Queerty Exclusive

Rick Jacobs to No on 8 Leaders: ‘Do Not Try to Run This Again. Ever.’

QUEERTY REPORTS — Rick Jacobs isn’t your average run-of-the-mill critic of the No on 8 campaign. As founder of the Courage Campaign, a progressive netroots organization with over 300,000 members that partners with labor, religious and netroots groups, Jacobs is in a unique position to look at what went wrong with the No on 8.

Like many groups, the Courage Campaign offered its support and services to the No on 8 Campaign, but felt largely rebuffed. When the Jacobs saw that the Mormon Church was donating unprecedented sums of money through its members to Prop 8, the Courage Campaign created a television ad featuring two Mormon missionaries invading a lesbian’s home and taking their marriage certificate and rings from them. It would be the only large-scale criticism of the Mormon Church before the election.

Queerty spoke with Jacobs about No on 8, why the leaders of the campaign owe us an apology and what the gay community needs to do next.

QUEERTY: What was the Courage Campaign’s involvement with Prop. 8 both before and after the election?

Rick Jacobs: In August of this year, we made a very clear choice. We have considerable online organizing expertise and relationships in progressive communities and groups across the state and nation. We work closely with MoveOn.org, SEIU/United Healthcare Workers-West, California Nurses Association, SCLC of Greater LA and many others. We could have offered a great deal to the No on 8 campaign, but having tried to “break in,” I decided not to push any more.

I feel bad about that. Had we all broken down the doors, things might have been different. We worked with the campaign, but were never allowed into the inner sanctum.

As we saw the situation deteriorate, Courage decided to take on the leadership of the Mormon Church very directly. The Church leadership had pushed its members to donate as much as $22 million and to make calls and knock on doors. The official campaign would not take the church on, so we did.

We worked closely with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of LA. We got 17,000 people to sign a letter calling on the president of the church to stop breaking the ninth commandment, not condone blackmail and stop using the church to take rights away from a minority. We were not allowed to deliver the letters at the temple in L.A. (“>see the videos on our site), so we found two wonderful ex-Mormons who had been excommunicated for being gay. They delivered the letters in SLC in front of five TV cameras.

Then the next day, on November 1, we put up on YouTube the now famous ad, “Home Invasion”, that depicts two Mormon missionaries ripping wedding rings off of the fingers of lesbian couple and ransacking their house to find and destroy their marriage license. We found some money to run the ad on election day. This forced the Mormon Church to make its first public statement about the campaign. And we were even attacked by Bill Donahue.

The ad has gotten over 450,000 YouTube views and framed the church leadership as out of touch and over reaching for its interference in our state. The ad was written, directed and produced for under $1,000 by volunteers.

It was the only ad in the entire season that showed a same-sex couple. After the election, the LA Times editorial criticizing the No on 8 campaign said this was the only “hard-hitting ad” of the campaign, and it was not even an official.

After the defeat, we put up a pledge to repeal Prop. 8, which has now garnered more than 325,000 signers. We worked with Credo Mobile and MoveON.org and intend to make it the central organizing element of the campaign.

We continue to work very closely with many allies in labor and elsewhere to assure that the next campaign is bottoms up, a peoples’ campaign.

And just what exactly is the Courage Campaign anyway?

I have a long and varied background in business and politics. I quit my job managing money and businesses to chair Howard Dean’s presidential campaign here in California in 2003. That experience changed my life. I saw the power of movement politics, the hunger for truth and the reality of the Internet as an organizing tool.

I founded the Courage Campaign three years ago as a vehicle by which to bring the energy of the 2004 campaign back into California. We always export labor and capital and we never build political infrastructure here. In August 2007, we had 26,000 or so people on our list; today, we are close to 400,000. We exist to make California more progressive and governable. Right now, it is neither.

Equality California had a meeting with its Board of Directors last weekend and its begun asking people to submit the names and contact info of grassroots, netroots leaders to them. Are the “traditional” gay organizations doing enough?

I am not aware of Equality’s meeting. EQCA announced a “summit” of all interested in parties around repealing Prop. 8 to occur in LA on 24 January. It’s a huge list and growing. I have no idea of the purpose or intended outcome. One thing is clear: no one organization or group “owns” this movement, nor should it.

