay rights issues through the lens of Enlightenment-era political theory. Gay rights are a priority in my life, but I just happen to realize that there may be other things happening in the country right now that also need attention.

  • Tonyboy

    Too busy? He had plenty of time to sit down with Oprah for a puff piece interview.

  • Robert, NYC

    RYANINSACTO, a third party would be viable if every gay voter got behind it, i.e. the Green Party. Its long had a platform supporting full LGBT equality and not afraid of the consequences. If 20 million of us supported them, you’d see a huge impact on the current two party system. Losing our votes and money is all the Dems care about and in the end, they deliver NOTHING while promising everything to get elected. I’m sick of being taken for granted and told to stay at the back of the bus and having my right as a taxpayer to marry taken away, meaning that we have no full representation as do religious cults who pay nothing but are allowed to have a say in state referenda. We’re not even sitting in the middle of the bus, nowhere near it.

    As I said in a previous post, even if it weren’t for the economic woes, the two wars, health care reform, climate change…do you really believe we’d be any further ahead? I don’t. The Dems will always find a way to delay, delay, delay. If we don’t get ENDA and DADT before 2012, the dems are finished as far as the LGBT vote goes. They can’t win an election without us. I predict we’ll be shafted again when November 2012 rolls around.

  • RyanInSacto

    It’s not a matter of “busy,” Tonyboy, and that dumbs down what I wrote to an almost unrecognizable degree.

    You do realize that the President is the executive officer, not a legislator, right? We don’t have rule by decree in this country. Perhaps a refresher course in political science would be useful for you (and a lot of other people, apparently).

    Anyway, even if Obama could cram every gay rights bill we ever wanted through Congress right now (which is doubtful since he can’t even seem to get health care reform through it), it would mean that he would lose cooperation on everything else. Is it worth 20% unemployment to you? You have to answer that question because that’s a definite possibility if a jobs bill doesn’t get through Congress in the near future. It isn’t about “busy.” It’s about the give-and-take of political life in a democratic republic. Sorry, but it’s how it was designed and if you don’t like that, then talk to Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton about it.

  • RyanInSacto

    OK, Robert, NYC, let’s go through this third party nonsense. Again, a course American Government would be useful, but failing that, here you go….

    Electoral laws in a country – any country – indirectly determine the number of viable political parties. Because the US uses a pluralist (AKA “first past the post, winner-take-all”) election system, third parties rarely have a chance at representation in the US Congress or in the White House.

    So how does this work? The House of Representatives is composed of 435 members from 435 districts across the country. Each district gets exactly one representative. That representative needs to only win the most votes (not necessarily a majority) to become the representative of that district. The other candidates get nothing for coming in second or third. The same is true for the Senate, although Senators represent entire states, obiously. Each state gets two Senators and they run in separate elections on separate election years. Again, the candidate with the most votes gets the seat. The candidate in second, third, or fourth place gets nothing. You can extend this reasoning to presidential elections as well.

    This creates pressure for parties to merge if they are on the same side of the ideological divide. Aside from Bernie Sanders (a Socialist) who hails from one of the most liberal states in the union, the most a third party has really ever accomplished electorally in national US politics in the past 50 years is to become a “spoiler.” By the way, Sanders is, for all intents and purposes, a Democrat. He caucuses with them and votes with them most of the time.

    This is very different from the electoral system of most European countries, which is typically “PR” (proportional representation) rather than pluralist. In that system, districts typically get more than one seat in the legislature. The seats are then apportioned according to vote percentage. For example, imagine a district gets 10 seats in the legislature and there are 3 parties in that district, Party A, Party B and Party C. Imagine there is an election and Party A gets 40% of the votes, Party B gets 30% of the votes and Party C gets 30% of the votes. Under the PR system, Party A would receive 4 of the district’s seats, Party B would receive 3 of the seats, and Party C would also get 3. In this way, multiple parties are actually indirectly encouraged by the PR electoral system because even the minority parties receive representation.

    You might think, “Well, why doesn’t the US just change electoral systems?” Easier said than done. There is overwhelming opposition to such a thing, mostly because the legislators that would have to undertake such a change are perfectly happy with the electoral system the way it is – it worked for them! For further proof of this opposition, you might check out the case of Lani Guinier, who was nominated by President Clinton to the position of Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. When it came to light that she advocated a system of Proportional Representation, it became impossible for her to be confirmed in the position and Clinton had to nominate someone else.

    I hope that helps understand why we have a two party system in the US. I’ll be happy to answer any and all questions and add clarity where I can.

  • Brian NJ

    @Ryan in Sackto

    Obama is not too busy. The administration gave the go ahead for Janet Napolitano to promise that the Administration would take on immigration reform and get it done before the 2010 midterms. Illegals before veterans. Nice.

