Phil Reese

Pressure HRC: Demand leadership from Obama

Filed By Phil Reese | February 16, 2010 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Action Alerts
Tags: Barack Obama, blogswarm, Don't Ask Don't Tell, Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal, fierce advocate, HRC, President, pressure Congress, White House

Note from Bil: Bilerico Project is participating in a blogswarm today with Joe Sudbay and John Aravosis from AMERICAblog, Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend, Michelangelo Signorile from Sirius OutQ & the Gist, Markos Moulitsas of DailyKos, Andy Towle from Towleroad, Joe Jervis from Joe.My.God, Taylor Marsh, and Dan Savage of Slog. We're asking our readers to contact HRC and urge them to publicly demand that Obama repeal DADT this year. Contact info at the end of Phil's post.

When I blog about federal bills, I'm usually talking about ENDA - I still think this is our number one priority on the Hill - but there's another big priority that we need to move on now. We need a full repeal of the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military. 4010407179_83b9a3a781.jpgMy views on our current aggressive and misguided wars aside, the ban on gays serving openly in our military is one of the most disgusting and obvious examples of institutionalized homophobia we have in America. Its a symbol of everything wrong in our society when it comes to acceptance of gays and lesbians. We must have a full repeal this year.

Any effort to repeal it is about to get swept under the rug, unless HRC, our largest organization, steps up and demands the White House to take some leadership.

Unlike many of my fellow bloggers, I don't go after HRC very often. I'll be the first to say HRC has made some dumb-ass moves in the past, but I find it quite lazy to make them out to be monsters, the way most of the gay bloggosphere tends to do.

I have a confession to make. I'm a member of HRC. Not only am I a member, I sat on the Michigan Steering Committee for nearly five years. I was Membership and Community Events chair. I signed up thousands of new HRC members during my time. I still have a box of stickers in my closet. Oh, me and HRC are like *this.* Sometimes.

ObamaHRC.jpgThey've made some major mistakes that I wouldn't begin to defend them for. I would only say that all of our other big national organizations have got portions of our community's blood boiling at times. And guess what? I give money to them too.

Our federal fight is going to require that we have some visibility up on the Hill, and that we've established some credible national organizations with leaders who can maintain some sustained contact with our lawmakers to help move them on those issues we hold dear. Those are: comprehensive immigration reform that does not leave us out, LGBT-inclusive health care reform, gender identity and sexual orientation employment/housing/public accommodation non-discrimination protections, relationship recognition and partnership benefits and obligations, as well as immediately ending discrimination in the military. Folks, we can't do it without GLAAD, the Task Force and HRC, I don't care what your tinfoil hat tells you.

Then again, we may not be able to do it with them either. Not if our national organizations - particularly HRC - communicates with the White House in a whimper instead of a roar.

Mouthpiece of the Movement

Straight lawmakers on the Hill see HRC as the mouthpiece of our movement, for better or for worse. If Bil Browning were to call up the White House and try to speak to the President, anyone who would be in a position to answer the phone would be asking "Who are you?" If HRC President Joe Solmonese calls up the White House, chances are there are plenty of people inside that will take his call. If Joe called up any Democratic lawmaker, nine times out of ten if he's not going to be able to get them to take the call a staffer will be relaying the message directly.

That's because HRC has clout; and that political capital is its massive membership base of progressive and moderate voters that the Democratic National Committee would absolutely love to get their hands on. HRC has a bad habit, however, of squirreling away that political capital for... well, we're not really sure yet. In January of 2009 we suddenly had total control in both houses, and a progressive Democratic executive branch with a Commander in Chief who had pledged to fight for our issues. What was HRC's reaction?

*crickets*

If our President does not take lead on repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" this year, he's going to leave behind a legacy of disappointment on LGBT rights. The only organization that can truly put the pressure on is HRC.