The next phase is a movement, a real bottoms-up movement that organizes and builds not just in the LGBT communities, but with all progressive communities. We cannot win our rights back unless we are out of the ghetto, ready to learn what’s important to others.

Here in California, we face a record budget deficit. Already, 250,000 kids are in danger of losing their healthcare. Hundreds of thousands of poor and elderly who depend on MediCal have lost many of their benefits. If you cannot get medical care or a job or graduate from school, you are not likely to be too concerned about gay people getting married.

Activists for marriage equality have to learn about the needs and cares of others and have to be relevant to those needs. That’s how we get to know each other and, as we saw in MILK, that’s how we build power.

You’ve been a critic of the No on 8 campaign. Why?

Continued criticism of the No on 8 is useful as a means by which to learn what not to do next. It is not useful to get personal or unprofessional about the critiques. My friend Andy Rappaport said after the 2004 presidential election, if something does not work after having tried it several times, the only thing you know for sure is not to dump a lot of money into that same strategy again.

Obama turned presidential politics on its head after learning what worked and what did not for Dean. The Obama campaign in no way resembled the failed Kerry campaign What we do next must resemble the Obama campaign.

We must catalyze and build the grassroots/netroots movement and we must have smart political leadership. We need both. The organizations that ran the last campaign must not run the next one. And the next campaign began on November 5th. The last campaign consisted largely of an executive committee of executive directors of LGBT organizations. They did not include actively labor and other progressive allies. The campaign was top down and insular. That cannot happen again.

Lori Jean of the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center is against a ballot proposition to overturn Prop. 8, fearing that it would give the Supreme Court a chance to “punt” their decision in March. Is she right?

We cannot wait for the court to rule. That’s why the Courage Campaign is organizing now to build a million people to sign a pledge to repeal Prop. 8. If the court rules in our favor, we’ll need that deep support in order to fight the right wing attacks. If it does not, we’ll need to go to the ballot. And the next time, we will win.

Explain to me the value of your petition as opposed to or in concert with legal battles?

Our pledge shows that already hundreds of thousands of people actively want to repeal Prop. 8. Each of those people represents several more friends or family members. We will have a million or more people sign that pledge.

As I said, if the courts are with us, we’ll turn that force into a defense of the court’s proper ruling. If not, we’ll put it on the ballot.

Courage is building a training program, called Camp Courage, modeled after Camp Obama. Our first training will occur in January in L.A., followed quickly with others. Torie Osborn, a long time hero of the LGBT and progressive movements who worked for two months full time in the Obama campaign in California, is building and leading the trainings. With our allies in labor and elsewhere, we are building a field program that can engage everyone who wants to work.

This is a movement. It needs infrastructure. Together with friends such as Sal Rosselli at UHW and California Nurses Association, with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Delores Heurta, and many others, we are building that program.

None of the Prop. 8 leaders have taken responsibility for the loss. Should they? What would you do if you were in their position?

Even John McCain took personal responsibility for the failure of his campaign. I have said on several occasions to the self-proclaimed leaders of the campaign—Lorri and Geoff and others who were out front with the media a lot—they needed to take responsibility for the failure. Instead, they issued statements saying they were victims of a tough campaign full of lies from the other side. Well, guess what, the other side won and we lost. Of course they were tough and lied. Take responsibility and let the chips fall where they may.

Failure does not entitle you to run another campaign. Offer your advice and lessons learned, but do not try to run this again. Ever.

You’ve become a leader to many of the grassroots folks. What should they be doing? In short, where does the gay movement go now?

We have a golden opportunity now to build a real progressive movement that fires on all cylinders. As I have said to folks who ask me, first, don’t ask permission. If you want to do something, do it. Ask forgiveness. Second, we need organizing principles and infrastructure. The Courage Campaign was built to provide both. We have nearly 400,000 online members who care deeply about this issue and for the most part for building a progressive California. California cannot be considered progressive when it takes rights and healthcare away from people.

The next steps:

1. Train. Courage is providing a vehicle for that as I described above. Whatever you want to do, whether it’s contact your neighbors, religious groups or make calls, train.

2. Use the pledge as an organizing tool. The power of having one thing, one document to get signed, makes this all very much simpler. When you canvass in your neighborhood through tools that we will provide (we use the same software provider as the Obama campaign), you can ask them to sign the pledge. If they won’t, you can learn why and go back. When you go to a church, your goal is to get people to sign a pledge. They may not the first time, but some will. And those will be our allies inside of that church to help grow and learn and win.