    You are advocating that gays go to the end of the line. Isn’t the issue your own self-esteem? How many drop-backs do you need to convince you that we are at the bottom of the list?

  • RyanInSacto

    The issue is definitely not my own self-esteem. To the contrary, I’m disgusted that so many gays on this blog seem to need validation from Obama every day of their lives. That’s what points to a self-esteem problem. But a desperate need for validation tends to be a problem in many sectors of our community, so I guess it’s not surprising that it shows up in politics too.

    Having perspective does not preclude having self-esteem. Perspective is what is dearly lacking with your comments and, most of the time these days, the main posts here on Queerty as well.

  • Brian NJ

    How is your self-esteem intact when you sit happily by while the White House gets to every other issue but YOU? Here is a commander in chief who sits by, does not tell Rahm to get on the phone and start barking, while gay vets are dumped on the streets every month. He crafts difficult, complex bailout legislation, but can’t get two repeals on his desk to sign? You must be attached to the Borg not to be completely and fully outraged! Hello!

    Gays need to grow some balls, yank the democratic wires out of their head, and start making demands.

  • InExile

    No one would need anything from Obama if he would keep his promises, people do not like being lied to or deceived.

    Incidentally, today an immigration reform bill was introduced and GAYS WERE NOT INCLUDED.

  • Robert, NYC

    InExile, are you referring to the binational partners of gay Americans? If that’s the case, then this country really is fucked up and more regressive than I thought, unlike other more progressive societies. I’m sick and tired of hearing how we’re the greatest country on earth yet we can’t even give 20-25 million people the same rights as everybody else, let alone universal health care. We pay taxes, get no full representation, shed our blood in their fucking evil oil wars while religious cults get full represenation, pay no taxes and get a say in state legislation. Its more than fucked up.

  • RyanInSacto

    Brian NY, my self-esteem is intact because it comes from within, not from without. And I don’t think he’s getting to every other issue. All you need to do is take a short vacation from reading Queerty and go read any blog that’s dedicated to any other issue. What you’ll find is people who feel that their issue is not getting the attention it deserves. What you will not generally find, however, is people who have tied their self-worth to whether or not their issue is getting the attention of the president or not.

    Beyond that, I actually care about more issues that just gay rights. Sure, it’s personal and that makes it take priority. But so is unemployment, for example. I have close friends that are desperately looking for work right now and have been for a while. In addition, next Fall I’ll be on the job market and things aren’t looking pretty. It’s apparently only here on Queerty that people think 10% unemployment isn’t a problem.

  • RyanInSacto

    (Sorry, I mean Brian NJ. I know how sensitive the NJ-NY divide can be. No harm intended.)

  • AdamA

    Listen, I’m as frustrated with the administration’s glacial pace as anyone. But you can’t deny this headline is snarky/catty/queeny. Queerty’s political commentary leaves much to be desired. But hey – at least they aren’t dissing immigrants out of bitterness and spite! Right?


  • InExile



  • Robert, NYC

    InExile #33, well then….when November 2010 rolls around, they can expect a huge backlash from LGBT voters. Time for OUR collective gloves to come off once and for all. If they want our votes and money, let them earn it. So far, that hasn’t happened and they need to be put on notice right now, don’t ever take us for granted again because we won’t be there for them.

  • rainfish2000

    Really, Ryan? An independent, or even a whole block of them in an independent or third party, couldn’t be effective when just one jackass in the person of one Joe Lieberman (an Independent) can hold absolute power over the US Senate? Perhaps, you haven’t been paying much attention to the news.

    As you said Ryan, a third party would only need a plurality of the vote — just 34% in a three way race. If you remember that old sore head Lieberman did just that when he ran against both a Republican and against his former party (after losing in the Democratic State Primary). If he can do it, then Progressives can also achieve those ends all across the country. Progressives can win by running against the do-nothing Democrats as Independents or they can even ally themselves with a third party — and win.

    Don’t be so dismissive and intractable in your views. There are a lot of young people (Gay and Straight) who are quite fed up with our broken two party system. And there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution which prevents any number of political parties from forming. Sure, we don’t have proportional representation assignments like some European Democracies, but we sure as hell can create and run any party for office that we desire, and we can replace those decadent and ineffectual parties which do not work.

    We are not talking about Teddy Roosevelt’s ill-fated “Bull Moose Party”, but, perhaps, an actual grassroots coalition of organized labor, middle-class blue-collar professionals, the GLBT community, ethnic communities, college educated liberals, as well as anyone else who has the guts to say “enough is enough” when confronted with the exploitation and the mendacity of the DNC which still entices the aforementioned groups into taking them to the Royal Ball, but then dances the night away with predatory Corporate America and their pimping goons (i.e. Lobbyists).

