Now that we know where the GOP and Edwards stand on this whole mess, let’s take a little look at what John Edwards’ campaign manager, David Bonior has to say. Some claim he hasn’t said anything at all. What’s more, he and his are missing a tremendous opportunity to work for change
In an email blast we’ve included after the jump, Bonior describes Coulter’s comments as “one of the worst moments in American politics I’ve ever seen”. But, he says, they’re far from surprising:
This is just as taste of the filth that the right-wing machine is gearing up to throw at us… John was singled out for a personal attack because the Republican establishment knows he poses the greatest threat to their power.
Bonior’s nothing if not a dreamer.
Rather than sinking to the same level of shameful smearing, Bonior wants Edwards supporters to help the campaign raise 100,000 of “Coulter Cash” in a week. Bonior’s cash call may help the campaign pay its bills, but will it help pay its debt to the gay community? Sappho-journo Pam Spaulding says, “Hells no, motherfucker”.
Spaulding’s right when she points out the campaign doesn’t explain why people are upset. Bonior’s statement neglects to address the root of the problem: Coulter called Edwards a “faggot”. In fact, he can’t even say the word. He writes:
I can’t even bring myself to repeat her comments… Coulter’s resorting to the classic right-wing strategy of riling up hate to smear a progressive champion.
Spaulding insists Bonior’s skirting the issue – avoiding the statements homophobic roots, preferring a less inflammatory and politically neutral “bigotry”. She writes:
..[W]hat does that Edwards e-release do to condemn homophobia?
Nothing. It doesn’t even mention “gay,” “lesbian,” or “homophobia.” It doesn’t point out that Coulter’s use of “faggot” as a slur on Edwards is also what spills from the lips of the kind of people who beat up a gay man for wearing pink pants, or murder a 72-year-old gay man by slamming him with a metal pipe.
Lesson for the Edwards camp: if you can’t directly address the hate fomented by Coulter in light of the public backlash felt by Tim Hardaway and M&M Mars, you haven’t progressed beyond 2004 either.
We have to admit that Spaulding makes a point, but we can’t help but wonder if using Coulter’s statements to open a larger dialogue on homophobia truly does depart from the ’04 methods.
Gay marriage and civil rights dominated the ’04 political landscape and while the issues have yet to be sufficiently addressed, a lot of politicos are convinced that gay identity politics have lost their strategic weight. In fact, some people believe that by focussing on gay issues, politicians may be doing themselves a disservice. You may recall Ben Adler’s remarks from The American Prospect:
If anti-gay marriage referenda really did boost conservative turnout, then Republican candidates in states with them on the ballot would have presumably outperformed their poll numbers due to higher turnout among the measures’ supporters.
Hopefully, now that the Democrats have both won handily in states that passed anti-gay marriage initiatives and lost in the one that didn’t, the myth of the initiatives’ political potency can be put to rest.
So, reader, do you think the campaign should use Coulter’s comments as a springboard to discuss homophobia in America or is it in their best interest to focus on bigger issues?