Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Clintons And Gays

I know a number of LGBT individuals who are fanatic Clinton supporters. To be honest, I do not understand their thinking. If nothing else, Bill and Hillary can be relied upon to do what is expedient for them in terms of winning votes or raising money. Unfortunately, other than in the form of lip service, loyalty to their supporters, particularly gays, is not their strong suit. It never has been. In this regard, Andrew Sullivan has a timely post (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/03/the-clintons--2.html#more) that looks at the cynical manner in which the Clintons have treated gays in the past and references John Aravosis’ research in the process (http://www.americablog.com/2007/06/bill-clinton-reportedly-told-john-kerry.html). Why gay voters think they can trust Hillary when Obama has better positions on gay issues is astounding to me. If you do not believe me, do some investigation of your own. Just remember that Hillary does not even reference that LGBT voters exist on her campaign website.Here are some highlights from Andrew’s post:

Many readers expressed disbelief at my claim that the Clintons ran anti-gay ads on Christian radio stations in 1996. Did I have proof? Actually, John Aravosis recently provided a very extensive round-up of what happened back then. It's all true. Here's an excerpt from a Log Cabin briefing at the time:

In an article in today's Washington Times, entitled "For Christian Radio, Clinton Changes Tune on Gays, Abortion," it was reported that the Clinton-Gore campaign "shrugged off" angry calls to shelve the radio ad. The article cited reports from gay and lesbian groups that the campaign might delete the portion of the ad which boasts of Clinton signing the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), but "Clinton campaign spokesman Joe Lockhart said there are no plans to alter the radio ads, which will run for 'a few more days.'" After boasting about Clinton signing the anti-gay DOMA, the ad concludes with the line: "President Clinton has fought for our values and America is better for it."

John also notes that Bill Clinton advised John Kerry to triangulate against gays in 2004. Kerry refused. But the Clintons have used gays in two ways since their careers began: to get money (an untapped resource that the Clintons shrewdly figured out early on), and to pivot to win red-state votes. Remember that the Clintons used this tactic in 1996 - not a close election, or one in which they even needed to gay-bait to win. But they did. It helped a little. And they knew the gays were pathetic enough to keep supporting them.

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