3. Organize. Get your friends and some who are not to work together to change minds. Learn how to organize by training.

4. Make the 139,000 or so people in the central valley who voted no on 8 our friends. Help them to organize.

5. Lend your creativity. We are wildly creative community. Let’s use it.

There is more, but this is a good start. Together, we will win.

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  • Joe Moag

    This is a welcome, welcome sign! Looks like that, in the wake of the disaster, more and different groups, with more and different talents, are getting seriously involved to push this thing forward.

    I will be feeling much more assured about our ultimate victory know that folks like this – not the Center in L.A. – are playing huge roles.

    Looks like they got the brains and the stones to take on the fundies and to organize at the grassroots level, two GLARING failures of the Vote No campaign “leaders”/idiots.

  • Michael

    “Netroots”! LOL! Hilarious! It’s so easy to stand up for what’s right when you’re sitting down.

  • seitan-on-a-stick

    The self-proclaimed “Grand Poo-bahs” of this “movement” should be grilled by our own gay media. The complete arrogance and their utter failure has destroyed Gay California’s families and these gay leaders must step down! They’re complete disorganization to this blind-siding Yes on Prop H8 campaign cannot maintain Egos over the Equal Rights Marriage Movement which is now Stonewall 2.0

    Lorri and Geoff must resign their posts!

  • leschuck

    Thanks for this interview, and kudos to Rick Jacobs and the Courage Campaign.

    The gay equality movement’s old guard has failed spectacularly, and lost credibility and power. While the hasty and ad-hoc calls for for national days of protest are necessary in the interim, this will not be sufficient to deliver us to victory in 2010 and beyond. For that, we need not only unity and courage, but also vision, organization, and skilled leaders.

    Jacobs and the Courage Campaign are standing up to fill the void. They offer a vision of how to win elections–grassroots, netroots, small-donor armies, progressive alliances, well-trained and effective leaders and activists–and they rightly point to this model’s electoral successes.

    I say we give this model a try.

  • Camilo

    Excellent interview and how blessed we are to have an ally like Rick Jacobs. Everything he said made TONS of sense, and logic. This is far too important of an issue to leave to the same failed leaders of the LGBT status quo. We need EVERYONE’s help, and it should most definitely not be about EGO. It needs to be about RESULTS.

  • greybat

    I remember the postings to Utube when the video came out. It made for some very amusing reading! Interesting how the perpetrators of the assault on civil rights insisted they were the victims!

  • John in CA

    Finally, somebody who isn’t stuck in the two-dimensional ‘lobbyist’ thinking that has plagued organizations like Equality California and Human Rights Campaign. Bravo, Mr. Jacobs!

    The fact these establishment idiots were actually against having a million signatures on “stand by” (in case the Supreme Court rules against us) is a testament to how out of touch with reality they are. You cannot focus solely on the courts and legislatures because those institutions are influenced by civil society.

    And if you cede Main Street to the religious right, it makes life that much harder for judges and lawmakers who are sympathetic to this cause. They might be sympathetic. But they’re not insane. No heterosexual wants to lose their livelihood or destroy their career over us. And before we ask them to stick their neck out, we need to give them cover fire.

  • Leland Frances

    My nomination for the emptiest, most self-reverential, self-delusional word of the decade: “netroots.”

    It’s a medium NOT the message, but it’s suddenly become the hollow Golden Calf that too many are worshipping. Its only real use politically? As an electronic Town Crier [go here when], raising money, and spreading propaganda [including our own], half-truths, and outright lies. YouTube is ENTERTAINMENT and AFFIRMATION of what we already believe. NO ONE who is antigay has ever had/will ever have their bigotry washed away in a five-minute mashup.

    When elections actually take place on the Internet; when religio-Troglodytes stop meeting and deepthroating homohatred in “brick and mortar” places; when gay and transgender blood stops flowing in the STREETS—call me.

  • Matthew

    @seitan-on-a-stick: Agree completely that gay media should be asking some really, really tough questions of the leaders of the dismal no-on-8 campaign.

    This interview was fantastic – viva la Rick Jacobs. I wanna go to Camp Courage!