The Thing About Clout

The thing about clout is that its not a very standard currency. A clout savings account does not accrue interest. In fact, when you don't use your political clout you lose your political clout. If we watch the great progressive political heavyweights of our last century - Ted Kennedy, Teddy Roosevelt, even Bill Clinton - we see people who made more political capital by spending what they had. By making good on their promises and shoring up confidence in their competence and commitment, these good folks gained influence every time they took a stand.

Why shouldn't HRC send a strongly worded blast to its members about contacting the White House about a full and immediate DADT repeal? Every other major progressive organization does it. Yet the largest LGBT organization rarely ever blasts Democratic leadership. Time to spend that capital.

I realize I'm saying this from far outside of the Beltway, and that I'm no insider and I might "not know how it works." I do know how it should work, and how most Americans wish it would work, and I see no problem with demanding such. Maybe if all of us progressives demanded that our lawmakers make good, the way that conservatives do, we'd see more accomplished when we have the reins.

There have been media reports since the President mentioned "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in his State of the Union speech, that unnamed sources in the White House are saying repeal "could take years." Why? America is ready now, The military is ready now. Hell, even Colin Powell and Dick Cheney are ready now. Why can't it be done this year?

Meanwhile patriotic people like Arab linguist Lt. Dan Choi, who just want to serve their country, continue to be recommended for discharge. Because nobody wants to risk the next election or access to the next high-level meeting.

What If, Just One Time, HRC Stood Up?

I wish Rep. Alan Grayson was in charge of communications over at HRC. There's a guy unafraid to spend his political capital. Call him what you want. Call him a fame-hound. He's not making many friends with his theatrics. What he is truly doing is standing up for what he believes in, and doing whatever he can - even risking his reelection - to try to get the job done while he has the office.

Could you imagine what HRC's statement to the President on White House DADT foot-dragging would be like if Grayson wrote it?

Dear Member:

The President doesn't give a crap if we send our troops into battle completely ill-equipped, understaffed, and unprepared. At least, that's what it seems as his administration continues to discharge capable and willing soldiers under the wholly inhumane policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The White House has the opportunity to take action now and end the insane practice of firing American heroes for who they love. The Pentagon can put a moratorium on all discharges under the policy today. The President can include a complete repeal of the ban in the next Defense Department budget that he sends to Congress. Our Commander In Chief can put pressure on Congress every day to move a full repeal of the ban through immediately. The White House can become the fierce advocate its always promised (but failed) to be by putting this issue front and center in the public eye.

The White House can finally get off its keister and allow us to join every other major NATO force - especially those who we've been fighting along-side in Iraq and Afghanistan - and fully integrate the military with all of our capable and eager heroes. The White House can stop damaging unit cohesion by ending the senseless loss of life due to preventable attacks that could have been stopped if not for the discharge of the Arab linguist who just happened to be in love with someone of the same sex. The White House can stop breaking up these military families that bands of brothers form and trust that our men and women who serve in the military truly have the integrity to serve alongside other soldiers that have different views.

In short, the White House can stop dragging its feet, and the President can actually - for once - act like a leader on LGBT issues and push something he's been promising long before our organization was ever duped into endorsing him.

We call on the President to make the full and immediate repeal of the military gay ban one of his top priorities and daily preoccupations today.

Sincerely,

All of Us at the Human Rights Campaign Who Just Finally Got Some Guts

Do you agree?

Then call HRC's front desk and let them know you want them to pressure Obama take the lead to end DADT this year.

(202) 628-4160 or toll free at (800) 777-4723

HRC Web site comment page.
General membership email at hrc: membership@hrc.org

Let them know their community needs them to get tough on a full "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal this year. None of us should rest until its done.


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How utterly irresponsible of Bilerico... Having people swarm HRC is not going to accomplish ANYTHING.

If we want REAL change, we should be calling Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid, and our Representatives NOW. Call (202)224-3121 to speak with these officials.

Great Piece. The HRC needs to lobby Congress and the President. Lord knows that the people who seek to stop any gay agenda are NOT being polite and quiet.

More of this silly idea that phone calls and emails make a difference - they don't.

I'm curious, what "pressure" can HRC apply on politicians? What will they do tell the President they're upset or unhappy? As if the President doesn't already know this?

