Many readers expressed disbelief at my claim that the Clintons ran anti-gay ads on Christian radio stations in 1996. Did I have proof? Actually, John Aravosis recently provided a very extensive round-up of what happened back then. It's all true. Here's an excerpt from a Log Cabin briefing at the time:
In an article in today's Washington Times, entitled "For Christian Radio, Clinton Changes Tune on Gays, Abortion," it was reported that the Clinton-Gore campaign "shrugged off" angry calls to shelve the radio ad. The article cited reports from gay and lesbian groups that the campaign might delete the portion of the ad which boasts of Clinton signing the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), but "Clinton campaign spokesman Joe Lockhart said there are no plans to alter the radio ads, which will run for 'a few more days.'"
After boasting about Clinton signing the anti-gay DOMA, the ad concludes with the line: "President Clinton has fought for our values and America is better for it."
John also notes that Bill Clinton advised John Kerry to triangulate against gays in 2004. Kerry refused. But the Clintons have used gays in two ways since their careers began:
to get money (an untapped resource that the Clintons shrewdly figured out early on), and to pivot to win red-state votes. Remember that the Clintons used this tactic in 1996 - not a close election, or one in which they even needed to gay-bait to win. But they did. It helped a little. And they knew the gays were pathetic enough to keep supporting them.
Why do I remember all this so vividly? Because I had a front-row seat at the time, having endorsed the Clintons and trusted them for five minutes. I learned my lesson. My most vivid memory was testifying against the Defense Of Marriage Act in 1996. It was the day of the hearings. We were going to lose; we always knew it. But the Clintons told the press on the morning of the hearings that they didn't believe there were any constitutional problems with DOMA, cutting us off at the knees. Yes, that was politics. I understand. All I want to remind the next generation of gays about is: don't ever expect anything more than "just politics" from the Clintons.