Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Rep. Frank, Stop Blaming The Community

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | February 07, 2010 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barney Frank, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, Signorile

OnThumbnail image for hulk.jpg Thursday, Representative Barney Frank gave an interview to Michelangelo Signorile on SiriusXM. Frank was alternately defensive and apoplectic. He spent the entire time blaming the LGBT community for lack of movement in Congress. He was full of rage and contemptuous of the community. It was a shameful performance.

The incredibly unflappable Signorile asked about the failure of Congress to move on ENDA and DADT, and the President's failure to lead. Frank's angry response was that the LGBT community has failed to lobby Congress. He characterized our community as "lazy" and "whining". He said "that is why we will lose" on ENDA and DADT. It was obvious he was more interested in defending himself and his cronies than in providing any leadership.

Have we failed to lobby Congress? Frank gave not a scintilla of evidence to support his accusations. In fact, one need only take a look at the blogs to see many, many stories about the efforts people are taking to call and write their Congressmembers. Advocacy organizations like the National Task Force, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the National Center for Transgender Equality were busy organizing phone banks and working with local communities in target districts last Fall. There is lots of evidence that our community has spent a great deal of time and effort and money in lobbying Congress. There is also evidence that Congress has been busy ignoring us.

Are you trying to lead us, Representative Frank, or to intimidate us? I know you're one of the most powerful U.S. Representatives and all, but with all due respect, cut the malarkey.

I believe that Representative Frank is living in the past, when we did not do much effective community lobbying on ENDA. In 2007 and 2009, however, we saw very effective community lobbying for ENDA. He would have been right to direct his criticism against the community in the years 1994-2003. But he is not right now.

It is not an easy task to measure lobbying effectiveness. We have no way to measure directly the number of calls or letters to Congressmembers. Congressman Frank knows this, and he is counting on this to give him political cover. But there are indirect ways to measure the effects of lobbying by the community, and these show that Congressman Frank's contention that we have not lobbied Congress to be against the available evidence.

I took a look at the past ENDA bills since 1994, and how many original co-sponsors there were at the time the bill was introduced. As in all political events, this number is the result of many different factors, including the social climate of the country, the party platforms, other issues that may dominate the agenda, effectiveness of political insiders. It most certainly did not, however, result from community lobbying for the bill, since the bill did not exist until the time of its introduction.

I then took a look at how many co-sponsors signed on after the original co-sponsors. Again, that is probably the result of many factors, but that result includes a new factor: the community lobbying for the bill. Any increase in the number of co-sponsors after the introduction of the bill has a direct relationship to the amount of community lobbying.

What can the numbers show us? If we see that there were few co-sponsors added after the introduction of the bill, then I think it is fair to say that our community lobbying was not terribly effective, though of course other factors are involved as well. If, however, we see that there were many co-sponsors added after the introduction of the bill, then I think it fair to say that our community lobbying was effective.

Here are the numbers.

In 2007 and 2009, the co-sponsorship numbers changed dramatically in the House. We added 117 additional co-sponsors in 2007 and 80 in 2009. This is far, far, far above the few that were added in past years. The Senate numbers tell a different story. We never got to the Senate in 2007. Because the House has taken so long to get its act together, we also have not had much of an opportunity to focus on the Senate.

What was different in 2007 and 2009? There was a explosion of community lobbying. We still lost. Yes, the community must continue to lobby, and increase its efforts. On that we can agree, Representative Frank. But, honestly, when you so harshly criticize our efforts, giving us no credit for anything we've done, and calling our Equality March pitiful, you suppress community interest. When you delay, delay, delay, you suppress community interest. You, George Miller, Nancy Pelosi, President Obama - you're all acting like the anti-lobby. Whose side are you on?

I also note that, in addition to the 197 co-sponsors we have now, there are another 26 likely yes votes, bringing us to a total of 223. Of course, we cannot rely on this count, and we must do our best to lobby the remaining 29 unconfirmed votes. But don't tell me we haven't worked hard on this.

I know you're the only game in town, Representative Frank, so when ENDA does move forward, I will be right there alongside you lobbying hard. I've already made many painful personal sacrifices to lobby for this bill, as have many of my friends and many in our community. I acknowledge you for the years, and the time, effort and heart you have put into moving ENDA and many other important community issues forward. You have made remarkable progress. Why spoil the love the community has for you?