For politicians, LGBT-issues are not negotiable. They are based on the beliefs of their constituents. The 111th Congress never had enough pro-LGBT members to pass anything. Phone calls, emails, marches and now HRC wagging their well-funded finger at them will accomplish NOTHING.

The lesson from this "Blog Swarm" will be the realization that HRC has NO influence on LGBT-related legislation and neither do we.

There is no political solution to LGBT issues. The sooner we learn that, the sooner we focus on the real work of creating equality.

Obama knows the repeal of DADT is not possible with the Congress and all he promised was to "work with the Congress." Dick Cheney didn't say he supported the repeal of DADT, either. He said he was listening to the military and that the policy should be "reviewed." Welcome to many years of review, not repeal.

The votes are not there for the repeal of DADT or DOMA or ENDA. They never were there. You can lobby, shame and harass all you want - it doesn't work.

I know - though not half as silly as those who think comments on blogs creates change. I suppose one does what one can.

Thanks for taking this on for Bilerico, Phil.

It's vital that we continue to not only pressure Congress, jm, but also our own advocacy organizations. We count on them to advance our best interests and if we think they aren't being as helpful as possible, it's up to us to say so loudly and clearly.

HRC has a chance if they don't blow it. So do we. But it'll take all of us and phone calls to Congressmembers isn't going to cut it. We need an energized (and active) base.

Gee whiz, if just make ENOUGH phone calls, we will prevail. Victory is just ____ calls away.

Do you have any idea how childish that idea is Bil?

If all we needed to do was make more calls, or send more emails, or write more letters - why wouldn't we just hire Kelly Temps to do that for us?

MATH: HRC spends $50 million a year. That would give us 2,500 full-time working-activists. These workers would be able to send, call and write 8 hours a day. They could press "redial" and "send" all day long.

The result would be more than 25 million calls, and emails EVERY MONTH.

Would THAT be enough? Or should we take the funds we give to GLAAD and NGLTF, too? Is it 50 million calls/emails a month? How many do we need? (That information would be very helpful).

It is beyond silly to actually believe that somewhere, somebody is counting calls, emails or letters and THEN deciding what to do.

I hope people don't waste their time on this ridiculous idea. Instead, they would be better off figuring out what WILL work. Figuring out HOW and WHEN we can actually WIN.

Your comments would seem less trollish if you didn't post them, verbatim, on multiple blogs.

http://www.queerty.com/forget-targeting-lawmakers-now-everyone-is-complaining-about-hrcs-inaction-20100216/comment-page-1/#comment-270572

http://www.towleroad.com/2010/02/join-our-blog-swarm-call-hrc-today.html

http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2010/02/16/dadt-blog-swarm-contact-hrc-demand-that-the-largest-gay-rights-group-to-do-its-job

http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2010/02/blog-swarm-ask-hrc-to-demand-obama-work.html

In case you can't remember where you asked me for an example of how a single US Senator's mind has ever been changed on LGBT issues by lobbying, I'll post it here again. Susan Collins has a news story posted on her web site about how a gay retired admiral constituent lobbied her about DADT repeal and changed her mind:

http://www.susancollins.com/senator-collins-objects-don-t-ask-don-t-tell

That's why she refused to support us during Prop 1 in Maine? She never supported us there. What happened to the lobbying?

There is slightly more support on LGBT Discrimination issues, but when it comes to equality, Senator Collins is not in our corner.

You asked for an example of when lobbying on an LGBT issue changed the mind of a US Senator. I just gave you that example.

You did not ask for the name of a US Senator who is best on LGBT issues, so it is a bit odd that you are now expecting my example to live up to your unasked question. Susan Collins changed her mind on DADT after being lobbied by a constituent and thus disproves your assertion that "lobbying doesn't work."

Sorry, Bil. I think you actually suggested that calls wouldn't be enough. I agree we need to activate the
"base," but we also need to learn how to enroll the 90% that isn't interested and isn't contributing.

Re-direct my comment to those who repeatedly suggest we have to make calls and send emails.