  • Michael J

    @Leland Frances: I think you are missing the point of Jacobs and other criticisms of the No-on-8 campaign. It is not that they didn’t use the Internet. It is that they were afraid to appeal to large numbers of people and potential allies whom they presumed wouldn’t be responsive to their message, and that they were afraid to based their appeals unapologetically on the real lives of same-sex couples. After viewing a few of their wishy-washy TV ads which presented a vague message of how discrimination is wrong and not in keep with our values, and in which no self-identified gay person appeared, I decided not to contribute to the campaign. But when the tide began to turn toward passage of the proposition, in response to pleas on this and other site — and against my better judgment — I twice donated to the official campaign. I wish I’d known about the Courage Campaign or other more progressive alternatives to support.

  • Leland Frances

    Sorry, I should have made clear that, despite my disagreement with Jacobs implied belief in the power of “netroots,” I TOTALLY agree that the NoOn8 Politburo fucked up BIG TIME, and have only made it worse by refusing to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.

    And one of his main messages, TRAIN to win/LEARN how to is vital.

    On the other hand, what, MJ, does “…base[] their appeals unapologetically on the real lives of same-sex couples” mean? Which same-sex couples would you have chosen? Fister & Fistee? Pisser & Pissee? Sister Take My Picture! & Sister NO, Take MY Picture! Bull Dyke & Baby Butch?

    And WHERE do you get your belief that portraying any “real lives” would have done any better? Certainly not from any respected research.

    If your answer is: “From seeing how Harvey Milk vanquished the Briggs Initiative in the movie ‘Milk’,” the problem is:

    1. He campaigned solo except for lesbian Sally Gearhart who was sometimes with him, obviously not his lover, and, entirely, rudely missing from the film.
    2. The film’s message that Harvey defeated Briggs is a myth. The tide turned after STRAIGHT establishment figures like Jerry Ford, Jimmy Carter, amazingly the then Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco, and, most importantly, as much as I hate to say it, Ronald Reagan [EVIL man that he was] came out against it. Within a month of that happening, the percentage of pro Briggs supporters dropped some 20%.

    The foregoing is not just to correct cinematic historical distortions and hagiagraphy, but to also illustrate another of Mr. Jacobs points: the need to get out of the gay ghetto [even if its primarily has cyber streets] and form coalitions with influential nongays. Some have already pointed out the failure of the NO numbskulls to use the opposition to 8 of Obama and even Schwarzenegger. How many know that the state NAACP was against 8? Probably few of the blacks who voted for it.

    They didn’t learn from the past; they didn’t smartly utilize the present; but spent $40 million to lose.

    Hey, but I have a t-shirt!

  • Pat

    “The organizations that ran the last campaign must not run the next one.”

    Let me be clear. Are you saying they must not be involved at all? What successful field campaigns has Rick Jacobs ever run? Just because we’re mad, doesn’t mean we should put all our eggs in this basket.

    Who won the court case? Who won civil unions? Who passed marriage bills in the legislature twice? Who have been providing essential services to the LGBT community for years? Who moved support for the freedom to marry from 38.6% to 47.7% in less than a decade? LGBT organizations. Cut them out, and our community is a hollow shell.

    And is there ANY EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that the Mormon ad convinced a single undecided voter?
    Everyone I talked to found it completely offensive.

    When you set up the debate as gay versus religion, religion will win every time.

    Next time, let’s learn from the past. But let’s be smart, and sober.

  • greybat

    @Leland Frances: This may sound more cynical than it’s meant to be, but it’s just how advertising works.
    My casting call would be looking for:

    A. Cute Lesbian couple; mid-thirties, one blonde, one mixed race, with two-year-old daughter, baking a cake.
    B. Cute elderly Gay couple; 60-70, one white, one hispanic or middle-eastern, not too much facial hair or wrinkles, walking hand in hand on beach.
    C. Cute Lesbian couple, late forties, black or Latina, gardening in back yard with dog.

    All of this sounds cloying and cliche, and it is. Contrast it with the opposition, preferably red-faced screamers from Youtube or talk shows (use grainy film stock), and people will naturally want to distance themselves from Yessers who are trying to destroy those nice people.

  • Ura Bigliar

    Very clever grasshopper…you have done a great job of obfuscation, specious phrasing, and trolling with other elegantly wrapped BS.

    But you are still a pathetic little man trying to justify what he knows is wrong.

