You all may already know how I feel about candidate endorsements, especially those from media outlets, especially those from community media outlets: we need them about as much as a slug needs a pretzel. Stop telling us how to vote and start educating people on the substantive issues.
GayWired, the website vying for PlanetOut's old spot as the go-to gay news site, endorsed Clinton and Paul for president (and gave Huck an anti-endorsement).
I think that these endorsements just might prove the pitfalls of making endorsements in the first place.
Let's start with the easier one, Ron Paul.
I can feel for a news organization that takes on the bizarre obligation of choosing the best Republican on LGBT issues, because it's like asking which bullet in a gun will kill you deadest (thank you Allen Lopp). But Paul? Seriously?
They're all bad on that list of issues HRC tells us are the LGBT issues - DADT, ENDA, hate crimes leg, partner recognition, DOMA, HIV funding, sex education - but I think Paul earns a special distinction here. Did you know that he's the only candidate to have introduced a bill in the House to overturn Lawrence?
That said, he was an outspoken critic of the Supreme Court’s decision on Lawrence v. Texas which deemed sodomy laws unconstitutional under the fourteenth amendment. Though he called the law ridiculous, his support of states rights, he argued, gives the State of Texas the right to regulate sex using local standards.
A consistency that, while bizarre, is almost refreshing.
And you can take that refreshment all the way to prison after the cops bust you for having sex!
It doesn't matter what his logic is, the system we have now is the system we have now and overturning Lawrence means gays get arrested for having sex. And no one else in their field is specifically advocating that.
Then there's the matter of the "Ron Paul Freedom Report" that Paul has all but admitted to writing (and then denied that he wrote). He missed the closet, was angry about the funding and attention AIDS got, and bemoaned the "homosexual lobby" and those gentlemen with "limp wrists."
Besides finding Paul's anti-gay policy proposals refreshing and enjoying his stance on the Iraq War, GW seems to be saying something about Paul's position on DADT that I just don't get:
Paul[...] has said “don’t ask, don’t tell” fails because it doesn’t take into account heterosexual behavior that is disruptive to service and has said he has no interest in interfering with two individuals in a social, sexual or religious sense.
Paul has also said on two occasions that he supports DADT. I think we should trust him on that.
The endorsement ends:
On LGBT issues, Paul won’t go out on a limb for our community, but as a Libertarian whose legacy will show he fought to stay out of American’s personal lives, he won’t be digging around for ways to limit our civil liberties.
Except overturning Lawrence. But what does the right to privacy in one's own bedroom have to do with civil liberties?
On the other side, they chose Clinton. I don't think that anyone's queer cred is in question no matter whom they vote for (yes, that includes Paul), but this endorsement, oh my.
I suppose we start out on the wrong foot with:
we are confident that the democratic nominee will represent the voice of the LGBT community.
Oh, honey, no. I don't know what gave anyone that confidence, but neither Obama nor Clinton are going to do jack taco for us unless we push them. And I mean push them.
As LGBT people fighting for the right to marry—the right to a legal recognition of partnership—no one knows better what Hillary Clinton has faced in her fight to be treated as her husband’s equal.
What? So, because Hillary was trying to be Bill's equal, she'll fight for marriage, even though the president doesn't create marriage and she's expressly said that she won't support it?
(Besides, she wasn't her husband's equal in terms of political power. Sorry, GW, she wasn't an elected or appointed official, she was a private citizen who had access to the president, money, and media attention. That's it.)
They continue to gush over her experience as First Lady:
Just another first lady? Try as the right might to liken Hillary Clinton to Laura Bush, she took on the domestic issue of health care and the rights of women and children internationally from the second her husband hit the campaign trail. Her efforts to move children out of the foster care system and into adoption were praised on both sides of the aisle.
Since when does the right compare Hillary to Laura? They love Laura and they hate Hillary.
And while Hillary Clinton’s fight for universal health care did not succeed—many argue it failed simply because the plan was so too complex to be summarized by a simple sound-byte—it put the issue on the map and, as expected, it’s at the forefront of her bid for the White House in 2008.
Others argued more convincingly that it failed because of a lack of national will for universal health care, the individual mandate instead of an employer mandate, and the fact that it was created without input from major Congressional and private players. Pish-posh, she's the Democratic Noam Chomsky.
And after all this talk about "experience" because she was First Lady with no mention of Obama's experience as state senator, where he sponsored a sexual orientation and gender identity inclusive anti-discrimination bill that eventually became state law. Say all you want about his lack of national government experience, being a state senator is real and being one from Illinois is definitely experience.
The endorsement gets the most strange here:
Unquestionably, Barack Obama has experience on domestic issues while John Edwards spent his campaign arguing his experience internationally as a co-chair of a Council on Foreign Relations task force. Hillary Clinton simply has more experience in both.
I'm able to question: Edwards ran on an international policy campaign? I think I remember some kind of narrative being drawn around Two Americas....
And what's up with Obama positing himself as Mr. Domestic? Half his campaign has been talking about how he was against the war from the start (the other half has been reminding us ad nauseum about his 2004 convention speech).
Not that their positions on the war matter, this is an LGBT publication. Except when they're saying that Ron Paul is the best Republican, than it's the number one issue.
You're killing me, GW!
Oh, no, you're not done!
But whereas Clinton’s support of LGBT issues is consistent—in her autobiography Living History, she calls “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” a terrible “compromise” of her husband’s presidency—we get the sense much of Obama’s support is merely PR.
He sponsored actual LGBT legislation that got passed and became law. She tried to repaint her husband's history on gay rights in her autobiography.
Oh, my. Oh, my, indeed.
For full disclosure, I'm not endorsing any candidate and I don't have to decide who to vote for till May, when probably only one candidate will be on the ballot. Go Hoosier State.
The only way that we're going to actually hold these candidates' feet to the fire (as the expression goes) is if we stop becoming personally invested in their chances at winning and start to create our own visions for what this country can be and criticize them when they fail to measure up (and praise them if they do).
The last thing that we as Americans, especially LGBT Americans, should be doing is making the competition and the meta and the horse-race of it all about us. It's not - it's first, last, and always about the candidates, those close to them, and their parties. We can make the substance about us, and that means voting for whom we think is the best, perhaps volunteering for him or her, and pushing them all to be better as much as we can.
And not endorsing Republicans. My gawd that Paul endorsement was a doozy.