    How soon many people forget about Ross Perot’s United We Stand America organization, which later became the Reform Party. During the presidential election year of 1992, at one point in June, Perot led the polls with 39% (versus 31% for Bush and 25% for Clinton). Ultimately, Perot’s poll rating dropped after several poor performances during the Presidential debates, and the final outcome was Clinton 43% – Bush 37% – Perot 18% in November of that same year. Many political pundits contribute his drop in the polls to several factors: poor performances after the first debates; eccentric behavior on Larry King; his dropping out the race, then starting up his campaign again — all giving the impression of mental instability. Which was probably accurate.

    So yes, Barack Obama had better take the threat of a third party challenge from the left very seriously because George Bush Sr. didn’t when he lost his re-election. The same could happen to Obama on the left concerning the Progressives he has ignored and betrayed. In 2000, Al Gore had Ralph Nader cut into his lead in many states because of resentment over Bill Clinton’s betray of his progressive base on NAFTA, civil rights, and on the environment.

    Admittedly, national presidential races haven’t favored Third Party candidates historically — primarily because of the convoluted “winner take all” Electoral College system which we have in this twisted Democracy. But the main thing now is to get more third party representation in Congress. That can happen. And the effect can be just as I pointed out in my earlier exposition. Yes, change is messy, but sometimes that is the only way it can happen. Sorry, I refuse to invest in your cynicism, RyanInSacto. I actually do believe change is possible — but only if we make it happen by first changing what doesn’t work in our political system instead of pretending that it will change itself, or self-correct, when it has never really been forced to do so.

    The time is right. With the economy and employment in such disarray, the time is right for a huge political/socio shift to the left which would demand more accountability in government, more legislative control over the exploitive practices of large multi-national corporations, and more responsibility towards social reforms mandated nation-wide coming out of Washington D.C. .

    As the old adage goes: “If not now, when?”

    ~ Bud Evans (aka Rainfish2000)


    In Response to No. 23 • RyanInSacto who wrote:”…. Please let us all know when you find a viable candidate (i.e., not third party because they are never viable in our system).

  • rainfish2000

    Here (below) is an interesting little tidbit from your friendly neighborhood Wikipedia concerning Third Parties.


    In 1856 the original two-party system (Democrat and Whig) collapsed. The Whigs, who had been one-half of the two-party system since 1832 and had won the presidency in 1840 and 1848, disintegrated, fatally split by dissension over slavery. Southern Whigs and a minority of northern Whigs coalesced around the anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic American Party, better known as the “Know Nothing” movement. Their candidate was former President Millard Filmore. Northern, anti-slavery Whigs formed the new Republican Party and nominated explorer John C. Fremont.

    Which was the “third party”, Republican or American, is a matter of perception. In the Northern, free states, Fillmore ran a distant third. However, in the Southern, slave states, the Republicans received almost no support, not even appearing on the ballot in 13 of the 15 slave states and receiving tiny shares of the vote in the border slave states of Delaware and Maryland. Democrat James Buchanan won the election with 45% of the popular vote and 174 electoral votes, Fremont received 33% and 114 electoral votes, while Fillmore won 22% but carried only one state, Maryland, thus winning 8 electoral votes.


    The election featured four candidates, including the breakaway Southern Democratic Party, which nominated Vice President John C. Breckenridge as its candidate, and the Constitutional Union Party, neutral on the slavery issue, which nominated John Bell. Breckenridge, the southern pro-slavery candidate, carried most of the slave states, but had little support in the North outside of Pennsylvania. Bell drew most of his support from former southern Whigs.

    Abraham Lincoln won the election with 39.8% of the overall popular vote with 180 electoral votes, his votes being concentrated in the northern free states. Stephen A. Douglas finished second in the popular vote with 29.5%, but his votes were scattered all over the country and as a result he won only 12 electoral votes. Breckenridge, the quasi-third party candidate of southern Democrats, got 18.2% winning 72 electoral votes from several south states. Bell, a true third party candidate, finished with 12.6% but received 39 electoral votes from three states.

    Following 1860 a new two-party system coalesced around the Democratic and Republican parties.

    (NOTE from Rainfish2000: So, yes, we can make changes to the system as well, just like we did over 150 years ago. That is — if we have the will to do so.)

  • Robert, NYC

    Rainfish2000 #35, well said.

  • RyanInSacto

    I have never said that 3rd parties can’t act as spoilers. If you go back and look at my original comments about this, you’ll see that. Nader was a spoiler. Perot was a spoiler. Neither one of them ended up in the White House. On top of that, the people who voted for them ended up with the worst possible outcome: conservatives who voted for Perot ended up with Clinton in the WH and liberals who voted for Nader ended up with Bush.

