Guest Blogger

Rep Frank on Inclusive ENDA: "Get The Votes!"

Filed By Guest Blogger | September 12, 2010 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: Barney Frank, ENDA, GetEqual, robin mcgeehee

Editors' note: Pam Daniels is a writer and activist with 23 years experience in broadcast news and media including the staff of a former Governor.

pam-daniels.png"Get the votes" was the message from Representative Barney Frank to everyone in the LGBT Community. In an interview for Bilerico, Congressman Frank told me that the House leadership would put an inclusive ENDA up for a floor vote when they know they have enough votes to defeat a threatened motion to recommit. Mr. Frank confirmed that the votes are there to get the bill out of committee and to the floor before the November election but indicated they're still short of the votes required to stop an MTR though Mr. Frank declined to say how many votes are still needed.

My sources tell me that an inclusive ENDA remains shy by anywhere from 22 to 30 votes to defeat an MTR and those same sources say a subsequent margin of victory on a final floor vote will be larger than the minimum required 218 yea votes.

Congressman Frank urged LGBT activists along with supportive non-LGBT family and friends to focus on lobbying moderate republican and conserva-dems in person, by phone, and email.

"If the LGBT community gets the votes Inclusive ENDA will pass the house before the election," said Representative Frank. I followed up by asking Mr. Frank if demonstrations that target House members where having any impact and the congressman called them "useless."

Representative Frank asked me "who the most successful lobby group of all time on Capitol Hill was and still is?" Mr. Frank immediately answered his own question, "The NRA," referring to the Nation Rifle Association. He then added, "When was the last time the NRA demonstrated against members of Congress? They don't 'cause it doesn't work! The NRA lobbies individual members, that works!" Congressman Frank however was not critical of demonstrations that raise public awareness of issues, problems and solutions.

Robin McGehee, Director and Co-Founder of GetEqual.org doesn't agree with Representative Frank that GetEqual's demonstrations are useless.

McGeehee said in an interview with me for Bilerico that while she agrees "we always need to get the votes (needed to pass) any particular piece of legislation" but McGehee said "in my opinion it's just as much (Rep Frank's) responsibility to get those votes as a person who's promised this to our community. I would put the same challenge to Rep. Frank and House leadership."

GetEqual uses the website http://www.actonprinciples.org/enda-house/ to decide which House members to target for public demonstrations. Last week Ms. McGehee's group held protests against Representative Chris Carney (D PA) because "This is another person that (Mr. Frank and Speaker Pelosi) should be calling to task. He's got a D behind his name and he has not voted for hate crimes, did not vote for the Murphy Amendment, he did in 2007 vote for ENDA and he in my opinion is the epitome of what is wrong with the Democratic Party that claims (to be) the pride party or the pro-equality party. If (the Democrats) are gonna allow a legislator to take that type of stance then (the Democratic Party) is actually saying they're not gonna hold their own representatives accountable. I don't need to be giving blindly to the DNC to believe that (the House leadership) is gonna push Chris Carney to do the right thing."

As to Congressman Frank's premise that the LGBT Community should lobby individual members of the House the way the NRA does, Ms. McGehee said "I don't believe that that is GetEqual's job. We believe we have lobbied. I was one of those people that did the HRC and the Task Force about ENDA, Safe Schools and everything else under the sun. We have done the work that (House leadership) has asked us for. GetEqual's task is to highlight and illuminate the homophobia and transphobia that is being suffered by our community in a way that these legislators are forced to do the right thing. I'm tired of trying to gain the acceptance and the kind feelings of legislators who should be voting for the morally just thing." McGehee summed up: "We're tired of politely asking for our rights, we want to demand them."

Ms. McGehee also addressed the legislative logistics in this current very tight time frame of first getting Inclusive ENDA passed in the House with enough time to also win passage in the Senate before the end of this year. "If (House passage) is gonna happen in the lame duck (session) then it's just a symbolic vote because (then the) Senate's gonna say (they) can't schedule it (for a Senate vote) before the end of the year." McGehee concluded that "we're playing a big game of chicken if we're gonna wait 'til the lame duck (session)" for passage in both the House and Senate.