    Not even many of the other perverts like you! LOL

  • greybat

    @Pat: Who did you talk to?

  • Ura Bigliar

    @Pat: Wow… and sober. Loser.
    Y’all are like caricatures of Will’s little buddy Jack. Kind of amusing but mostly just pathetic.

  • greybat

    @Ura Bigliar: I’m an aquired taste.

  • Leland Frances

    Greybat: forget Example A. because of the child. “Gays’ influence on kids…every child needs a Mommy AND a Daddy” may be crap but enough believe it that we don’t need to try to cool two hot button issues at the same time.

    I like C., particularly because it’s a couple of color, and because they’re less-threatening women.

    And, as I’ve written in other posts, the hell the white partner of black civil rights legend Bayard Rustin had to go through to be let into his hospital room could have been used as a cross-racial example.

    B. has possibilities, and, tho the gender was different, the campaign had a brilliant opportunity right in their own backyard and still mindbogglingly failed to use them in the campaign tho they had been profiled publicly in both 2004 and 2008 as the first couple deserving to be married because of what they’d done for the movement:

    Phyllis Lyon & Del Martin…together over 50 years, on both sides of 80-yrs. old…”Mom, Dad, they look like Grandma….”

    The organizational establishment repeatedly failed to use them; will fresh, younger minds overcome their ageism and self-righteousness not to make the same mistake?

  • greybat

    Actually, I felt remiss in not giving at least one other couple offspring…maybe the two old guys with their adult son and daughter-in-law and a couple of grand kids.
    The problem the Yessers have is they don’t understand that these are real people with real kids and grandkids, just like them.
    It’s still a fairly new idea, albeit one that’s been happening for hundreds of years. The idea is to normalize the new, and to put people who look like your conception of family in plain view.
    The angry catholic father who storms over to the television, because two ladies are throwing a frisbee to the dog isn’t selling his product very well, because his kids are likely to view HIM as the unreasonable one.
    So that would be my goal if I were creating the film. To introduce dialogue into the home, in spite the the Yessers desire to keep it in the closet.
    After all, they invaded our homes first.

  • The Gay Numbers

    @Leland Frances: You may know gay history, but your knowledge on the subject of the netroots is not up to par.

    The reality is that for over a decade the Democrats ran the types of campaign’s that no on 8 ran.

    Then along came the netroots, who fought, and pushed for grassroots efforts. That’s all the netroots are. Grassroots people using new communication tools.

    You insult these people, but guess what- they got people elected, they raised money, they founded methods for oganization later adopted by the Obama campaign that led to the first black President in U.S. history to be elected.

    I simply do not understand your distain. No one is saying that this is the only tool we should be using. They are saying it is one of our tools. It’s about not being top down as No on 8 was.

    One of the reasons it was top down is precisely because they were not using these new tools of communications. The netroots is not only sites like daily kos, it is sites like Act Blue that raised over a million dollars to fight yes on 8.

    It’s tools for collecting vote identitification data to register new voters, convince sporadic voters to vote, and GOTV drives. It’s allerting people to incidents that maybe happening, letting people know where resources can be added, etc. It’s alot of grass roots things that I question whether you appreciate.

    During election day, it was sites like Daily Kos which was telling people to go to certain precincts or report what was happening. It was sites like Calistics which was reporting on what was happing with Yes on 8. It was efforts by websites like bilerico.com that was pushing and questioning No on 8.

    Rather than poo-pooing something you do not understand (your statements indicate you have a limited grasp of what netroots means), why not find out more about it. Its not a miracle cure. It’s a method for better organization that allows for local connection. For example, Obama’s innovation was to use these methods to create what was called the neighbor to neighbor program. Are you familiar with it?

  • The Gay Numbers

    @Pat: a) The mormon ad was released to late and in a limited market because the courage campaign was not brought on until late. And it was only because the campaign put forth the effort to raise the dough. b) As for the Mormon ads- yes they were highly effective. The ones claiming we would corrupt little children shifted the discussion. The LA Times among others have run articles on the subject of the impact of ads in the race and what happened. They also exit interviews- quite a few said they had no problem with gay marriage, but were afraid that they would be forced to teach their childrent bout gay marrige in school.

  • Leland Frances

    Why such disdain? Because I loathe “accepted wisdom,” whether from religious nuts saying “God spoke to me” or Generation MAC telling me that the Internet is God and everything good derives from it.