Please, stop blaming us and start leading the community.

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Couldn't have said it any better. The jury is still out on my part abour Rep. Barney Frank. Seems he always has something negative to say. We all know the fight for equality is an uphill one..but one that many are none the less trying our best with. We can only keep fighting for change and enlist as much help..both straight and gay,as we can.


Exactly right, Stone, we need to enlist more help, not drive people away. If he wants to turn people off, he's doing a darn good job of it. He seems to think you get more flies with vinegar than with honey.

Just goes to show you that just because a politician is gay or a Democrat doesn't mean they're on our side. We must be critical of every politician, regardless of party. We praise when they do good, but we criticize when they do bad. For far too long, the lgbt community has been trained to bite our tongues when the Democrats shit on us. And we've been doing it so long that we've come to expect to be shit upon by the Democrats as the status quo. Barney Frank has been an enemy of the lgbt community for many years. Yet he grabbed his ankles the moment Wall Street wanted trillions of dollars of OUR cash. He sees no problem handing over our money to Wall Street, but not fighting for our rights. Barney Frank is a great example of what the bigots call "special rights." He has privileges as a member of Congress the millions of lgbt people do not enjoy. Enough is enough. Queers have no political party of our own. It's time to make one.

I like your creative thinking, Lonnie, but I'm pretty certain that creating a queer political party would result in us being excluded from the political process. Statistics suggest that about 7% of the population are openly LGBT. Unless we were to have a parliamentary democracy (which might not be a bad idea), a queer political party would be the runt of the litter.

The most important reason we should encourage independent political action by our community is as an example for larger, more powerful groups who are also buried up to their necks in the quagmire and quicksand of the Democrat Party.

Many of the more militant unions already sponsor a Labor Party but the AFL-CIO misleadership keeps it muzzled. But as the Obama administration confirms its status as a lapdog of Wall Street and busts unions and as Democrats vote down pro-labor legislation that will change. There is increasing sentiment for independent political action in minority communities.

The second reason we might want to form our own Party in some areas is to injure the Democrat Party by winning offices given the fact that the Democrat Party is our proven enemy.

As American society continues to splinter and polarize under the impact of economic and environmental collapse, endless wars and attempts to create a racist, misogynist antiLGBT theocracy the two main political parties will also polarize and splinter with both Democrats and Republicans careening right, as we've seen.

Now is the time to begin to build a mass alternative to them with a leftist program of fundamental change. Abstaining from the effort to destroy the power of the Democrats and Republicans will insure our defeat.

Dear Dr. Weiss,
You are quoted above as saying; "I know you're the only game in town, Representative Frank..." Actually, there are politicos that have just as much influence who could be persuaded to stand up for ENDA and lead the way.

The Distinguished Gentleman from Massachusetts is a potent force to be certain Dr. Weiss, but as the old saw goes, 'he's NOT the means all to end all' option available should the others be convinced to become more proactive.


Brody Levesque

Thank you, Mr. Levesque, for your insightful comment about Rep. Frank. Yes, you're right that other politicians could lead this fight, but where are they, I ask you? Firmly in Rep. Frank's shadow, it seems. You remember the old joke - what does an 800 pound gorilla get? A: Whatever it wants.

I wish Signorile had asked Frank if he thinks ENDA will pass.

Is it just me, or did it sound like Signorile was enjoying Frank's anger and maybe even egging him on?

I don't think Signorile was egging on Rep. Frank, Dan, by asking a simple question about where President Obama and Speaker Pelosi have been in this whole debacle. Rep. Frank needs no egging on. I remember when I thanked him at a fund-raiser for including gender identity on ENDA, back in 2006, and he almost took my head off with a crazy rant that lasted for minutes. If he were effective for our issues, I would forgive him his eccentricities. Since he appears to be hell-bent on alienating supporters of ENDA, I think it important to increasingly call him out. I applaud Michelangelo Signorile for being willing and able to do it.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, Dan, that Frank did seem to assume that we were going to lose with his "that's why we'll lose" comment. He also suggested that the House is not a problem, but the Senate is. A totally defeatist attitude.