The U. S. House of Representatives is set to adjourn October 8th so members can go home to campaign.


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Barney Frank says: protesting is, try lobbying.

Robin McGehee says: lobbying is useless, try protesting.

They're both right, BOTH lobbying and protesting DON'T WORK. Neither can provide evidence that they do. Politicians respond to polling data, not protests or phone calls.

Frank's NRA example is lazy, most Americans agree with the right to bear arms and THAT is why they are successful, not because of calls and emails. Politicians vote based on the majority beliefs of their constituents. That is the ONLY place you can create real, sustainable change.

ENDA doesn't have a chance in the US Senate. Barney knows that. Robin doesn't. The only way to change that is by changing Senators. You do that by changing the minds of constituents. So, if you want to lobby, move to Oklahoma or Alabama. Talk to those people.

Barney Frank honestly defined GetEQUAL: "useless." Nobody responds to childish street theater. In the year that Robin and Kip have been famous (and well-paid) "activists" they have never had more than a dozen people show up for their silly events. That is the evidence that confirms what most of us already knew - it doesn't work, it doesn't help us and it is counterproductive. They are only continuing these childish pranks to raise money.

Even the LGBT media has dismissed GE by not even covering their last few actions. Now, it's our turn.

Petrelis gets it: http://mpetrelis.blogspot.com/2010/09/how-much-lack-of-getequal-follow-up.html#links

The key to Springfield has always been Elm Street. The Greeks knew it. The Carthaginians knew it. Now you know it.

Is it just me, or is the "not my problem" attitude we're seeing lately from Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi rather insulting?

Especially when directed here, where Jillian Weiss had been working tirelessly to lobby for ENDA?

And especially when Barney Frank was the source of a lot of the spectre raised about transwomen potty panic used by opponents in government circles, in the first place?

It's possible he's changed what he's saying now, but his words are still being used to sabotage any chance of trans inclusion: http://action.afa.net/Blogs/BlogPost.aspx?id=2147497842

You know... glass houses, and all that.

I don't think that the LGBT movement can afford to put the slightest slightest credulence in anything Barney Frank -- the creator of DADT and of non-inclusive ENDA -- says. He is simply trying to play a shell game to hide the fact that he and his political allies are solely responsible for the inaction on DADT and ENDA. They don't give two shits about our rights.

I find it rather tiring to listen to the finger pointing in regard to ENDA not being passed, the bait and switch tactics of moving DADT up and then shelving it too, all when if the Democrats were put into line when they had the full control of both the House and Senate could have passed not only The Hate Crimes, but ENDA, and removed DADT, and possibly even ended DOMA.

As I have said before and I will say it again. I feel we are being "played". I get my mailbox bombarded by the Democratic party asking for money yet they do not understand that the legislation I most wished to see passed has been by and large ignored by them. I have to ask to borrow a line, "what have they done for me lately?". Frankly as someone else pointed out here they should be talking about adding the terms Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by now. So why are we sitting here in the fall of 2010 without most of the promises made during the last major election kept? It is my feeling they do not wish to kill off what they believe is a lock on the LGBT community.

I hope to live long enough to be no longer considered a second class citizen. I am beginning to wonder if I will. To that end I plan to work on the matter locally. It is clear to me that Washington is too self absorbed to really care about what the people they are supposed to represent really think let alone do that which is right. They are just interested in playing the game of politics while our country sinks further and further backward in pretty much every way.

Game over for Pelosi, Frank and Miller. In 2011 they will return to being simply members of the minority party in the house. That's a roll they are more comfortable with anyway. The Senate will remain in Democrat control with a very slim majority and they will change the cloture rules. Republicans will scream but it won't really matter because the house will be the new blockade to anything GLBT.

I expect Barney to announce his retirement before the 2012 election.

Thank you Phil. My role as a journalist always has and always will be to get the comments and views of newsmakers for others to comment on. Thanks for your kind comment, Pam

The Democrats still don't understand what the GOP learned long ago: You don't stay in power long if you keep screwing your base.