    “they got people elected, they raised money, they founded methods for oganization later adopted by the Obama campaign that led to the first black President in U.S. history to be elected.”

    Except for the money part: please provide proof. Are you familiar with the logical fallacy, “post hoc ergo propter hoc.” It means “AFTER this therefore BECAUSE of this.”

    I agree that it helped spread grassroots action faster, but remember that always had a local focus as in “find an Obama office/group/event near you.” And, as dramatized in “Milk,” ye old “telephone tree” did the same thing in the late ’70s resulting in large demonstrations within hours.

    And my larger point—the crucial difference between medium and message—was just proven with the bright light then total fizzle of “A Day Without A Gay.” The idea was hurled through the Internet, they even succeeded in getting “hard copy” media to cover it, but then….bleh…because it was a BAD message.

    Again, the greatest part the Net played in Obama’s election was in bringing him [and Hillary, too, for a long while] tons of money fast. But then his people took that treasure chest and turned it into old fashioned three-dimensional, real time campaigning, built around an unprecedented number of brick and mortar campaign offices even in the reddest states. And to send him everywhere again and again and again, even in many of those flaming red states such as Indiana where he campaigned IN PERSON dozens of times.

    Having a slick presence on the Internet is necessary but you must be PRESENT to win.

  • The Gay Numbers

    @Leland Frances: Inn other words, like with Milk, you have not looked it up yourself before speaking? I am not interested in debating you. Many of your points are factually false,a nd they tell me that you have no looked up anything, and are just spreading your beliefs.

  • bradjohnson

    Are we following the pied piper here? Talk about self-annointed leaders. Has anyone googled this Rick Jacobs character? He is a former highly paid oil company executive who has tried to put 3 ballot measures on and failed and led the effort to beat proposition 11 and failed. He is new to gay rights and now announces he is running the campaign without building any coalition. The No campaign fucked up. But atleast they tried. He is using marriage equality for his own agenda. go to his website. google him. He is about unions, not about gay rights. He attacks the leaders who got us all the rights we have. He did nothing . Now he wants to lead. I go the invite to the eqca summit. It includes everyone. Unions, people of color, faith groups. Jacobs and his campaign announced the plan without any coalition. Just him and his friends. Talk about a top down, self aggrandizing effort. Let’s build on what we did. Not tear it down to help promote an oil company rich guy who wants to be king

  • bradjohnson

    And look who courage campaign hired to run the no on 8 repeal. Lilia Tamn. Who is she? do the research. She was the Deputy Consultant on No on 8 working for Steve Smith as his field and internet expert who ran the campaign into the ground. If Courage Campaign wants to be different, why hire the lead people who lost prop 8 in the field and in the netroots. This is just another name for what didn’t work with a different leader. But this time, one with no history or experience. Let’s do better, not more of the same.

  • Camilo

    Oh please Brad. Who cares about his “big oil” ties. This is not a General Election in which he is running for President of Change. This is about organizing and getting things done. Like it or not, that is exactly what Unions have a history of doing. You are almost like the Status Quo of Washington D.C. saying “who is this Barack Obama, and really, what is his experience with executive management?”

    You know what Brad, the fact he is not an experienced gay rights “leaders” obsessed with their legacy and ego is a HUGE plus for enacting “real” change and progress.

    The gay rights establishment has failed us, and they are doing nothing to change. We need new leadership, and ties to oil comapanies and unions are not anything to detract from what he can offer.

  • seitan-on-a-stick

    Ura Bigliar, I met your hotter gay twin brother, Ima BigLiar-LiarPantsOnFire!

  • John in SF

    Far from not taking responsibility for the campaign, Geoff has committed, on several occasions including some taped statements available for download, to a thorough third party analysis of what went right and what went wrong on this campaign. He knows that no campaign is without mistakes, and he is as committed as anybody to learning from this campaign.

    It is nice to say, after the election that we ought to have done more grassroots organizing. I did. I was on the streets of the Castro eye ball to eyeball trying to get folks involved. I was part of a team that spent weeks calling our people to get us into the campaign. And I posted regularly to my facebook, pleading for folks to join us in the efforts. ONLY AFTER THE ELECTION was there any “grassroots” response to my pleas. I’m proud of the grassroots enthusiasm that defeat has sparked, but it is disingenuous to assume that all that enthusiasm was there from the beginning, if only we had tapped into the “netroots”.