Why are you worrying over him? It's not like he has any sway where LGBT bills being put forth is concerned.

If you wish to assert that we're a legitimate lobbying force, why the hell would we need a wimpy ENDA instead of amending the civil rights code to cover SO and GI, so that it includes HOUSING AND SERVICES?

Here's the political reality: What little letters a fraction of 4% of the population will be able to afford are hardly consequential to how these Dems will move.

Do you earnestly think a threat to not vote for them will work? a minuscule percentage that is sufficiently indoctrinated to blindly support any Democrat?

Please. We will be put on the backburner constantly, because "they have a lot on their plate", and most ass-licking gays will parrot that excuse and then years later give indignant reflections on how disappointed they have been made; how they expected better.

Thanks for your comment Lucrece. It seems a bit contradictory, though. On the one hand you assert that we should go for a revision of the Civil Rights Act, rather than a wimpy ENDA. On the other hand, you note that we have no power over the Democrats, and that they are unlikely to vote for us.

Are you suggesting that we would garner more support if we acted more boldly and asked for the whole cake rather than just a slice?

She may not be, but I am.

I don't think we'd gather more support : but I also don't think we'd gather any less. I can't think of any argument in favour of ENDA but not civil rights protection that would fly. All those opposed to the latter are just as opposed to the former.

Didn't explain myself clearly enough. I'm saying that if we had any sway to begin with, we'd demand to be protected the same way other suspect categories are protected. It just takes a look at the past news concerning bars throwing people out and denying services, along with obvious stories of transgender individuals not being able to achieve housing to realize employment is but a fraction of the problem.

ZoeB, as usual, is more concise in making some of my points that I am, though!

I would chalk this up to nothing more than an unfortunate mistranslation of subcultural dialects.

You see, in Frank's world,

"lobby" = "offer cash"

Perhaps the message is getting through but because of his lofty perspective he can't quite make out what it says...

Frank is the go to guy in the House over LGBT issues for the Dems, he holds a strange opeer over rights legislaion in this regard. A shame, because he is increasingly a bitter old queen, a Mattachine who history has now passed by but whose hand will not come off of the throat of our movement.

Or am I being lazy and whining, like Jillian apparently is?

What are the chances that we can put energy behing getting Tammy Baldwin that kind of stature to make her the "go to girl?"

Rep Frank is not only not up to the job, but a hinderance, busy dancing when Rahm pulls his strings

The problem, Maura, is that Rep. Frank has been in the House so long that he has gained a lot of power by virtue of his much larger network there, as well as his intellect and ability to be the hatchet man. While Tammy Baldwin would say things much more to our liking, she also has nowhere near the influence that Barney Frank has. Remember, there are 435 people in the House. Most House members are lost in obscurity and no one knows their names. Few people know Baldwin, except us and people in Wisconsin.

We need Frank. Even if we don't like him, even if he's an irascible old coot, even if he drives away supporters. The old rhino that runs the herd is the alpha male because he is irritable and filled with scars and knows how to fight, and that's why it runs the herd. An old rhino will beat a young rhino every time. Tammy Baldwin hasn't been there long enough to have the kind of heft that Barney has.

Even if he's a son of a bitch, he's our son of a bitch, and we need to make the best of him. Not by kowtowing, but by giving him the horn once in a while to get him facing him in the right direction.

Do we need him, Jillian? Or has congress made him de facto Chairman of the All Things Queer Committee on the basis of seniority?

Other than grief and blame, what exactly doe representative frank give to Lesbians or trans-people?

bigolpoofter | February 8, 2010 7:25 AM

Why do we still have LGBT organizations still offering Frank "top billing" for events after rants like this??!! He lost any credibility with me through his ardent opposition to any restrictions upon Freddie Mac, and his screeds against Queer advocates are making him less and less relevant.

The reason Frank gets top billing at LGBT organizations, bigolpoofter, is that he is very powerful. When you and I can call and get the chairman of Goldman Sachs on the phone, then our dislike will begin to matter. The fact that you and I don't like him is meaningless. That fact that he can wrestle other members of the House into a yes vote on ENDA is the only thing that counts.