Right - I'm saying that making phone calls and sending canned e-mails isn't enough. HRC is the biggest shop on the block. They're the ones the White House calls for "permission" and ideas on how to engage our community.

We need HRC to take a firm stand that might cost them a little political capital. It's time we put them to work for us - not as they see best, but as we demand. And as donors, supporters, and the very folks they want to send canned e-mails, we have the right to demand that they listen to us.

This isn't mean spirited. It's just applying pressure to an ally to bend their behavior. Surely we can agree that the goal isn't a bad thing?

When this blog-swarm fails, who should we blame? It can't be us, right? I mean we won't be suggesting we didn't make enough calls, right? Because if making calls or lobbying DID work, we'd know how many calls to make.

That's the folly of this whole idea of lobbying or applying pressure - it has no evidence of effectiveness. But, because we haven't figured out what DOES work, we offer lobbying to make people feel better.

When I ask for evidence of it's effectiveness all I ever hear is "well, at least we're doing something." No, you only think you're doing something.

Ask any member of Congress or Congressional staffer if lobbying works. Hell, ask any elected official at all. They'll all say it does. It's not like we made this shit up while sitting on the couch watching soaps.

Of course they say that - that's the business there in. Ask someone at McDonalds if the fries are good.

The latest on your hoped-for example of successful lobbying - Senator Collins:

Most telling is the number of lawmakers, Republicans especially, who have said they will use a review of the policy, due at the end of the year, to define their own stance. On the Senate Armed Forces Committee, for example, Sens. Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham and George LeMieux have all said they are open to repealing DADT if the military study concludes they should.

Source: http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/02/how-mullen-changed-the-future-of-gays-in-the-military.php?ref=mp

What happened to her "changed mind" of support for LGBT issues? I thought we had already successfully lobbied her?

Better make more calls and send more emails. Hurry.

I hesitate yet feel compelled to ask. While DADT is important and a big issue for gay and lesbian people, where the hell was the blog swarm for ENDA? Why is it that the GLB community wants to neglect an issue that is so vital for so many people? Is it because one of the most vocal online advocates for ENDA is transsexual? Is it because the elite within the community are really that uncaring about it? If they are so secure and all, why are they pushing DADT which doesn't promote the same kind of economic benefits as same sex marriage?

I am increasingly disgusted by the consistent pushing of vital civil rights issues into 2nd place while the big story (and donations) generating issues are pushed roughshod over the damaged lives of people who are routinely discriminated against with results that often impact their ability to survive, let alone live comfortably.

I hesitated writing this because I know it'll generate a shitstorm of criticism about how trans people are trying to hijack gay and lesbian concerns but I feel compelled to remind people: There are members of our community, our brothers and sisters, who are sinking into abject poverty, if they aren't there already, and the despair that goes with it. ENDA will help them. Why can't this community get their priorities straight?

Or - you might find support. Most LGB's don't experience discrimination in the military. They experience it in civilian life.

The military has 1.5 million active duty. The country has a population of 320 million or so?

That's hardly going after the most important problem first.

Good on ya.

When the equivalent of Admiral Mullen, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, retired chairman, etc. from the business world give you a momentum boost on ENDA like we've had on DADT in the last couple of weeks, then you've got something to ask about.

Good grief. They're not mutually exclusive, and we've been blogging about ENDA non-stop.

Further, the polling on ENDA isn't a good as the polling on DADT -- as the recent Washington Post/ABC polls reconfirm.

You take your shots when you get them. Now's the time to take a shot at DADT. This momentum wave won't last forever.

Get on board.

Just sent a comment to HRC. Participated in my first Blogswarm (yay me). Considering I am a hermit by nature, I'm impressed.
(I am slowly trying to change some of my hermit tendencies. Can't find a boyfriend/husband alone by yourself in your cave. Also it would be nice to have a few more friends to speak to.) {Occasionally, anyway.} ;)

@Emelye W - I also addressed ENDA (fully LGBTQI inclusive) in my comment to HRC. There are others who also believe it is quite important.

