David Mariner

A Plague of Biblical Proportions

Filed By David Mariner | December 10, 2007 10:58 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Living, Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, Democrats, funding, Hillary Rodham Clinton, HIV/AIDS, John Edwards, Republicans

globalaids.gifPresidential Candidates, Democrat and Republican alike laid out their plans to fight HIV/AIDS at the Global AIDS Summit, sponsored by the evangelical Saddle Back Church. Hillary Clinton was the only candidate to appear in-person. Barack Obama, who gave his most significant speech on HIV/AIDS to date at the Saddle Back Church Summit last year, submitted a video tape message that was aired during the summit along with John Edwards, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, and Mitt Romney. And while some right-wing fundamentalists expressed concern at seeing Hillary Clinton at an Evangelical Summit, she apparently won over more than a few hearts, at least one outlet reports she received a standing ovation.

Of course for anyone paying attention to HIV/AIDS issues in the 2008 Presidential Campaign, it should come as no suprise that Hillary and the other Democratic Presidential Candidates had more to offer on HIV/AIDS issues than their Republican counterparts.

Where the Democrats Stand: The top Democratic candidates have all thought through their HIV/AIDS policy. John Edwards was first to release his plan to address HIV/AIDS, and was followed by Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton has announced plans to release a detailed HIV/AIDS plan. All three candidates have also pledged to support the 08 Stop AIDS call for $50 billion over five years to fight global AIDS. (Again, John Edwards was the first of the top three to do so.)

Where the Republicans Stand: While most of the Republican contenders released press-releases on World AIDS Day, none of them has put out a detailed plan to fight HIV/AIDS. Similarly, none of the Republican contenders have joined the call for $50 billion over five years to fight global AIDS.

Given these differences, it's pretty easy to see why both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have appeared in-person with Pastor Rick Warren at the Saddle Back Church, while the Republican candidates have not.


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The differences are striking, are they not? Republicans focus on immigration while Democrats focus on making life better for everyone. Imagine that.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | December 11, 2007 9:08 AM

With Mike Huckabee's remarks about quarantining people with HIV/AIDS, Mitt Romney's support for (failed) abstinence programs and Rudy Guiliani backtracking as fast as his high heels will allow, it should be clear to every LGBT voter that the GOP is not for us.

The Democrats are remarkably better in their rhetoric, but after the experiences that we had with both ENDA and the hate crimes bill I want to see real action and not just pretty words.

Please...the Congressional Democratic leadership focuses on making life better for Congressional Democrats and ensuring their own power and privilege, just like the Republicans do. If we've seen anything clearly proven over these last few months, it's that. Sure there are exceptions, and more than a few, but that's what they are, exceptions, not the rule, and they certainly aren't among the Party's leadership.

For me it all sums up neatly with the memory I have of a meeting in Washington DC, which David will remember as well, in which, after being told the Democratic Party refused to even acknowledge the existence of transpeople publicly but wanted us to campaign for them and their candidate anyway, a Democratic Party operative smugly remarked to me "So who else are you going to vote for? Republicans?".

That's the attitude still being held toward not only transfolks but LGBT people in general on the part of the Democratic leadership. They're confident we'll vote for their candidates anyway, so they feel no compelling need to actually support us enthusiastically and honestly or fight for our rights if it costs them one iota of political capital.

This is what happens when Democrats are too sure of their own continuing power and success...they start acting like Republicans.

I agree that the Democrats have disappointed the LGBT community greatly on Hate Crimes, ENDA, Immigration Equality, and Discrimination in the Military.

I don't think it makes sense to give money to the Democratic National Committee (DNC), or for that matter the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee or the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, until the leadership of the Democratic Party places a higher priority on our issues.

-- BUT --

I neither do I think that it makes sense to pull out of the game all-together. It's in our best interest to stay at the table and support the individual Democratic candidates who are a force for positive change withing the party. Let's focus on supporting the individual candidates and elected officials who will really stand for us.

At this point, if Tammy Baldwin had a bigger war chest to support candidates with, and the DNC had a smaller war chest, it could only help us.

Let's support Tammy, and candidates like Jim Neal and Jared Polis.

What I remember about the meeting you mentioned Becky, is that it resulted in having a transgender person on the LGBT Steering Committee, and it was an important step in working toward a *record number* of transgender delegates at the Democratic National Convention.

Of course this is a small step forward, and we didn't get transgender inclusion in the party platform at the Democratic National Convention, but it was an important step forward. We've definitely raised the expectations for the next Convention in Colorado.

On this we agree, David. Personally, I plan to actively support my own Congressman, Rush Holt, who courageously bucked the Pelosi/Frank line and refused to vote for an crippled, exclusive ENDA. He's been on the right side of our issues every time he's been called upon to do so, so he's more than earned my respect, my endorsement, and my support. In this upcoming election, he will get all three because he's earned them by walking the walk, not just talking the talk.

That said, I do not for a moment believe the Party as a whole has any of our best interests at heart. They will support us and our rights only when and if it is politically advantageous to the Party's goal gaining and maintaining even more power and influence to do so, just like the Human Rights Campaign. Personally, I think we deserve better, much better, and I'll not be offering support by any means to the Party itself unless and until I see it.

Interesting that they're all putting out plans before the election on various issues now....

hopefully people will actually read them!