I wish that we had a Barney Frank in the Senate. Merkley is turning out to be useless. If we still had Kennedy in the Senate, I daresay it would be a different story.

Sen. Kennedy was in the Senate for a very long time and never succeeded in getting ENDA passed, so it's not like he had a magic bullet.

Frank is asking the hard questions about our organizations. Why haven't they been able to build support for a trans-inclusive ENDA? Why can't they accomplish what should be the easiest piece of legislation to pass? Frank isn't in the Senate. Neither are Pelosi or Miller. They can't influence things there.

His point of frustration with Signorile is that the LGBT community tends to expect miracles, but won't hold its own organizations accountable. What is NGLTF accomplishing? What is NCTE accomplishing? What have they ever accomplished?

I didn't hear any hard questions about organizations. All I heard is that gay people aren't calling Congress, which is not true. As far as what NGLTF and NCTE have accomplished, you obviously don't know their record of action. They have lobbyists and sponsored lobby days and sent out action alerts and held phone banks. Your rhetorical questions show that you have not done your research.

I have done my research, Jillian, and the proof is in the lack of success. I can understand Frank's frustration. Can you point to evidence of successful lobbying, besides your analysis of co-sponsors (which is largely driven by the 2008 election and Democrats gaining control of both chambers in 2006)?

Again, Mike, as I noted in my comment to Bill Purdue, your argument is a classic pincer fallacy.

You said there was no lobbying by our community or advocacy organizations. Then I pointed out that there were lobby days, and email drives and phone banks and lobbyists on the Hill.

You didn't deny that, but you switched your argument to the other side. You tacitly acknowledged that there was lobbying, but that it was not effective.

That, I'll admit - it has not been that effective, though it has had the effect of garnering a lot of co-sponsors. (I disagree with your point that the increase in co-sponsors after the initial introduction was largely the effect of distant elections from four years ago.)

If you define effectiveness as passage of the bill, then you are correct - it has not been effective, and can't be until the bill passes.

But if one is interested in measuring interim effectiveness, then one must start measuring indirect evidence.

It's clear that I could spend hours amassing evidence of phone banks and emails and lobbying activities, and you would simply shrug and say "not effective." And you would be right - under your definition of effectiveness. And I agree with you that yours is the correct definition of ultimate effectiveness.

But if we're measuring interim effectiveness of lobbying, and we see an increase from 80 initial co-sponsors to 197 co-sponsors today, and another 26 likely yes votes -- and you compare that with an increase of only 3 co-sponsors in 2003 -- well, I think we're moving along in terms of lobbying effectiveness.

We need to do more of course, and that is what I am working on. What are you working on?

Barney Franks is an absolute pro who knows what he is talkng about. He can be counted on to tell it like it is. We might not like the message but that does not change what is so. Quit tearing down our hard-working messenger. I am reading a lot of defensiveness here and in some of the responses. Sorry to say, but we do not do enough. Some of us do come across like whiners. There is incredible strength and spirit out there, wonderful organizations with heart and drive, yet little unity, almost Tea Party-like. Where is THE voice? Who leads? There are so many fronts, so many approaches. We need a big picture approach, simply stated. Unity ALL can stand behind, like MLK.

Frank is more into the game than the result.
He needs to try and be honest for a change; a few years ago it was don't lobby it will upset congress followed by you didn't lobby hard enough....and here we are with more of the same...

BMG---Barney must go
(With apologies to Lord Curzon who first used it against Arthur Balfour)

Barnny Frank is right. We DON'T lobby our congressmen and legislators. When was the last time you called either of your Senators or Congressperson? Bloggs and twitters and emails don't have much impact. Phone calls and personal visits to their offices do count. Petitions get the most attention. We must do those actions that are most effective for the rest of the public.

The right wing holds "Action days" and they have every member of their church or group call and send letters or sign petitions to their Federal and State representatives. They walk down the aisles of their churches passing out forms and papers with phone # and samples of what to say.

Half of our representatives in Congress and State Legislators think there are NO LGBT people in their districts! We don’t call them so “All the homos live in New York and California. There aren’t any fags in my district! I don’t have to represent them. All I have are God fearing Christians and they hate queers” That is what our elected leaders think because WE DON’T LOBBY THEM ! You and I have to call them contantly.