@AndrewW - We are all quite familiar with your opinions on some of the processes we use to try and achieve our equal rights. While you have every right to post your opinions of our processes, could you limit it to once per post? It is somewhat distracting to have to keep scrolling past your same responses every time you decide to reply to someone elses comment.
Oh, yeah, I am probably one of the 90% that you mention that doesn't normally get involved in these kind of things, but I did this time. So maybe this kind process does work? Granted it may be slower than we would like, but I haven't seen any other process that works any better yet.
(Please don't reply to this with your normal this isn't working reply. I already read it above. If you have an executable solution, please feel free to post that. That would be something new that we have not seen from you before.)

Angela Brightfeather | February 16, 2010 1:06 PM

Phil,

Good point!!!! I have been saying this for a few monthw now on Bilerico. We hve to get the people that work for us in DC, doing just that.

And Andrew, if you want to know how to energize the base........what about HRC, NGLTF, NTAC and others in DC getting their collective heads together and call for a work boycott, or a meat boycott or a boycott on Petsmart or WalMart or Home Depot or riding on public transportation, or anythng that gets the message across that the next step is taking it to the streets about ENDA.

Why not hounding HRC at their dinners like we used to do? Why not htreatening to hold back funds to any organization that isn't doing what they are supposed to do, which is to support us with something more substantial than a plan to do more in the future?

ENDA is about jobs. What is so untimely or unpolitical as to push for jobs right now? Why aren't any of these so called supportive lobby groups screeming at Congress about 34% unemployment stats for Trans people and the need to get ENDA of the table and out of committee? Four times the unemployment of the national average is a good place to start on insuring jobs.

But HRC is not going to do anything until their support is threatened and that means their incoming money. That is easy to do. We already did it and we know how to do it.

While ending DADT won't "promote the same kind of economic benefits as same sex marriage," neither would passing ENDA.

But ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell the Truth WOULD address the very same issue you and I want to by passing ENDA: saving people's jobs.

It's a very rare Trust Fund Baby, gay or nongay, that enters the military. Many gays, just like many nongays, enter the military because it is their best [or ONLY] path to reliable economic survival, or economic progress.

Anthony Woods, one of the few former gay servicmembers of color to come out publicly, was raised by a single mother. Sometimes she couldn't even afford medical insurance for her child, and her jobs didn't pay her enough to allow her to save for his college.

But Anthony got appointed to West Point which meant his education was paid for. And later the Army gave him a $35,000 scholarship to Harvard under their student program. He already had a job offer to teach at West Point afterward. But when he came out, not only was he discharged, not only did he lose that WP job, but he was forced to come up with a way to pay back that $35,000...all SIMPLY BECAUSE HE IS GAY.

Now Anthony isn't starving. He found a civilian job working for a nonprofit. And while it would be a great injustice, if Victor Fehrenbach's discharge is finalized before he finishes the roughly one-year of service left to reach his "20-years," and he loses the $43,000 A YEAR in retirement benefits he would otherwise get, I imagine he'll survive, too.

But plenty of other gays, particuarly because most are discharged within the first few years of being in the military before they've saved much or learned a marketable skill, ARE severely economically impacted by being "FIRED" just like civilian gay and trans people.

And when they go to apply for a civilian job, they either have to lie about ever being in the military or risk a prospective employer asking to see their discharge papers which will clearly state they were "fired" for being gay.

And if that employer is one who would not hire a gay person who'd never been in the military, they ain't gonna hire a gay vet either.

In short, DADT is NOT just an abstract issue of equality any more than ENDA is. Vulnerability to being fired or not "hired" in the first place simply for being gay is identical in both. [The numbers that ENDA would benefit are likely higher but that wasn't a part of your arguement.]

Finally, while technically DADT doesn't apply to trans servicemembers, we know that it is misused as a way to get rid of identified trans servicemembers. Getting rid of DADT won't eliminate the military's transphobia but it would give them one less weapon to use against Ts, as well as, I'm convinced, lead eventually to the opening up of dialogue to end military opposition to trans servicemembers generally as well as the public's greater openness to marriage equality AND attention to ENDA [even though, for a long time, more of the public has supported the goals of ENDA [minus T] than ending DADT].

