Today's Message From HRC
"While we fight against anti-LGBT initiatives in multiple states, we must also act NOW to push our federal agenda to its tipping point or we could miss this window. Click below and help us raise $200,000 to capitalize on this moment," - mass email from Joe Solmonese this morning.
"This window"? That's a bit of a shift from "give them till 2017". So maybe the outrage has gotten to them. Or maybe they're just out to coopt the march for their own fundraising again. But one more small, but revealing, thing. The latest Solmonese quote that got the gay blogosphere up in arms in the last few days deserves some unpacking. Here it is:
[P]erhaps the crowd at the dinner last night was a little bit more politically aware and had a better sense of maybe, you know, what's at stake and what needs to be done.
The phrase "what's at stake" is what interests me here. At stake for whom?
It seems clear to me that Joe has been told by his paymasters that the Democrats don't want to bollix the whole thing up again the way they think Clinton did in 1993. (Yes, they're still living 16 years ago in their traumatized psyches). What's "at stake," in other words, is a generational opportunity for the Democrats to get health insurance reform, climate change legislation, a reorientation of America's place in the world, etc etc. You can almost hear his bosses telling him: "We're with you, but there's too much at stake here to risk it on the gays right now. Hang in."
Now I'm not exactly shocked by a political party's leadership telling one of its constituencies that it should wait its turn and that issues other than civil rights are important - to gays as well. It's an argument that many gays would agree with. What I do have a problem with is the leader of HRC telling gays to back the Democrats on the Democrats' terms, rather than ours'. I think that's far too cozy a relationship between an advocacy group and a political party.
It means, essentially, that Solmonese and HRC represent the DNC's monopolistic control of the gay rights movement. This makes it not a civil rights movement but a partisan faction, waiting for its turn. A huge amount of the fault lies with the GOP whose deep homophobia has made the ability of gays to leverage anything against the Democrats almost impossible.
But it seems to me that the head of HRC should be representing the gays to the DNC, not the DNC to the gays. And unusual for someone so trained in Clintonian soundbites to suddenly blurt out the truth.