I propose we have "Calling OUT" days where we organize phone calls to our reps in all levels of government. I suggested this to some of the leaders of Creating Change this past week. I hope it takes root. It will take a few trys to get organized, but If we all work at it, we can do it! NGLTF, HRC, PFLAG, Lambda Legal, SAGE, MCC, and any other local or national organization should participate.

A good date to do this would the Ides of March (March 15th) "et to queers!" If its good enough for our oppressors, its good enough for me!

And we don’t really have to wait for a particular date. JUST CALL Were here, were queer, and we want justice and equal rights. . Call…..call….. call ….Phone….. Call…..call ….. AND IT WILL WORK !!!!! Call Call Call Call..In case you wondered, that is known as l-o-b-b-y-i-n-g. "Lobbying" Its a good word and it works. CALL!

You really should get out more, Lee. If you have been following this blog for the past year, you would have seen information about people calling their Representatives and Senators every day, and phone-ins, and lobby days and everything else. I don't mean to be harsh, but unless you've woken up recently like Rip Van Winkle, you would have seen these things happening, and Congress ignoring us. Thanks for the lecture, but try doing a little research first next time.

Lobbying does NOT work. At best It's a minor adjunct to mass action. Building a massive, powerful, militant, "won't take no for an answer" movement does work.

It's not an accident that the hate crimes law, with all its weaknesses and contradictions, was finally passed on October 22nd and that the National Equality March occurred on October 11th with roughly 200,000 insistent marchers. At roughly the same time angry demonstrators were picketing the DNC and discouraging contributions.

Many LGBT Democrat 'leaders' initially opposed the NEM, fearing its grassroots origins. Some, like Frank, even tried to sabotage it by discouraging participation.

There are two contradictory arguments being made here, Bill and Lee: 1) We don't lobby, and 2) Lobbying doesn't work.

Which is it? This is a classic pincer argument - no matter what one says, no matter which choice is made, the other argument is deployed.

If I spend hours amassing evidence that we are lobbying, then you say lobbying doesn't work. If I spend time showing that lobbying does have an effect, then you argue we don't lobby.

Pick one and let me know which it is.

My comment doesn't accuse you of not lobbying. You say you do and I believe you. What I said is that lobbying by itself is ineffective unless, like business leaders, you arrive with a briefcase stuffed with C-notes.

For the rest of us lobbying has to follow or be an adjunct to a persistent series of militant mass actions. They create the framework that allows lobbying to have even the minimal and secondary effect it has.

Finally lobbyists tend to try to find a balance between their ideas and the objections of members of Congress. That's a fatal mistake leading to compromise, reformism and ineffective, showcase laws.

When people from the movement are compelled to dirty their hands meeting with members of Congress, the police, managers, bosses and other corrupt misleaders they should arrive armed with a clear mandate from their group which prevents them from compromising on key issues. Labor unions who adopt that tactic have a habit of winning. During the Vietnam War, the police and National Guard went on a Nixon inspired killing spree at Jackson State and Kent State, murdering 6 and wounding 9. In Seattle the antiwar movement decided to march from the U-District to the Federal Center downtown on the 5 Freeway, closing it for hours. City Hall had a stroke but we showed them a resolution from a massive meeting of students forbidding any negotiation on that question. The mayor closed the freeway rather than arrest the 15,000 marchers.

Non-negotiation and mass action are tactics that work. Lobbying doesn't.

I get your point, Bill, and I wish that creating mass action were so easy. If it were so simple, I would be calling for mass actions in every major city where weak-kneed legislators reign. But, alas, mass action only occurs where people are so scared or fed-up that they are mobilizable, like during the Vietnam draft and the African-American civil rights movement. Most gays are pretty comfortable, relatively speaking, in the US. In trying to work with groups in Arkansas and Indiana to take some action, their interest was only in words, and not in actions.

Your mass action idea would be excellent if it were not impractical.