As for the assertion that properly targeted calls and letters don't make any difference, that's simply factually untrue. The hundreds of thousands of calls Congress received from people in 1993 opposed to lifting the ban played a major role in its being transformed into law.

Powerful Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin has already stated his interest in putting repeal or a discharge moratorium in the defense authorization bill. If the Dems lose control of the Senate in Nov., he'll be replaced by John McShame and we can kiss DADT repeal goodbye for YEARS!

Act NOW in every way possible to pressure the President into backing Levin NOW!


All this STUNT will do is highlight the ineffectiveness of HRC and lobbying. That's probably helpful if it means donations to HRC (and lobbying) will be reduced.

It's cute when Bilerico creates a persona to make comments (GayHermit) that try to stifle conversation. At least be a bit more factual in your comments. ; )

For several months a few of us have asked to see EVIDENCE that lobbying works. Recently, even Jillian Weiss admitted it didn't. I applaud her honesty.

Until we let go of certain tactics that we are repeatedly told (by Bilerico and others) are effective, the sooner we'll stop banging our heads against the wall and start using them to THINK of ways to win.

Ever hear the expression:

"Lead, follow, or get out of the way"?

Just so you are aware, I am a living breathing gay man and not a creation of Bilerco.
(Inspired into becoming more socio-politically aware and active by Bilerco, yes, but definitely not created by one of the existing Bilerco team.)

I am not trying to stifle converstion. I would actually like to see one happen. You however seem to only be interested in repeating that we are all doing it wrong and never giving us any concrete steps that would (according to you) allow us to do things correctly.

Telling us that we need to think of new ways to win our equality is fine. I am sure that there are people out there that are doing so.

In the meantime, until those new solutions are presented and implemented, we have to work with tools we currently have available to us.

Please forgive us as we continue to work toward a solution now, rather than all just sitting around waiting for the new miracle solution that you say we need to find. (Some of us just don't have your level of patience apparently.)

{On a humorous note, I guess I have been sort of "created" by Bilerco. If it weren't for this blog and all those who participate here, I wouldn't be anywhere near at the socio-political level that I am today. Special thanks to all of you for helping me with that! :) }

The point is focus Bilerico-inspired-GayHermit. When we understand something DOES NOT work and yet we continue to do it and encourage others to do it - we simply defer putting our resources into thinking of ways to win.

The LGBT Community does not have a strategy to win. I would rather people who have a sincere interest in our struggle think ways to win, than make silly, useless efforts at lobbying.

Some ideas are beginning to surface and they are the result of people stepping back and admitting the truth about our dysfunctional movement. That doesn't diminish or dismiss the work of anyone during the last 50 years. It simply replaces fighting with winning. We're smart enough to figure this out. The first step is being honest about what works and what doesn't.

EVIDENCE of successful "lobbying on LGBT-related issues":

Bill Clinton and Barack Obama's hiring of dozens of out gay government employees at every significant level this side of the Cabinet: federal judges, US Ambassador, Consul General, Asst. Secretary of HUD, OPM Director, Chairman & President of the US Export-Import Bank, et al.

The Ryan White CARE Act [seen as a "gay issue" for politically it was]

PEPFAR: [ditto]

Clinton's Executive Order reversing Eishenhower's nearly half-century old ban on gay federal civilian employees.

Clinton's Executive Order adding a hate crimes enhancement to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Clinton's Executive Order banning denying federal security clearances solely because one is gay.

Clinton's adding gays to those categories of people who can be considered for political asylum.

Presidential proclamations by both Obama & Clinton of Gay Pride Month.

Obama's extension of some benefits to partners of State Department employees.

The defeat TWICE in Congress of a bill to amend the US Constitution to ban marriage equality.

Passage of the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Bill.

Advance of the ENDA bill.