    When you are talking about the party changes that happened in the country around the Civil War, there are several things that you must realize and if you go back and look at what you pasted from wikipedia, you might realize them. First, these were extraordinary times – two halves of the country where on the verge of splitting and a Civil War broke out soon after. I don’t think we’re living through anything as extraordinary as that and I hope we never do again, really. Second, notice that one party collapsed and one took it’s place, thus resulting in the continuance of a two-party system. If you think one of the two parties is about to collapse, then by all means, start a party that will capture a majority of that party’s votes. However, I think it’s tough to argue that one of the major parties is near collapse and I think it’s even tougher to argue that you could capture a majority of the voters from one of the parties with an ambitious gay rights platform.

    When discussing parties, viability means the the ability to capture control of either the executive or legislative branches. If you get out in America, you will find that most people are far too moderate to ever give the Green Party or the Libertarian Party (or whoever else you want to name) enough support to control either of the two elected branches of government.

    This brings us to Joe Lieberman. He was successful in his election as an Independent because of several attributes that most independent and third party candidates lack:
    1. Prior experience in the Senate – as a Democrat.
    2. Name recognition out the wazoo.
    3. An assload of wealthy donors.
    Finally, Lieberman is a center-right politician. He’s not out on the fringe of either end of the political spectrum. This makes him viable in a country that winds up in the middle on most issues. The kind of candidates you would like to see win are not in the middle of the spectrum. This makes it difficult to win in the US, particularly if one is seeking a seat in the Senate or the White House.

    These are the facts. You may hate them. I may hate them. However, wishing things were different do not make them so. Finally, I study and teach political science. This isn’t my opinion – these are the findings from decades of peer-reviewed research by political scientists in colleges and universities, great and small, across the country regarding electoral rules, political parties, and the political leanings of Americans. What I explained in my post above regarding our electoral rules comes from Duverger’s Law. You can read about it here:'s_law
    Or here if you want it straight from Duverger’s mouth:
    Political scientists have been testing and retesting Duverger’s explanation of party systems for years and while they have come to better understandings of why electoral rules determine the number of parties, they have never been able to disprove that they do.

    I think I’ve pretty much said as much as I can say on a comment thread regarding third parties. Personally, I would prefer a proportional representation system, but I have no optimism for any such system to ever happen here. If you want to make changes to electoral rules, then I say get to work. You’re going to have to convince a lot of people in a lot of states, many of whom are really just worried about things much less lofty.

  • Bunny Snuggles

    Oh, I think people are ready for a real change all right…a radical change, in fact. Just look at a latest national poll that put the TEA BAGGERS at a higher public approval rating than either the Democratic or the Republican Party.

    And one last thing to close out my contribution to this discussion — just because something has not been successfully done in the past doesn’t make it impossible to do so in the future. The past may be prologue, but the future is still being written.

    Also, no one said this would be a single issue (i.e. Gay Rights) movement. That would be just one item is a broader Progressive movement — a movement, perhaps, that would be attractive to organized labor; Wall Street reformists; universal health care proponents; various ethnic groups where 15% and higher unemployment rates are begging for job training programs and opportunities; various civil rights organizations, as well as environmental activists…the lists goes on and on.

    The Democratic Party used to represent these interest groups to varying degrees, but they have long since sold out to unbridled corporate greed and to maintaining the status quo which favors inequality in America. Time for a new party to emerge. The old ways of doing things are not only dangerous to our future as a nation, but it is an affront to all of those noble ideals the United States used to represent — at least claimed to represent via its over-vaulted platitudes and pretensions of individual liberty and communal responsibility. It’s not too late to demand that America live up to her self-proclaimed ideals and actually do honor to them instead of just trotting them out in election years and then abandoning them just as quickly after the last polls have closed.

    Some of us are not as willing as others here (apparently on Queerty and elsewhere — you know who you are) to just accept things the way they are — just because that is the way things have been done before. That’s just encouraging the kind of intellectual and ethical vacuum produced by apathy which invites tyranny to fill up the empty places left by moral cowardice and defeatism. We can do so much better than that. We are, at the very least, obliged to do so.


    In response to No. 38 • RyanInSacto who wrote: “If you want to make changes to electoral rules, then I say get to work. You’re going to have to convince a lot of people in a lot of states, many of whom are really just worried about things much less lofty.”


  • RyanInSacto

    You think the fucking teabaggers are going to stand up for gay rights? Ha. Good luck with that.

  • Florent Bonlong

    It is about time the US joins and also leads the rest of the world in the acceptance of gay people among the community.
    By choosing a gay mayor, they have truly set the bar high as usual but it could only be a good thing, coming from the US, as other nations will find the need to emulate this reflection.

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