Creating mass action is never easy but it's the only winning strategy. I went to my first antiwar demonstration in 1964 at the University of Vermont and the ROTC scumwads egged us. There were 30 of us. Eleven long years later, after helping organize demos with a million marchers in DC and SF I and tens of thousands of other activists had the supreme pleasure of watching this on the evening news. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwmCPNid9Kk

Roe vs. Wade wasn't some random beneficence granted by the Supremes. It was the clear result of the growth of the women's movement as was suffrage in 1920. Unions defiantly ignored decades of anti-labor laws and won the right to organize by main force. Etc. No major victory for democracy or for working people has come from lobbying. All are due to mass action with lobbying as an afterthought.

Organizing persistent militant mass action has to be our primary strategy and to be successful it has to include non-negotiable demands, a democratic internal life and rigid independence from the Democrats and their cousins, the Republicans.

The movement is up for it. In spite of ham fisted opposition by the DNC and LGBT Democrats the NEM was an unqualified success, especially in raising the idea of 50 state full equality.

The bottom line - mass action wins, lobbying doesn't.

I have made calls and sent letters to every single contact you have ever published in the last 4 months. I got confirmations back on some who said they support ENDA. I am sure we can do more but to be honest I have no idea what else to do.

Well, Dana, what we need to do more of, and what we will do more of, is exactly more of the same - make phone calls and write letters and donate money. Some of the advocacy organizations have picked up on the fact that we need to get more support in the swing states, and are hosting phone banks to call their members in those states, like Arkansas and Indiana. When the long sleep of ENDA is over, and it starts to move out of that dang committee, I think we will see the community get re-motivated.

You didn't send enough letters Dana.

Jillian and others believe the lie that politicians count all the letters, emails and calls they receive and then make up their minds. So, you should have sent more.

There is no evidence that Lobbying works or has ever worked for LGBT-related issues. It is part of the false hope of a "Political Solution." But, in the absence of an idea (or strategy) that does work - it is promoted to make you believe it's effective.

We need to focus on the people, not the politicians.

You're right, Andrew, let's give up and stay home and talk to our own little circle of friends and family only.

Don't be childish Jillian. We can stop doing things that are ineffective and try to find the solution to our equality.

You have as much evidence that lobbying makes a difference as Bill Perdue has that the little March in Washington did: none.

His is an old idea and yours is a lie. There is NO evidence that either activity helps us, in fact, it may actually hurt us.

It's perfectly okay if you want to bang your head against the wall - but, stop suggesting it is helpful.

Why don't you address the evidence I actually put into the post?

There wasn't any evidence that lobbying works. If you find some, please share it with us. Find some evidence that calls, letters and emails changed a politicians mind. If it works we must have some evidence, right?

I am pointing, Andrew, to the evidence that we increased the number of co-sponsors from 117 at the initial introduction of the bill, to 197 now, plus another 26 likely yes votes.

Please explain why this is not evidence of lobbying effectiveness?

ugh, I hate to see bickering between grown people and especially all who have the same goals. We are all in the same boat in some way shape or form. I think we should curb the insults and try to take the good ideas posted and mix them with the current ones.

If ENDA passes it will mean my brothers, sisters and others will be able to avoid at least some currently legal discrimination. I work at a place that has policies already in place that protects me but I want to see this pass for everyone. And who knows, I might move one day.

Great post, jillian!

You're right about the frustration here. Sure, Frank is looking for an excuse, but the truth is we don't really know why the bill is stalled and Frank doesn't seem to want to share the reasons with us. Now they want to move on to DADT without really doing anything on ENDA....

ENDA should have been a slam-dunk for this Congress, if they were at all interested in serving the people and the mood that brought them into power. The polling's great, even at the state level. The country's ready, and it's not like big business came down hard against ENDA. The Religious Right hasn't really been making a stink about this one either, what with the marriage distractions all around the country.

What is it that's holding this back? I have no idea.

It's those 50 51 Anti-LGBT US Senators.

You say there are 51 anti-LGBT US Senators, Andrew. I think you are mistaken. You will need to explain two things to defend your position:

1) How did the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill pass if there are 51 anti-LGBT Senators?

2) How do you explain away the fact that there 52 confirmed yes votes on ENDA? Here's the tally: http://bit.ly/14TDll

Both myself and my Partner have the highest regard and respect for Representative Barney Frank and his excellent staff.