The first time a President, Secretary of Defense, and Chair of the Joint Chiefs have expressed support for repeal of DADT.

Ya think any of these things came about, as far as we still have to go, because Baby Jebus appeared to those involved in a dream?

You dismiss the fact that the 1964 and 1965 Civil Rights Acts would never have passed in Congresses permeated with racist Senators and Congressment representing racist constituents as being irrelevant because the Acts didn't involve LGBT issues. But it DOES speak to your assertion that representatives will never go against their constituencies when effectively led to by the Executive Branch. Or are you suggesting that the level of homophobia today is equal to the level of racism then?

You're not leading; you're not even following. So why are you trying to get in the way offering only the weak excuse of undefined alternatives?

Anyone can post a list of LGBT Progress Michael. Please provide some evidence that lobbying has change a politicians mind/vote.

Even Senator Susan Collins recently confirmed that she hadn't changed her mind on DADT, but was "open to a review of the policy" and somewhat willing to defer to the "Military's recommendation." You can't count her. She hasn't asked for the repeal of DADT, plus she was noticeably silent during the Prop 1 battle in Maine. We should have lobbied more, I suppose.

Instead of cutting and pasting your list - give us an example of lobbying working and leading to a changed mind regarding LGBT issues. Given your enthusiasm for lobbying, you must have a ton of wonderful examples. I'm just asking for ONE. That should be easy.

Anthony in Nashville | February 16, 2010 3:07 PM

To Emelye:

I share your opinion that ENDA would probably impact more people than DADT, but "the community" seems to have decided that DADT and marriage equality are the issues they most care about.

It may be due to strategic or symbolic importance, I'm not sure.

HRCs lobbying attempts will be as fruitless as ever. Lobbying had a secondary and minor effect on the Democrats who've defended Clintons bigotry and ignored our calls for justice for the last 17 years.

Two things contributed to Obama's call to end DADT, and neither was remotely affected by Solmonese showing up in black tie or the flag waving jingoism of pro war, pro enlistment groups like SLDN.

First and foremost is the Pentagons need for fresh meat for the grinder. Second is the cover given Obama when 200,000 of us showed up in DC at the NEM last fall, in spite of the opposition and outright sabotage of the Democrats. Repealing Clintons ugly legacy of bigotry was one of the many items people demanded and criticism of Democrat Party inaction was a feature of the demonstration. Those, not lobbying, and not some sudden and baffling change of heart by White House and Congressional bigots and panderers explain Obama's comments in his State of the Union.

The blog swarm is a good tactic but perhaps not when addressed to the overpaid and self-appointed 'leaders' at HRC. They replied to the swarm with a comforting but hollow statement that "There is a clear path to repeal, and that's the one we're on." The Pentagon says repeal is "probably years away". The White House is probably as far out on the limb supporting LGBT rights as they'll ever get and in reality they're only supporting a move to provide more cannon fodder. Congress is the usual domain of bigots and those who pander to them.

Instead of asking the losers at HRC to beg for crumbs why not call for a blog swarm of the White House combined with more marches.

Our reasons for opposing DADT are not the same as those of the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama war crowd or those who shill for the war and enlistment. The White House and Pentagon worry about the escalation of on-duty suicides in Iraq and Afghanistan, the ongoing physical and PTSD causalities and combat deaths. At the same time they're petrified of bringing back the draft. They prefer to let the Clinton-Bush-Obama recession force working class people in the military. Obama is intent, as he promised on escalating in Afghanistan and Pakistan and holding Iran hostage for their oil. Stop loss is no solution so they need fresh meat for the grinder.

Nor do Obama and the Pentagon brass give a damn about the violence, bigoted loss of benefits and internal strife imposed on our brothers and sisters by Clintons ugly law. At his State of the Union message Obama said he wanted us as fresh meat for the grinder to protect Texaco's oil piracy, although like all politicians, Obama lied and called it 'service'.

The LGBT movements should be very clear that we oppose both Clinton's bigoted DADT and enlistment in support of Obama's occupations, escalations and his rabid menacing of Iran.