Reagan knew what he was doing when he brought in the far right evangelicals. They helped keep him and his party in power for more than a decade. The Democrats have to become the party of the people again, and thus far everything they've done since Obama took office is sending a lot of LGBT's and allies the exact opposite message.

What we see on our rights from Democrats, the executive orders, the way DADT is limping along, their complete lack of leadership and courage on ENDA, paints a picture of a political party that wants to be seen as the champion of LGBT equality, but doesn't really want to actually expend any effort or political capital in order to earn and therefore actually deserve the title. If the Democrats want that picture to change then it is they, not us, who must take the steps necessary to change it.

Great observation Rebecca!

President Obama is an astute student of Presidents Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Reagan. this is why I voted for Obama.

Reagan understood the danger of the far religious right when he courted them but Reagan's time in our U. S. history required their support. I'm convinced that President Reagan would never have condoned the unconstitutional positions that many current republican leaders take when denying LGBT birthrights.

Obama is loath to use executive order to end DADT or any other discrimination against our LGBT community because Lincoln waited until victory was nearly certain by the north in our civil war. President Obama like Lincoln is loath to get to far ahead of the people. That said I think we can count on President Obama (at least I hope so) to do what he must (as Lincoln finally did with his "Emancipation Proclamation" very late in the Civil war) to secure all LGBT birthrights in employment, housing, open military service and marriage equality.

Like the "Abolitionists" of 150 and more years ago the LGBT community must keep all politician's feet to the fire!

Pam

Great observation Rebecca!

President Obama is an astute student of Presidents Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Reagan. this is why I voted for Obama.

Reagan understood the danger of the far religious right when he courted them but Reagan's time in our U. S. history required their support. I'm convinced that President Reagan would never have condoned the unconstitutional positions that many current republican leaders take when denying LGBT birthrights.

Obama is loath to use executive order to end DADT or any other discrimination against our LGBT community because Lincoln waited until victory was nearly certain by the north in our civil war. President Obama like Lincoln is loath to get to far ahead of the people. That said I think we can count on President Obama (at least I hope so) to do what he must (as Lincoln finally did with his "Emancipation Proclamation" very late in the Civil war) to secure all LGBT birthrights in employment, housing, open military service and marriage equality.

Like the "Abolitionists" of 150 and more years ago the LGBT community must keep all politician's feet to the fire!

Pam

Great observation Rebecca!

President Obama is an astute student of Presidents Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Reagan. this is why I voted for Obama.

Reagan understood the danger of the far religious right when he courted them but Reagan's time in our U. S. history required their support. I'm convinced that President Reagan would never have condoned the unconstitutional positions that many current republican leaders take when denying LGBT birthrights.

Obama is loath to use executive order to end DADT or any other discrimination against our LGBT community because Lincoln waited until victory was nearly certain by the north in our civil war. President Obama like Lincoln is loath to get to far ahead of the people. That said I think we can count on President Obama (at least I hope so) to do what he must (as Lincoln finally did with his "Emancipation Proclamation" very late in the Civil war) to secure all LGBT birthrights in employment, housing, open military service and marriage equality.

Like the "Abolitionists" of 150 and more years ago the LGBT community must keep all politician's feet to the fire!

Pam

We might have had a inclusive ENDA passed had it not been for Frank, Miller and Polisi. They have absoultly no wish to commit political capitol on an effort that at best will only reward them with a few thousand votes and very little money.

Franks political schedule.

Promise a vote.

Hold committee promising meetings.

Let it slip out there are 'problems' with a inclusive ENDA. (screw trans)

Blame LBGT people for failing. Declare it just can't be done 'this session'.

Frank you are our worst enemy. You echo the religious right biases, parroting their rhetoric year after year.

Frank, that is why people are so feed up with your BS. Get us equal or get the hell out of the way.

Maybe we should return Pelosi and Frank and any other waffling Democrat back to the private sector to remind them of what it is like to be discriminated against. I am sure Frank will be able to get a job in the private sector being an outed gay who doesn't follow thru on promises, and Pelosi will be more than welcome back in the bay area, in California. Where most of the residents will promptly tell her to take a hike and maybe teach her a thing or two about being homeless, and unable to work because of being trans. or gay. Just a thought.