A number of years ago when we lived in the Washington DC area, I wrote Representative Barney Frank concerning a work related issue.

With the help of his outstanding staff this issue was addressed.

I'm glad your personal problems were taken care of by Representative Frank, Rick. But what does that have to do with his blaming the community for lack of progress? What does that have to do with his failure to help motivate people positively instead of suppressing our lobbying efforts and dismissing them as meaningless and insufficient?

It is a game with him; the mystique of being the go to guy that rarely delivers anything, and has a teflon reputation.

As a former banking attorney who has lived through Barney's policies I can only reiterate, in that role and as a Lesbian: BMG!

As I said last time around, the politics is the reason why ENDA does not pass, why DADT will not progress, and DOMA will remain. Washington is more afraid of the ultra right than they are of us. The outcry from the AFA, Focus on the Family, and the rest along that line might account for up to say 20% of the population. We at best come in at about half that. Even if the majority of people support ENDA, as polls suggest, they often do not come forward loudly with that support. Their support is passive as it is not a bread and butter issue for them. As I have also said the other factor is, as long as they can parade the hope of these political issues in front of us, rather like the carrot dangling off that stick in front of the donkey they know the support of the LGBTQ Community will likely go to them. They have no incentive to move this issue. They can just drag it out use it for some air time or garner a few more bucks of support from the LGBTQ Community. I am convinced that they could give a damn if ENDA passes or not, ever. I am convinced DADT will come up against the same type of brick wall where they snatch defeat from the jaws of victory again. I am sure they will get far too much heat to pull down the DOMA. In all honesty in my opinion we are being played. By Barney Frank, George Miller and pretty much the rest of them. ENDA never seen a vote. It was pretty well documented that there was a majority who supported it. OK well then attach it to something the Republicans cannot refuse like them getting paid. It is always funny that they get stuff moved all the time, except stuff like ENDA or DADT or DOMA ( which I doubt got a super majority either ) So what the hell is going on? Well simply put we are being conned. I am of the opinion none of this will pass until legislation like this is in place in the majority of states required to get a president elected. So until or unless they get done playing politics with people's lives, or we see support for the LGBTQ Community become an overwhelming majority ( a super majority ) we will not see crap from Washington. So Barney Frank and the rest can shut their pie holes and go back to whatever else they do except trying to represent the interests of the people who helped get them there.

There's an interesting Washington Post blog this week about an interview with Barney Frank, in which he faults gay and lesbian leadership for the failure of the bill, accusing them of not lobbying members of Congress.

Click here to see the article.

Note the date of the interview - he has been playing the same blame game for 17 years!

Yes, I agree - let's lobby! But let's stop blaming the community.

I'll be on Michelangelo Signorile's Sirius OutQ radio show today at 3:30 discussing Barney Frank, the bathroom issue, and the "whisper campaign"

Lobbying doesn't work, Bill?

If that's the case, why did the insurance industry waste megabucks on it last year and in 1993 to kill health care reform?

Direct action ALONE doesn't bring change. It has to be linked with legislative lobbying to work effectively

Monica, please be so kind as to actually read what I said.

"...lobbying by itself is ineffective unless, like business leaders, you arrive with a briefcase stuffed with C-notes."

That kind of lobbying certainly does work. Particularly in the White House and Congress.

Here's how it works for Nancy Pelosi. http://www.openleft.com/diary/15066/unitedhealth-lobbyist-announces-big-fundraiser-for-pelosi-as-she-backs-off-public-option

And for Obama. http://www.blackagendareport.com/?q=content/obama%E2%80%99s-health-care-charade

And for your Republican cousins.

Mass action is the essential part of the equation. If it's organized by a democratic (that is to say non-Democratic) militant movement that rejects half way measures and forbids sell-out negotiations then it can win.

In the absence of the enormous pressure for change generated by a persistent mass action campaign lobbying is ineffective. The exception to the rule, as I pointed out, is for lobbyists for the looter class, who are welcome in the White House and Congress 24/7/365.

The Signorile interview on my post, "Rep. Frank, Stop Blaming the Community," can be found by clicking here.