    Finally, Geoff Kors and his team at Equality California wrote 42 laws gaining more and more equality for our people. Laws that passed the legislature and were signed by the Governor. Including a domestic partnership bill that got us everything that marriage gets us except the name. Then, by teaming up with NCLR and other organizations, he helped win even the name – just this spring in the state Supreme Court. ALL WHILE PREPARING FOR AND RUNNING THIS CAMPAIGN. If this is “fucking up” then maybe we need a whole lot more of it.

  • Mad Professah

    Hear, hear! I endorse JOHN IN SF’s statements.

    I also am not sure how the 300,000 signatures Courage Campaign will be cnoverted to actual legal signatures on petitions filed before the California Secretary of State. Plus, you need over 600,000 signatures (usually people submit a million, just to be safe) in order to make it to the ballot.

    Is Courage Campaign committing to being able to pull that off in less than 11 months (for the June 2010 ballot) or 16 months (for the Nov 2008) ballot?

  • The Gay Numbers

    Except of course everyone else who has reported on it says they did a poor job including the various groups out there to whom the No on 8 did not reach out to

  • John in SF

    @The Gay Numbers: Who, despite their best intentions, don’t know a lot about how to run a campaign. Mr. Jacobs is just one example of an individual who has a good idea or two, but has no track record of success.

  • The Gay Numbers

    @John in SF: If you are going to talk about how good you are versus the Courage Campaign at least actually win rather than lose. this is like talking to the democratic consultant class all over again. A bunch of defenders whoa re too stupid to realize what’s in front of them. We lost. That alone means there needs to be retooling and rethinking. The rest of just you circling the wagons trying to defend the indefensible.

  • John in SF

    @The Gay Numbers: I wasn’t part of what was right or wrong with the campaign. I wasn’t on any committee and I take no credit or blame for any decisions the campaign made. I have no idea how decisions were made or even who made them. I was just a volunteer so I wasn’t speaking about “how good I was”.

    However, I volunteered enough to know that one of the things that was very wrong with the campaign is that, for the most part, our own community was utterly disengaged until polls showed us increasingly behind in votes and money. There are over 400,000 LGBT peopel in the Bay Area alone, but weeks before the campaign was over, only 30,000 had donated money in the entire country. Even then, far fewer than a quarter of LGBT people gave any money or volunteered any time for the campaign. We failed our leadership at least as much as they failed us, so let’s just be honest about that.

    Yes we do need to retool and rethink. We all know that. But destroying the people and teams who have accomplished so much leading up to prop 8 is not retooling, it is just hurtful and sets us back much farther than he knows.

    I don’t think the harshest critics get the fact that the same team that lost the election is the team that won it for us in the first place. And also won 42 bills in the legislature. And was in the middle of a proven “netroots” strategy to move the hearts and minds of the electorate years before prop 8 was on the ballot. Literally. Can you please acknowledge that these are brilliant people who have worked tremendously hard for us and for the most part have been amazingly successful? Perfect, no. Dedicated and strategic, very much so.

    Did you spend 1/100th the energy to support them during their ten years of success as you are now spending to destroy them in a matter of weeks? The count is 42 victories and 1 loss. Name me one major league pitcher that got fired for a record like that, even if that 1 game was the last of the world series.

    It seems to me that we all agree that we need to expand the coalition of organizations and communities beyond the 3 dozen or so LGBT, labor, religious, civil rights and other leaders who were part of the campaign’s committee. But, who would join a coalition with someone who is so willing to tear them apart in public? Who would get into bed with someone who is going to scratch your eyes out in the morning? I certainly won’t. Coalitions aren’t built by name dropping, they are built over time and with much back and forth of building trust.

    If you’ve got a good idea – we need every one of them for success. Join in, but don’t tear down.

  • The Gay Numbers

    @John in SF: I am not interested in your wagon circling. What I care about is the assessment of people who do this for a living, and those no involved with the campaign leadership or with a vested interest in that leadership (ie, folks not like you) have all said the No on 8 campaign was run poorly. You can not defend the indensible despite what you post here. The only relevant information is whetehr the campaign was run properly.