Practically speaking, I'm guessing that Rep. Frank, being both an aging queen and an aging Rep has in his mind something substantially different in terms of lobbying than do those of us who call our reps, write letters and visit their offices.

What the community requires is about $300 mil. in a slush fund that will contribute around $400K to the required Reps and Sens political re-election campaigns.

Tamara Jeanne | February 13, 2010 7:27 PM

While I'm not sure what lobbying efforts have made in other states, I do know that the LGBT community in my state of South Dakota has made a very good effort lobbying our 2 senators and one representative in congress.

I was part of a local grassroots lobbying movement for ENDA, working and consulting with the ACLU and Equality South Dakota. The support and response that we got from the LGBT community and our allies was outstanding. I helped put together a panel of regional professionals, medical and psychological experts on transgender issues and members of the states transgender community to take part in a conference call with Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin's (D-SD)staff.

Rep Herseth-Sandlin is one of the undecided members of the house. She voted in favor of ENDA in 2007, but won't commit to the current version, because of gender identity inclusion in it. However, she has expressed that she is keeping an open mind on trans inclusion and said she is willing to be better educated on transgender issues, so this is where much of the effort which I was a part of focused.

With ENDA currently being stalled for the time being, Our local efforts have now turned to supporting and lobbying for South Dakota HB 1144 which is my states own version of ENDA. HB 1144 will add sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status and age to the state's existing anti-discrimination law, which hasn't been updated
for almost 40 years.

I will be part of a delegation going to the state capitol this coming Wednesday to lobby for passage of HB 1144. As far as I know I will be the only member of the transgender community that will be going. The vote on HB 1144 will likely be by the end of this week.

The bill has strong bipartisan support and polls show that over 83% of people in the state support passage of it. There is a strong, vocal and well financed religious right wing opposition to this bill, so passage is not guaranteed by any means. I do think that we do have a good shot at passage though.

A point that I'd like to finish with is, that since the November 09 elections and the overwhelming victory for SO and GI civil rights in Kalamazoo, Michigan there has been an astonishing numbers of towns and cities which have gone on to pass local non-discrimination laws of their own. Surprisingly this includes Salt Lake City, UT. This could only be happening because there is wide spread support for including civil rights protections for us among Americans. As more business's, cities and states around the country continue to add protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, Congress will not be able to ignore adding these protections for much longer.

Sadly everyone can be right in these arguments.

Lobbying has not produced a real vote in Congress for anything (Hate Crimes doesn't count - it was slid by on appropriations). Frank is right - the LGBT community has failed to produce a mass lobbying movement. Of course, that's equally, if not mostly his fault for insisting on an insider's game for his own ego that keeps everyone in the dark all the time, except his anointed suck-ups. He has never led anything or anyone - and he let the banks and us fail before his eyes! He needs to leave.

"United" ENDA - is useless and sadly - blandly occupying very important space which could be very dynamic with some fresh leadership (which they astutely keep out and at bay). With over 400 members, they don't seen to know the difference between a sleeping giant/passive website - and an actual campaign/force of nature. Although heathcareforamericanow - shows clearly how to do this - it is entirely lost on our "leaders" who are like placeholders in a corporate nightmare.

Carey's speech at CC said it all: take out a sheet of paper and promise yourself to write, call, etc. your electeds. How quaint, but meaningless! 2500 professional ORGANIZERS in a room, and she turns them into coffee-fetchers.

Basically, our movement does not know how to MOVE. All the praise about Carey's speech - which seemed like a good high-school graduation speech compared to true civil rights leaders of history - shows the truth. Our professional activists don't know the difference between what they're doing and what needs to be done.

Jillian is a lone voice of reason and a hero in a surrealist playground. J - you know I worship you - but we can't even get the Task Force and HRC to launch a real grassroots effort for ENDA, now along get Congress to vote on it. A few insider phone banks does not a mass-mobilization make!

Andrews W. - put up or shut up my friend. Let's see your work, plan or something! Anything! But get off Jillian's back. Lead, follow or get out of the way.

Mass mobilization is the only real hope. Fortunately Civil Disobedience is on the UP RISING. Let's take to the streets like the black civil rights movement did. At least we've seen that work.