  • Etienne St.Jean

    Homosexuality and Islam
    Homosexual activity is illicit under sharia, however the prescribed penalties differ from one school of jurisprudence to another. For example these countries may allow the death penalty for sodomy though not for other homosexual activities: Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Sharia does not recognize a human right of sexual self-determination. Human rights organizations focus on decriminalization, anti-discrimination laws, and incitement to hatred laws. Organizations are particularly concerned about the persecution of gays and lesbians in Iran and have helped some gay and lesbian Iranians gain asylum in Western countries.

  • Ruben Weisbaum

    One of the many inherent inconsistencies within liberalism in general and theological revisionism in particular is the self-ascribed vanity, embraced universally amongst the “anointed ones”, that liberals “speak truth to power,” stand up for the poor and impoverished, befriend the outcasts, and work tirelessly on their behalf.

    This self-image is zealously guarded and maintained…it seems a psychological necessity–in the face of cold hard facts that belie it–namely that the “poor” are generally quite conservative…especially when it comes to religion. Few things irk the liberal soul more than this glaring truth. They deal with it in a variety of ways. The emphasis on “awareness” and “sensitivity training” among liberals is, I think, one outgrowth of this concern. The problem, they persuade themselves, is not that liberalism/revisionism is bankrupt and unworkable (and therefore unpopular), it is just that people are “uneducated”…they have yet to be enlightened…they still are too ignorant to “get it” but once they do we can take our proper roles as the people’s vanguard.

    The thrust of this particular vanity tends to run headlong into just the sort of paternalism, racial and otherwise, that they claim to despise and oppose…bearing in many ways a quite distinct similarity with the infamous “white man’s burden”…

    But what happens when those who “stoop low” to help the “uneducated” find that the “ignorant” masses reject the lessons of their betters? What happens when, say, the minority vote makes up a large percentage of the voting electorate that defeated Proposition 8 in California?

    Rage. Blinding, ugly, disgusting rage.

    Posted: Dec 17, 2008 at 2:12 am · @Reply · [Flag?]

  • OnlyinCA

    If we learned anything from the Obama campaign it was this: great organizing strategy coupled with a S&*T load of money, and a coherent, simple, unwaivering central message can pretty much win you an election. And as to this “experience” argument David Plouffe had never run a national campaign. Now, Rick Jacobs may be no Axelrod, but at the very least,
    he has yet to prove himself a failure. When the major criticism is that we failed to organize effectively, having someone who works with labor is not a bad thing. Now lets look at what No on 8 had going for it:

    – an unprecedented amount of cash that got spent WHERE exactly? Because it sure as hell wasn’t on organizers. (Another Bush ‘o4 and Obama ‘o8 lesson – INFASTRUCTURE, INFASTRUCTURE, INFASTRUCTURE!!!)
    – an incredible amount of dedicated volunteers – in fact it picked up Obama’s california overflow volunteers, who did WHAT exactly? A poorly scripted, poorly targeted phonebank is never an excuse for knocking on doors.
    -Incredibly high profile support – from Google, to Brad Pitt, to Jerry Brown, hell even Obama (it was late but it was there)and who did we get in our “what the hell was that about?” tv spots – motherfucking DiFi, and some guy no one has ever heard of who evidently is the superintendant of schools?!

    I am so sick of all the “but look at all we’ve done for you!” shit from the failed No On 8 leadership. You’re right guys – you were great at your REAL jobs (the ones you got because you had some skills in those areas): all the legislation passed in recent years is a huge achievement, all the successful litigation is incredibly important – stick with it, but it was an act of extreme hubris to think that because you can draft a great brief or lobby under-paid state democratic lawmakers to vote your way, that you have the first FUCKING CLUE as to how to win at the ballot box. Instead it was all “hamsters on a wheel” until the VERY end, and by then it was way the hell too late.

    You don’t give a bonus to the guy who screwed up the “done-deal” merger, you don’t rehire the coach who has a great team and still manages to have a loosing season, and you sure as hell don’t allow the failed leadership of No On 8 to speak FOR US anymore.

  • Tom

    Guys, if you’re giving money either to EQCA or to the LA Gay and Lesbian Community Center PRIOR TO THE DEPARTURE OF GEOFF KORS AND LORRI JEAN, you are doing a great disservice to the gay community. This vote was ours to lose, and they did. Cut them off until they get rid of the snake-oil salesmen.

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